Friday Oct 16, 2009

Future of Web Apps London 09 - The outcomes

Sun's Startup Essentials team was hosting a Chillout lounge  at the Future of Web Apps
London, where 750 attendees from across the globe came to hear the  founders of digg and winelibrary
inform people on how to build a multi million startup and make sure it is marketed well.

Amongst all this information digest, the SSE team were talking, informing and hosting our own talks
to the attendees Matt Hosanee gave a talk alongside James Proud form Giglocator on scaling your
startup on a bootstrapped financial model, and myself Stewart Towsend gave a talk on SSE in general
and how we have helped tweetmeme grow from a 2 person company to over 10 employees and 85% growth
month on month.

For a flavour of the event, check out to see how busy the Sun area got go HERE

And if you want to know what people had to say about it go HERE

Monday Oct 12, 2009

Kohive launches and win an iPod touch

London, UK—8th October—Kohive, the online collaborative desktop that facilitates communication and collaboration between groups, today announces the launch of its range of premium services.

Aside from a large number of free applications that are part of the standard service, the premium service includes a task management app, increased file storage, and both an upcoming iPhone and desktop app which keeps users’ files, calendars and addresses in sync with their web interface.

After joining Kohive, the user is greeted with what looks like a computer desktop. There’s a dock of applications on the left and a tab panel at the bottom. Each of these tabs or “hives”, provides a completely separate space from which to invite people, share content and communicate with them live.

Kohive’s desktop interface allows for an unlimited number of uses since any number of web applications can be created and embedded into user generated hives. It’s a ‘collaboration platform’ where the user is in control.

Kohive’s founder Edward Sanchez gives a few examples:

“A freelancer could create hives to share and communicate with his team and clients. He’d create another hive to talk to his family, share photos and recipes. And another to share and talk to his closest friends. It’s that range of uses that makes the platform so effective.”

While other sites carry the legacy of page-driven navigation (each link takes the user to a new page) Kohive uses AJAX for seamless data retrieval and Ext JS, a new front-end JavaScript library that provides a desktop window driven interface. This means information loads more quickly and navigation is smoother as only the content (and not the page) gets transferred.

Edward Sanchez says:

“Design and usability is at the core of Kohive. The site mimics familiar user interfaces as well as using the latest technologies and best practices for user navigation. By doing so, we make sure that users can always get from A to B with a minimum amount of effort.

Kohive is to current collaboration sites what the iPhone was to previous generation phones. It offers a superior user experience and an expandable service where custom applications can be installed. What you see now is really only the start - we’re working on lots of great apps and features that will be coming over the next few months - the Kohive roadmap is exciting for both users and developers”

To celebrate the launch of the premium suite of services, Kohive are giving users the opportunity to win some shiny prizes:

  • Tweet the Kohive URL for a chance to win an iPod Touch
  • Free account signups are entered in a competition to win a MacBook
  • Paid account signups are entered in a competition to win a custom coloured MacBook Pro

A video demoing the service can be seen here:

Tuesday Aug 25, 2009

UK: Campus Open Day for Startups!

Sun Startup Essentials  - Campus Open Day

We invite you to join us at our UK headquarters on the 3rd of September as we open our doors for an insight into Sun's operations, the staff, as well as see the environment including our exciting technologies and eco-datacentre (with some refreshments & networking time thrown in of course ;-) )

Set in the Surrey/Hampshire border, a short distance from London and off the M3 motorway, the award winning campus consists of three buildings, "SPARC house", "Solaris House", & "Java House", interconnected by glass passages.  Many of the European-level activities are conducted on site, and it is home to many, if not all the organizations that make up Sun, including the services, sales, and software teams.  Onsite facilities include a restaurant, gym, a shop, massage/therapy rooms, hairdressers, coffee shops, and much, much more!

The agenda kicks off at 12.30pm:

- Arrive for a Welcome Briefing
- Lunch (courtesy of Sun Startup Essentials)
- Tour of the campus
- Tour of the datacentre (restricted numbers)
- Drinks reception

We hope you can join us!

