GaPGaS was back on Tuesday night, thanks to our new HHH recruits who put on an awesome show, our fantastic sponsors Waterfront Solicitors and Microsoft, and our guest speaker, Pete Schonbeck…you know the format by now, take to the stage, vent on the problems your start-up is experiencing, and let the audience help you by giving you the benefit of their wisdom and experience.
So shyness isn’t something we’re used to at our Hipsters, Hackers & Hustlers Meet-ups. Outspoken opinions, we’ve had by the bucket load, lively debate, sure. Delusions of grandeur…hmmm, maybe. But on Tuesday night our audience caught a case of the nerves; for a minute nobody was prepared to come up on stage and share their start-up problems with the 100 or so members of our distinguished, forward thinking and very-likely-to-be-the-next-Richard Branson / Marc Andreesen audience.
Suffice it to say, it didn’t last long! Perhaps we just had a very generous crowd, all out to solve each other’s problems. Maybe we’ve done such a good job over the past six iterations of GaP->GaS that there just aren’t any more problems to solve. But nah, after a bit of encouragement from MC for the night Tim Berryman, sanity was restored, and we got down to the business of talking business!
Luca from Italy was our first founder with start-up teething problems; he was in the UK for a few days conducting a bit of market research into his tourism platform, successfully launched back home, that helps tourists connect to locals with expert knowledge of local haunts, places of interest and unmissable places to be and people to see. Luca wanted to know the best way to market his service; over to the gang.
Start a MeetUp group? Definitely a banker, it worked for us! Try putting posters in universities and youth hostels? That’s how we do it in Italy, Luca confirmed. Word of Mouth! Somebody suggested (like going to an HHH event and shouting from the rooftops?). Student newspapers? We’re looking at an older demographic, Luca demurred. All in all, though, Luca left the stage satisfied.
After a little encouragement from MC Tim (maybe he scared the crowd by threatening to damage a kitten every time somebody tampered with the mic?), Andrew Martin took the plunge and asked, “how do I evaluate a company that has no revenues? Easy, says Andrew L, if it’s based in the US, throw money at it, it’s probably the next Uber. If it’s the UK, don’t even touch it with a bargepole! Ho ho. Benchmarking is the key, determine a point in the future and compare its progress with similar companies, was another helpful piece of advice.
Next up, Steve Mitchell wanted to know how much he should pay for technical development of his app helping tradesmen send quotes direct to their customers. “Don’t pay cash for a prototype”, was one nugget of wisdom. Then, Addi’s start-up was a polling app that worked fine for business, but he wanted to know: how can I conduct “red alert” polling like my competitors do? “Build a better, cheaper product than them”, was one answer, “buy their customer lists”, was another.
Zoltan was building a community based sharing platform for creative and students. “But how do I get comfortable giving up shares to somebody I just met, either employees or investors?” “generate more shares and dilute the shareholding, a good lawyer can help you do that”. Well, a good lawyer is definitely something you need, try our sponsors Waterfront, we’ve been with them from the start, and the number of holes they’ve dug HHH out of!
Abraham wanted to break the Chinese market with his new social networking app, but received some tough love from one audience member: “You’re wasting your time, all social media in China is controlled by the government; even the Facebook guy can’t get traction in China, and he married a Chinese lady! So is it impossible, or just very, very hard? It’s easy if you know the president! Hmm, other suggestions included trying the Malaysian market, or bringing a fluent Chinese speaker on board. Turns out Abraham’s co-founder is Chinese…remember…nothing is impossible!
Finally, Glen Cooper at HappiJar, an ingenious app that helps you store happy memories and revisit them when you are feeling down, who just completed a small crowdfunding raise, wanted to know how to promote his app on US iTunes. The general consensus was he needed an angle, needed to tell his awesome story…or try a US accelerator perhaps?
And with that the evening came to a close…actually not quite! Because now at HHH because we love you and your amazing ideas so much we have reserved a space at the Blueberry Bar around the corner from Google Campus for post event networking, and anybody with an HHH sticker (be it Hipster, Hacker, or Hustler) was entitled to happy hour priced drinks all night. So never say we don’t do anything for you. Not that anyone ever does.
On Tuesday we also trialled our new super duper message board, which displays comments and suggestions from the audience on a giant screen at the back of the stage. Very Hi-Tech and lots of fun.
Look out for more developments as we continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible on one stage, with 2 hilarious presenters, and a roomful of top class start-up talent! Our next event is Speed Pitching on Tues May 12th. Come and join us!