Digital Mission Blog

Digital Mission The Digital Mission series is run by Chinwag to support UK-based digital companies expand into new markets and attract overseas investment.

Panels Tea and Texas

It has been a busy couple of days for the Digital Mission companies here at South by South West. These are just a few highlights from the last 48 hours, much of which has centred around Stand 413 on the Exhibition floor, where the the companies have been meeting with the press and SXSW visitors.

Saturday had the Brits flying the flag, wearing T-shirts with the Digital Mission logo and their Twitter IDs. It turned out to be a great way to connect with Twitter followers from both sides of the pond.

The day started with the Transatlantic Troubleshooting panel, featuring Aleks Krotoski of the Guardian, Stewart Townsend, of Sun Microsystems, Nigel Eccles of Hubdub, Mike Teasdale of Harvest Digital, and  Mike Butcher of TechCrunch. It was well attended, with a very interactive Q&A session. You can read a write up from Jemima Kiss in The Guardian.

The rest of the day centred around the Digital Mission stand, where Mike Butcher, Paul Carr and others joinined the companies.

A number of the companies were interviewed on camera by the BBC - UK firms fly flag at Tech show and Four pioneering web innovations.

Even the Twitchhiker stopped by on his mission to get to New Zealand, and Elvis showed up, alive and well. Photos are making their way on to Flickr.

The evenings are a rolling roster of networking events. Newer visitors to the US will have figured out that it is best keep your badges and photo ID with you when you're out networking; you'll get carded even if you're in your 30's (or 40's).

Sunday saw the stand playing host to Tuttle in Texas. There was a big crowd and a massive buzz, with tea and coffee on tap.


Digital Mission - Doing Business in the US

It might be Austin, but I almost had to swim to the "Doing Business in the US" Master class yesterday. It is cold and wet over here, no sign of any Texan sun.

South by South West kicks off today, but yesterday was all about understanding the legal aspects of setting up shop in the US. The Digital Mission companies braved the rain to gather at Palm Door to get the inside scoop on entering the US market. It's a very different environment to the UK, but the UK Trade & Investment team are able to point businesses to the expertise required.

After a hearty breakfast (it was lunchtime in the UK after all), the Winston & Strawn team explained the issues involved in setting up in the US. The companies appreciated the insights on dealing with intellectual property issues, as well as the peculiarities of the US labour market.


There were also tips on how to get the best out of SXSW, including great insights from a panel, and some special advice from Shawn O'Keefe, from South by South West interactive. It's all about catching the opportunities to make good contacts. South by South West is about building long term relationships that open doors to doing business in the US. If you bump into someone in a corridor, have the conversation there and then. It's a big place, and the chances of seeing someone again are slim.

After the morning's session, the Digital Mission companies headed off to ready themselves for the onslaught of networking activities, while the Chinwag team set up the Digital Mission stand - compete with water, UK and US power and speedy Ethernet Internet connectivity (no battling with the conference WiFi).

Stop by, recharge and connect if you are at South by South West!

Five days of Digital Mission at SXSW

digialmission-unionjack-120.gifSix months of planning, 100+ applications, 35 companies and heaps of logistics. The merry band of Brits that make up the Digital Mission is heading SXSWard. For live info, follow @digitalmission on Twitter.

So, if you're lucky enough to be in Austin, what's happening? Funny you should ask, here's a quick run-down. Swing by, we'd love to say 'hello' and there's a bunch of interesting people to meet and some ground-breaking products launched...

Digital Mission Expo Stand

Visit our stand at SXSW 2009

Saturday (14th March), Sunday (15th March), Monday (16th March)
Open from 12pm daily
Expo Hall, Austin Convention Centre (Map) - SXSW pass required

At the center of activities is the 400 sq. ft. Union Jack be-decked Expo stand - trust me, you won't miss it - complete with rolling demos filmed by our friends at and, importantly, high-speed Internet access. After all, 9,000+ geeks will do some serious damage to the average conference Wifi.

Pop by, hang out, chat, re-charge your laptop/iPhone/DS/<insert cool gadget here>, blog, we'd love to meet you. Look out for Texas Tuttle Club and the SXSW Block Party, both on Sunday 15th.

Panel: Transatlantic Troubleshotting, Getting into Europe

Saturday, March 14th
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Room C, Austin Convention Centre (Map) - SXSW pass required

The European market with over 500 million citizens is an enormous single market, with the UK providing a natural first-step for US companies looking to expand East-wards. After all, we share (pretty much) the same language. Challenging economic times mean the search for lucrative new markets is more important than ever. Quiz the panel and discover what it's like to do business in the UK and Europe, how to find partners, and stay gaffe-free. Get the skinny on the fast-moving tech, mobile and games scene.

The panel features:

Texas Tuttle Club

Tuttling at the Tuttle Club - ICA by Annie MoleSunday (15th March)
From 12pm-2pm - coffee, tea, pasties, fruit & great conversation
Expo Hall, Austin Convention Centre (Map) - SXSW pass required

The Tuttle Club, London's renowned weekly social media get-together is coming to Texas.

Every Friday morning in London, a loose group of people come together to talk and work around social media at London’s ICA. There are allied and similar groups in Brighton,Birmingham, Cardiff, Newcastle and Manchester and with so many of the Tuttle group in Austin, a gathering with like-minded souls from the UK and the US is planned with tea, coffee, pastries and fresh fruit to help the discussion along.

To find out more about the Tuttle Club check out the website and a video from one of the early gatherings. Keep track of the main protagonists in Austin via Twitter by following @lloyddavis , @benjaminellis and @freecloud.

