Startup Diaries: A Week In The Life Of TableCrowd
Monday morning is always frantic, but first priority is to catch up with our designer and developer and map out the plan for the week. Our site is up in beta, but we are working on new designs using responsive technology, which means whether you are viewing on phone, tablet or laptop, that the page will fit to your screen size and work properly. As part of the new designs, we are able to factor in a whole range of improvements that have surfaced now we are running regular tables and collecting user feedback.
At the end of last week, our application to join Chinwag’s Digital Mission to Social Media Week in New York was accepted, which means we’ll be joining 20 other companies to learn new stuff, network and to gain an insight into the startup and tech scene in New York. I booked my flight and included a couple of extra days and a detour to San Francisco to join the Women 2.0 Conference. The focus now is to set up some useful meetings in both cities for fundraising and partnership possibilities. I’ve signed up to Startup Stay with the hope borrowing someone’s sofa in the heart of the action. UK Trade & Investment London is helping out some of the UK companies with a grant towards the trip; I’m hoping we’re one of the chosen ones.
On the way home, I grabbed a coffee with a business reporter at the Huffington Post to fill her in on what I’m working on.
First thing Tuesday, I checked in with our development team and was over the moon to be shown an enhanced stats analysis system for our email marketing, together with some great user experience improvements. I pulled together some new ideas for some email marketing to be deployed later this week.
I organise weekly Startup Engine dinners via TableCrowd for people in the startup and tech community to get together, share ideas and network. The dinner for this evening sold out last week, so I checked out who I would be meeting. It was a great crowd ranging from people at the ideas stage to live startups; from software developers to bricks and mortar businesses – as well as some splendid Mexican food.
Wednesday morning, the first job is always blogging about the previous evening’s dinner, followed by connecting with the people I met and following through with promised introductions.
With this done, most of the day was spent preparing for the Lion’s Cage pitch competition organized by London Business Starters and held at Google Campus. We were chosen, along with 9 other startups to pitch our business to a panel of investors and an audience of around 150 people, in just 3 minutes. I wanted to make sure the pitch was finely tuned and that I was armed and ready to answer whatever questions the investors and crowd could throw at me.
We were up sixth, which gave me plenty of time to build up some unnecessary nerves. The panel was a tough crowd, no punches pulled, but we emerged victorious with the most votes and the very generous prize of £5k of legal advice from Taylor Wessing. Not a bad evening’s work and a great profile raising activity for TableCrowd.
Thursday started with a review of upcoming tables and new Crowds. We had a blog about our dinners posted on Escape The City earlier this week, which meant our upcoming ‘Leaving the City’ dinner was filling up nicely. We also had a number of new Crowds created by members, who are looking to grow communities of people linked to their own specific interests.
Despite several attempts to sweet talk the organisers of City Meetups (still dizzy after last night’s victory), I couldn’t get myself a slot to pitch at their drinks & demo evening, so I went along to watch the other startups flaunt their wares. Some great projects and some interesting people.
Friday, last day of the normal working week, and just as the snow started to make walking treacherous, I left our office on Old Street and paced over to the Heron Tower to have my elevator pitch filmed – actually in the elevator. It takes 30 seconds to drop from the 37th to the ground floor, and my pitch timed in at precisely 29 seconds. Slightly tricky with ears popping and the distraction of the world whizzing out the corner of my eye, but I had a blast with Mick, Alex and Tom, the guys from soon-to-launch Tech City News.
Last stop to round off the week was a flying visit to Silicon Drinkabout at UCL for a few Friday night orange juices (still abiding by dry-January) before heading home and collapsing on the sofa!