Mike Butcher writes: Way back in 2009 there was no large event dedicated to technology startups in the UK. TechCrunch, under Mike Arrington, was busy trying to get its TechCrunch50/Disrupt programme going in the US, and outside of local meetups, the TC event juggernaut still had yet to arrive in Europe. My friend and colleague Robin Wauters was doing Plugg in Brussels, but there wasn’t a startup event in London. So I launched a personal project, an event I called GeeknRolla, the name for which I literally dreamt up in a London pub. Despite those amateurish beginnings, about 400 people turned up that year, and I ran it again for the next couple of years as a fun side project. But times move on and after running it single-handedly for three years in a row, I’m going to bring the GeeknRolla “mojo” to a new event.
Thus, GeeknRolla and the Dublin Web Summit, are merging to create the London Web Summit. It’ll be on March 19th in The Brewery Venue, in London’s “Tech City” area.
We think the Summit will provide great opportunities to hear from international speakers, networking with leading start ups, investors, media and digital leaders.
Tickets go on sale in the coming days, until then, you can apply for a voucher for 2 tickets for the price of 1 below here.
I hope to see you there, and we can keep on rocking Europe!
We have some interesting plans for next year’s GeeknRolla, in the Spring. So for sponsorship opportunities please email Mike Butcher ( mike [@] mbites.com ) for further details. You can follow any specific updates on the GeeknRolla twitter feed.
This year’s European startup conference GeeknRolla has become a platform for news, as startups launched and speakers broke news direct from the stage.
Duedil, the business reputation startup, secured first prize in the startup competition, and an on-the-day announcement from DFJ Esprit that it would award the winner a £50,000 no strings investment in the form of a convertible note. This would convert into its next funding round at the price of the next round. That kind of announcement is more common in Silicon Valley, so to have the deal announced literally within a couple of hours of Duedil’s pitch on stage was real news for a European event. Let’s hope we see more of that kind of fast action in the rest of the year. They also won a crack at a year’s worth of Windows Azure hosting, £5,000 in free legal advice form Orrick and free premium job advertisements for a year on CoderStack (normally £120 per ad per month). Not a bad result for a 3 minute pitch.
Runners up in the startup pitch competition we Artfinder and Pora Ora who won £2,250 free legal advice from Barlow Robbins LLP. Also launching on stage were wirewax.com, art-spotter.com, Clearer.tv, Capedkoala.com, Thesocialcv.com, Yearbookmachine.com, Areanow.com, Qubulus.com, Flypost.co and Marketinvoice.com. In the Demo Pit the judges picked out Currency Cloud as their winner followed by Teamly and Colour DNA.
We also launched a dedicated app for the event called DanceKard. This a mobile Web app (go to http://dancekard.com/app on your smart phone, login with a twitter account, which schedules meetings around a conference agenda). The whole conference was sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark, Moonfruit, DFJ Esprit and TechHub.
In addition Brainient, an interactive video advertising platform, dynamically inserting into the Bambuser live stream a live Twitter feed, more information about the speaker on the video and an interactive agenda.
In startup news Gowalla announced on stage that it would be opening a London office. Gowalla’s CEO, Josh Williams plans to base a small four or five person team in the city now that 45% of the company’s growth is outside the US particularly Europe and the Middle East.
GeeknRolla [tickets here] is the annual conference to bring together Europe’s technology startups to network with investors and talk about how they create and build themselves. The watchwords are: Launch startups; give investors dealflow.
If you are a European startup in stealth or in private beta and want to launch at GeeknRolla, then fill out this form. We extended the deadline to tomorrow, March 4th.
Any startup selected to pitch on stage will get one free ticket (for the person pitching) and there is no charge to pitch. We will notify all companies invited to pitch by March 11. If you have not heard from us by that time, your application was not successful. If you wish to attend the GeeknRolla conference you will then have to purchase tickets.
As with last year there is a special emphasis on launching startups and connecting them with investors, who will comprise our judging panels. There will also be a “DemoRolla” area of demo tables for startups to showcase their products.
The venue will be Park Plaza Victoria, 239 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 1EQ. The now legendary GeeknRolla Afterparty, which will take place at the amazing, world-famous London nightclub, Pacha, will also help the networking. Ticket holders for the main day-long conference will automatically get in to the after-party, so fear not! We may release a limited amount of After-Party-only tickets at a later date. Details of how to get these will be available in due course, so stay tuned to the GeeknRolla Twitter feed and the event web site.
