(This blog post is by Lisa Devaney, the Founder and Director of the Hai Media Group)
Over the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of helping to mentor Valentine from SSSHAKE, an early-stage London tech startup, right from when the seed of the idea was taking root.
When I first met Valentine Del del Giudice, she immediately demonstrated more than a starry-eyed view of launching her start-up. She showed a well-thought out business plan, credible research into her marketplace and an enthusiastic drive that we knew would not quit – no matter what!
Well, that “no matter what” moment seems to have transpired when on 23rd June 2016, the vote for the UK to leave the European Union took place. At this point, Valentine was not even out the start gate yet with her SSSHAKE!
What’s the startup idea?
Her idea, like most of the best, is simple – there’s an app which connects you to new, unexpected matches when you shake your smartphone, Additionally, SSSHAKE hosts events and collaboration tools to offer London creatives the chance to form a solid creative network to connect and potentially collaborate with others to launch new projects. In a big city like London, Valentine’s channel literally shakes up how creative people could find and work together – no matter where they come from.
Valentine, an EU citizen from Paris, woke up on the that morning and experienced a big shock. She says she felt very sad, angry and that it seemed like everything she had valued about the UK – its welcoming, multicultural attitude – had vanished. Would she have to leave? Would she have to lose members of her team as they lost the right to work in the UK?
That was more than a year ago, but, like her app, she shook off the fear of uncertainty, and decided to remain focused on launching SSSHAKE in the spring of 2017, and not let Brexit blues interfere with her ambition to make her startup succeed.
This included running a successful crowdfunding campaign for SSSHAKE, and smashing it above her 5K target goal – she secured more than £6K. The app also secured some press at launch time. Go Valentine!
The mood these days
SSSHAKE Founder Valentine del Giudice
This week, I caught up with Valentine to find out what her mood is now in these pre-Brexit times, and how it feels to be a tech startup in “pre-Brexit” Britain, with herself an EU citizen at the helm.
SSSHAKE is proving popular, attracting a few hundred attendants at every event she runs and significant downloads from the Apple App Store, even in these still very early days. Having started the idea for her business while she was still attending university at the London College of Communication, this is her first big pursuit out of school days, and she’s smartly been cultivating support and mentoring from various advisors.
Shock from that first Brexit referendum results morning has eased for Valentine. While there may be big changes, she is ready, and up for anything that comes next, even if it means relocating SSSHAKE headquarters to a different city.
“We are not afraid of change and relocation,” she says. She’s just returned from a business trip to Paris, which is ramping up and courting tech startups to make their homes in the city,
Hotspots like Lisbon and Berlin are doing the same.
“As a tech business, we can be anywhere.”
If London doesn’t change
Right now, she explained, London is still still proving to be welcoming and an easy place to connect and grow the SSSHAKE network and business model. Filled with an international community, the city remains a gateway to the world.
Valentine’s mood is that she’ll keep her startup here for at least a few years, or more if that allows, while keeping an eye to the news and what might be in-store for her both personally and professionally as Brexit shakes out.
No matter where she lands, the future feels very promising, she happily reports.
Are you a tech startup in the UK? What mood are you in right now? I’d love to hear your story for my Hai Media Group’s blog. Email: [email protected]
NOTE: Inspiration to share this story, and help with editing the blog post, came from Keren Lerner, the Founder and head of Top Left Design.
Happy 2017 everyone, or HNY!, as people are saying on social media. We want to wish you a great year, filled with promise and potential.
HNY 2017 from Lisa Devaney’s Bitmoji!
In case you are wondering what we are up to this year, here’s a few things that we have planned:
We’ll continue to be supporting tech startups with public relations services, including working with a few early stage startups that have plans to launch in 2017. We are currently helping to rally beta testers for some of our clients, develop social media presence and begin media relation’s activities. A few clients we work with are still in stealth mode, while they plan their strategy for public debut.
Here on this blog, we’ll be periodically featuring startups from around the world, with our ‘Startup Spotlight’ feature that has proven to be very popular. If you are a startup and would like to be featured, please contact us. We’ll also continue blogging here about happenings from our network, including conferences, events, beta test opportunities from our clients, client launches and more!
