Harnessing Big Data: Weds 1st May

University_of_Leicester_Logo_ShieldOur next Open Coffee session on Wednesday 1st May will be at the University of Leicester where Professor Jeremy Levesley, Head of Mathematics and his colleagues will show how modern advances in data visualisation and interrogation can help obtain valuable intelligence in large data sets.

PLACES ARE LIMITED SO PLEASE REGISTER HERE: http://opencoffee010513.eventbrite.co.uk/


Here is a full run down of the speakers:-

Jeremy Levesley (UoL Maths): Collaboration with your Data
I will describe how we see the collaboration between colleagues at the University of Leicester, and local enterprises might proceed.  In particular I will describe expected process by which we take your data and arrive at a product which makes best use of that data.

Kevin Slater (PetScreen, Nottingham) Dogs, Cancer and Mathematics
Collaboration with Leicester has resulted in a new, highly effective algorithm used in our diagnostic testing.  This has for the first time provided a method to accurately measure the risk of dogs having lymphoma and also detect them coming out of remission five weeks before they show any clinical signs.  Our studies have shown that this can then double the life expectancy of dogs with lymphoma.

Dan Ladley and James Rockey (UoL Economics): Data Mining and Business Forecasting
Data mining can tell you a lot about your business. However, it is often useful to understand how these findings would alter with changes in the competitive environment, your business, or your customers’ situations.   Crucial behaviours may change and in order to make the best decisions it’s vital to predict those changes. Dr Dan Ladley and Dr James Rockey from the University’s Department of Economics will explain how data mining may be combined with sophisticated business and economic modelling to improve forecasts and provide new insights.

Ben Ravilious (Ultimateweb Ltd): Startups & Universities
How entrepreneurs and academics can best cooperate to capitalise on their different but complementary knowledge.

As ever, there will be an opportunity to network freely with other attendees after the speaker.

Time and Place: Council Chamber, Fielding Johnson Building, University of Leicester 10am-Midday, Weds 1st May

Car parking is available through Entrance 1 and guests should mention ‘Harnessing Big Data’ so the parking team know where to direct them.

PLACES ARE LIMITED SO PLEASE REGISTER HERE: http://opencoffee010513.eventbrite.co.uk/

New Leicester Raspberry Pi User Group

Raspi_Colour_RSean Clark from Cuttlefish Media is starting a user group for Raspberry Pi fans.

Click here for more details.

Crowd-funding – How to Succeed!

by Robert Ashby, Tech Finance.

A few key points about Crowd-funding from my talk at the Leicester Tech Startups meeting on Wednesday 3rd April.   (For the purpose of this blog I’m assuming a pitch for funding on the Crowdcube website).

First, timing.   As in many things, timing is crucial, both in the timeline of the process of a crowd-funding pitch, and also in thinking about the overall elapsed time for the project.    The overall time that is probably required is about 8 months from starting the proposed business plan to getting the cash.     There are several things that need to be done in parallel, such as the business plan, the projections and getting your 3 year financial history ready.   Allow 2-3 months for this.    During this period you or someone you know that can certify as a sophisticated investor, should register on the crowd-funding site as an investor and look at other business plans that seem to be working.

Then you need to run three other things also in parallel – application with the business plan to Crowdcube, application to HMRC for EIS prior approval (including your business plan and financial information with the application form) and preparation of a video for the pitch.   You cannot launch your pitch without a video and you should under no circumstances launch a pitch without EIS approval – it is crucial to up to 97% of potential investors.   You can go online to start to prepare the pitch once Crowdcube had approved your plan in principle.   This will need to include the share % offer and details of your expected investor exit route and timing.

The HMRC approval should be provided in 30 days from application.    Assuming no problems there, and your video and pitch being ready, you will then get final approval from Crowdcube and can publish your pitch.   Then you get up to 60 days live.   After that it takes another month or so to complete the drawdown of funds from investors, the due diligence checks and the legal documents.

Because you don’t want to lose any of your “pitch” time of 60 days to Christmas, Easter or the August summer holidays, you probably want to time the pitch to go live in early January, April, May, June, September, October, rather than other months of the year.    People are really not making investment decisions when they are away or have these things on their minds.

Second, you have to drive the process yourselves.   The crowd-funding platform is not going to do much at all to promote your particular opportunity either within the site or externally.   You have to create a viral campaign yourself using social media and PR of every possible type to hit while the pitch is live.    Up to 50% of the investment will come from the people that are in your network and contacts and you drive to the pitch.    This is why you don’t want to be doing this while people are doing Christmas, Easter and other holidays.     You may have some business angels that are interested – get them to register and make their investment offers through the crowd-funding platform to stimulate interest and keep you top of the “recent investments” listing.   Your target is to get to 35-40% of funding as soon as possible as this is the key threshold level from which most then go on to succeed.

