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.

Digital Mission success for Slicethepie

SlicethepieCongratulations to David and the guys from Slicethepie, a financing engine and market insight business for the music industry. As a result of contacts made during the Digital Mission to New York in September, they have been selected to appear at the next Hatchery event in New York on 5th November.

The HatcheryThe Hatchery organise regular events in the Big Apple, bringing together angel investors, VCs and leading industry figures. Co-founders, Dr. Yao-Hui Huang and David Blumenstein have developed The Gauntlet, a pitching session for the three companies that successfully make it through the selection process. Yao and David also spent time both on panels and networking with companies on the Digital Mission - thanks guys - filling in the details of what makes the East-coast investment community tick.

It's an extremely competitive entry process, so Slicethepie's success in making it through shouldn't be under-estimated, next up is their 7 minute pitch to New York's investment community (or what's left of it). The Hatchery's template pitching at The Gauntlet may come in handy for other entrepreneurs, or in fact anyone pitching. They recommend focusing on:

  1. Problem/Solution (What we solve)
  2. Market (Customer description, market size)
  3. Industry/Competition (Supply chain, competitors, etc.)
  4. Operations (What we do/how we do it)
  5. Financials (Key assumptions, financial growth targets or customer targets, etc.)
  6. Team (Who are we)

Digital MissionThe next Digital Mission to SXSW is taking place between 13th and 17th March 2009. The application process will open next week and details will be posted to the Digital Mission website.

Want cash to exhibit at overseas tradeshows?

368281633_4cb5e6e83c_m.jpgThought that might get your attention.

Please leave a comment with any overseas tradeshows your company would like to exhibit at., or that you think should be included on the list. This assistance only applies to exhibiting in the Expo part of tradeshows or conferences, it doesn't include conference passes.

So, how does this work? Good question. Prepare for jargon and acronyms.

Chinwag has become an ATO (Accredited Trade Organisation), which means we can put in bids to the TAP (Tradeshow Access Programme) for selected overseas tradeshows. The TAP initiative is funded by UK Trade & Investment, the same agency that put a huge chunk of support into the Digital Mission to Web 2.0 Expo and the upcoming Digital Mission to SXSWi.

2867465595_4c3f93bc59_m.jpgSadly, the budget is limited so we have to apply to TAP with a list of tradeshows that companies would like assistance in exhibiting at. There's between £1,000 and £1,800 in contributions to costs available per company per show. As you'd expect, the T&Cs for this are fairly extensive, but the scheme should be open to pretty much all digital companies head-quartered in the UK.

As with the Digital Missions, the aim is to help UK companies expand their overseas business. Handy huh?

What we need now is to know - and very quickly - is which tradeshows should go on the list we're submitting to TAP. The deadline for entries is today! The overall fund is limited, so a case needs to be made for each show and why it's worth doing.

Yes, that is ridiculously soon, confirmation of Chinwag as an ATO has only just been finalised, but it'd be a shame to let this opportunity pass by. Please leave a comment asap with any overseas tradeshows you'd like to exhibit at, below.

[Pic courtesy of spcbrass and Benjamin Ellis]

And they're back - Digital Mission

It is hard for me to believe, but the last day of the Digital Mission to NYC has arrived and the 21 digital companies represented are all back home.

After the "Separated @ Birth" panel, everyone headed across New York town, rapidly followed by the other Web 2.0 Expo attendees. The destination was the rather trendy Hudson Hotel, home to the Expo "Birds Of A Feather" sessions, designed to bring together people with similar interests.

Britain's got digital talent BOFThe "Britain's Got Digital Talent" BOF gave attendees the chance to meet with the Digital Mission companies away from the hustle and bustle of the Expo show floor. It was very encouraging to see it draw quite a crowd, with US folks wanting to meet with the UK companies, and a number of expats also dropping in to share their stories of getting going in the US.

I might have mentioned the pace in New York once or ten times previously, but it really is fast. Most of the companies have already held follow on meetings with contacts they made during the week.

Talking to people on the journey back, the common theme (apart from jetlag) was a strong sense of community. Not just the chats across twitter, which helped keep us in touch during the trip, but there a real buzz from the shared experiences, newly discovered common interests. Everyone felt they had come back with a useful set of new contacts both in the US and at home, and a much deeper knowledge of the US.

Digital Mission - Separated at Birth?

Some great keynotes here at the Web 2.0 Expo in New York, both yesterday and today. Gary Vaynerchuk was a firm favourite, at least from confering with the peeps from the digital mission companies (full list here by the way). We'll get to see Gary again at Wine 2.0 tonight.

The Digital Wednesdays event was packed yesterday evening - Lots of transatlantic networking and discussion. Interesting to compare and contrast once more between London and New York. It's clear that getting out to events and meeting people is more critical than ever, especially with things changing so quickly.

The comparing and contrasting was picked up in the "Separated at Birth" Web2Open session. There were raised voices, but only to keep about the background noice from the show. Lively discussion, and lots of the audience are still here as I am typing this, chatting, swapping cards and carrying on the discussion. One of the digital mission companies is even doing a show and tell. Tim O'Reilly even dropped in. Tim O'ReillyTim O'Reilly

I'm looking forward to the Birds of a Feather session at The Hudson Hotel tonight.



Digital Mission and Chinwag chat on air

Our very own Sam Michel, MD of Chinwag, has made it on to the radio - Blog Talk Radio to be precise - and it’s good to hear from him that “the Digital Mission is going incredibly well”.

He was being interviewed while at the Web 2.0 Expo in New York, part of the exciting roster of events Digital Mission companies have access to.

The Chinwag contingent are over with 21 of the UK’s hottest digital companies. All are there to meet with potential partners, VC’s and to build their position within the competitive US digital market.

Some of the companies involved have already had interest from venture capitalists and are making intrepid plans for expansion and development; exactly which companies we can’t reveal at the minute.

Thankfully, the crisis in the US economy has not had a damaging effect on VC interest in startups. Most VC companies already had their venture funds put together before economic affairs took a nose dive, and these funds will last several years.

In the words of Sam: “We may be united by a common language but how the UK and the US do business couldn’t be more different”

You’re in a meeting with investors in the UK - you think, great, they seem pleased. It’s all going well. It seems that in London people are a polite bunch who would hold off telling you their real thoughts about a project for an email.

Not so in NY - business culture is a tad different. One of the main things the Mission go-ers have noticed is the straight-down-the-line opinions of the New Yorkers. “They tell you if they dont like your idea straight away,” Sam told Blog Talk Radio.

It may be intimidating but it’s incredibly useful in a competitve market like New York.

The mission companies may be moving into a completely different market, where home-bred companies are competing along with them, but the pay-offs can be huge. In terms of traffic you can factor the numbers in the UK by ten. The American market is also 5 or 6 times bigger than here in Britain.

Back in the day when the search engine guys first came to the UK, to showcase their exciting new business ideas, the audience didn’t quite get it at first, Sam recalled. But the search engines kept plugging away, and just look at them now.

They say success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. So UK companies will have to work hard to make it overseas. But it’s exhilirating when you can work hard and make contacts in a place like New York; so our Digital Mission companies are making the most of their time and the entire experience.

Listen to the interview with Sam Michel here

See the list of Digital Mission NYC companies

Read the Digital Mission blog

See all Digital Mission photos here on Flickr