Event review: #Croydon #TechCity on property start-ups

By - Wednesday 5th November, 2014

Bernadette Fallon isn’t planning to found a start-up, but still found awesomeness at #Croydon #TechCity

‘An awesome thing to be part of’.
Photo by Fluid4sight, used with permission.

Another packed-out crowd puller at the monthly Croydon Tech City event on Thursday 23rd October. “Is it always like this?” I asked a fellow Croydonian as we waited for the event to begin and the first of three speakers to take to the stage. The fellow Croydonian – who was actually from Thornton Heath – confirmed that the events were always very popular.

I came across Croydon Tech City on Twitter and liked its ethos and its mission – to inspire and champion tech business, skills and opportunity in South London. I also liked its social function, bringing together a whole host of very diverse people from the very broad background of ‘tech’.

Its supporters are passionate and involved, and it attracts people from all over south London. “I live in Teddington yet commute to Croydon because of Croydon Tech City”, writes one of its supporters online. “It’s an awesome community to be part of”.

I’m just not ‘tech’ enough – what on earth was I doing there?

But this is an organisation styling itself the “Silicon Valley of South London”. I worried I was not ‘tech’ enough to get involved. I write for an online magazine and know lots about creating content but nothing about the technical side of building websites. I’m not planning a start-up, don’t particularly want to get involved in business planning and have no plans to launch an app. And, given that Thursday’s event was a property special, bringing together three tech start-ups aimed at landlords and tenants – at the moment, having just bought a flat, I am neither – what on earth was I doing there?

“It’s a great place to meet people”, my Thornton Heath buddy assured me. “And regardless of what the topic is, the presentations are always interesting”. And so, worrying slightly that I was an imposter treating Tech City as a potential friendship pool, having recently moved to Croydon, I went along to see what Tech City was all about.

From young entrepreneurs to mums of two – these are people who’ve turned ideas into companies

I enjoyed all of the property presentations and rid myself of the narrow notion that something has to be directly related to my life to be of interest. It was fascinating to hear the stories of how people from different backgrounds, age-groups and areas of experience – from young entrepreneurs to a mum of two – turned clever ideas into functioning companies. I found myself writing down interesting quotes and observations from the presentations:

“You can tell a lot about people by the ideas they share with the world”; “Ideas are easy, implementation is hard”; “When you have an idea, don’t tell people – show them”. And so George Spencer from Rentify, Hannah Williams from Rental Raters and Charles Ajidahun from PropertyCrunch provided inspiration far beyond property management and rental accommodation reviews – they shared information on how anyone can have an idea and take it to the next step. Particularly in the case of George Spencer – still only in his 20s, he has transformed his idea into a £2 million venture-backed start-up in two years (so yes, we all listened very intently to his ’10 lessons for building a successful start-up’).

Not everyone in Tech City will have a similar success to report, but everyone has an idea to share and that’s a truly inspiring thing to be part of.

The next Croydon Tech City event takes place on Thursday 20th November 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 .

Bernadette Fallon

Bernadette Fallon

Bernadette has been a journalist since the age of 7 when she devised, designed and launched ‘Fallon’s News’ – much to her family’s delight. Brought up in Ireland, she was born in Addiscombe where she now lives, though it took her several decades to find it again. She works as a journalist and broadcaster. Follow her at Twitter.com/bernibee

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