Contact: or Twitter @scoobeesnac if you are interested and we will send you further information.


The campus is located here: Google Map There is a direct train to London and a free shuttle service to/from the station.

Startup Essentials is a free program that offers services, support and many opportunities to drive your business forward, and is open to individuals or companies that are less than 150 people, and less than 6 years in operation.  see

Tuesday Jun 30, 2009

Guns for Hire......

 Linux systems administrator: gun for hire

I'm a contract Linux systems administrator with 9 years of experience
working with startup companies. My main areas of expertise are in
scalability, high availability and monitoring. Most recently I've been
working with to put in place a new architecture on which we
launched the new version of their site. Before that, I was with Trutap
where we built a scalable platform for mobile social networking.

I'm looking for new challenges with interesting companies. I tend to add
the most value to companies who have an established website built, and
who are expecting a period of growth - taking an existing site, and
building a systems architecture which is fault-tolerant and scalable; as
well as ensuring development staff have access to a development and
staging environment that closely resembles production.

      \* Can one of your servers go down without any interruption to
      \* Can you handle 10x your current load on your existing platform?
      \* Do you know how you'd grow your infrastructure to cope with 100x
        your current load?
      \* If something goes wrong on your platform, do you know about it
        before your users do?

If your answers to the above are either "no" or "I don't know", then
drop me a line - it's likely that I can help.. -

 Project Manager for Hire


PMP and Agile Scrum Master certified Project Manger with experience in technical delivery and business integration, with over 10 years experience working in the consumer digital / Internet / Telco / digital media and financial sector. Proven ability to manage and deliver multiple projects within deadlines and to budget from £1.5 Million at Diageo, up to 2million at Sony). Experience managing geographically dispersed teams in a multi-cultural environment.

Key Skills:                       

Project management on time to budget, account management, digital innovation (second life, collaboration platform), Social Media (making social media work in large corporate), Business Analysis (user stories creation)

Monday Jun 15, 2009

London Wed 17th June;JavaEE 6+Glassfish v3 sneak peak AND OpenSolaris PARTY!

Java EE 6 Sneak Peek with GlassFish V3

... followed by the OpenSolaris 2009.06 Launch party in the evening ...

OpenSolaris User Group

Tuesday Jun 02, 2009

Tech Mission London - 8th June @ Sun Microsystems

Tech Mission London 2009 (#TechML09) provides a dynamic environment for Northern Tech community (tech entrepreneurs, investors, deal makers and service providers) to engage with their counterparts from London. Key objectives of this mission are to build new relationships and partnerships, share knowledge and best practices, and explore investment opportunities. The Mission includes a 3-hour workshop and a Dragon's Lair, where 8 tech startups will pitch to 6 Dragons. 

Come and meet Michael Birch, Daniel Waterhouse and Paul Walsh to hear their stories of pain, laughter and growing a business and gaining investment.

For more details on the agenda, Ticket Prices and how to pitch to the investment panel GO HERE NOW

Monday Jun 01, 2009

Edocr relaunches today

Techcrunch Europe have written a piece on edocrs launch today, this is fantastic news for Manoj who has tirelessy built a Northern Startup community and focused on sustaining his own business as well as driving events and investment support for small business in the north west. Read the article for more information to be found HERE

Monday Mar 09, 2009

Why EveryCity love Solaris

Solaris is Sun Microsystem’s flagship Unix based operating system. It is free to obtain and use, and Sun opened the Solaris source code under an Open Source license in 2005.

It is robust, highly scalable and incredibly powerful; actively maintained by Sun, new features are being introduced on a regular basis. Paid commercial support is available. It fully supports Intel & AMD CPUs, ensuring it runs on the vast majority of commodity hardware such Dell & HP.

Solaris contains many killer features. If you’re currently using Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, or another Unix varient, you should consider checking it out.

