Monday Dec 14, 2009

LeWeb Picks Most Promising Startups in Europe


Each year, the LeWeb startup contest brings together the best of Europe's startup community to decide which will be named the crème de la crème.

The competition, which was co-organized by TechCrunch Europe, took place in Paris this week, boasting some 135 entries to vie for the LeWeb gold. The sixteen finalists, each of which took part in a Q&A session and a Demopod presentation, included the Shutl e-commerce platform, task.ly to-do manager, friendbinder social networking service, and Mendeley research management suite.

Co-host Mike Butcher wrote on TechCrunch Europe that "it was nice to fit in startups that were broadly related to the realtime theme. It was great also to see the Le Web startup event veer back to its roots as a venue for very early stage, rough and ready startups, as well as a launch-pad for more fully-formed plays that have literally launched for the first time at this event." The site live-blogged the event, and provided profiles of each of the finalists.

Of the three winners, two are social networking-related startups - a reminder, perhaps, of the importance of the medium - while the third provides management options for the cloud computing market. That entry, the Dublin-based CloudSplit, took bronze in the competition with its CloudSplit Cost Counter, which promises analytics of a company's cloud computing resources in real-time along with spending alerts and even automated cut-offs to keep costs under control. The service, which is currently seeking $2 million in venture capital, just entered private beta.

The silver prize went to Tigerlily, a Facebook management application for "media groups, large brands and their agencies and marketers." The service, which offers both free and paid versions, allows users to manage their Facebook pages, run sweepstakes, import content from other social media sites, and interact with other users. The paid version provides additional branding options as well as statistics, specialty widgets, professional support services. Despite having launched just days before the competition, Tigerlily claims some 500 users already, though it is only available in the French market at the present time. The Paris-based company has plans to expand into other European markets in the coming months.

Gold-winner Stribe offers a different form of social networking tool: private-label networks themselves. As Butcher described it, "site administrators can copy and paste a bit of javascript, and hey presto, they have a customizable, freely branded social network for their sites." Separating it from some of its competitors is the ability for cross-community interaction, leaving users free to participate in multiple Stribe-based networks. Like Tigerlily, Stribe offers free and paid versions - it will also be providing the obligatory developer application programming interface. Stribe, which launched in September with $600,000 in funding, is in open beta, and maintains offices in Paris and Silicon Valley.

Wednesday Dec 09, 2009

Tweetminster - New Search Engine - A great #sunstartupessentials customer


Tweetminster, the media utility that connects people to UK politics has recently launched Tweetminster Search– a sentiment engine to measure the pulse of UK politics in real time.

Tweetminster Search is a new way to find, interact with and make sense of information that matters.

The search engine shows users how people feel about the issues of the day - as expressed through the thousands of messages posted to Twitter by politicians, news sources, journalists and the public.  Tweetminster Search works in real time, it shows what people think now, and tracks how their sentiment has changed over time.

Once entered a search term (eg. Iraq Inquiry) or up to three multiple terms (eg. Labour, Conservatives, Lib Dems) – users are provided with:

    \* The number of relevant tweets about the subject over time (frequency)
    \* How these tweets break down into positive, negative and neutral opinions (sentiment)
    \* How many people have been reached through tweets about the topic/s (visibility)
    \* The individuals with the most impact on the subject (influencers)
    \* Plus lots of related information - associated terms and issues, links to relevant URLs and a location breakdown for where the terms are being discussed the most.


Alongside terms, users can also analyse Twitter usernames or a combination of elements. For example one can analyse the correlation between a topic (e.g. Tax cuts) and user (EricPickles).

The search engine also allows users to view and filter the tweets behind the results by party, source, politician, time, and also uses Twitter Lists to display livestreams of tweets by MPs, PPCs and journalists, bloggers, news sources and key influencers.

Tweetminster Search is designed to only analyse relevant content which is what makes Tweetminster Search different.  The technology defines relevance by determining the originality (for example a tweet may generate many RTs, Tweetminster includes the original tweet in its analysis), influence and reach of a tweet - so it doesn’t try to analyse all of Twitter, but only the content it determines that matters.

Tweetminster Search is currently in beta. Alongside tuning its performance, we will be adding new features, including more granular control of the data, additional data and content sources and more advanced filters, plus will soon release an API to allow anyone to access, use and manipulate the raw data.


On Twitter: @AlbertoNardelli

Tweetminster is a Sun Startup Essential customer and is hosted at everycity on Sun hardware and the Solaris OS, to enable it to scale and give real time speed.


Wednesday Dec 02, 2009

Do friends make good business partners ?

