Key entrepreneurship events taking place in London

By Aurélien Fonteneau, account manager at We Are Social


When Loic asked me to write an article about the various entrepreneurship and startups events organised in London, I just didn’t know where to start. London’s entrepreneurship landscape is indeed vibrant and there are plethora of tech/startups/entrepreneurship/networking events – and that’s something very surprising when you just arrive from Paris, where the entrepreneurship community is not that open and active (but things are getting better).


So here’s a non exhaustive but useful list of some key startups events you should attend if you’ve just arrived to London and want to create/expand your startup:


London Open Coffee
The Open Coffee club was created in London a few years ago and the concept spread all over the world since then. Taking place every Thursday morning at 10am in one of University College of London’s building, they’re a great way to meet other entrepreneurs, but also some developers and investors in a chilled-out atmosphere.


Seedcamp is a mentoring program which aims to help young founders to create, run and grow their businesses. Mentors include investors, entrepreneurship veterans,marketers, recruiters, PR professionals…
Startups are selected during Mini Seedcamp events taking place all over the world regularly. Winers are then invited and gathered at the Seedcamp week taking place in London in September every year, as well as regular meetups (social events, lunches…).
At last, wining startups get a basic investment of £50,000 for 8 to 10% of the company. So if you’ve just launched your business, just visit Seedcamp.


Tech meetups
London Tech meetups gather tech & web entrepreneurs (or wannabe entrepreneurs), investors and developers from the Silicon Roundabout in Shoreditch every month. Their aim is to promote & market technology companies.


Les Apéros Entrepreneurs
Les Apéro Entrepreneurs are informal meetups on the first Thursday of each month for entrepreneurs, in an chilled-out and informal atmosphere.


TechHub is a working space in London’s Silicon Roundabout for tech companies, created by TechCrunch Europe’s Mike Butcher. They’re also organising lots of networking events and conference aimed at entrepreneurs, and most of TechCrunch Europe events are taking place at TechHub – so make sure you subscribe to their newsletter!


Mobile Monday London
If you’re into mobile business, then Mobile Monday London is the must to attend event in the UK. Organised by the powerhouse lead by Helen Keegan, #MoMoLo brings together every month mobile entrepreneurs and developers, tech journalists and PRs, telcos executives… around a conference followed by networking drinks.


London Startup Weekend
If you’re still hesitating to take the plunge, then you should definitely attend London Startup weekend! Launched in 2007, Startup Weekend is a weekend event in cities around the world. A highly motivated group of developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus, graphic artists and more meet and in a short 54 hour event work on building projects out. Next London Startup Weekend should be in September, so stay tuned.
Startup weekend is also organised in Cambridge.


UK Trade & Investment
UKTI is the British government agency that offers services to British based firms wanting to gain access to global markets through export, and foreign based firms wanting to use Britain as a base to expand globally. They’re organising lots of London based events and workshops, and are regularly offering spot for UK based startups to attend worlwide tech events such as SXSW and Open Mobile Summit


At last, let’s not forget anual conferences taking place European web focused, tech and mobile landscape such as the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (Spain), The Next Web in Amsterdam (Netherlands), LeWeb in Paris (France & London now), the Open Mobile Summit and Digital Shoreditch in London (UK)… it’d take me to long to list them, and Wired UK is already doing it very well here.

Startup.IT: Overview of the Italian Venture Capital and Startup Environment

We are not use to read about Italian start-ups and/or investors. Thanks to AMOO, we have a good overview of the start-up environment in Italy


Guest Author: Sarah Raniero

Most of us think ‘sovereign debt crisis’ when ‘Italy’ is mentioned. Ok, maybe olive oil, pasta and The Godfather also come to mind but did you know that Italy’s early stage funding is pretty active? The importance of turnaround is also growing. Considering the amount invested within the different funding stages, the Italian Association of Venture Capital and Private Equity (AIFI) reported that during the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009 only early-stage and turnaround segments grew: they increased respectively by 34% and 150%, while the expansion and buyout segments decreased by 33% and 12% respectively.


When it comes to the number of investments, AIFI shows that the segments that received the majority of investments were early-stage and expansion; moreover, the former has grown by 33% and the latter by 16%. The amount invested and the number of investments within the early-stage sector shows the growing importance of this stage in Italy. The sectorial distribution of the number of investments in high-tech Companies is: medical (19%), computer (15%), biotech (12%), other services (12%), media & entertainment (11%), manufacturing (5%), telecommunications (4%), energy & utilities (4%).