We are a big Solaris user here at EveryCity, providing Managed Solaris Hosting to our customers, via our dedicated and cloud based hosting platform, along side our Windows and Linux hosting offerings.


Tuesday Feb 24, 2009

New tax video guides for UK startups

Presented by Dan Snow, HM Revenue & Customs are providing new video guides dealing with starting up your own business and also the diary of three people as they do exactly that.

Check out: 


Friday Feb 20, 2009

Measure Start-up "Buzz" with YouNoodle

YouNoodle Checkout YouNoodle, a new service which measures the "buzz" surrounding a company via blogs and media reports along with a variety of factors including website traffic. So far it's providing coverage of nearly 30,000 start-ups, ranging from biotechnology to gaming software.

I've just signed up and am checking out some of my favourite start-ups already; it's very interesting reading.

Hope you enjoy it too,


Tuesday Feb 17, 2009

Sun Microsystems, Cloud Computing and the premier European VC event 'Entrepreneur Country'

Entrepreneur Country At Sun UK we recently supported and attended "Entrepreneur Country" a major European Start Up and VC event.

Acting as a rallying cry to the entrepreneurial, VC and Start-up communities, the event affirmed that now is the best time to start your own company and that entrepreneurs were key to the recovery of the economy from the recession.

Almost 300 of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs, including Caffè Nero founder Gerry Ford and Betfair co-founder and Chairman Edward Wray, shared stories of success at the event. Roman Stanek, a founder of NetBeans, and now founder and CEO of Good Data Corp and successful serial entrepreneur, said "tough times create tough companies", whilst Gerry Ford, urged us to "be restless and relentless" in the pursuit of success. The seminars were held at the Institute of Directors (IoD) in central London and coincided with the official launch of Entrepreneur Country online.

Other highlights of the day included keynotes from Sir Paul Judge (from the Enterprise Education Trust on ‘Risk and Enterprise’), Glen Manchester (Founder and CEO of Thunderhead), Ed Wray (Co-Founder and Chairman of Betfair), Niall Harbison (Founder and Chef at, and David Courtier-Dutton and Paul Brown (from SliceThePie).

The event was organised and hosted by Ariadne Capital, an entrepreneurial investment and advisory firm. Ariadne was set up by current CEO Julie Meyer; probably best known as being a founder of First Tuesday, the largest global network of entrepreneurs (which many credit for igniting the Internet generation across Europe).

The agenda also included two panel sessions discussing Online Gaming (and virtual worlds) and Cloud Computing (and, to an extent, it's impact on the entrepreneurial, VC and Start-up communities and how they might best capitalise on it). The later of which I had been asked to take part in of behalf of Sun. Cannily I kept mental notes and have been able to write the session up as a separate blog post "Cloud Computing panel interview with Sun Microsystems at 'Entrepreneur Country'" (for further background material on Cloud Computing you may also want to check out my "Cloud Relationship Model" article). The questions we were asked included:

  1. Surely we’ve heard all of this before in various forms and guises? What is different this time? Why will it work? ...response #1
  2. For this stuff to become truly embedded it will need to move from the man in the street to the corporate. Corporate CIOs are a risk averse bunch especially when you move into some sectors (e.g. Financial Services). What will influence the CIOs' buying decision? ...response #2
  3. It was all very easy when you went out and bought or developed software, installed it yourself, ran it yourself, etc. Does working in the cloud bring new issues with regards to data ownership, IP rights, other legal issues, etc.? ...response #3
  4. What is your vision for the future and where this goes? ...response #4
  5. An audience driven Q and A session including responses to "What do you think of Microsoft's Azure Cloud initiative?" and "What is Sun's Cloud Computing strategy?" ...response #5

I really enjoyed the day and had a productive time networking and meeting people, all of whom shared with me their vision, enthusiasm and wonderful business ideas. I met people from MovieStorm, TechnologyDen, NewVoiceMedia, Broadcom UK, SaaSPlex, Spinvox, Teamer, and a quite a few others too. Some of these companies had been funded by Enterprise Ireland and it was very good to see them there as well as representatives from the UK's Technology Strategy Board.

