London Startup Roundup

by francine Hardaway on July 8, 2011

i may not have seen Big Ben or the London Bridge, but i have seen my type of London, the London of innovation rather than tradition, youth rather than age.

Like startups everywhere, London entrepreneurs occupy interesting spaces in low rent neighborhoods. In London, it’s the Old City area on the not-so-posh East Side. That’s where the action seemed to be on my recent visit. and make no mistake, there is plenty of action. Since the end of the dot com era in the US, the entrepreneurship bug has spread virally around the globe, and while venture capital is still concentrated in Silicon Valley, angel funding and bootstrapped companies are everywhere. In the last two years I feel like I have had a crash course in why America no longer has a lock on innovation.

Between @DamonOldcorn and @ThomasPower, I have been treated like visiting royalty here in London. Or perhaps more like Dave McClure. Both Thomas, co-founder of ECademy and Damon, serial entrepreneur and founder of during the first tech bubble, introduced me to wonderful entrepreneurs and found me the best events to help me discover the London Tech scene.

I started off at TechSet startup pitches, where I watched the kind of event I have seen in every country I visit: a group of startups explaining their companies. Rodolfo Rosini, the keynote speaker, a three-time Italian-born entrepreneur whose last company developed encryption for cell phones, was blindingly honest about the dangers of taking outside money, and also about how to attract it..”If investors have a committed fund you don’t need to be awesome. just better than the rest of their deal flow.”

The coolest part of that event wasn’t the pitches, but the sponsor, Pinsent Masons LLP. One of their attorneys has started a free site with essential law for startups. Bootlaw also holds monthly events.

The next day, a dozen social media types and entrepreneurs convened by Thomas and by Abigail Harrison, a wonderfully well-connect London PR practitioner, regaled me with accomplishments (one woman has written “Business Model Generation” and one young entrepreneur has launched MinuteBox, monetizing the online consulting time of mentors like me) at a cool pub in Chiswick, the Duke of Sussex. That was a first for me: a three hour lunch, at which one of the attendees was my son-in-law Daniel Richard, who is in charge of sales at an Irish startup, Sonru.

At that lunch I also met Andrew Garrett, one of the co-founders of LikeMinds, a city club for entrepreneurs located right off Trafalgar Square. Damon Oldcorn entertained me there and introduced me to the co-founders of, who (you can’t make this stuff up) already had met with Daniel about an alliance.

I have to admit that I detoured for a few hours and caught a matinee of “Rosencrantz and Gildenstern Are Dead” at the Haymarket before going on to the TechHub anniversary party back in the Old City part of town. Here I met the founders of Cravify (for finding, renting and sharing London flats) and Ubicabs (like San Francisco’s Uber).

The co-founders of TechHub, which is an incubator and collaborative workspace for startups, are Elizabeth.Varley and Mike Butcher, who is also editor of TechCrunch Europe. They have done a spectacular job of aggregating the startup community if their party was any indication. It’s a great space with a great reputation.

Once again I remind American readers that we hold no lock on entrepreneurship, and that without constant attention to innovation on our own parts, we can be eclipsed easily by just about anywhere.

Enhanced by Zemanta

{ 2 trackbacks }

Phoenix StartupDigest – July 11, 2011
July 11, 2011 at 4:23 pm
London Startup Roundup | TechMeetups
July 14, 2011 at 9:11 am

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Abigail Harrison July 8, 2011 at 6:02 pm

It was great to meet you, a priviledge to hear your views and lovely to read about your impressions. Until next time!

hardaway July 8, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Likewise, Abigail. You made a huge effort for me, and it made my visit rock!

hardaway July 8, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Likewise, Abigail. You made a huge effort for me, and it made my visit rock!

Farhan Lalji July 10, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Great write up, keep a look out for – which let’s you rent your car to the guy/gal next door, which started a couple of years ago and actually has reversed the clone wars, getting US companies cloning what they’ve been up to.  And – which helps you stay at authentic upper end flats locally (complete with iPhones on arrival.  London has a lot going on!   Looking forward to telling you more about it before you head back!

hardaway July 10, 2011 at 7:46 pm

See you tomorrow.

Techmeetups July 12, 2011 at 10:07 am

Hi Francine! you missed The London Silicon Roundabout monthly meetup on Thu 7th July but I guess a lot was going on that day :)  See you next time you’re around.

hardaway July 12, 2011 at 10:40 am

I heard that. I couldn’t figure out what to go to. I will be back Dec. 5-20, so let’s figure things out in advance this time.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: