(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.
Our Founder & Director Lisa Devaney will be back, for a second year, presenting to startups and entrepreneurs at UCL on Thursday, 2nd March, this week, with her DIY PR workshop.
About 30 attendants will participate in the workshop sponsored by UCL, where they will get insight on how to earn press coverage, and build social media presence, for their startup.
In the three-hour session, Devaney will cover:
- Developing communications strategy for your startup that will win headlines
- The tools of PR (email pitches, press releases, press lists, and more)
- Social media for startups and entrepreneurs
An honour to be part of the UCL offerings, this workshop is included with the UCL Innovation and Enterprise department. which launched last year. As part of UCL’s mission to support students pursuing entrepreneurial paths, they have seen more than 200 startups launch from the programme, including RecommendMe.
Here’s more information about UCL Innovation and Enterprise:
Our aim is to inspire a spirit of enterprise across UCL: to ensure that the economic and societal benefits of our research are fully realised. To achieve this, UCL Innovation and Enterprise brings together academics, the business community and other potential beneficiaries of our research in order to maximize its potential for commercialisation and ‘real world’ use. The goal is to secure our institution’s long-term place as a global leader in enterprise and innovation.
See more about the session here.
Looking to the new year, it may feel exciting, but also a little bit daunting. Challenges will roll, but how can you cope with unexpected events? Getting balance between business and career is one way to tackle this 2017. Stepping in to help is an upcoming Women in Food event ‘New You, New Business’ – hosted by the Female Foodpreneur Collective, happening on Thursday, January 26th in London.
In this evening gathering, a panel of inspiring speakers from various businesses will be tackling the topic of “A healthier you = A healthier Business and Career” to help you plan ahead, with health in mind, for the new year.
Hosted by Ashanti Bentil-Dhue , this event will include the following panel members:
Maggie Richards, meditation expert and certified Somatic Experiencing therapist will share how women from all walks of life can harmonise mind, body and spirit to transform life’s traumas and trials into triumphs. Her book, A Guide to Being a Better Being, is out now on Amazon.
A guest trainer from Today Fit will share how you can make your physical health a priority when building a business and career. Today Fit brings, personal training and customised fitness programmes, to anyone of any age, through online video coaching and nutritional advice. Aiming to break down expensive barriers to getting fit they help people get personalized workouts and nutritional advice, replicating the experience of 1-2-1 time with a personal trainer.
Fig & Bloom – London-based nutrition and food consultancy focused on improving health and wellbeing for the long-term. Stephanie Ridley, registered nutritional therapist, and Dorothy Barrick, holistic chef and recipe developer, combine evidence-based nutrition and culinary creativity to create fabulous tasting food; helping clients to nourish themselves easily, effectively and deliciously. Ex-food buyer and management consultant Caroline Flower co-owns and manages the business.
Pep & Lekker will be serving their gluten free ‘Gleaming Gold’ sweet potato and butternut squash soup on the evening. A great example of women in food rocking it, co-founder Susan Gafsen spent over 25 years working in leading City law firms first as a corporate lawyer before becoming a foodpreneur! Pep & Lekker believe we can support healthy clean eating with an active lifestyle.
Komal George is a pharmacist turned spice enthusiast who founded Amala Pure Health which celebrates the health benefits of turmeric. She’ll be serving her dairy free Turmeric Honey Hot Chocolates on the night.
Book your ticket here.
‘The Games Europe Plays’ invites kids and adults for inter-generational learning and fun with the most exciting digital games at the Finnish Institute in London.
The Finnish Institute in London and EUNIC London are proud to host The Games Europe Plays, an interactive games exhibition from 2-10 April, as part of the London Games Festival Fringe Programme. The Exhibition showcases the most exciting independent European digital games for young people (4+) and families in the heart of London in King’s Cross.
The exhibition is the first in a series of three shows initiated by EUNIC London and curated by body technologist and digital
expert Ghislaine Boddington. They will bring to the UK the best independent and innovative games made in Europe with a strong emphasis on design, virtual interactivity and physical engagement.
The exhibition at the Finnish Institute in London features children’s games by Gigglebug (Finland), Toca Boca (Sweden), Tine Bech (Denmark/UK), Peter Lu & Lea Schönfelder (Germany) and Amanita (Czech Republic) all looking at learning through play, multi-identity, representation and future skills for young people.
