Croydon Tech City: Autumn launch 2014 review

By - Tuesday 23rd September, 2014

Re-activating after a summer break, the bright young things of #Croydon #TechCity gathered last week to usher in phase three of Croydon’s rise as the UK’s second tech city. Jonny Rose reports

Photo by Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

As Croydon Tech City launched the Autumn 2014 programme in 3Space Croydon last Thursday, it was clear that a lot had changed since our last meeting at the beginning of summer.

The audience was bigger.

The venue was bigger.

The ambition was bigger.

Croydon Tech City co-founder, Nigel Dias kicked off the evening with an introduction to what Croydon Tech City is and stands for:

“The past two years have been about convincing people that Croydon is a Tech City. We’ve done that and now we want to make Croydon the UK’s best Tech City”

The Croydon Tech City project has progressed on every front since its inception nearly two years ago: growing from an idea in a blogpost to an internationally-recognised, 1,500-strong movement of tech founders, venture capitalists, creatives and software developers – united under Croydon Tech City’s vision to become the ‘Silicon Valley of South London’.

Photo by Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

Tonight was all about profiling that native tech talent that is putting Croydon back on the map:

Chris Guy – HighStreet

HighStreet is a website which allows users to search what high street shops are available in their area.

Chris Guy got the idea for his new site earlier this year, when he tried to find out which shops were available in Guildford. He discovered that without knowing the area, it was difficult to find out what was on offer and began to create a website that would make the task easier.

Photo by Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

Whilst many would say that there are other options such as Yelp to help with this, Chris maintained that these first generation of search sites were becoming increasingly cluttered with adverts and bad UX. By contrast, HighStreet has simplified the search process to simply two fields: shop type and area.

Chris Waniala – Krazy Cool

Krazy Cool is an online live auction site for technology products imagineered (sorry) by Chris Waniala, a University of Surrey graduate and Thornton Heath resident.

Photo by Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

The idea is a novel mix of Ebay, LiveStream and AngelList with viewers from around the world able to participate in an offline auction.  The site is currently in development stage and slated for a Spring 2015 launch, however Chris took us through the various features he was intending to implement over the next few months.

Daniel Vernon – TeenPoke

TeenPoke creator, Daniel Vernon, brought some youthful vigour to the evening’s proceedings as a budding tech entrepreneur who is still in college.

TeenPoke is a social networking site exclusively for teenagers as a way for them to socialise away from the prying eyes of parents and adults. Daniel has spent the year building the site with a friend whilst also managing his college studies – a recurring theme in his presentation was the importance of having a co-founder that had complementary skills and that you could also get along with.

Photo by Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

As the youngest speaker at Croydon Tech City yet, it was encouraging to see Daniel hold his own against some of the tougher questions from the audience around data security and child safety. He’d also had ambitious plans for the product in the future: once users reach the age of 20, Daniel intends to migrate them to an entirely separate site (AdultPoke?) which is more age-appropriate.

Lauraine Griffiths – Meanderlings

The inception of Meanderlings couldn’t be any more harrowing: Lauraine found herself one night in a poorly lit part of Catford being stalked by an anonymous white van. There was no one around and it was only because of her self-defense and awareness training that she was able to extricate herself from the situation.

Photo by Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

In light of this experience, Lauraine has felt compelled to develop Meanderlings – an app that alerts your nearest and dearest if you haven’t arrived back at a planned destination by a pre-specified time.

Lauraine’s experiences of getting Meanderling’s developed served as both a warning and an encouragement. We were told about the folly of outsourcing technical development abroad but also how she’s received help from several people in the Croydon Tech City community.

Lauraine is now hoping to raise £10,000 to complete a redesign of the app via a Kickstarter campaign in the near future.

The next Croydon Tech City event takes place on Thursday 23rd October at 7:30pm at Matthews Yard. The event will focus on tech startups innovating in the property rental and investment sector.

To attend please sign up here OR .

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose is a committed Christian who has lived in the Croydon area for nearly twenty years. He is an active participant in his local community, serving at Grace Vineyard Church and organising Purley Breakfast Club, and was ranked "Croydon's 37th most powerful person" by the Croydon Advertiser (much to his amusement). He owns a lead generation company. He is the Head of Content at marketing technology company Idio, the founder of the Croydon Tech City movement, a LinkedIn coach, and creator of Croydon's first fashion label, Croydon Vs The World. Working on Instagram training and a Linkedin lead generation service. Views are his own, but it would be best for all concerned if you shared them. Please send your fanmail to: jonnyrose1 (at) gmail (dot) com

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