08 Aug 2012

Three weeks in…

By Lily

So our first few weeks at Google Campus have been pretty jam packed, and a quarter of the way through the programme we thought it’s probably time to let you know what’s been going on.

The teams arrived and quickly picked their desks on in our shiny, sunlit office, laptops and screens sprung up and the walls and whiteboards quickly became covered with graphs, plans, maps, incomprehensible acronyms and stickers. Interactive wall charts cropped up in every direction from crowdsourcing team names to voting on best business scenarios. We’ve also had a steady stream of visitors as all our friends and mentors dropped by to check out our shipping container kitchen and brand new teams (in that order of course…)

Every Monday night we host a dinner in which all the teams get together and chat about what they’ve been doing this week, what they’ve learnt and what they need help with. We also invite a speaker to talk confidentially about their experience of founding a startup. In week one we had Gavin Starks from AMEE he told us firstly to “find a paying customer” as soon as possible, because once you’ve told someone you can do something you then have to go and do it. And secondly to “Always ask for help” something we really believe in at BGV where we encourage the teams to leverage our network and use both their peers and mentors as much as possible.

Week 2, Andy Hobsbawn from Evrythng came to talk to us about his startup adventures, a serial entrepreneur he had already founded three startups before Evrythng came into being. His top tips:

  • Trust your gut
  • Choose good partners
  • Communicate well with your team – ambiguity is always perceived as negative
  • Always be recruiting
  • Slightly cryptically: “Everyone can be superman if you give them the right telephone box”

and finally “money follows passion, not the other way around”.

For our third dinner, Melanie Hayes from Octopus Investments came to talk to us about “What investors are really thinking” including the very different kinds of risks and rewards expected by VCs, angels and other investors. Then Veneet Bewtra from Omidyar Network dropped by at lunch to talk social impact investment, a whole other story, so we’re feeling pretty clued up on the topic and ready to get pitching.

We have also had Nic Brisbourne from DFJ Esprit talking about what advice to ignore, been reading about the Five Dysfunctions of a Team in our Startup Bookclub and started a highly successful (and fun honest!) Accountancy Club, where teams meet over lunch on Friday to share problems and solutions around ‘the boring bits’ of running a business.

The next few weeks are jam packed with events including Eben Upton from Raspberry Pi coming to talk last night, our event on Social Care and Technology at the end of the month and a an urban mining workshop the beginning of September, for more information on all of these and more check out our newsletter.