One of the key learnings that I have had from spending time in the US tech ecosystems is that community is key. You can’t fake it – those people who are passionate about the community, connectivity and fostering network growth tend to be exponentially more successful than those who are not.
Take Eddie George and the NewFinance organisation, for example. From the early days of the FinTech movement in London, Eddie’s grassroots organisation has done a tremendous job at pulling the community together. Unsurprisingly, that model has easily transcended our borders and moved successfully around the world. Well done Eddie for having that vision!
I have long held the view (based in large part on what I have seen in the US) that lawyers can not only sit at the heart of an ecosystem but they can do a lot to pull it together. That happens a lot in the US but not so much over here. We see the funds that are set up (and act for them as they deploy capital), we work with companies throughout their life cycles and then we also have an active overview of the M&A/IPO landscape.
Over the last few years, we have been determined to bring a bit of that US mentality to London. I host a monthly Tech CEO dinner (and have recently launched a series of Tech poker nights, which are fun) and most months we get >100 people together for a big event around a current hot topic. The crowds are usually a good mix of companies at different stages and investors.
For our Tech AGM recently, I pulled the list of our London large Tech events from the last 12 months or so:
- 21 May 2014 – 3D Printing
- 4 June 2014 – Cyber Security
- 1 July 2014 – Two sided Innovation
- 8 September 2014 – Connected Health
- 9 October 2014 – Optimising Exits and Funding Growth
- 18 November 2014 – The Internet of Things
- 7 January 2015 – Connected Health
- 4 February 2015 – Bitcoin
- 1 April 2015 – Wearable Tech
- 6 May 2015 – Robotics
- 16 June 2015 –Sensory Overload (AdTech meets IoT)
- 7 July 2015 – Big Data
Next in the calendar:
- 23 September 2015 – B Rounds, C Rounds and Beyond
- 10 November 2015 – Meet the FinTech VC
As an aside (and as a comment on the market), our upcoming B Rounds, C Rounds and Beyond event has been our most popular to-date. Within 3 days of the invite going out (mostly to funded execs), we had over 120 acceptances. We’re currently at 170 attendees.
If you are not in the network but would like more connections to interesting execs, companies and investors please do connect, I’d love to help!