For sponsorship opportunities please email events director Aléna Dundas ( alena [@] techcrunch.com ) for further details. You can follow any specific updates on the GeeknRolla twitter feed.
I’d strongly advise you get a ticket. Last year we more than sold out shortly after GeeknRolla was announced. To attend the event, tickets will be £149. Thus is a stunning price for a conference of this nature. See who we had to speak last year and check out all the video.
We’re today announcing the majority of our speakers:
Dave Mcclure, founder 500 Startups
Josh Williams, Co-Founder, CEO, Gowalla
Iain Dodsworth, Founder & CEO TweetDeck
Tariq Krim (founder of Jolicloud)
Morten Lund (early investor in Skype, now of Tradeshift and Everbread)
Wendy Tan White (founder of Moonfruit)
Michelle You, Chief of Product, Co-founder, Songkick
Martin Varsavsky (founder of Fon)
Brent Hoberman, Founder of lastminute.com and of Mydeco
Errol Damelin, CEO, Founder, Wonga.com
We’ll be hearing from Europe’s best entrepreneurs about how they are building their own companies and with it, contributing to Europe’s emerging tech ecosystem. I can pretty much guarantee that the speeches will be fast, furious and fulfilling. We run a tight ship on timing, and there is lots of opportunity to network.
Below you’ll find our fantastic sponsors so far.
Startup demo tables:
If you want to get a table to demo your startup you can so so in the conferencenetworking/breakout area (with wifi internet access and 2 delegate passes to GKNR and after party). Please choose the ‘Startup demo table’ ticket category.
Any questions relating to tickets, please contact Aléna Dundas (alena [@] techcrunch.com).
(Due to strong demand for tickets, we regret tickets are not transferable and not refundable. If you use your name to purchase multiple tickets, your guests must arrive with you to check in at the door. We will not make any name changes so please do NOT request these from the our event team. If you show up at the event without a valid ticket, We reserve the right to charge the full ticket price plus an administration fee to allow access to the event subject to availability. Why are we rather strict about this? Because our events are almost always sold-out and we like to protect the people who actually gone to the trouble of buying a ticket and following the instructions).
Lastly: Why “GeeknRolla”? Here’s why.
Here are some images from past GeeknRolla’s
LEAD SPONSORS SO FAR
Microsoft® BizSpark™ is a global program designed to help accelerate the success of early stage startups by providing key resources when they need it the most:
Software. Receive fast and easy access to current full-featured Microsoft development tools, platform technologies, and production licenses of server products for immediate use in developing and bringing to market innovative and interoperable solutions. There is no upfront cost to enroll.
Support. Get connected to Network Partners around the world — incubators, investors, advisors, government agencies and hosters — that are equally involved and vested in software-fueled innovation and entrepreneurship who will provide a wide range of support resources.
Visibility. Achieve global visibility to an audience of potential investors, clients and partners As a Microsoft BizSpark member, you’ll be tapping into a rich, vibrant ecosystem of peers, partners and support resources around the globe, helping you grow and succeed. Microsoft BizSpark is the quickest way to get your Startup fired up.
Joining is easy. Check to see if you qualify – most privately held software development startups in business for less than 3 years that are generating annual revenue under USD $1 million can join. You can join BizSpark through a valid BizSpark Network Partner or a Microsoft BizSpark Champ to get your BizSpark enrollment code. Enrollment is free, just pay a USD $100 program offering fee at program exit. For more details about BizSpark, see: The Startup Program Guide , which describes the program benefits and more. If you want to join BizSpark, click on the link below or send an email to BizSpark@microsoft.com if you are eligible, we will send you a code. www.microsoftstartupzone.com
Moonfruit has been providing DIY tools for people to design and build ‘Beautiful websites, simply.’ since 1999. To date 2.7m+ websites have been built by small businesses, communities, families, designers, crafters and freelancers who want to express themselves online without having to code. Moonfruit is passionate about creativity and simplifying technology for everyone. Our latest release Moonfruit 5.0 is not just a website editor, it behaves more like a graphic design package giving you control over the detailed design of your site. The Flash environment allows true drag and drop, point and click editing. You can layer, crop, animate, colour, apply transparency to objects on your page. You can also now add HTML widgets and social media tools to your sites. All sites are rendered in Flash and an alternate version in HTML. Moonfruit has been profitable since 2003 and grew 70% in 2009. Please go to www.moonfruit.com for more information.
