Tuesday Nov 17, 2009

Startup of the Week: Joyent Scores Big!

Congrats Joyent team for the fantastic announcement today!! 

Joyent, both a long-time Sun Startup Essentials member and hosting partner - has been profitable for years, and boasts some really impressive customers (e.g. ABC.com, LinkedIn, and more).

[Read More]

Monday Oct 19, 2009

Congrats Global Geeks!

Congratulations to the 4 winners of the North of England "stimulus package". Visuvi, LinkedNow, Chyngles, and Hear Planet will receive free airline tickets to the UK, marketing help, free office space for one year, and introduction to investors in Northern England. Way to go!!

Visuvi is an visual-based search engine with patent pending technology in content-based image recognition. Visuvi's search engine examines the content and patterns within an image, categorizes that information via mathematical indexing and delivers search results of images with similar characteristics. Visuvi's analysis is entirely machine generated examining the content of the image itself and does not rely on text. More

LinkedNow is a social networking platform for working professionals and has two main goals. First to help find, review and talk about what's great - and not so great - about current and past employers. Secondly, LinkedNow wants to enable best ways of looking for a new job online. Very handy! More

Chyngle is a B2B mobile application platform which enables any venue to create a branded, custom mobile application to enhance the customer experience during events, increase venue and vendor revenue and communicate directly to attendees through their own interactive in-pocket marketing channel. Chyngle works with stadiums, malls, airports, theme parks, schools, resorts, hotels, cruise ships, casinos, conferences, etc. More

HearPlanet is a mobile audio discovery guide - it's like having a professional tour guide providing coverage for hundreds of locations, with additional enhanced content added daily. It also offers a geolocation device to discover instant info on things that are nearby. More


Wednesday Jun 17, 2009

TweetTabs launches

TweetTabs Goes Live!

TweetTabs a new web-based twitter search + trends client. It is a simple, ultra fast and ultra leightweight interface to search and trends for Twitter. It also incorporates integration with TweetMeme to show previews of stories so you can be sure on what you are viewing. TweetTabs was born from ‘20% project’ created by our designer/JavaScript Samurai @dtsn (twitter.com/dtsn)

Core features

  • tabs! open as many individual tabs with different search results in each
  • Integration with the TweetMeme API to allow users to preview short url’s (including ability to one-click retweet if you are logged into tweetmeme)
  • drag/drop each tab to change ordering
  • one-click trending topics to open new ‘tabs’
  • Retweet, View Profile, Reply to tweets (via the twitter web interface)
  • Remembers your tabs between sessions
  • Adaptive search poll rate (we make sure we don’t kill the twitter search even with lots of tabs open)

TweetTabs marks the start of a range of complimentary services that will be launching over the coming months.

Tuesday Mar 10, 2009

Online application experts without any of the 'web 2.0' rubbish hype

Selling exists in various forms, from trying to convince an Angel Investor to part with cash to signing-up an integral supplier. Selling isn’t just convincing a punter to buy from you, this is why selling is an essential skill for any entrepreneur.

Here’s the good news, salesmen aren’t born they are made. You may think that having the gift of the gab is a prerequisite for selling, this is a huge misconception – nothing could be further from the truth.

In Part 1 I’ll be covering how to get the appointment, then in Part 2 I’ll detail how to conduct a sales appointment and the all-important close.

[Read More]

Wednesday Feb 25, 2009

James Gosling - Would you like to meet him in person ?

Who is James Gosling ?

So if you are a Java fan, you know the answer to that question and you are probably now thinking I want to meet the man, so where and what do I need to sell ?

You have to be a member of Sun Startup Essentials programme, aimed at helping young companies Start smart and Scale hard...as part of this you get special invites to meet thought leaders in person, this is limited to 50 members from across Europe only.

If you would like to sign up and express your interest in attending, please REGISTER INTEREST and do so now, quickly.

The session will consist of James presenting his thoughts, then an open QA session, a chance to take pictures and talk to him freely, this is not a large event, its a small VIP only meeting with James in person.

London CBC (Customer Briefing Centre)

Sun Microsystems Ltd.
Regis House
45 King William Street

Date :  March 18th - 10.30 - 12.00

Friday Jan 30, 2009

What is Cloud computing - this video explains it all beautifully.

