Coffeeclubs, Conferences, Coworking and Community

23rd of February 2007 by conor

We’ve just had a very important few weeks in the start-up world in Europe. A set of blog-posts and activities have jump-started what I hope is a new phase of entrepreneurs and investors building great European companies together.

A lot of us have been writing for quite a while about the entrepreneur-investor disconnect in our respective countries. I think some of us have been guilty of complaining without doing much about it. There was perhaps a sense that there was still little investor interest in funding early stage tech start-ups. Exactly one week ago Saul Klein wrote a post which is easily the most important call-to-arms in the world of early-stage start-ups in the past few years. The torrent of comments and blog posts tells you how passionate we all are about what we are doing and our desire for success.

On Tuesday, Ryan held the Future of Web Apps summit, one of the best conferences I have attended. Whilst the technical content of the two days was deeply interesting, the thing that I noted more was the very strong sense of community. This is obviously a key message of Tara and Chris from Citizen Agency and they had great success in spreading it over the few days of BarCamp London 2, FoWA and the Geek Dinner.

I just blogged yesterday about Coworking which Chris has been promoting and it is a critical part of this community jigsaw. Coworking is

a cafe-like community/collaboration space for developers, writers and independents. Or, it’s like this: start with a shared office and add cafe culture. Which is the opposite of most modern cafes.

I’m already getting interest here in Ireland from people who want to get involved. I should have some updates on that regarding feedback in Cork early next week.

Then Saul added more to the mix with his announcement of OpenCoffee Club,

An attempt to establish recognized, open and regular meeting places where entrepreneurs can meet with investors (and anyone else who fancies coming along) in a totally informal setting.

Within hours we had announcements of Clubs in Dublin and Limerick. However I think a critical aspect of Saul’s announcement is that it comes from an investor. Now that he has set the benchmark (pun intended), will we see similar announcements in Ireland from Trinity, Benchmark, ACT, Kernel or Mianach?

In from left-field we also have FON announcing their Starbucks community enabler. I suggested FON provide Wifi to conferences, events and BarCamps as a marketing tool but how about they offer special deals to those who share their offices? Once again we can find ways of receiving mutual benefit.

Let’s not lose the momentum now, let’s keep building those communities, working together so we can all be successful and also building those bridges between “need investment” and “have investment”.

Technorati , , , , , , ,

5 Responses to “Coffeeclubs, Conferences, Coworking and Community”

“However I think a critical aspect of Saul’s announcement is that it comes from an investor.”

Very true, but knowing how slow Irish VCs are to come down from their lofty perches I’ll be happy to get the entrepreneurs going along first and then putting it up to the VCs to come join us :-)

Looks like Jan Blanchard and myself, so far, are going to kick-off the Limerick coffee mornings next Thursday.

Completely agree James, I hope my comment didn’t read as a criticism. Get it moving and then try to get others interested. I’m thrilled you guys are running with this.

Hell, invite Saul over for one and it might embarrass Irish VCs into action!

“I hope my comment didn’t read as a criticism.”

No, not at all Conor, and your post is spot on. Looks like we’ll have Evert Bopp along now as well so that makes three so far. :)

Fergus: Hey, it’s Gary from migoa in Barcelona. At least you guys have some signs of life in the UK VC community. The situation here is Spain is pretty tough for financing, though we did just get an angel investor. In our case, it was about being in the right place at the right time–that is, an intimate networking event. Other than that, I’m not sure what we would have done to be able to finance ourselves. Please keep me posted on how the coffeeclubs work for you guys.

“Hey Alicia from FON here. I thought you might be interested hearing about the Fonbucks campaign success:

FON ended up giving away just under 7000 routers; 5,000 more than they anticipated. And these Foneros don’t lie! Fon saw a huge increase of Fon hotspots in highly dense, Starbucks populated areas.

Fon’s been having a lot of fun with this campaign. Check out the latest fun with Starbucks and meet Fon’s new favorite matador (Joselito):

Comments welcome!”