I had the pleasure of attending the North West Start up meeting last week, held at KPMGs offices in Manchester centre.
This is organised by Manoj Ranaweera who does a fine job of bringing interesting speakers together with like minded inidividuals, so what were the highlights for me.
Ajaz Ahmed articulated the story of his eureka moment with Freeserve. The story was well published, so I am not going to repeat it here. He also spoke about Browzar, Abdul, etc.
Key messages were (and this was a funny discussion from Ajaz a true public speaker)
- Do the obvious before someone else realise it is obvious.
- Make the message simple
- Hire the best PR Agency you can afford - do the unexpected, e.g.
Hiring Bernard Manning to open his Indian Restuarant got immense
What was interesting, Freeserve was the largest ISP in the UK in its day, and floated for over 1.5 billion pounds, but only had 3 people working for the organisation and had to hire more to take it beyond 15 staff to make it more attractive to floatation. The marketing and technology was outsourced, and this is where SaaS is going, outsource the logistics or the aspects that cause you the most pain and focus on growing the business.
Davind Ingram from Izimi spoke about his path, to this start up, that is based in the UK and the bay area...some of the key points for me.
- The team consists of 18 people, who have in some form or other worked together in the past in large scale organisations or projects
- They are self funded from family, to the tune of $7.5m, and thus have the confidence and belief in what they are doing.
- Dont try and tell everyone everything, focus on the strongest points, and then let the others seed through
So who attended ?
- Lee Stratford - Co-founder and ex-CEO of Plusnet until recently. Here is a guy with many stories to tell. Certainly a privilege to meet him.
- Mike Gibbard - Chief Solutions Architect at Burns e-Commerce
- Ewan Leith - Pipex
- Neil Jones and his friend - Total Amber
- Les Baker - Sun Microsystems
- Paul Madeira - OpenText
First timers at NW StartUp 2.0
- Phil Brown - CEO of Causeway Technologies
- Tony Bray - Founder and ex-Director of recently sold Version One.
- David Hawdale - Owner of Hawdale Associates
- Stewart Townsend - Sun Microsystems
- Mike Carter - Co-founder of Ixis and edocr
- Stephen Morrisey - Innovation Squared
Continued support came from:
- Rhys Jones - Founder of Accountis, Sanoodi and web2os
- David Thomas - Inventya
- Anish Kapoor - Founder and CEO of Yuuguu
- Alexander and Adrian Goldstone - Owners of Idinso
- Gang Lu - Blognation and Netvibes
The night, was interesting as from a Sun hat aspect, people had heard of Sun, but still had a perception that we only sold Sparc based systems and that Solaris, well thats not free is it, interesting for me was to gain feedback on the products and the markets, as just so diverse, but exciting.
So for the next event, should be more exciting speakers and also watch this space.......