When it comes to picking partners, many see their friends as the obvious choice to share in making your dreams into reality. Business isn't all sunny days, however, and the best way to weather the storms with your friendships intact is to start out with a good umbrella.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then assumption is the wicked stepmother of doom. The most sure-fire way for a group of friends to become bitter enemies is to go into a partnership under the assumption that friendship conquers all. Friends, and business partners, are only human, and when cash and control enters the equation, friendship can quickly fall by the wayside. What, then, can be done about it?

[Read More]

Tuesday Nov 03, 2009

I so can't wait for this - Join us at #140conf London - 17 Nov at O2 Indigo


Do you want to know where I will be on November 17th, Im going to be at the O2 Indigo, not hanging out trying to get signatures of the latest bands but at the #140conf London event, more details below but with Stephen Fry on the bill its going to be a fantastic day and if you want to attend as a Sun Startup Essential member you get 40% discount. Yep 40%....

The 140 Characters Conference: London will be taking place on 17 November at the O2 Indigo.

The schedule for #140conf: London offers 50+ speakers in 27 fast sessions during the course of just one day.

At the #140conf events, we look at twitter as a platform and as a language we speak. In London we will be exploring the effects of the real-time Internet on Business. Overall we will be exploring the systemic effects the worldwide adoption twitter is having on business.

Some of the topics we will cover at #140conf London include: Racism as a Resource; Sky News: Twitter, Reputation and #iranelection; twitter and Brands, twitter and Education, twitter and Media, twitter and Small Business, twitter and Sports, twitter and The Police, twitter and TV, twitter and Music.

Please review the videos from the NYC event to get a feel of the pace of the event and the content shared

It is our intention to provide a platform for as many people as possible to share their thoughts and engage in conversation with the attending delegates. You will find individual talks set to: 10 minutes; “Featured talks” 15 and 20 minutes and the various panel discussions are set for 15 and 20 minutes.

Speakers include special guest Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) together with:

Alex Bellinger (@alexbellinger) - Journalist; Founder, SmallBizPod
Andrew Davis (@andrew_davis)
Andrew Keen (@ajkeen) - Author, Cult of The Amateur: How the Internet is Killing our Culture
Babs Rangaiah (@babs26) - Vice President, Global Comms Planning, Unilever
Becky McCray (@BeckyMcCray) - Founder, Small Biz Survival
Boyd Hilton (@boydhilton) - TV Editor for Heat Magazine
Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) - President, New Marketing Labs
Ciaran Norris (@ciaranj) - Director Invention/SocialMedia8
David White (@daveowhite) - Chair
Dean Landsman (@DeanLand)
Digital Maverick (@digitalmaverick) - Learning technologist, Moodle evangelist
Ebony Rhiney-James (@EbonyRJ) - Digital Marketing Manager at Warner Music Group
Federico Grosso (@federicogrosso)
Gerd Leonhard (@gleonhard) - Media Futurist, Author, Blogger
Heather Gorringe (@wiggled) - Founder, Wiggly Wigglers
James Poulter (@jamespoulter) - Digital Strategist for Ogilvy PR
Jeff Pulver (@jeffpulver), twitter investor, creator of #140conf
Jeffrey Hayzlett (@JeffreyHayzlett) - CMO, Kodak
Jonathan Almond (@jonalmond)
Josie Fraser (@josiefraser) - Social & Educational Technologist
Kathleen Hessert (@kathleenhessert) - CEO, Sports Media Challenge
Kyra Gaunt, Ph.D. (@kyraocity) - Associate Professor of Music and Anthropology, Baruch College-CUNY, writer, blogger
Lauri Stevens (@lawscomm)
Manny Norte (@mannynorte) - Kiss FM
Marsha Collier (@MarshaCollier) - Author, Ebay for Dummies; Radio Host
Maz Nadjm (@Mazi) - Responsible for social networking at Sky Television, sky.com
Nick Halstead (@nickhalstead) - CEO, TweetMeme
Nick Keane (@nickkeane)
Pamela O'Hara (@pmohara) - Co-founder, Batch Blue
Peter Gregson (@petergregson) - Cellist and Co-founder of the Production Company Coffeeloop
Ray Paul (@raypaulbbc) - Executive Producer for Weekend Programs at BBC Radio 1
Roberto Bonanzinga (@Bonanzinga) - Balderton Capital
Saul Klein (@cape) - Index Ventures
Sean Seton-Rogers (@setonrog) - PROfounders Capital
Sherry J. Bitting (@SJBRules) - Co-founder and Marketing Director, Parlour Magazine
Shirley Williams (@shirleyearley)
Stephen Fry (@stephenfry)
Steve Saul (@stephensaul) - Social media/blogger for Simon Cowell's X-Factor
Sue Black (@Dr_Black)
Tal Givoly (@givoly) - Chief Scientist, Amdocs
Tim Bradshaw (@tim) - Digital media correspondent, Financial Times
Vikki Chowney (@vikkichowney) - Editor of Reputation Online, Centau Media

The take aways from this event will provide the attending delegates knowledge, perspectives and insights to the next wave of effects twitter and the real-tme internet will have on business.