Accompanying the days themes of Invention, Innovation and Entrepreneurism were handouts, books and other resources, and I picked up a copy of Jeremy Coller's new book "The Lives, Loves and Deaths of Splendidly Unreasonable Inventors".

On the night we went to an associated networking dinner where I fell deep into conversation with a number of people including Paul Flanagan, Executive for Digital Entertainment at Ariadne, Declan Cunningham, Director at Ariadne, and Tom Salmon, founder of AfterShow and Traffic Digital.

The event was supported by the Sun UK Internet Business team, led by Paul Tarantino, with additional support from Simon Culmer, Director of Sales from the UK executive management team, as well as myself. Here's the official write up, a variety of photos taken and also a selection of video recordings.

Thanks to Rebecca Temple, Manager of Portfolio Marketing at Ariadne, here's a variety of some of the other coverage of the day, much of it focused on the business messages we heard:

Please note that this article was originally written and posted at my blog and I've included it as a guest article here too for those interested in the 'Entrepreneur Country' event. The original article is hosted here:

All the best,

Wayne Horkan

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    Sunday Feb 15, 2009 Secures Funding - Pushing into corporate blog tracking

    Feeds and commenting aggregator has closed a new round of funding totaling nearly £500,000. The bulk of that has come from angel investors but £125,000 came from the Finance South East fund, a government-backed fund set up to support startup businesses. The funds will be used to expand the development team and also hire a dedicated marketing and sales force. has thus far been designed to simplify interaction with news sites and blogs. But it’s now adding a new string to its business model: making it easier for companies to track what people are saying about them on blogs, social networks and Twitter. However, this won’t be brand tracking. Instead, brands would be able to pay for channels that aggregate the conversation around their brand/product and use it to engage with customers.

    Launched in beta in October 2007 and public from June last year, - founded by CEO Nick Halstead - aggregates content from thousands of blogs and websites and streams them into a network of vertical channels,  having been a Startup Essential member since then, startup essentials worked together to help grow  gaining PR on and in the FT as well as many public quotes in other mainstream press. Nick has recently moved to MySQL Enterprise to make certain he is ready for the growth and scaling the business will need over the coming months, and is prepared for that now.

    Halstead has also launched a new property, FeedBroker. This separates some of the functionality into a new site which would allow for licensing feeds external to Feedbroker lets content owners specify terms under which their content may be used and allows them to take payments on a pay-per-post basis, for instance. In other words, wil share ad revenues with publishers, so it’s not just taking the content and re-publishing it.

    Why do customers/startups love Amber Road - 7000 Storage units ?

    Customer: BlueOrange Networks

    BlueOrange Networks offer "boutique" hosting in a fully virtualized environment. Because the virtual machines are independent of the
    physical hardware, they must live on a NAS array.

    "We needed high performance, but at budget prices - not things which usually go together with storage. But we got both from Sun with their Open Storage 7110 and the Startup Essentials programme." - Dr Jack Kreindler, Managing Director

    As a startup, BlueOrange has a tight budget, and needs to get clients up and running quickly.

    "I was impressed with how quick and easy it was to  get going. Just 5 minutes in a web browser, and we were up and running." - Daniel Shane,
    Infrastructure Manager

    The sort of NAS devices usually affordable to a new company with tight cashflow are cheap commodity devices which do not give the
    level of confidence required for a high availability service.

    The decision to use the 7110 was based on:

    \* "Enterprise" quality hardware, backed up by Sun support

    \* Great observability - in a shared environment it is critical to be able to find out which customers are over-utilising the array. No other product makes this trivial.

    \* No arbitrary features cut out to extract more money for software licenses, so we can afford to use everything the hardware can do and
    split it up as required. Other options wouldn't be able to do it without spending money to unlock things the devices can already do.

