Tonight’s theme was bubble 2.0 and is the mobile/tech space overheated?
Azeem Azhar of Reuters had little to say other than cite Library House findings that reckons startup & series A funding in Europe was £24m in 2005 & already 84m in UK in 2006. He did suggest in response to a question on non-execs that they should be forced to invest; not receive any salary and paid in options. Whilst I endorse the sentiment, entrepreneurs have to recognise that if they want talented individuals to assist, not all not execs will be attracted to these terms of trade!
Sam Sethi of Vecosys pointed out the mismatch between entrepreneurs who only need small amounts of capital and VCs who are only interested in big deals in order that they can invest the huge sums they’ve raised. Sam picked on a skills gap as being a real issue in the space presently.
Madhuban Kumar of Doughty Hanson Tech Ventures endorsed Sam’s point about the funding requirement from tech companies often being below the VC radar on starting threshold.
Jan Kuczynski of Wireless World Forum had nothing to say & spent 5 mins saying so. Didn’t manage to refer to the topic once which left most people confused.
The evening’s Demos were by:
An ad funded mobile content discovery service. Free to consumers who select categories to have content served up & it claims to be “self learning” in what each consumer likes. Data charges are borne by aditon, who deliver pre-canned content overnight to your phone. Content manufacturer can deliver their content free as well, at least initially. Advertiser pays for everything!
This service looked good and I liked the idea of using network quiet time to deliver content down to the mobile. I’m cautious about the service acting as a screen saver on your phone – when you’re not using the phone, why would you be looking at it? Also this could quickly eat up your battery life.
This service is reinventing trips to cultural venues to give you a better museum experience. Kids are its target who capture images on a handset supplied at the museum. Content is already on the device with presupplied tags as they walk round. They can then add their own photos & comments as they walk round. They can review this mashup when they get back to class. Looked very niche and felt like it would involve considerable work and cost for museums. Priya Prakash of BBC and DigitalWellBeing who I sat with, also mentioned to me that the BBC did something very similar to this 3 years ago.
create & deliver mobile marketing messages, using a pre-canned framework. Similar to content management system. This was an awful demo, involving no demo and a very confused explanation.
This was a content service portal/provider for mobile. It has some premium services like live football streamed data like scores (not matches). Also has an SMS, IM & chat room capabilities from the mobile. This is an ad funded service. 5% click through rate & 2% conversion rate. This looked good visually and the demo