At the start of 2017, we are nearly at full capacity for new business, but would love to hear from you if you are interested in pursuing our services. We can always make room for more clients!
Also in 2017, Our Founder & Director Lisa Devaney will be hosting her DIY PR Workshops for Startups & Entrepreneurs for various organizations, including UCL. She’s also serving as a mentor and a non-executive board adviser to a few tech startups.
Look for us elsewhere online, for more current updates, of our Hai Media Group’s activities at:
In an interview with Eric Dye, host of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network, of Enterprise Radio, our Founder and Director Lisa Devaney shared some tips about tech startup public relations.
In the interview, she talked about planning carefully before you start talking in public, among other great advice:
Don’t over promise…remember that Google sticks! Be really careful about what you are saying publically. It burns your credibility to not deliver what you are promising.
Really build your own visibility online before visiting the media with your story.
Be sure to speak in clear, jargon-free terms when describing your business.
You can listen to the full interview here:
We are pleased to announce that the Hai Media Group website is now live with a fantastic new look and design!
Made by Dave Hall, we are really excited to unveil this design today that captures the essence of the services we are offering.
With our new design, we have tried to encapsulate our three main areas of: Hai Media, Hai Social and Hai Beta – all geared to help early stage, disruptive, tech startups find their way in the world. A lot of our clients will tell you that we get up to a lot more than what our package says, often serving as advisors and connectors, who have proved very valuable for those we work with and support. We love these compliments! Keep them coming!
We also want to let you know that our popular blog will be continuing. Soon, we’ll return to providing our Startup Spotlight features, among other useful news and views that you can use. Ranked on Alexa.com, our website and blog have had more than 21 million views over our existence. How cool is that?
By the way, if you are looking for a new website, or website designer. We are happy to recommend Dave. Dave is a freelance web designer, residing online at I Can Make You Website. With a background including work in music industry PR and a number of his plays produced in professional theatres, he has specialised in creating sites for musicians and others in the entertainment industry. He is also the creator of Roktopus Themes, a nascent array of premium WordPress themes. He has a degree in Philosophy from Cambridge and lives in East London.
Thanks for the great work Dave!
If you are interested in starting something up with us, drop a line to our founder & director Lisa Devaney at: [email protected]
We’ve got a new look for Hai Media Group in 2016, with a new logo and, coming soon, a new website design. Don’t worry – we aren’t scraping features like our popular Startup Spotlight, and our blog, but we hope you’ll like our new attire.
Hai Media Group Logo 2016
We worked with the graphic designer Daniel Bobroff, of House of DB, to develop a new logo and new brand look to dress up our social media presence and overall branding. He really helped develop the concept and appeal that we were looking for – and asked many questions to get into the style, look and message we want to relay to the world with our new appearance.
You’ll see in our new logo that we’ve got a rough edge circle, drawn like a calligraphy line. This, for the Hai Media Group, represents the emerging, not fully constructed and even disruptive edge that many of our clients have as tech startups. We wanted to show that, hey, everything we work in is often a work in progress – and it isn’t a neat, crisp line, as things are not quite finished. We thought our designer captured this essence really well. What do you think?
As we love looking at works-in-progress, check out the sketch process Daniel went through to create our new look here:
For Daniel, and his House of DB, design is about making a difference. He strives, whether creating a new brand identity and logo, or conceptualising packaging design, the same amount of thought, consideration, enthusiasm and determination goes into the process. Established in mid 2014, House of DB is a full service graphic design and illustration studio, with a firm belief that it’s all about the creative process…and House of DB loves creating. They like working with clients who want to be hands on, collaborative and eager to be part of the journey but are equally comfortable being given a brief and told to just run with it. They strive to create work that is bold and unique but more importantly effective and something the client is excited about and proud to use.
For House of DB, it’s about who you are today and where you want to be tomorrow.
Soon, you’ll get to see our new web design unveiled, and this is in works by the web designer Dave Hall. Dave is a freelance web designer, residing online at I Can Make You Website. With a background including work in music industry PR and a number of his plays produced in professional theatres, he has specialised in creating sites for musicians and others in the entertainment industry. He is also the creator of Roktopus Themes, a nascent array of premium WordPress themes. He has a degree in Philosophy from Cambridge and lives in East London.