by oneafrikan on May 8, 2006
I can remember how I felt when the boom was happening in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. I was stuck in deepest darkest Africa, watching from afar the feeding frenzy that was the first internet boom, wishing beyond all reasonable hope that I could somehow be a part of it all.
My lot was to end up doing enterprise web consulting, so that I could earn my way over to the UK, but funnily enough things got VERY pear shaped in the months before I arrived, so that when I did arrive it felt like I was at the edge of a dried up oasis, with everyone left either trying desperately to become the thorny bush that survives without water for 75 years, or the lone survivor fending everyone off at the edge of the muddying waters but still telling everyone how sweet the water tasted…
One of my memories back then was sitting on a dial up modem at the wee hours reading the sites overseas to see what was going on – Second Chance Tuesday being one of them. I often wondered what the events were like (being naturally gregarious when I’m in a good mood), and wished that they would do something similiar in Johannesburg. Typically, they didn’t. Not sure if there is anything happening there now either…
Anyways, back to last weeks Second Chance Tuesday event in Central London, (wrote up the first event here), and I’m not entirely convinced that the prevailing attitude that was the swnsong of the first boom has changed much since then… there seems to be a few experienced campaigners who know their stuff and who aren’t being drawn into the feeding frenzy, but there also seems to be a few keen on jumping on the bandwagon without any real business models behind them.
That said, this is just my humble opinion founded through several conversations and some dastardly eavesdropping. One person that had an investor badge on replied to my question of “so what brings you here?” with “I’m just here for the money, don’t know anything about the web at all” – which makes me wonder whether investment and knowledge of the industry one is investing in are complimentary or not? It also makes me wonder what second Chance Tuesdays is about – who is it actually targeted at?
The flip side was that there were a few people that did seem to have an idea – one gentleman represented a group of around 300 angel investors who would only invest in a second round (so now we have second round angel investors), who seemed to like the idea of a bootstrapped model (a few people had no idea what bootstrapping was, some of which were apparently already doing it, and others were just wanting to burn cash) since it does prove some legitimacy in a ventures claims for being a good investment.
As such, I don’t think that it’s the equivalent of a speed dating event for people with ideas needing cash and vice versa (ie matching people up), but more of an informal networking event where you get to see familiar faces, meet new people – whether you meet the right people seemed to depend on how many people you could meet, thus increasing your chances through playing the numbers game – and have a few bevvies.
Some additional point form thoughts off the top of my head:
- Definitely more of a buzz at SxSW
- For me, too much talk of raising VC and not enough talk of viable sustainable business models
- The little coloured badges to identify whether you are an entrepreneur, investor or other are still too small
- Was too noisy / loud, but the bar was better and cheaper
- A few people were talking about some funds that had been raised, where the money they were talking of was stupid, silly amounts of money, so there does seem to be an awakening of UK investors happening
All in all, I think that Second Chance Tuesdays is doing a good job of bringing people together in an informal environment, and I hope that they continue to do so. But if you’re looking for an entrepreneur / investor dating service, then you’re either going to have to hone your networking skills, or keep trying… ;-)