“Gaming today has gone digital and is evolving into some wonderful new forms, enabling us to envision future scenarios in which gaming experiences are at the centre of work and play. New formats use the whole of our bodies into the game, both through physical interactions and through exploring digital representations of ourselves. The exhibition allows us to explore a European perspective on the evolution of games for the future,” said Ghislaine Boddington.
The Games Europe Plays
Finnish Institute, London, Unit 1, 3 York Way, London, N1C 4AE
The exhibition is open to the public from 2-10 April 2016: Monday, Wednesday – Friday from 12 AM – 6 PM and Tuesday from 12 AM – 8 PM. It is open Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM – 5 PM.
*For everyone from 4 years old.
Use the hashtag #GamesEU to connect on Twitter
Friday, 1 April at 11 AM. RSVP to [email protected]
Friday, 1 April from 6:30 PM. Families welcome! RSVP to [email protected]
Participate on Thursday, 7 April at 6 PM for Game Play Europe – a conversation on making and playing today and in the future, moderated by curator Ghislaine Boddington. Panellists include journalist and TV presenter Kate Russell (UK), play artist Tine Bech (Denmakrt/UK) and the Director of the Finnish game industry hub neogames KooPee Hiltunen. The debate will look at career developments for young people in the future gaming industry, creativity/collaboration in design, gender perspectives in gaming and the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Design, Maths) agenda. RSVP to: [email protected]
Our client Software Optics will soon launch the ReVu video editor app, to help you make awesome videos with your iPhone, iPad and GoPro. The app will go live in the Apple App Store in March. To celebrate, we are planning a fantastic app launch party, on 10th March at Campus London, a Google place. Are you in London? Please come along.
Please book your tickets via Eventbrite, here.
ReVu will help you Zoom, pan, trim to make a new, better, video with your iPhone or iPad. It also fixes fisheye distortion of GoPro footage. You can watch the demo video of the ReVu app on YouTube here.
What does the event have in store? Amazing speakers, drinks, and a performance!
There will be a short introduction from Software Optics founders, the makers of ReVu: Adam Hoyle, JP Altier, Simon Kentish.
You’ll also be treated to seeing:
Scanner (Robin Rimbaud)
Scanner (British artist Robin Rimbaud) traverses the experimental terrain between
sound and space connecting a bewilderingly diverse array of genres. Since 1991 he has been intensely active in sonic art, producing concerts, installations and recordings, the albums Mass Observation (1994), Delivery (1997), and The Garden is Full of Metal (1998) hailed by critics as innovative and inspirational works of contemporary electronic music. He scored the hit musical comedy Kirikou & Karaba (2007), designed the sound for the new Philips Wake-Up Light (2009), and campaigns for Nike (2011), Chanel (2012), and The Financial Times (2014). More recently Scanner designed the campaign for Sprint phones in cinemas across America, reaching 2.5 billion spectators, scored The Big Dance in Trafalgar Square for 1000 dancers and the re-opening of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Committed to working with cutting edge practitioners he collaborated with Bryan Ferry, Wayne MacGregor, Mike Kelley, Michael Nyman, Steve McQueen, Laurie Anderson and Hussein Chalayan, amongst others.
Ghislaine Boddington, Co-founder and Creative Director of body>data>space and
Women Shift Digital, is an artist, dramaturg, curator and thought leader specialising in body responsive technologies, Ghislaine is recognised as an international pioneer advocating the use of the entire body as a digital interaction canvas for over 25 years. She has created live telepresence links between thousands of participants/audiences across the world for educational, performing arts and creative industries usage using her work to examine the representation of our physical selves and our identities in virtual environments. A co-creator and director of many art works exploring the hyper enhancement of our human senses through the digital and a lead director of international multi-partner projects, she co-curates Nesta’s FutureFest and is a Reader at University of Greenwich.
Elliot Grove, Founding Director, Raindance & Raindance Film Festival and the British
Independent Film Awards, who despite being unable to watch TV or films until his late teens due to the constraints of his Amish background, was curious about art and film. He worked first as a scenic artist (painting backgrounds) and started Raindance as a thought experiment: Could you make a movie with no training, no experience or no money. When British filmmakers like Christopher Nolan started making zero budget films, Elliot started Raindance Film Festival, as well as the British Independent Film Awards to showcase their work.
Russell Dalgleish, Serial entrepreneur and investor, Founder Exolta Capital Partners,
one of the UKs leading advisory firms, and is Chairman of WeAreTheFuture, the international entrepreneurship movement aimed at inspiring and connecting young business leaders.
Please contact: [email protected]
You can also find the ReVu app on social media. Here: