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.

Wednesday Dec 03, 2008

Make IT Scale - scaling and more scaling......what a night.

So what a night was had at Make IT Scale.

We had Mike from discussing how to scale a large startup and some of the pitfalls to be wary of, power and good coding all help to grow the company and yes it did start with the guys sleeping in tents on the office roof, to make it happen.

Phil Harman from Sun microsystems explained about OpenSolaris, Dtrace, ZFS and all the lovely stuff available within the OS that can help reduce barriers and pain points, to make your apps scale quickly and fastly for very little time in looking at the code or making changes, and how to enable this now, not later.

Quick beer break, chat and networking then back on the podium for Mike from Proven Scaling talking about what he sees in the customers he consults with in scaling MySQL mostly, but also generally talking to them about saving time upfront to allow for scaling later on. Indepth presentation that left him being barraged by questions till late in the evening.

Then to wrap the evening up we had Nick from  a Startup Essential customer as well, who discussed how he used to write games in Assembler and thus it has to be an efficent scaling schema from the startup, and by building  based on those virtues he has a scaleable startup ready for traffic and volume, he doesnt have to worry when that volume hits him.

75 people attending, 30 Pizzas consumed, 200 bottles of beer and 10 cartons of orange, lots of positive feedback and the videos will all be online soon, in the meantime do you want to attend a Make IT scale session ?

Sign up for the meetup group to hear about the next one - Startup Essential Meetup

Want to see the presentations ? Make IT Scale Presentations

Want to see the lovely Nick from

Make IT Scale brought to you by Startup Essentials from stewart townsend on Vimeo.

Thursday Nov 20, 2008

Make IT Scale -,, Proven Scaling and Phil Harman talk on how to scale your startup

Make It Scale seminars exist to help facilitate networking and knowledge sharing amongst entrepreneurs and innovators that are on the path to building thriving new businesses.

Which is why we're delighted to welcome Nick Halstead, founder of, together with Mike Brodbelt of LastFM and Mike Griffiths of Proven Scaling to our inaugural event on the 27th November, to talk about their experiences, different perspectives and the good, the bad and the ugly of scaling resources.

If you're thinking about starting a business, or are running one that's less than 6 years old, you're welcome to join us at 6.00pm., at Sun's City Customer Briefing Centre. For any new business, good information can make a real difference and a positive contribution to success. Make It Scale and the opportunity to network that it brings are free, so click below for more details and to register.


 Sun - London CBC - 45 King William St


Thurs 27th November

Register HERE now 


18:00: Registration/Networking
18:30: Last FM
Why you should scale and lessons learnt
Mike Brodbelt
18:45: Sun Microsystems,
OpenSolaris- ZFS, Dtrace: Scaling and more scaling the easy way
Phil Harman
19:15: Break
19:30: Proven Scaling: MySQL
Optimise and Scale, now for the future
Mike Griffiths
Why I thought about scaling from day 1
Nick Halstead
20:15: Q&A Roundtable
20:30: Beer and pizza

The Knights of the roundtable..... Mr PR

A few weeks ago, I invited UK Startups to attend a Press roundtable, so we could debate the state of the economy and what effect that had on the startup community, in a positive or negative fashion.

What did we debate ?


UK Start ups debating on the role of the start up in the current economic climate, changing business models and the importance of technology  & innovation to help them grow in these uncertain times.

On Tuesday 22nd October, The Bank of England governor Mervyn King and an influential think tank predicted that the UK economy is likely to sink into recession in 2009. Mervyn King told business leaders in Leeds he was concerned about rising unemployment and falling house prices. Economic fears sent the pound plunging to a five-year low against the dollar. It is clear that economic conditions are deteriorating. Credit conditions are tightening, especially in the case of small and medium sized enterprises.

A recent  BT Business's State of the Small Business Nation 2008 report showed that  47% of small firms in Britain reported rising costs,  against a national figure of 57%. The same report showed that technology was shown to be playing a key role in the business world with 81% of firms across the UK saying it had a positive impact on their companies.

What of the UK start up community? How are they fairing in these uncertain times?

One could argue that great companies are built at moments like these. Innovation loves a crisis. Customers are open to change and new ideas. Companies are using innovative IT as a competitive advantage.  Are small start ups succeeding in this uncertain climate?

Who Attended ?

OneIS - a secure online space for data-rich companies to manage and share information. Focused specifically on the needs of small businesses, OneIS integrates tools for collaboration, document management and CRM, in one easy and affordable hosted service.

EveryCity Ltd provides a range of managed hosting services including specific offerings to Web 2.0 startup companies and digital agencies. The London-based company positions itself as a specialist in delivering custom-made managed hosting solutions along with scalable high bandwidth solutions on managed dedicated servers. Ltd is a Web 2.0 startup company with impressive ambitions for its cutting-edge social-networking technology,, which it bills as the RSS reader for the masses. Founded in late 2007, the fast-growing company is based in London.