As Sun Startup Essentials is a friend of Jeffs we have a lovely discount for you, save 40% on a Delegate Ticket up until 15 November or until tickets last. 

Click here to register:

Get the tickets quickly as this will be a sell out shortly.

Sun Startup Essentials helps one of James Caan's small businesses reduce its carbon emissions by 85%

Sun Startup Essentials helps small business reduce carbon emissions by 85%

Wednesday Oct 28, 2009

The Sixty-Second Startup Digest


Busy entrepreneurs need to stay on top of all the latest startup information, but who has the time? Here's a look at what went on around blogosphere and in the news last week, in case you missed it.

Are advisory boards a good or bad idea for startups? Entrepreneur-turned-VC Mark Suster says that depends on your goals.

All the advice from startup industry analysts who recommend entrepreneurs consider starting new green-tech business aren't just spouting rhetoric. Finance mogul George Soros recently committed a whopping $1 billion to the clean-tech startup sector.

Do you have trouble balancing work and home life? Do you love the art of the deal? Are you addicted to pursuing the next big opportunity? You may be an entre-holic.

Some startups don't need barrels of money to get off the ground. If you're a U.S.-based business looking for a micro-loan, there's a good chance Kiva.org can help.

Startups looking to raise capital sometimes hire finders to help them out. If this is something you're considering, “We can’t find investors on our own� isn't a good enough reason to go this route.

Flickr image courtesy of angermann.

How to Pitch a Potential Investor

Scary. Nerve-wracking. Exciting. Game changing. There are several ways to describe what it's like to pitch to a venture capitalist (VC) or angel investor, but boring typically isn't one of them. Considering the possibilities that go along with an large influx of cash, the experience of pitching a VC is both invigorating and anxiety-ridden at the same time. Here are six ways to make the job a little easier.[Read More]

Tuesday Oct 20, 2009

Sun Startup Essentials Masterclass - 12 November

[insert header]
STARTUP ESSENTIALS sun.com/startups - Marketing - SSE Startup Masterclass
Thursday 15th October Time 6pm til 20:30

Brand strategy is one of the most fraught areas of marketing, though also one of the most important. As a Startup it's often the element that gets left behind and not really identified. But how can you tell an investor what business you are in, if you don't really know yourself? It's a vital step in creating the company identity.

The key point is you can’t have a strategy without a clear objective. Restating a goal is not strategy, execution is not strategy, and tactics are not strategy. This masterclass will demonstrate why a strategic approach to brand management can play a crucial role in defining a strong, winning identity for your company.

What does this mean ?

When you're talking to investors, you'll be able to clearly articulate who your market is, describe how talking and listening to your customers will better equip you to target your audience and take your message out, in these tough economic times.
Register Now
Why should I attend this masterclass?
Because you will learn to define:
what business are we REALLY in?
in that context, what's our positioning?
who are our key stakeholders? Which are most important at this stage?
can we crisply define and communicate the compelling value we offer?
what are our core and secondary value propositions?
having established all the above, are we able - in plain language and briefly - to communicate our differentiated and powerful branding to clients, partners, media and investors?
Register Now
Hear from Michael Bayler, a senior consultant and published author, specialising in consumer-led marketing and innovation. Mike has a wealth of experience speaking on current issues such as post-Internet brand strategy, consumer culture, digital marketing, and branded entertainment. Having advised some of the world’s leading brands, media companies and international stars, including Nokia, Diageo, Telefonica, Bacardi Global Brands, Sky, BT, Sony BMG, Sony ATV, Ogilvy & Mather, Robbie Williams, Dido and Simon Cowell, Mike know's his stuff!

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Social Media 09 - 12th November - Sun Startup Essential Members 20% discount

 Do you want to attend Social Media 09 ? - http://socialmedia09.com/

More details below, but with 

6 speakers
14 case studies
8 demos & 1 tools overview

with Sarah Beeny and Chris Thorpe on the agenda its going to be an informative interesting discussion based event.

