(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:
A conference or event is an important place for any up-and-coming tech startup to meet and greet with potential customers, partners and to showcase your thought leadership to an audience, if you can get a speaking opportunity. Among our network there are a few top conferences that tech startups we know are talking about and heading to soon. We thought you’d like to know where and when these happenings are taking place, here in London, and beyond.
Technology: The Innovators
November 2, 2016 (6 PM – 10 PM)
5 Bonhill Street, London EC2A 4BX, UK
Huxley is bringing together a group of passionate technology founders, Investors/VCs and tech start-up enthusiasts for a showcase of the most innovative home grown technology. This will be a true evening of innovation giving you up close and personal access to the next tech unicorn to come out of the UK.
*Sign up on the Eventbrite link to get on the waiting list for this fully booked event, or, watch remotely through a live stream.
November 7-10, 2016
The biggest gathering of tech startups and large companies is happening soon, and it isn’t to late to book a ticket at a discount rate. You’ll get to engage with 50,000+ attendees, 7,000+ CEOs and 15,000 companies from 150+ countries. Described by CNBC as being the “Biggest Event of Its Kind in Europe” and by Bloomberg as being “Davos for Geeks” you’ll not want to miss this business extravaganza.
TechCrunch’s Disrupt London
December 5-6, 2016
With a Startup Battlefield competition, a 24-hour Hackathon, Startup Alley, Hardware Alley and After Parties planned for this conference, it is sure to be a lot of fun and productive.
Dublin Tech Summit
February 15-16, 2017
Leaders, Founder & Influencers shaping technology across the globe will come together for this conference, held across Dublin’s iconic Silicon Docks and in the Convention Centre Dublin, and the two-day event will showcase everything Dublin has to offer to tech startups. Expected are 10,000+ attendants, 50+ world media outlets and 200+ speakers & global investors.
South By Southwest (SXSW)
Austin, Texas, USA
March 10-19, 2017
Famous for being where Twitter launched, among other exciting startup success stories, the tech startup injection at this world famous music and technology conference includes a Startup Village and plenty for the tech-savvy to be informed and entertained by.
May 2-4, 2017
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
USA Today bills this conference as “The anti-CES” and it takes place at the time of Jazz Fest in New Orleans, so you can stay in town for that happening. Jazz fest goes on the weekend before, and after the Collision conference. With 20,000+ attendants, 4,000+ CEOs and 4,500+ companies from more than 50 countries participating, this is a true collision opportunity for building your business.
February 21-22, 2017
Redwood City, California, USA
Google for Entrepreneurs’ StartupGrind says it connects 400,000 founders in more than 200 cities in 85 countries. The annual meet up is a culmination of ongoing monthly events, of which there have been 2,000+ fireside chats since it’s founding in 2010. The event promises to educate, inspire and connect and help entrepreneurs find mentorship, connect to partners and hires, pursue funding and reach new users.
For keeping up with startup conferences and events, here’s a few places to visit and to subscribe to newsletters:
Tech City News
Do you want help positioning your tech startup to win speaking opportunities at conferences worldwide? Get in touch with Lisa Devaney, the founder and director of Hai Media Group, today to discuss a plan of action for your 2017 thought leadership strategy. Email: [email protected]
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]