Third, make sure that nothing in your pitch is likely to turn investors OFF.   The following are the things that do this:

1. Lack of focus – management with other business interests; part time working
2. No identified customers
3. No sales experience in the management team
4. One man bands
5. Poor financial track record
6. A product or service that people have difficulty understanding or identifying with
7. A weak video that is just a boring talking head

There are more points in the Financing Tech Startups Presentation Handout from the talk I gave.

I hope that this is useful and that if you go for a crowd-funding pitch, it goes well for you.

Robert Ashby, Tech Finance.

NASA Space Apps Challenge Comes to Leicester

This weekend (20-21 April 2013) Leicester will be one of the host locations for NASA’s second global Space Apps Challenge hackathon.

The Leicester event will take place at LCB Depot in the city centre and will feature coders, scientists, creatives and inventors all working together to solve space-industry challenges as well as projects of their own invention. The event is co-hosted by Leicester Tech Startups and this is a great opprtunity for would-be startup entrepreneurs to play and mingle together.

There are still places available for the Leicester event so please click here to find out more or to register.

Space IDEAS Hub offering

At the Open Coffee session on 20/March, Ed Chester from the Space IDEAS Hub introduced the range of short projects that they get involved with and the rationale for engaging and supporting small businesses. More information can be found at the homepage www.spaceideashub.com – but the starting point for most projects is a short conversation with each potential client. Want to meet up? Get in touch! If you have a known idea or challenge already, we can have our legal folks ensure confidentiality agreements are in place before you talk about your business.

Read more

Accelerator Programmes

Next week’s Open Coffee talk on 6th March will be by Simon Jenner, co-founder of Oxygen Accelerator (Birmingham) who will lift the lid on startup accelerators and tell us a bit about Oxygen which is still taking applications for their 2013 programme.

Accelerators are intensive ‘bootcamps’ for startups, typically lasting 3 months, which provide hands-on funding, mentoring, training and events in return for equity in the selected businesses.

As ever, there will be an opportunity to network freely with other attendees after the speaker.

Please register here if you are planning on attending: http://opencoffee060313.eventbrite.co.uk

Dotforge Accelerator Programme

Following on from Jag Goraya’s brief heads-up at Open Coffee on Wednesday (6th Feb), here are further details about the Dotforge Accelerator.

dot-forge_smallDotforge is a lean accelerator programme for early-stage tech startups. We help founders build commercially robust product-based businesses that can scale to reach global markets.

Dotforge combines an intensive mentorship and execution programme with investment capital to accelerate the growth of ambitious lean startups that have global potential. Participating startups can get up to £25,000 per founder in seed capital and optional entrepreneur loan plus streamlined access to over £150k of follow-on funding. This is on top of around $300k of perks and deals from the likes of Amazon Web Services and Rackspace, plus free office accommodation and 1-to-1 support from world-class mentors, investors and specialists to help accelerate your business. In return we take 6% equity.

The programme is open to startups from across the world. If you’re successful in applying you’ll embark on an intense 13-week journey that is the equivalent of running a business for a year at normal pace, culminating in pitch days in front of the international investment and tech press community.

The programme is particularly interested in startups with strong B2B or big data focus, and will also appeal to businesses looking to leverage the region’s leading e-learning, e-health and public sector supply chains and networks.

The deadline for applications (via dotforgeaccelerator.com) is noon on 25 February 2013.

You can also follow Dotforge on twitter.

Virtual Roman Leicester

Registration for our next Open Coffee session on 20th Feb is now OPEN at http://opencoffee200213.eventbrite.co.uk

We’re delighted to have Dr Eric Tatham, Faculty of Technology and Nick Higgett, Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities, De Montfort University coming to talk about the Virtual Roman Leicester project which uses digital technology to visualise the known artifacts and buildings of Roman Leicester. This will include a demo of the forthcoming augmented reality iPad app for the project.

We will also have table experts available for free one-to-one drop-in sessions with experts in particular fields relating to startups. Book your slot with them on the day:-

Register now at http://opencoffee200213.eventbrite.co.uk

For more details, visit the Virtual Romans Facebook page.

Meet The Startups

Our next Open Coffee event at Phoenix Cafe Bar will give everyone the opportunity to meet Leicester’s existing tech startup talent. We will have brief intro presentations from Meethub, Rmend, Spectacle Labs, ParticiPoll, Finer Day, Cloudscience & AgendaVault plus an opportunity to ask questions.

Please visit our EventBrite page to register for this free event: http://opencoffeeclub060213.eventbrite.co.uk

Leicester Tech Startups – Introduction

Welcome to our new tech startups community website!

Leicester Tech Startups is not an ‘official’ organisation or club but a deliberately loose community of people who are involved in the ‘ecosystem’ of technology startup companies. This website aims to be a village noticeboard where anyone can post information that is relevant to the community. If you are a startup or are running an event or have a resource or skill you can offer then please get in touch.

For full details about Leicester Tech Startups, please visit the About Us page.

I would like to thank Tim Harrison of Voice Brand Design for putting together the visual identity and WordPress theme for this website.

Ben Ravilious, Ultimateweb Ltd, January 2013