The entrepreneurial environment is influenced by different factors; like the rest of Western Europe the Italian entrepreneurial environment is positively influenced by the high number of good opportunities and talented entrepreneurs. However, Government support is lacking in terms of facilitating the opening/closing of companies, improving the cultural acceptability of bankruptcy, developing a financial system that supports innovation, sustaining R & D activities and having more favourable business taxation. A lot of new initiatives are coming up especially within the consumer-internet and digital-media sectors: just to provide an example, from the 17th to the 23rd of September Social Media Week took place in Milan, an event where entrepreneurs get together to exchange ideas and keep up-to-date on new technology trends. Another important event is Working Capital – the Italian Innovation Prize; it is a joint-project of Telecom Italia and PNICube (Italian University Incubator Association); it sustains young Italian talent and promotes the creation of start-ups. This year it supported several web, internet & ICT, green, bio & nano and social innovation projects. They provide 30K EUR to each of the 30 projects. Moreover, 1M EUR equity investment is provided by Quantica Venture Capital Fund for the best project. Among Universities, Politecnico di Milano is the most active in supporting innovation: its incubator has supported 61 start-ups since its foundation in 2000; it is primarily active in ICT, Bioengineering, Clean Technologies and Design and Innovative Services. Last but not least is StartuParty, a regular social event which brings entrepreneurs and venture capitalists together.


So that is the framework, but where are the startups?? In Italy there have been several cases of successful start-ups: Dada is a mobile & web media and advertising start-up that exited with an IPO on the Italian Stock Exchange with a value of 120M EUR; MutuiOnline is an online booking of financial services that exited with an IPO on the Italian Stock Exchange with a value of 170M EUR and had a market cap of 220M EUR in September 2010; Venere is an on-line travel aggregation of hotels that was acquired by Expedia (multiproduct online travel aggregator) for 500M EUR; Yoox is an e-commerce of multi-brand apparel that exited with an IPO on the Italian stock exchange with a value of 220M EUR and was valued at 360M EUR in September 2010. A more recent case of success is Spreaker, an online platform used to create and share audio content on internet; it also allows users to become DJs. In September Spreaker announced the closing of its first seed-funding of 1.1M USD with two European investors: Italian Angels For Growth (one of the most known Italian business angels) and ZernikeMeta Ventures.


Others receiving growing attention in the Italian environment include: Appsbuilder, a universal platform to develop mobile applications; Money 360, an on-line credit broking platform based on comparative search tools; and Paperlit a multiplatform publishing and advertising solution for newspaper, magazines, catalogs, newsletter and other content producers.


While the fate of the Eurozone and the PIIGS is far from certain, the Italian start-up environment is indeed active and presents several opportunities to investors.


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Focus on 8 incubators in the UK

The UK is an international hub for cutting-edge enterprise, presenting a network of incubators and science parks where technology businesses can find support for their research, development and commercialisation.

Incubators offer many advantages to develop and strengthen businesses including facilities, equipment and access to experienced advisers. Incubators frequently benefit from proximity to universities and research centres and are a credible source of innovation and entrepreneurship in science and technology.

St John’s Innovation Centre was created in 1988. It provides early stage companies with business advice, strategic consultancy, introductions and flexible accommodation. It was the first innovation center of its kind in Europe and has become world-renowned for its success as a business incubator. It is located at the heart of the Greater Cambridge technology cluster. This incubator is specialized in science and technology related businesses. The incubator closely works with the University of Cambridge and is a member of the EU-funded Achieve More partnership bringing together 9 partners spread throughout 5 countries.

Imperial Innovations was created in 2006. Based on the campus of Imperial College London, it offers the opportunity for new businesses to benefit from eminent scientists and experts in science and technology. Incubated businesses provide offices, laboratory spaces, technologies for license and can work closely with high quality researchers. Imperial Innovations has managed to assert itself as a major hub for innovation and entrepreneurship and has participated in the development of more than 70 companies.

Innovation Centres Ltd is a successful incubator based in Scotland. Focusing on innovative and high-growth technology companies, the incubator supports entrepreneurs and businesses providing intensive advisory by highly experienced mentors, networking and creative development. It is based near Glasgow airport and was awarded the UK Most Established Business Incubator of the Year Award in 2006. Hillington Park Innovation Centre is also one of the fastest growing technology incubators in Europe. Over 100 technology-based companies have been incubated there.

Springboard founded in July 2009, was inspired by successful American incubator models. It is an incubator defining itself as a mentorship-led accelerator program for start-ups. Based in Cambridge, Springboard helps technology companies through a program of 13 weeks that takes place at Cambridge University. It provides £6000 in exchange of 6% of the business and an intensive mentoring to develop the business. The mentoring team consists of over 50 experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Jon Bradford, founder of The Difference Engine, is in charge of this new format inspired by two successful US incubators namely TechStars and Y Combinator.

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