Make sure you are a Sun Startup Essential Member and get a 20% discount on this great event now - http://sun.com/startups

Friday Oct 16, 2009

Enternships the Launch and we have tickets for Sun Startup Essential Members (FREE ONES)

Join us in celebrating the launch of Enternships.com during Global Entrepreneurship Week in style with the company of 900 entrepreneurs / SME's / investors / advisors / press / entrepreneurial students and graduates for a night of mingling with mojitos, speed networking, live entertainment (magicians, a cuban band, cocktail mixology lessons, Salsa lessons, Top DJs + more...) all until the early hours of the morning. You'll even leave with your very own Enternships goody bag!

The Sun Startup Essentials team and supporters will be running mini masterclasses on marketing, sales channels and brand strategy throughout the day, not as exciting as magicians but will help your business grow.


It's taking place from 7pm (until 2am) on Tuesday 17th November  at Floridita, 100 Wardour Street, London W1F 0TN. Tickets are normally £20 (those magicians don't grow on trees, you know) but for the first 100 Sun Startup Essential members its FREE, yes I said FREE indeed.

If you would like to go then sign up here for a ticket - http://enternships.eventbrite.com/ , if you are a SSE member you will get your FREE code in the newsletter next week so wait till then and the whole Startup Essentials team will be there to greet you and say hi.

VIP Breakfast with Greg Dyke

VIP Invitation to the exclusive Insider Secrets breakfast with Greg Dyke


We are pleased to be a host to an unusual breakfast session and I am delighted to invite you to it.

The breakfast setting is going to be interactive, challenging, stimulating and driven by the audience.

on

Date:             Thursday, 22nd October 2009
Time:             8 am to 10 am
At:                 Sun Customer briefing Centre

To get tickets at SSE Member rate please go here now  - SSE MEMBERS ONLY PRICING

There's no room here to list in detail what Greg did that prompted literally thousands of BBC people to take to the streets in protest when he had to resign from the BBC, causing "men, women and even journalists to cry" and flooding his inbox with 6,000 emails from BBC people, most of which said how upset they were that he was going.

Greg was Director General of the BBC and is now the Chairman of the British Film Institute, Chairman of Brentford football club and also Chancellor of York University.  He also was one of the original architects of the Premier League in his days with LWT.  He has changed the face of British Television and British football whilst introducing a new no-nonsense direct style of inspirational leadership.

In his typical direct no-nonsense, impatient style Greg will take on the challenges from the audience and share his nuggets of insights. 

These are the 5 areas he will span:

1.             The "Berlin Wall" moment for Democracy - His unique perspective on Public service reform and transformation of Democracy is that we are heading to a "Berlin Wall" moment that will change the course of politics
2.             Leadership in a crisis - is the outlook less bleak?  he has his own brand of leadership advice for entrepreneurs, corporate and public service leaders as they prepare to come out of the current crisis.
3.             Learning from shambles - the ITV mess provides a number of fabulous lessons for the choice of Board, the relationship between CEO and Chairman
4.             GAME changing innovations: Greg created BBC Freeview that changed British television and 20 years ago created the Premier League which has transformed the face of British football. 
5.             What next for the British Film Industry -  how can new technologies like the internet be monetised to the advantage of the film industry and not just the pirates.

It is an unusual opportunity as Greg does not do sessions like these very often.  He does get called to do his set speeches but speaking directly from what he is passionate about and responding interactively to the challenging and confronting questions in public will be the juicy part of this breakfast. So definitely, keep your questions ready.

There are only a few spots still available as we like to maintain the intimate interactive style of these breakfasts. 

We look forward to seeing you there.

Monday Oct 12, 2009

The Cloud Trilogy Episode 2 - The Savvy Grannies


So if you want to know more about the Cloud ask the Savvy Grannies, this is brought to you by Ioko and Sun to help understand Cloud Computing.

Monitoring Social Media 09

Monitoring Social Media 09 will bring together leading brands, Social Media Monitoring experts and suppliers with PR & marketing professionals for a one-day conference in London on 17th November 2009. The first event of its kind in Europe, MSM 09 offers attendees a series of high-value talks, panel sessions and debates, with contributions from leading digital agencies and brands.

At MSM09 we will explore:[Read More]

Thursday Oct 08, 2009

Mint CEO gives behind-the-scenes look at Mint's internal growth strategy

Mint CEO Aaron Patzer presented a step-by-step narrative on how he built his company in three years to $170 million target for personal finance giant Intuit.

In a moment of nonchalance, Patzer, who spoke at the Juice Pitcher event, hosted by TheFunded.com and Vator.tv, admitted to Adeo Ressi, the founding member of The Funded, that he sold Mint for cash to Intuit, so it didn't matter to him what happened to Intuit's shares.

[Read More]
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