I have been banging on for ages about startups thinking small. Far too small.
It’s a total wind-up for me when I meet really, really good UK companies and find their management struggling.
They’re not struggling through lack of talent, lack of ideas, lack of raw enthusiasm.
They’re struggling, in the main, because of the absolutely rubbish British and European infrastructure to support, encourage and underpin startup culture.
Startups, obviously, need money.
They don’t need smiling, benevolent ‘come back when you’ve got somewhere we can measure in terms of widgets’ Venture Capitalist or Angel perspective. Indeed, a lot of the British investors I could name are more or less paid to lunch with you. Then say ‘er, no, sorry.. just.. you know.. we need more…. er… guarantees’.
It’d be quicker if they took your house as collateral. And you know what, you almost get the feeling that some of these investors would do that — if they could — because they don’t like betting.
It’s not all about investment per se. When I said startups need money, I mean in terms of commercial reality too. They need somebody to take a chance. Somebody to say ‘hey, yes, we’ll buy that’ or ‘we’ll try that’.
And next to nobody is interested in independent thinking in the United Kingdom or Europe. Especially in the United Kingdom.
What’s the answer when you’re a struggling British startup?
Go West, My Son.
The next problem? Finding the cash to properly ‘go west’ for a few weeks.
The problem after that? Actually getting in the door with ‘somebody from Google’ or ‘somebody from Microsoft’. It looks like a reeeeally difficult challenge. Especially when it’s chucking it down with rain in London and everybody supposedly entrepreneurial in nature that you meet in the UK says ‘lovely idea but… you know… come back in … come back in 2010…’
It all looks really difficult.
The shocking secret is that it’s not. It’s not that challenging to get in the door. Watching a British startup entrepreneur sit in a meeting with a US giant whose representative is nodding their head enthusiastically and asking if they can go live in 5 weeks is a very rewarding experience. (Altogether now with the SFO mantra: “YES WE CAN”)
The major issue, a lot of the time, is that here in Britain, a lot of us don’t quite believe it. The British culture of sit back, shut up and don’t you dare think of ideas above your shitty, shitty little station, is not quite made for these experiences.
So most startup entrepreneurs will read this post — particularly the next bit — and mentally shrug. They’ll be thinking, ‘we could do this’. They’ll be allowing themselves just a little bit of ego stroking for 0.2 seconds where they’ll think, ‘we should be on this list.’
And then they’ll mentally chastise themselves for having ideas above their station, close this post and do their best to forget they’d ever read it.
It’s such a shame.
So for those of you reading, still, I release you from your British ‘I MUST THINK I’M RUBBISH’ obligations — just this once — because you really need to see this.
Take a bit of time and read the following website in a few moments:
Euro Tech Showcase takes 50 of the most promising European companies to present at a dedicated event at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay Hotel in mid-October. That’s RIGHT slap-bang in the middle of the trillion dollar club in Redwood City. More or less the centre of Silicon Valley.
At the showcase will be executives and investors from a veritable TON of the valley’s finest.
Microsoft, Intel, Motorola, Cisco, Symantec, Google, AT&T, Facebook, Verizon, CBS Interactive, Bessemer Venture Partners, NEA, Battery Ventures. That’s just a brief list.
Let’s be clear — this is a ticket. Get on the list and get in the door and you’ll be networking with the Valley’s finest come mid-October.
Here’s a good summary:
The Euro Tech Showcase acts as a launch pad for European tech firms looking to start or expand in the US market. Through a series of pre-arranged qualified one-on-one meetings, company presentations and demos, it connects European CEOs with the right American partners, clients or investors
How do you get involved?
It’s really, really simple. You need to be QUICK though. The deadline is 18th September.
7-slides on Powerpoint simple. Who are you. What are you doing. What market. Tell us a bit more. Done. You’ve probably got all the content already — you know, from that really whizzy slideshow you take around to all the British bollocks investors and the rubbish British FTSE media/internet/mobile companies who really should know better but never seem to care. I kid ye not — the 155k Powerpoint template is here: Have a look.
So you’ve already got the content — stick it into their 7-slide Powerpoint and send it off.
BUT there’s a catch. As I said you need to be quick. I also want you to get the requisite attention so please reference Sonus PR and, if you like, Mobile Industry Review, in the subject of the mail that you sent to Jordy Brazier of Avise Partners (the coordinating chap).
Give it a go. And let me know how you get on!
Head straight over here to download the ppt and get started: