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January 2012

Simmons & Simmons

Our January meeting was hosted by Simmons & Simmons, a leading international law firm.

Guest SpeakerTech City
Andrew Humphries - Tech CityHave you heard about Tech City; is it a myth or Reality? We heard from Andrew about the exciting development taking place in the East End, building a competitor to the Silicon Fen in Cambridgeshire. Tech City is home to the world's next generation of high-tech entrepreneurs. Originally a small cluster of high-tech firms, Tech City has grown dramatically to become the capital's leading destination for digital, creative and high-technology companies. In just three years, it has expanded naturally from around 15 companies to over 500 growth that is set to continue, with the UK Government actively supporting the area's development.
Alongside the numerous start-ups and small medium-sized businesses who have built their success within Tech City's unique environment, the area is host to many of the world's leading technology companies. Household names such as Cisco, Vodafone, Google, Facebook and Intel are increasingly recognising the advantages offered by Tech City and the significant potential benefits of being part of this thriving centre of technological excellence. Stretching from the vibrant districts of Old Street and Shoreditch to the heart of the 2012 Games at the Olympic Park in Stratford, Tech City offers opportunities for technology companies and investors of all sizes.

Business Pitches
Chris Chapman - HeadcastHeadcast - a fast and simple way to animate and broadcast characters to new media mobile Apps - what better way to get your brands marketing messages across than using entertaining animated characters or celebrities. Chris was head of R&D at Spitting Image Projects and later founded a VC-backed company that listed on AIM. The Headcast white label service provides the built character, and licenses its unique technology platform allowing instant creation of animated performances that are 'headcast' direct to Smartphones and Tablets. Brands and broadcasters can deliver up-to-the-minute content to users using 10% of the bandwidth of streaming video. Users can interact with the characters with the animation, shaking heads, moving backgrounds and changing voices.
Chris has assembled a dream team of executives and specialised partners to bring this mobile animation revolution to market. The animation team has won BAFTA nominations. Clients can have their branded App further customised with different environments / camera setups / etc. Every time there's a new animation to watch, users who have downloaded the App will be notified of the day's new release on their Smartphone for rapid download.

Grow Movement
Chris Coghlan - Grow Movement There has been a lot in the news recently about the UKs overseas aid budgets, at a time of great squeeze on other areas of government spending. Here is a new extremely cost effective approach to help those in less developed countries to learn how to help themselves, at 3% of traditional methods. Most economic development assistance has focused on the supply of capital (e.g. micro finance) rather than innovation. This is largely due to the high cost of development consultants. Grow Movement solves this by using free labour from highly skilled remote volunteers anywhere in the world with internet and phone access. These volunteers donate 3 hours of their time a week ensuring an ultra low cost base to help developing country entrepreneurs relieve poverty and create employment.
Grow Movement is managed by a young Ugandan woman, Violet Busingye and was founded in 2009 by Chris Coghlan. With 115 remote volunteer consultants in 29 countries, operating mainly in Uganda but also Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Rwanda. Its first 40 projects helped create 100 jobs at thirty times less than conventional expatriate development consultants. Chris is achieving outstanding results while holding down a full time Day Job too!

Nick Pelling - NanodomeAccording to UKTI, the UK has 20% of the world's security cameras, we knew we had too many! Of those, the mechanical Pan/Tilt/Zoom ("PTZ") camera segment is a $1bn global market all by itself. Yet even though PTZs have been used for over 50 years, the technology inside them has evolved relatively slowly: and even today, they suffer from unreliability in the field. Buyers desperately want reliable PTZs, but can't get them: the machinery is just too complex and fragile to last a long time in active use.
To meet this pent up demand, Nanodome has been patenting, developing and prototyping its own replacement technology since 2007, completely redesigning PTZs to yield the long-term reliability buyers need. Nanodome's mantra is "The Decade" - it aims to build a wide range of cameras that run not for 18 months but for 10 years.
To get these new cameras into production inside six months, Nanodome has partnered with a highly experienced Taiwanese project management company. It is now looking for access to investment to make this happen. Nick has a wealth of experience in security cameras and has assembled a global dream team around him to deliver his vision.