reporting all week on the Clean and Cool Mission from San Francisco...
A busy second day despite it being a public holiday in the US. It was Martin Luther King day and the group drew inspiration from that on a day with a focus on communicating your vision.
We started in the Galvanise incubator getting insight from Pennington's, a UK law firm that have now set up a base in San Francisco to deal with the number of enquiries and deals from Bay venture capitalists as they seek to diversify their portfolios. They were clear that there has never been a better time to bring outside opportunities to the investment community here. A message throughout the day was how well the US VCs pass contacts and opportunities around unlike more competitive investment environments such as the UK.
After some inspiration on how to tell your story from Guy Pattison (subtitled - how to explain your business to Roger Harrabin's Mum) the companies got into practicing their two minute pitches with feedback from our lawyer friends, Sam Evans of UKTI, ex-pat serial entrepreneur Tony Hayward and myself. Again we saw how the most compelling pitches had a story and a purpose behind them.
We then decamped to Battery, a new member's club established by Bebo founder Michael Birch. Michael joined a panel session along with Tony and Andy McLoughlin, the founder of Huddle and a Mission alumnus. Hearing from these ex-pats who have made it brought out excellent lessons for the companies such as investors look for the right people at the top; one's with a personal vision that will see the through the tough times. Business metrics was also seen as important to have a good handle on, and attracting talent in the Bay area a major challenge. As for Battery itself, it was a classic off beat Mission venue: a members club with glorious bars, hidden rooms (behind bookcases) and toilets named after the seven deadly sins.
After a quick break we moved the group on to Local Edition, a journalism themed bar for a networking event (see the jazz band in the picture above). We had reached out to local networks in advance and the companies quickly started making valuable connections. The conversations went well into the night and after a late evening 'pitch clinic' at the hotel most had an early night before a big day pitching tomorrow...