    \* Ability to run high availability virtualisation

    \* Affordable price. 

    Tuesday Feb 10, 2009

    Webmission 09 - Is it a year since webmission 08 already. Apply now

    I had the honour of attending and supporting webmission last year, and it was just a phenomenal event and week, that it blew me away in the energy and passion that James and Oli drove for these startups, I have also had the pleasure of seeing the partnerships and relationships between the companies reap rewards over the year, with Huddle demonstrating the reward of attending by gaining a global partneship with linkedin.

    So not long till the next webmission and the deadline is closing, so what is happening this year then ?


    Web Mission 09 Now Open for Entrants!

    March 28 - April 3 2009, San Francisco

    Web Mission 09 is open for entrants! Last year we took 20 UK Web 2.0 companies to San Francisco to explore new opportunities for growth with key people in Silicon Valley. In 2009 we’re following the same format but with one key difference, in 2009 we’re particularly interested in Enterprise 2.0 companies. Enterprise 2.0 covers companies which are offering web 2.0 tools and applications for use in business environments. Also known as enterprise social software, it covers technologies that enable users in the enterprise to share and collaborate within their networks.

    The trip itself will be a blend of organised activities from a casual brunch with US Enterprise Web entrepreneurs through to a formal drinks reception at the UK Consul General’s private residence. There’ll be a day of Tech Corporate engagement, involving Oracle and a number of other well-known industry leaders, and a VC and press pitching day hosted by Orrick. There’ll be support to broker and set up a multitude of business-critical one-to-one meetings and opportunities to visit companies in Silicon Valley, from start ups to high growth success stories. It is designed to coincide with Web2.0Expo, so there will be time to drop into that, meet more of the press, and do more business. We’re formalising this year’s agenda now - as an indication, an outline of last year’s agenda can be found on the website.

    The application process is open to companies all over the UK and – hot off the press – the closing date for applications has been extended for a week to midday on Wednesday 11 February. The entries will be filtered by UKTI, and individuals who have agreed to feed into that process include Mike Butcher from TechCrunch, David Rajan from Oracle, Chris Grew from Orrick, Dr Zoe Lock from Technology Strategy Board and entrepreneur Doug Richard. They will be looking at the organisation’s market potential, technology, traction, go to market strategy, management team and commercial viability.

    Here’s what some of WebMission’s supporters said last year:

    “The Web Mission represents an amazing opportunity for the best of entrepreneurial UK talent to visit Silicon Valley, and learn for themselves the differences that make the US a breeding ground for innovation and more importantly successful execution of ideas. With a spark of inspiration the UK has every opportunity to replicate that success on UK soil.”
    Michael Birch, founder, Bebo

    What the Web Mission provides:

    • Facilitated meetings with key local investors
    • The chance to attend Web 2.0 Expo
    • Meet and mingle with key Silicon Valley movers and shakers relevant to your organisation and growth plans
    • Discuss your business with leading journalists
    • Spend quality time with like-minded people in the web scene
    • Explore how to succeed in the US market

    Entrant requirements:

    • Be an Enterprise 2.0 company. Enterprise 2.0 covers companies which are offering web 2.0 tools and applications for use in business environments. Also known as enterprise social software, it covers technologies that enable users in the enterprise to share and collaborate within their networks. Web Mission 09 is only considering companies which are clearly offering their services for use in a business environment
    • Be innovative. As Tim O’Reilly says when he talks about Enterprise 2.0 to businesses, “turn your IT department inside out - or wait for some innovative startup to do it for you.”
    • Be headquartered in the UK
    • Have 2 years trading history, or failing that, compelling early-stage fast-track potential
    • Able to provide references from key sponsors/industry players
    • Able to demonstrate some commitment to sustainable business practices (eg, positive environmental, social or economic outputs)
    • Be ready to do business in the US OR potentially attractive to US investor

    The registration site is here:


    Connecting the Startup Essentials community with all the events, information and resources required for them to grow and scale.


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