The Second Chance Tuesday UK Revival Show

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:

  1. Definitely more of a buzz at SxSW
  2. For me, too much talk of raising VC and not enough talk of viable sustainable business models
  3. The little coloured badges to identify whether you are an entrepreneur, investor or other are still too small
  4. Was too noisy / loud, but the bar was better and cheaper
  5. 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… ;-)

4 comments

Hi Gareth,

Fantastic site you’ve got here. I also enjoyed meeting you at SCT, you were one of the cool people!

I’m one of the guys who had a “bootstrapped model”, if you can remember a guy from E-soft Creative (peekablue.com).

I agree with your points 2, 3, 4 and 5.

What type of software does Technovate produce?

Just a reminder of what your fellow bootstrapper is up to:
My main business drive at the moment is about getting funding for a new version of Peekablue that will provide an unrivalled proposition for the global mobile consumer market. The software will make use of the Internet and global mobile networks to give consumers a solution that is different from anything else available at the moment. I aim to take advantage of being first to market and make very aggressive revenue results. My bootstrapping credentials are :-
1. I have a current product that is being downloaded globally (the USA generates the largest amount of downloads, closely followed by the UK, the European Union and then onto Asia and the Far East)
2. A secure website
3. Increasing customer database
4. Secure online transaction provider (Paypal)
5. WEB and WAP access to the product offering
6. Peekablue is easily found via Google, Yahoo or MSN as it has been number 1 in the list of the main search engines for quite some time.

Don’t suppose you know any J2ME developers?

by Kevin on May 9, 2006 at 5:47 pm. Reply #

Hey Kevin

Thanks millions ;-0
Yup – ‘course I remember you! We chatted about how you were already doing the bootstrapped model even though you didn’t / hadn’t been calling it that! ;-)

Technovate is developing niched web apps (we’re busy with one right now, with another 2 planned). I’m not a big fan of the “lets do another social software application so we might get bought out by someone larger than ourselves” so we’re doing development and consulting work to do the bootstrapping…

Sounds like you’ve got your sucks in a row! Are you ever in London at all? – I run a small business group where we share experiences and knowledge – you might find us an interesting crowd to bounce idas off ;-)

I’m afraid I don’t know any J2ME developers at all – you’re the second person I know looking, so there must be a shortage of some sort!

by Gareth Knight on May 28, 2006 at 2:34 pm. Reply #

Hi Gareth,

“Sounds like you’ve got your sucks in a row!”, haven’t heard this saying before, is this a London thing or SA saying?

Like yourself I’m very busy at the mo. Don’t really get down to London much, too busy for my liking and the tube is a dreadful way to travel. I live in rural Norfolk where there’s lots of tractors and horses, which I much prefer to big cities.

Re – J2ME developers, I’ve decided to outsource my software dev tasks for the new J2ME app to a company in India. Much cheaper than paying someone in the UK.

Just recalling the venture capital scene and wondered if you know of anyone who managed to get the suits to part with the money they manage? In my experience with these VC people they will only back a sure thing that already has reasonable profits, which by default isn’t a startup company anymore.

Take it easy.

by Kevin on May 30, 2006 at 8:56 am. Reply #

Hi Kevin

Hehe ;-0 Should read: “Sounds like you’ve got your ducks in a row!”!! If it were, it would be a London saying describing being in dire straits!

I hear you – I’m far more at home in the bush than I am in the big city – unfortunately for me there are no fat bandwidth pipes to the bush in SA, so I guess I’ll have to wait for that!

Sure – outsourcing can be cheaper ;-) In a previous life I worked for an .Net outsourced development house based in Cape Town, so I’m familiar with that – all I can say is that make sure you either define your project needs very very specifically before you start, or make sure that you’re working with a very competent team that is flexible, and that won’t add layers of project management time to your project.

I know of a few recent deals involving VC’s in the UK, Soflow and Beebo come to mind (with something in the order of $20 million between them) but nothing that I’ve heard of in the mobile arena – some links to check out that might lead you somewhere:
http://www.gle.co.uk/commercialfinance/index.htm
http://www.vcrdirectory.net/
http://www.angelnews.co.uk/

Yup – agrreed with what you’ve said – I think also that the line is beginning to blur somewhat… sounds like you’re looking for more of an Angel than a pureplay VC…

You too – nice day today – think I’m gonna go for a ride!

by Gareth Knight on May 30, 2006 at 2:23 pm. Reply #

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