From jerk chicken to Javascript: Our Croydon Tech City journey to Silicon Valley

By - Wednesday 28th January, 2015

On the eve of Croydon Tech City’s 2015 launch, local tech startup founder Tony Chance discusses how the organisation helped him to set his sights on Silicon Valley

Photo author’s own.

At the start of 2013, Sibel, Sharlene and I, three fellow Croydoners and former food entrepreneurs, switched to tech. Over the past two years, in alien ground, we have battled the foreign languages of “code”, “agile” and “iteration” with the help of Croydon Tech City and now we are setting our sails to live the tech entrepreneur fairy tale – taking our business to Silicon Valley.

The early days of All Chip IN

Being Croydonians, Croydon Tech City was our first point of call once we decided to pursue our tech idea All Chip IN.

One of my first rules when starting any business is to immerse myself in the industry and surround myself with experts who are smarter than me in my developing areas. Croydon Tech City was perfect for this.

Some might know Sharlene and I from our other business “Love Smile Jerk” which we started outside the Croydon Tech City headquarters on Surrey Street market, serving jerk chicken and reggae wraps in abundance. Before we knew it, we were on TV on the BBC One Show with Sir Alan Sugar and selling all over the UK; and now the rapid progress is kicking in for All Chip IN. Something special happens when you sow your seeds in Croydon!

Photo author’s own.

It’s great having a community of open-armed techies on your doorstep. At first we thought it was going to be load of ‘coders’ talking in code baffling us, but actually there were all types of people, all very helpful, and to our surprise speaking plain English. Not just developers as we thought but entrepreneurs with vision and drive to shake things up just like us.

CTC’s head honchos Nigel, Jonny and Sarah are very in touch with the community they have pulled together; if we’ve not had a chance to meet and speak with a particular person at an event, they are always very good with connecting us with people of use; they’re like LinkedIn offline in human form.

For those who don’t know; All Chip IN is the “Kick Starter” for young people, we believe everyone deserves a good start in life so we bring people and businesses together to sponsor young people in pursuit of career and educational goals. To think we are going to change so many lives is so exciting, and there are hundreds of other life-changing solutions being brewed by the CTC community, Croydon is standing up and being counted!!!

Photo by Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

Although we don’t have a tech background what we do have is the skill of getting ideas out of our heads and into profitable businesses; a tech idea is no different in our eyes. Fundamentally, it’s about building a strong team and a great product / service that adds massive value and taking it directly to your target market. CTC is a great place to meet people for your team and getting insight into how others have got up and running.

We actually graced the stage at CTC back in April 2014, shared our journey so far, it was good to give back to the community with our learnings; also good for brushing up on our public speaking skills. It was our first time doing a public presentation for All Chip IN and we have since then gone on to present and pitch Dragons Den-style in front of investors.

From the Silicon Valley of South London to the real Silicon Valley

We have now accepted a place in a San Francisco accelerator which starts late February ’15, we’re so excited! USA was where we wanted to enter the market so we are truly going for it.

Since we’ll no longer be amongst our CTC friends, here’s an idea: how about Croydon Tech City starts a livestream of their events so that we can still be part of the community while we’re away, now that would be awesome…. Just a thought ;)

Tony Chance

Tony Chance

Founder & CEO of All Chip IN. The world’s most optimistic entrepreneur. From crunching numbers as an accountant to selling tens of thousands of jerk chicken meals, and now shaking up the tech world, there are no rules – expect results.

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