SXSW Block Party

Sunday (15th March)
From 4pm-6pm - beer, soft drinks, chips & dips
Expo Hall, Austin Convention Centre (Map) - SXSW pass required

The Block Party, modeled after the popular pub crawl, is a new addition to the 2009 Trade Show. Talk with exhibitors in a festive atmosphere and enjoy complimentary appetizers and beverages including beers, soft drinks and some fine British Cheddar from Wykes Farm (tbc).

Great British Breakfast

hungry-for-networking.gif Tuesday (17th March)
From 10-12pm - networking with a traditional British fry-up
Old Pecan Street Cafe, 310 East Sixth Street, Austin, Tx 78701 (Map) - RSVP required

A great way to kick-off the final day of SXSW interactive, an international networking event, a chance to swap stories, meet the Digital Mission companies, press, investors and talk about all things interactive over a good ol' fashioned fry-up - British style.
RSVP: Sign up here and swing by the Expo stand to grab your ticket, or ask any company on the Digital Mission.


britbash.gif Tuesday (17th March)
From 8pm
British Music Embassy, Latitude 30, 512 San Jacinto Blvd (Map) - RSVP Required

A bash to celebrate the close of SXSW interactive and the start of SXSW music. Come to the BritBash and see top Brit newcomers, Alice Russell, The Post War Years, The Webb Sisters and established Scottish stars, The Proclaimers.
RSVP now to get a free ticket


Other Brit Action

Anything we've missed? samatchinwag [dot] com (subject: Brit%20event%20in%20Austin) (Email), tweet or leave a comment.

[Pic courtesy of Annie Mole]

30+ Handy Resources for SXSW interactive

Visit our stand at SXSW 2009 Digital Mission

The first time I went to South by South West interactive, the sheer volume of events was over-whelming. A predictably hurried decision to go left little time for any proper planning and the show whizzed by.

sxswi parties - sunday night by Liz HenryAccording to Aaron Brazell, second time out, the event should be an endless round of conference sessions, meetings and partying networking. As part of the Digital Mission, featuring 35 of the UK's hottest digital companies, our group will number nearly 100. For more Brit-related shenanigans, keep an eye out for Rebecca Caroe's cunning plan.

With that in mind, a little preparation may go a long way. I've been collecting handy links for the last couple of weeks, and here's a compendium of over 30 resources that'll help make the SXSW experience tip-top. If you've got others to add, drop me a line or leave a comment below...


It's worth spending a little time on my.SXSW. I found the navigation a little tricky, but there's some very handy features in there. I'm not quite sure how well the SXSW-only Twitter-like functionality will work, but the advanced user search is really useful for finding contacts by name, industry, company, etc across all the SXSW festivals.

Note that advanced search is only available on the homepage of my.SXSW. The site also features a full list of panels, as you'd expect, select a few you fancy popping along to, and they'll show up in your public profile (here's mine).

Who's Going?

Panel Planning & Scheduling


Party Info

or..."Yes, that's right the Iron Cactus is an unusual name for a business centre. I was, <cough>, networking". Don't forget to check out Gary's Guide to SXSW and Sched*SXSW for listings info.

A couple of unofficial parties that are worth watching out for:


Where would we be without the little blue birdy...there's probably heaps of people to add here, so do let me know.



Austin, TX

You've come all this was for SXSW, but there's a whole city out there. And bats (I kid you not).

So, that's plenty to get stuck into. If you're not part of the Digital Mission, don't forget to check out our Expo stand (look for the mahoosive British flag). We'll be dishing out drinks and snacks as part of the SXSW Block Party on Sunday, 15th March between 4-6pm.

Plus, we're bringing the authentic British breakfast to Austin, with our networking event, the Great British Breakfast on Tue 17th March, between 10am and midday at Old Pecan Street Café. RSVP now and meet the cream of the UK's digital scene. See you there!

In the likely event I've missed off people, links, guides, etc - samatchinwag [dot] com (subject: Info%20for%20SXSWi%20blog) (drop me an email), Tweet or add a comment below, thanks.

[Pic courtesy of Liz Henry] to track Digital Mission to SXSWi

techflufftv.pngThe momentum is building as the final preparations are made by the 35 companies travelling to South by South West interactive as part of the first Digital Mission of 2009. We're excited to announce that have joined the Digital Mission as our video partners and will be joining the Digital Mission gang on the journey to Texas.

Digital Mission

Their quirky, fast-paced take on the European tech scene is being put to good use with a series of videos highlighting these top British digital companies using iconic London landmarks as backdrops.

These videos will be shown on the two large plasmas that feature on the Digital Mission expo stand at SXSW, for a sample check out the latest episode filmed by Hermione and the crew.

style="text-align: left;">

More about

n511466982_4118.jpgDubbed the ‘RocketBoom and POP17 of Europe’, the weekly Internet and tech show will be travelling to SXSW in March to follow some of Europe’s most successful start-ups going on Digital Mission. has been making waves in the UK and Europe with its entertaining yet informative style, showcasing some of Europe’s hottest start-ups and featuring a number of famous entrepreneurs as ‘Experts’ who answer people’s Tweets from Twitter.

Dragons’s Den alumnus and Digital Mission advisor Doug Richard, Theo Paphitis and Simon Woodroffe have all appeared on the show and MP Tom Watson, after appearing on the show, blogged:

Thing is, people are just getting on with it and doing it themselves. Sorry telly. I think this is a problem for you.

Only nine episodes it’s clear is becoming a staple of the European tech scene. is a video partner of TechCrunch UK, media partner of the Digital Misson and is sponsored by Sun Microsystems and Flip video who recently helped Techfluff to provide tech news from all over Europe by providing cameras for Techfluff correspondents.