DFJ Esprit: At DFJ Esprit we believe that good venture capital begins with good judgement and good relationships. Our partners have a track record of helping entrepreneurs to make their companies successful. In today’s world the best businesses have global ambitions from day one and the best venture funds have the networks to support those ambitions. DFJ Esprit is a member of the Draper Fisher Jurvetson Global Network, the largest venture capital network in the world with 140 investment professionals and over 600 portfolio companies. DFJ Esprit is a single team of partners all of whom benefit from and contribute to the success of our investments. We are entrepreneurs ourselves and we are proud to have built our firm to its current size and are passionate about continually moving forward, which means backing winning companies and doing everything we can to help them achieve and exceed their ambitions.
TechHub (@TechHub on Twitter) is the new hub for the technology community. Just 10 seconds walk from Old Street tube station, TechHub London is aimed specifically at technology entrepreneurs, startups and developers. Inside London’s main technology cluster and close to the financial heart, it offers affordable permanent desk spaces, a large member-based co-working area, meeting rooms for hire, a large board room and a conference/event space for up to 200 people. You can work all day on the 100mbs WiFi and connect with a great community of TechHub members. TechHub runs its own events as well as being available to hire for tech or developer events, conferences or meetups. Members are already joining TechHub from all over Europe, Silicon Valley, the Middle East and Asia to use TechHub as a base when they’re in London and we’re arranging Member discounts at some of the great bars, restaurants, cafes and hotels in the area too. TechHub facilities include: 30 permanent desk spaces for monthly hire, 100 pre-bookable co-working spaces, meeting rooms for hire by anyone (discounted for TechHub members), A/V, whiteboards, kitchen facilities and printing. Permanent deskspaces come with wifi/wired data, power and a mailing address. Contact us here. Join the mailing list to get regular updates here. Address: TechHub, Ground Floor, 76-80 City Rd, London, EC1Y 2BJ. Old St tube (exit 5) and a short walk from Moorgate Tube, Liverpool Street mainlines station, and close to taxis and buses.
Live streaming partner:
Bambuser offers a service that gives its users the opportunity to stream live video from a mobile phone or web-cam using 3G or WiFi network. The simplicity of the application and the unlimited mobility gives you the opportunity to instantly share your experience with your viewers and interact and communicate through the web- to-mobile chat. Share the world, Live and Mobile with Bambuser, visit www.bambuser.com. Bambuser is drawing comparisons to mobile videocasting service Qik. The major difference is the lower latency that bambuser offers due to different technical approaches. Another difference between the services is that Bambuser offers streaming both from your computer and mobile, while Qik only allows streaming from the mobile. In October 2009 Bambuser was the first of the live streaming start-ups to allow users to stream video directly from their mobiles to their Facebook Wall.
And here’s some bonus inspiration for you:
Here are the attendees and speakers at Geeknrolla based on Plancast and Lanyrd with their PeerIndex influence ranking:
GeeknRolla likes to make it a very real event. It’s fast paced – no-one can speak longer than 20 minutes – so they really have to get to the point. The panels are short so people have to step up to the plate and get their message out before we move on. The whole thing is curated from an editorial point of view: what is really going on out there? And more action happens in the breaks and lunch where we make sure people network with each other and get real things done. We even love to break news at the event.
Another way we try to keep it real is by inviting journalists to get on stage and ask real questions of those appearing. Sure, we have the odd cosy ‘fireside’ chat. But we also like to get to the bottom of things. Which is why we’re delighted the media have joined us to moderate aspects of the programme and generally hang out with the tech startup scene. And those are just the ones on stage – there are plenty more turning up to cover the event.
Combine that with an amazing speaker lineup and you have a great recipe.
Here’s are our on-stage journalist panel moderators (in alphabetical order):
Great news! We can now announce the GeeknRolla After Party, which will take place at the amazing, world-famous London nightclub, Pacha. Ticket holders and demo table holders at the main day-long conference will automatically get in to the after-party, so fear not, you will get in! A limited amount of After-Party-only tickets are now on sale here.
We’re delighted to announce that the party will be sponsored by VC firm DFJ Esprit: