Week 1: on VC funding and desk space

So John and I went to Alpha Tech Fest last Friday to show off our wired prototype (they didn’t have reliable wifi at UCL where it was hosted, so no use taking unnecessary risks). I got the lovely Ben Barker to take some pics and he’s working on a video for us too…very exciting. This was my first time going to one of these things and it turned out to be exactly what you’d expect speed dating to be. A crammed room where we ended up in a corner talking to VCs and angels about our project for about 10 minutes at a time. We met about 10 people over the course of an hour and a bit with breaks. They had some good questions which I knew how to answer thankfully.

What I found though is that although the idea appealed to them, they felt that this wasn’t “tech” enough for them. Admittedly we were sat next to someone who had an electric car company and someone selling a cloud-based video conferencing service. Known unknowns and we perhaps were an unknown unknown. Since then I’ve been researching people who have retail / consumer goods experience as well as tech, maybe that will help. I’ve also ordered this book after Matt Biddulph recommended it.

The thing that stuck with me though is the panel discussion that took place first thing that morning. The conversation veered towards the difference between “accelerators” like Tech Hub, White Bear Yard and traditional funding routes like seed investment.  Richard Turner ‘s response was “if their first hurdle is finding a desk then they aren’t worth investing in”. I’m writing this sitting in the BRIG right next to MakieLab, next door to Moo who used to rent desk space to local startups like Dopplr and Tweetdeck. Noone claims to be an accelerator. I wonder where that leaves  Campus London. Only time will tell.