To Sharp Campus and a decent verbal punch-up on Manchester’s future as a Tech City.
Manchester, a Tech City?
An event at Sharp Campus
Storified by Brian_Condon · Fri, May 18 2012 02:15:38
Event 004 Manchester, a Tech City?2012 sees Manchester ideally placed to be the national engine for digital growth. Investment and development in connectivity, including the Urban Broadband Fund, resources and education have created the opportunity for the city to compete at the forefront of the UK’s key emerging new sector. But
Pre #event004 drinks in The Campus – due to traffic we’re starting a little later pic.twitter.com/hRk4VPFnThe Sharp Project
At #event004 to hear about Manchester’s future as a city for startups.
Managed to make it to @sharpproject for #event004 & see @MartinSFP after slog from MCUK. Interested to see how relates to @BBC_Connected.
At @sharpcampus (swanky!) Download: 8.49 Mbps Upload: 7.28 Mbps wifi! For #event004Brian_Condon
Ian Aspin introduces Elizabeth Varley of TechHub and Martin Bryant of The Next Web. Elizabeth says that they focus of tech led product companies especially start-ups.
Full house for #event004 – just starting now, @IanAspin leading the panel pic.twitter.com/dUWSGMfKThe Sharp Project
Panel at #Event004 @sharpproject twitpic.com/9m3urcBrian_Condon
#event004 "You have to be slightly crazy to be an entrepreneur" @evarley
@MartinSFP I gave up job for life, great pension to pursue the dream but it isn’t for everyone and that ain’t a bad thing #event004
TEDxManchester – Martin Bryant – Where Are the Manchester Startups?
He says he did the “worst talk ever at TEDxManchester”. Ian says he feels people do want to do big ideas in Manchester but there doesn’t seem to be one location or ways for people to connect. Is it about isolated individuals?asks Ian
Drinking beer and sitting at the back at #event004. Should I heckle? Just for kicks.
@Simon_Swan Yes – heckling is good. 🙂 #event004Brian_Condon
#event004 started with some frustration at how to scale up tech start-ups, but not pinpointed the lack of critical mass
Time for anarchist entrepreneurs to get organised 😉 #event004
Simon Swan asks about the creative environment in Manchester – we have the music industry can we really upscale into serious business?Martin says we need an attitude that treats tech entrepreneurs as rock stars – why not. Talks about VCs wearing suits. Need a punk attitude. It’s about getting out there and doing it. Similar to the way a new band might go out.
Ian says isn’t the passion enough? Can we find people over social media? And then maybe meet them. But I feel connected. My community is in the phone and on Twitter. I can hang out with people.
@MartinSFP does it really matter what someone is fucking wearing? #event004
@MartinSFP but equally looking like a scruffy bugger can say you just aren’t serious about your business. #event004
There is something to be said for actually meeting people says Martin – and there s a sense of belonging to place. Elizabeth says she agrees and that the “bumping into people on the street”. Not everyone can approach mentors or ask for help – facilitating introductions and helping people to meet. We need to include people who may not be quite so socially outgoing.
Actually I am starting wonder is there too much emphasis on inbred networking in digital and not enough with just getting on #event004
Our scribe @Hankers4Charlie will be writing up coverage of #event004 live & post event – we’ll link to full feature when blogged
Question about critical mass and whether wealth and critical mass can spread from London. And Tech_Britain raises the issue of finance. Elizabeth says it’s not the £5m we need it’s 25k – or maybe £10k. We need to look at very early stage businesses into which those who’ve done well in other businesses can invest in early stage business.
Whoa Snoreditch alert! Bow & worship all Mancs! #event004
Stuart Smith – the investment question is very complex. Been going for 4 years and he feels there is an obsession about finance and not enough focus on trade. Trade will build economic recovery he argues and it needs a build up of trust in new business.
"There’s too much emphasis on investment and not enough on trade" #Event004
@StuMSmith "Trade will rebuild the economy" yeh! #event004
Point from tenant about investment – we have a free model and we have revenue down the line; funding is problematic give that we need to build up users and our value in its user base.
Web businesses can fail or succeed quickly – it’s about spread bets for them – often Angel funds. Problem is there’s lots of these new businesses and that means that the barriers to them getting funding are higher.
Ian is asking who from Manchester is just going to build something and get on with it. Participant says it doesn’t matter whe the money comes from – why is it a problem going to London for money?Andrew Barlow of Applearn and Andrew Mullet have joined the panel. Andrew says he hasn’t got an investor – we might need an investor to help build machines. We don’t want an investor.
Andrew says he helped to start Manchester Confidential – and he doesn’t see the funding thing.
Interested to hear of a lack of infrastructure in mcr at #event004. I agree we need to be more supportive, collaborative & collective.
Of course the IP laws relating to digital in the UK compared to the US does make the industry far less attractive to invest in #event004
Ian says we need to go back to our “Grandad’s business model” sell stuff that people want to buy. A participant says that no one should go for a big bang exit company – certainly not in Manchester. It is true that some businesses need a runway – but that is not true of all of them It’s all about the people and the atmosphere.
Ian argues that there’s not much missing – we need to attack the right people.
Shaun Fensom has joined the panel and he says Manchester has the 2nd biggest tech scene in Manchester – big enough to have scale; small enough to be able to bump into people.
Taking about the importance of community & collaboration #event004 – can elevate a startup
"Manchester is all about the people and atmosphere" #Event004
#event004 development versus the need to bring in £££ – "don’t forgot about your staff & value of the city" (from the floor)
@StuMSmith funny how these ‘off the cufflinks’ comments develop #event004
@MartinSFP groan! 😉 there is the talk title! #event004
FENSOM! #ledge #event004 pic.twitter.com/VUrEV9tVjonthebeef
Ian says “do they push themselves to do things they couldn’t do without your Hub” to Elizabeth Varley. She says the important thing is the challenge you get from those around you. But sometimes people just have to push on.
We need to say ‘fuck off’ to the hoops that VCs et al want us to jump through and get on with the job in hand. #event004
RT @sharpproject: #event004 BBC talking about innovation studio – bringing people in to pitch across network, again, collaboration becoming a key theme
A frustrated entrepreneur speaks from the back of the room. He says in Boston most of the people wanting to do startups the are in there twenties or even in their teens. Also we seem to have a much more stratified or structured market and this inhibits working across boundaries. Over focus on big companies. Missing link is bringing disciplines together and helping young people to get more involved. Mentions the endowments of the big US universities.
A participant says he set up a business and grew it organically. He ended up selling it and getting the same amount of money as someone who set up with equity investment. Both were people-based companies. An exit route is a bit more complicated – and potential buyers will also point that out to you.
"It doesn’t matter whether you take the equity funding or revenue funding route as long as its right for the business" #Event004
Ian says it’s about doing something that matters. “Find people you don’t know who’ve done stuff and hang out with them. Find a life that matters and create an impact.”
#event004 closing statements from @IanAspin – be aware of obstacles but look to the community, achieve more with people around you
Nice bit of jostling and debates and questions #event004