Confused about the term "Cloud Computing"? Want to be "with the times" when you talk about new technology buzzwords? This video boils down a section of Cloud Computing, that of Cloud Infrastructure...

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  last.fm 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 fav.or.it  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 fav.or.it  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 fav.or.it

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

Operation Canine is Live - now, 3 days to get a new company up and running

What is operation Canine ?

Operation Canine is a project/experiment to start a company which will build, launch, and market a product in 3 days. We wanted to show people that it’s not as difficult as many people think to start a company, and getting a first version of a product built and deployed can be done fairly quickly.

With the economy the way it is at present there may be people that are thinking of starting up for themselves, or putting a project to the test, we’ll document the good the bad and the ugly as we go, and it may help people make their minds up one way or the other.

Operation Canine: We’re going to go from nothing to everything (hopefully) and launch a product that will help people monitor their advertising/campaign spend and responses, to better manage their spend. We’re going to donate 50% of the first year profits to charity, and hopefully offer a tool that will help businesses in the current economic downturn.

This is now live and the end results running on a Startup Essential hosted solution is at http://www.spendmeter.com/

If you want to follow this story and more then go to Operation Canine now, for the full story/

Wednesday Nov 26, 2008

Techfluff.tv - Startup roundup - Like John cravens newsround but better

So Startup Essentials is about supporting the community and offering out information, events and updates to that community. So you will be pleased to know we are the main sponsor for the new round up of the startup scene, mainly in London at present but branching out to other locations.

So are you a startup ? Based in the UK ? Want to get yourself noticed and interviewed doing the Escalator pitch ?

Make sure you sign up to Startup Essentials and drop me a line about what your company does and Ill put you forward to the panel, to get a slot on the show.

So this weeks show, is a round up of the news, including Microsofts Startup Programme, the BBC Box competition and hear from the founder of Mind Candy and Firebox, answering questions from the startup scene, want to ask the Entrepreneurs a question, send it in.

Thursday Nov 20, 2008

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.

fav.or.it Ltd is a Web 2.0 startup company with impressive ambitions for its cutting-edge social-networking technology, fav.or.it, 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




Almost 40% of UK businesses seek under £10,000 start-up funding

Early Stage Finance Report

Market research software providers i2m – Ideas to Market are shortly to publish research results into entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses. A special preview of these results, released for Enterprise Week, show that:

  • 39% of start-ups seek under £10K of investment to become profitable
  • Over two thirds of all start-ups look for under £100K initially
  • Just 6% require over £500K
  • Only 3% look for £1.5m or more
  • Almost one fifth do not know how much investment they require at the outset

i2m have surveyed over 800 potential entrepreneurs and small businesses owners over the course of 2008, investigating their standing and attitudes in a number of key areas including: finance, market research, sales and marketing and business exploitation.

Funding is clearly a vital area, especially in the current economic climate and David Thomas, i2m Managing Director commented: “It is interesting to see these results show that the majority of businesses believe they require relatively small levels of investment at the outset. This may lead them towards personal savings, friends and family or possibly business angels. What is also interesting is that a high proportion do not yet know what funding they need – an issue they will need to address as soon as possible if they are to keep in control of their budgets and see their business succeed.”

Permjot Valia, business angel and member of the British Business Angel Association comments “This survey does put things into perspective. The engine for Entrepreneurial Britain is “friends and family” with almost 40% of all start-ups looking for less than £10,000. It also demonstrates how funding for start ups will get harder over the next few years.

Faced with lower house prices, people may feel less able to offer financial help to start-ups. Whilst the businesses looking for over £500k grab all the headlines, they represent less than 10% of start-ups. More needs to be done to help start-ups requiring less than £10,000. The Small Firm Loan Guarantee could so easily help if it were made easier to access.” 

1.About i2m Software
i2m Software was created by UK based market research consultancy Inventya Limited. i2m helps businesses carry out professional research, resulting in more effective planning and decision making. For more information, visitwww.i2monline.com/investmentforstart-ups/

2.About Permjot Valia

Permjot Valia is author of www.businessangelblog.com. Having invested in almost 20 start ups in the last four years, Permjot uses the blog to try and pass on best practices and the lessons he has learned from the many failures he has had through personal angel investing.

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