London Tech Week 2017 — what went down

by Kelly McCarthy

We will start with Friday as it was our very own created event “Think Different” Building an inclusive culture as a tech scale up

Monday — London Tech Week launches at Plexal

Sadiq Khan opened London Tech Week at Plexal in Stratford, the newest co-working space, heavily supported by the Government & built to inspire innovation. Alongside Sadiq, Herman Narula (CEO, Improbable), Omid Ashtari (President, City Mapper) as well as prominent VCs (e.g. LocalGlobe) debated the attractiveness of London as a destination for tech start-ups. What was the outcome? Here’s the highlights from Sadiq’s speech:

- Despite Brexit London’s tech sector will continue to lead innovation

- £1.2 Billion was invested into London post Brexit with companies such as Facebook, Google & Apple opening/expanding offices here

- I’m hiring a Chief Digital Officer to transform London into the world leading smart city

- New tech & data science will be at the heart of our solutions

- London will be the centre of a global movement with regards to climate & transport and we’re currently working with Ford to create solutions for mobility & develop electrical cars

- Sadiqh then announced ‘Better Futures’ a £1.6 million incubator to support London’s clean tech business and allow London to achieve his vision of the world leader in smart cities

- The talk was concluded with the statement that London is always open to talent from across Europe and further afield #londonisopen


TechXLR8 was all things VR and AR on the Tuesday. From hearing how companies like Melody Virtual are disrupting the live music industry by creating a Virtual Reality app to completely immerse you in the experience of a live concert on the other side of the world. By positioning cameras at various points within the arena (including on stage) anyone can feel like they are dancing with Ed Sheeran on stage. This could be the industry that will help VR/AR begin to appeal to a mass audience which is still the main challenge in this area.

The highlight of the day was meeting Sophia:


Drone Racing in Ally Pally #nuffsaid

Thursday — Innovate Finance’s ‘Money Talks’ VCs Take the Stage

This was an awesome event which saw the table turned on VCs. Octopus Ventures, Atomico, Eight Road Ventures, Motion Capital & 500 start-ups took to the stage to pitch to successful Fintech entrepreneurs from Iwoca, Starling Bank, Token, Tide & Syndicate Room.

The highlights:

- Octopus Ventures pitch was all about ‘unleashing progress building a global business with talented entrepreneurs’. It was the typical VC pitch one would expect and unfortunately came across a little dry and lacking passion. When asked ‘what happens when milestones aren’t hit?’ Alex simply talked around the question without answering it. These guys don’t take prisoners.

- Caroline from Atomico was a great speaker. Yes, she’s one of the few women in Venture Capital but that’s not what made her great. Her pitch was well delivered, with data to back it up and she was very honest when talking about the challenges their companies face and how they support them throughout. Key points were:

o Europe is incredibly underfunded in comparison to the US

o Europe has 4.7million developers and some of the best Universities for Computer Science

o 80% of companies who raised money in 2016 had a male founder

- Closing the pitches and stealing the show was Saalim Chowdhury from 500 startups who showed up in a Unicorn onesie. This was by far the most honest and down to earth pitch. If I was a small business looking for funding I’d go to them. Awesome facts

o They have a fund solely dedicated to black & latino founders in the US

o Their partners are 50/50 male and female

o “We don’t invest in assholes — we famously didn’t invest in Uber”

o We’re making entrepreneurship a better place!

  • Check out his talk here: from minute 56.12 to 1hr6


Check out Al Jazeera’s summary of London Tech Week (including our “Think Different” event here: