You have to believe me when I say that each and every iteration, and last night was our 19th, of the Hipsters Hackers & Hustlers’ “Speed Pitching and Co-founder Dating” events that we run at Google Campus is totally unique. Every month the mix of personalities, from founders to PR peeps, hackers, CTOs, serial entrepreneurs, mentors and investors, dictate what kind of evening it’s going to be, and last night was no exception.
If last month’s event felt like a cross between having a ringside seat at Madison Square Garden and a front row berth at a Milanese fashion show (no exaggeration intended!) then last night was a little more refined; business like and pretty orderly (the pitchers increasingly know the score, lining up by the side of the stage ready for kick off), but still bursting with energy, amazing ideas and the blood sweat and tears of a couple of hundred of London, perhaps the world’s, finest wannabe founders and future Steve Jobses!
One gentleman who wasn’t pulling any punches last night was our keynote speaker David Blumenstein. David is mentoring at Mass Challenge, the Boston incubator who have taken residency at our 40,000 sq. ft. co-working space The Dock in East London, and are about to announce which startups made it onto their first cohort. David is probably best described as a “fixer”, having enjoyed a stellar career on both sides of the investment divide, working with startups and also helping them to secure venture capital investment.
David didn’t shy away from making a bold, some might even say bleak, assessment of the chances of a startup making it in the current social, political and financial environment, but, and I’m sure this was deliberate on his part, it certainly didn’t deter our plucky and beloved HHH’ers from pitching their hearts out, and you just know they were listening to David’s inspirational advice on creating the perfect pitch deck. You can download his guide here, it’s a must read and trust us, you will be offering silent prayers of thanks to David the next time you find yourself sitting across the table from an angel or VC pitching your big ideas!
As usual we have to thank our fantastic sponsors, the wonderful boutique, tech startup focused Waterfront Solicitors, and the mighty Microsoft. Last night Matt from Waterfront briefly guided us through the legal docs you need to make sure you have before your startup can get serious, and, folks, trust us, you want to get these signed sooner rather than later, while everybody is still friends! Seriously, you can speak to Waterfront about any concerns you might have; we use them, and they have always come through for us!
Mike Taulty at Microsoft also spoke about Azure, the company’s cloud storage platform. With Windows 10 close to being released, he has been a busy bee, but is still finding time to work on and promote Bizspark, MS’s cloud service for startups. it is well worth looking into how Bizspark can benefit your business, so check out this link or connect with Mike on Twitter: @mtaulty
So, without further ado, let’s look at 10 of the best pitches from last night. They were all great and if you guys want to see the full list just tell us and we will release it! In the meantime let’s relive these gems from last night. Water pistol toting timekeeper and splasher in chief was Tim Berryman, one of our new recruits (check out our website for latest team news); who stepped up to the plate with some sharp shooting that would have made first choice water wielder Adam proud. We commend Tim him for his accuracy!
1/ Al (Hustler): Always tough kicking off the pitches but, leaving aside his attempt to pinch my spare water pistol, Al did a great job! His Company is Zigzag global: they’ll resell goods you have bought online but no longer want in the local market, getting you a better deal on your refund and saving you expensive delivery fees and the hassle of finding a buyer yourself. They have warehouses in locations across Europe, a campaign that has just gone live on Crowdcube, and is looking for seed investment and staff to help him grow. This is a great business idea and a ready made adventure for anyone who wants to get involved!
2/ Kid’s parties (Hustlers): A cracking, Ukelele inspired musical pitch and one of our winners on the night, these two Royal Academy of music grads have launched an all-singing, all-dancing (literally) kids entertainment troupe, and are looking for feedback, opportunities, and, it’s not all about the money, money, but a little would go a long way. Time to put your Jazz hands in your pocket for these two troubadours?
3/ Theo (Hipster): Theo works at Link Capital UK and is here to tell founders not to panic! Theo says there’s no shortage of “capital in the capital” available for startups and Link Capital can help you to find it. Link Capital are all about connecting cash to bright ideas; they’re bright, positive and disruptive. Could be just what you’re looking for?
4/ Dan (Hipster): Dan Bower has just launched PoochPal (we believe it’s called but cannot find a website, help us out Dan?), it’s play dates for pets. Have pet envy? Arrange to take care of your neighbour or a stranger-soon-to-be-friend’s delightful pooch while they are on holiday or otherwise engaged. Ok, so we’ve all heard of DogBuddy.com, but Dan wants to spread some more pet love and hey, the market must be ripe for disruption by now! Feedback, jobs, coder or marketing guru, Dan can fill you in on the detail.
5/ Gary (Hustler): Another on-the-night winner, and not only because of his wacky first-day-of-summer-fun-suit, Gary is the co-founder of Double, one of the most talked about dating apps leading the charge now Tinder has gone paid-for (for over 30’s at least). Double is, essentially, Tinder for double dates. Safer, more fun, and free! The Double crew are looking for investment and can-do types to help them become the world’s go-to dating app!
6/ Yuran (Hustler): Tossing business cards into the crowd is a high risk move but Yuran from Israel pulled off the trick without taking anybody’s eye out! Funzing is the airbnb of local activities, social sharing for those with hobbies, skills and hidden talents. Let it all hang out with Funzing, currently in beta but launching soon. I mean, have you ever heard of a happier sounding company!
7/ Dave (Hacker): An emotional performance, Dave had his pitch wrapped up in 10 seconds; a talented hacker across many coding disciplines Dave has C++, Python and Android solutions in his locker, all you have to do is find him! Sadly, even though Dave found a way to use his final 20 seconds (more “come and get me” pleas) we don’t have Dave’s full contact details. Dave, if you’re out there, drop us a line and help us help you win business!
8/ Fiona (Hustler): How many people out there have had craving for food from home when they’ve been travelling or living abroad? They just don’t make tea/fish fingers/tomato sauce the way they do in Blighty, eh?! So Fiona’s new startup sends monthly food boxes stuffed with the things you can’t get abroad to expats and travellers. Useful, and a monthly dose of nostalgic home comforts for the footloose. An awesome idea with a ready made market.
9/ Moncho (Hacker): Moncho is CTO of Codigo, a collective of freelance designers and coders. These guys have done stellar work for a range of startups, check out their portfolio, and could make a real difference to your business. Hacker heaven for founders! Sometimes the best pitches can be as simple as stating who you are and what you do: no bells and whistles here, it’s all about the product.
10/ Santosh (Hipster): Santosh has a message for startup founders: when you make it big, you’ll make a new friend. He or she is called the taxman/woman and you know what, they can be an expensive new buddy to look after. Let Santosh, qualified accountant and startup champion, help you manage that relationship! Strange things can happen when the big money comes, make sure you prepare for it properly.
So that was our top ten, but honestly it could have been any one of you amazing people! If you want us to add your deets above just get in touch, we’ll update what we have and compare notes. We love these nights and want to make it as easy as possible for you guys to connect and get on. Remember, in startupland, if you’re not moving forwards you are moving backwards, so make sure you come and join us at our next two events, GaP? -> GaS! (Short for Got a problem? Get a solution!, therapy for founders!) and Inside MSVA, a chance to meet the latest cohort on the Microsoft Venture program.
And of course they’ll be another one of these next month. So many first timers came last night, which goes to show how many startups have moved onwards and upwards after pitching with the HHH crew! Until next time.