“Don’t kid yourself – they’re not a ‘customer’ until the money hits the bank”: March’s Croydon Tech City

By - Tuesday 12th April, 2016

#Croydon #TechCity founder Jonny Rose reports on last month’s event at Matthews Yard

Photo by Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

March’s Croydon Tech City saw the creme of South London’s tech community pack into Hoodoos in Matthews Yard for another dose of demo, discussion and debate.

Luke Fisher, CEO of ThanksBox

Photo by Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

First up with Luke Fisher, CEO of ThanksBox – a suite of peer-to-peer recognition tools that allow teams and coworkers to recognize individual achievements and share them within the organization. Fisher’s talk was a masterclass in how to build a enterprise software startup, and the talk was incredibly instructive for entrepreneurs that are building B2B products.

First came the crucial step of “proving the hypothesis” that organisations even needed a tool like ThanksBox. What followed were user workshops exposing key decision-makers to prototypes to work out which features were necessary and which could come further down the line. An MVP was developed and then it was time for the the team to go out into the wild and fend for themselves.

Generating leads for the product came through abusing their professional networks (most of the team have played it safe and remained at their jobs until the startup is viable to support all of them with salaries) and using inbound marketing.

Fisher was big on the power of talking to people, whether you’re in the idea stage (“People are nice and willing to help”) or further down the line (“Talk to your users as quickly as possible”). Currently, the team is using Sussex Innovation Centre Croydon to help with customer research to further refine the ThanksBox proposition – although with the team signing up major clients in the hospitality industry, it doesn’t sound like they need much help there!

Danni Lapham, CMO of Airside Andy

Photo by Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

Airside Andy is an MMORPG (and the first to be developed first for iOS tablet devices) and also acts as a safe social network for children.

The game allows children to design their own avatar, and interconnecting play areas means that they can walk around doing challenges and earning prizes as if they are truly within the busy space of a working airport. Airside Andy is currently available through iTunes and Google Play, and – as we saw from this video review – the game has been incredibly well-received and looks like it is set to be a potential hit in the same vein as Moshi Monsters.

Like all startups, Airside Andy wasn’t without examples of early missteps – including blowing a large portion of their funding on a stop animation video at the ideation stage. However, a bit of expert guidance from the likes of the BBC put the team back on course. The talk was particularly interesting as Lapham delved into the ethical and legal conundrum of how to responsibly market and advertise to children and – by extension – their parents.

Chukwuma Ogbobie, Founder of Safe In Sound

Photo by Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

Like every concerned parent and music lover, Chukwuma Ogbobie is acutely aware of the number of road traffic deaths each year that occur because of young children listening to music and not paying attention as they cross the road. His solution is Safe In Sound, an app that lowers the music and alerts the user when an oncoming vehicle is approaching.

Although the proposition itself is laudable, it’s the potential for growth and partnerships where Safe In Sound’s success will lie. There is an opportunity for joggers and cyclists to benefit, and music and media companies are banging on Ogbobie’s door to license their content to be used in the app – and thereby access the captive teen market.

With former Amazon and Sony executives on his board of advisors, 2016 will be a banner year for Ogbobie and the rest of the Safe In Sound team, who will also be ably supported by the staff at their new home in Sussex Innovation Centre Croydon.

The next Croydon Tech City event takes place on Thursday 21st April at 6:30pm at Sussex Innovation Centre, Croydon. To attend, please register here.

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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