Yuuguu was founded to enhance companies working remotely and not being able to see and share each other’s computer screens in real time. Recognising the changing world of work, Yuuguu's solution helps people work together remotely, through any firewall, across different platforms, with as many colleagues as needed, just as if they were sat right next to each other.

FlexiScale is built on providing traditional hosting solutions to the business, home and reseller markets and now it services thousands of customers across the UK and Europe from its UK-based data centres.

Practice-IT provides companies with an affordable on-demand platform to help employees learn, explore, and perform through the convenience of a Web browser. The London-based company has developed Practice-Labs, which give trainees dedicated access to their own environment where they can gain real-world, hands-on experience and skills.

Tactile CRM specialize in online contact and sales management for small businesses, and is an easy way to manage your contacts, sales, notes, emails &  activities in one place with your whole team. Tactile CRM was launched in March 2008 and will be releasing a new version in Q4 2008.

Belocal - Society wants to be more local, this will become even more important in tough economic times. The need to use technology to enable this, how well start ups can do in harder times, people will now look to local providers (plumbers etc) even more when times are tough.

So to find out more around what they discussed check out - the press views




Wednesday Oct 15, 2008

Future of Web Apps The week that was.- Setup and Day 1

Future of Web Apps - Exel Centre - Docklands - October 08

Setup day on Wednesday went smoothly, I arrived to find the stand setup and collateral ready, I just needed to make my presentations work for the sessions and get my voice ready to talk a lot. The evening was looming ahead and thus I decided to check in, get ready and prepare myself for a dinner with the stars.

Part of working with Carsonified is the personal effort they make for everyone involved and thus the evening before FOWA was a select dinner with the speakers over the next few days, the Big Hitters. Sitting down to dinner we all recived a personalised Journal, which was a fantastic touch and then I decided I would have a few beers or to, and thus preceeded to chat to Andrew Turner from Mapufacture   Elaine Wherry from Meebo, Stefan Fountain from Soocial and Anish from Yuuguu, lots to chat about, picnic, economy, the hoff and the competition between Andrew and Elaine around the number of slides they were going to present in 40 minutes.

Day one - Lift Off

Phew what a start, we had BookingBug, Worldeka and Snagsta on the Startup Essential Lounge to talk to startups about what its like to work with Sun, and how we can help them in various ways, then we also had the death ride, the Surf machine.

What continued throughout the day was lots of conversations around what Sun is doing with the Startup community in EMEA, how we are helping them, not just from a technology perspective but also from a networking, introductions, scaling or the other things that Sun is great at.

On the other side of the hall, we had the Sun Developer stand and the guys from MySQL and Zembly there talking about development, what that means, how we can resolve problems and help build quick scaleable platforms. Want to know more about Zembly ? Check out the interview with Todd CTO here now.

So lots of sessions, lots of pictures, lots of interaction and that is just day one......then we all went off to get changed, freshen up and attend the media temple party at FOX, which for me was a chance to become once again, the man in the shirt.

So there became an official after FOWA party committe, and we had to discuss what we were going to do next, as the hotel bar was closing and thus we decided to go to the Startup Essential bar, (supported by Every City) and discuss startups, UK Scene, the economy until the early hours of the morning and thus then we will have put the worlds to right. As you can see we had a great representation from the UK Startup Scene, Nic from,  Josh from theIplatform, Jake from TactileCRM, Andy from Rummble and Andys sister from Every City and of course the man in the shirt.

Day two to look forward to, breakfast with the speakers, and a buzzing Friday with Tim Bray speaking as well....also the famous Facebook party as well to prepare for, along side a day of telling everyone about Startup Essentials, wait till the next episode for more...

Thursday May 15, 2008

FlickrVision, now is Twittervison 3d

Im an addicted Twitterer..


and Im not going to apologise for it.


So, yes its true, I cant help but twitter and yes its addictive totally, where ever I go I twitter about what Im doing. Yes this probably is insane and isnt helping me focus, but what is doing is pushing out about Sun some of the cool stuff that Im proud of us as a company is doing out there.

So if you havent used twitter, its SMS or texting on steroids you just cant help but twitter, but rather than use the web site, I use my mobile and Twirl to follow and publish my tweets, which is ok, but a little sterile and boring.....


But thanks to the power of David Troy, and others, we have some lovely image represenations of all the tweets happening live on your screen, and to be honest its quite mesmorising and rather than watch TV, you end up watching peoples lives as its happening now !!

So I apologise now, if you get sucked into the twitterworld, dont blame me.....


Check these out to follow peoples tweets now..... 



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