OpenCoffee Leeds {Duo}

Despite the rain and a new home for OpenCoffee Leeds, the second {Duo} of our monthly networking events went well last Tuesday. We counted 21 attendees, a little short of last month – but I blame the rain 🙂 However, we were pleased to see a lotta new faces and just a handful of old friends.

  • Glen Hopkinson, MD of Connect Yorkshire, – a public body assisting early stage businesses in Yorkshire – came along to learn more about tech startup culture.
  • Justin Whitson brought a few members of his web development team from Nexus. Prior to OpenCoffee, Justin, Ian and I spoke about how we can collectively improve the tech ecosphere in the region, including coworking spaces, forums for investors to meet entrepreneurs and exploring alternatives to venture capital, including a Y(orkshire?) Combinator model. Justin’s keen to apply his business expertise to the web industry and is interested in seeing where OpenCoffee can be a first step into new ventures and opportunities.
  • Tom Scott demo’d a neat app that helps friends choose a place for lunch by applying a reputation layer to existing social networks…not far off my old Simpatico project at Orange, but a great start in illustrating the solution to a real user need and opening doors to a bunch of other interesting social apps. Tom also gave me one of his new Moo business cards (his last card was hand drawn on a scrap of paper!)
  • Tim Barker, VP fo Software Development for Fire4, attended OpenCoffee Miami and after a quick Google search discovered the Leeds chapter right in his backyard. As a web-worker, Tim is interested in locating low-cost office space for his ventures and consequently drawn into the coworking discussions along with University of Leeds staffer, Paul Stanton…also keen on the notion of coworking for his new venture.
  • Anish Kapoor, CEO of Yuuguu, made an early morning effort to cross the Pennines. Anish is a regular in the north-west startup scene and the company is one of the sucess stories for the Rising Stars Growth Fund. Carbon’s hopefully going to be helping Yuuguu at an upcoming company strategy day 🙂
  • RSGF were also represented by Ed French and the very, very tall Mark Rahn. Come to think of it, Ed’s pretty tall too 🙂
  • Orange’s Head of Emerging Technologies, Ian Hay showed off Nokia‘s new mobile web server, triggering a few interesting discussions and potential applications of the technology. Ian also had a bag full of Heroes Xvids for me…shhh!
  • Dominic Hodgson, of StickyEyes and Leeds Met hinted he was about to start a new venture…but disappeared before I could find out more…
  • My cousin Mohsin also came by, Mohsin’s rapidly becoming the official photographer of OpenCoffee Leeds…Mohsin recently visitied the Interactive Telecommunications Programme in New York and is stoked to see a similar culture emerging in Leeds, where he’s about to join Leeds Met’s Innovation North school.
  • John Lambert, a regional IP  expert and barrister left with the spark of bootstrapping OpenCoffee Huddersfield and Edinburgh! John’s track record is awesome…I really wanna pick his brains on stuff!

So month two has been a little quieter, many of the people we met between the first and second events were busy, some of the people I wanted to talk to more weren’t able to return and the rotten weather kept many people away…however, everyone seemed to find someone of interested and we again saw a bunch of satisfied customers 🙂

OpenCoffee {Tre} is planned for 7th August…Justin W’s offered the use of the Loftart gallery again (great views of the City) and someone’s suggested The Living Room‘s Study…we’ll announce venue details soon…in the meantime enjoy the photos from {Duo}.


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