From Attending Startup Demo Days to Curating My Very First Demo Day

My first month as an International Technology Partnerships Planner at BLINK

April 2014, the day I had my very first intro to the world of startup incubators and innovation, thanks to an electric bike startup my friend got me involved in at university, a whole world of tech and innovation opened up in front of me.

From pulling all nighters at my very first hackathon at the Transport Museum of Glasgow to organising hackathons, the last 4 years have involved attending dragon’s den style pitching sessions at accelerators across London, hearing about AI and machine learning at tech conferences to working weekends perfecting an investor pitch and being a conference speaker myself.

Coming back to a full circle in April 2019 at MediaCom’s BLINK, an agency first venture of partnering tech startups with their client base and helping them be at the forefront of innovation.

In my first month here, I have learnt a lot more about innovation across the world beyond the Silicon Valley breed of tech that makes headlines, joining in the middle of a few live pilots we’re doing for Coca Cola European Partners and Mars.

At BLINK, we provide a solution for running pilots, with the idea being that corporates can test startups on a platform that replicates their real-life technological environment and business challenges.

Corporates are under pressure to generate their own disruption rather than be disrupted and offer access to a variety of resources that can accelerate a start-up’s business plan in return for an opportunity to tap into its agility and innovation.

My very first internal showcase at BLINK involved startups from regions as far and wide as South Korea, Bahrain, India, Egypt, Canada, Jakarta, Singapore and the UK, some examples include:

  • An Indian company that virtually creates physical retail stores and puts them online for customers to then ‘walkthrough’ and purchase from.
  • A British startup working on tiny beacon embedded into a clothing tag to wirelessly beam out information on what one is wearing. Seeing scope for retailers and brands to target their advertising better if they know what shoppers are wearing
  • An Australian AI system built on bleeding edge technologies from machine learning. The data-driven platform plans optimal retail strategies around occasion, brand, package, price, and channel.
  • An Israeli company based in the UK working on “Google for predictive analytics”, providing automated accurate predictions.

I also get to work with a truly global team, with my colleagues coming from Canada, Romania, Italy, Australia and the UK. Each bringing their own uniqueness to the team everyday with their pursuits outside of the day job from organising coding workshops for women, to publishing a book and engaging in parliamentary working groups, all this being reflected in the approach we take to serve our clients, with MediaCom constantly being at the forefront of the industry winning the Agency of the year at Cannes Lions 2018.

At BLINK we’re constantly working towards helping corporates locate their edge by partnering with innovative startups. More and more enterprises are realising that open innovation is key to continuously moving forward. The demand is high for a more streamlined way of collaborating with startups and, most importantly, a way of running pilots with them to prove their solutions’ validity and relevance.

And I am really excited to be working on curating more demo days building a legacy of introducing startups beyond Silicon Valley to our clients and MediaCom and helping crack challenges for brands in the FMCG, Luxury, Energy and Transport business we will be working with by building truly global tech partnerships.