Review: #Croydon #TechCity: The May Edition

By - Monday 2nd June, 2014

#Croydon #TechCity leader Jonny Rose reports on what was undoubtedly the major event in Croydon on Thursday 22nd May…

Photo by Fluid4Sight. Used with permission.

I’m not sure who in central government decided to hold the local and European elections on the same night as Croydon Tech City but it was bold move on their part, to be sure.

Fortunately, attendance was not affected by the opportunity to shape the democratic forces in Croydon. Instead, the Croydon Tech City crowd elected to spend their evening in the company of some of the borough’s finest tech startup entrepreneurs…

Cyman System

Ugo Anomelechi (right) and team at Croydon Tech City. Photo used with permission.

Who wouldn’t like to have their own butler, waiting on you hand and foot, organising your life, exchanging a bit of banter and making sure everything goes smoothly?

Well, Ugo Anomelechi’s Cyman System does just that.

‘Cyman’ is a voice-activated artificial intelligence for mobile phones (and, soon, your PC as well) that allows users to organise themselves, automate tasks, connect to their home, and find information.

Inspired by sci-fi films – the presentation was peppered with references to The Matrix, Iron Man, and The Avengers – Anomelechi is well on his way to becoming Croydon’s answer to Tony Stark.

Incredibly, development and support for Cyman System has been done for two years with remote teammates who, until that night, had never been in the same room as each other before – it felt more like This Is Your Life than a tech event!

Such is the pulling power of Croydon Tech City, that one attendee had driven 150 miles from Newport, Wales to be there…

With over 26,000 fans on Facebook, the Cyman System team is definitely onto something. Let’s just hope that Cyman doesn’t do a HAL 9000 and go horribly rogue.

Look At This Job

Look At This Job’s Chairman Daren Forsyth is a Croydon boy who’s seen it all and done it all; he made a few million in the first dotcom boom, advised Gordon Brown, became Head of Innovation at BBC and then disappeared into relative anonymity to do non-profit work in rural Sri Lanka.

Now he’s back in the tech game and lending his considerable nous to Croydon’s startups.

Look At This Job is challenging the recruitment industry (“We want to kill all recruiters”) by using professional social networks such as Linkedin to hyper-catalyse and the power of word of mouth recommendation to erase the need for recruiters.

All parties win: the friend who recommends the job gets a cash reward from the employer, the (successful) applicant gets a great new job and the employer saves on eye-watering recruitment costs.

Daren and his team are currently availing themselves of free office space in 3space’s incubator in Southern House, Croydon – get in touch if you’re also looking for accommodation for your own startup business.


Photo by Fluid4Sight. Used with permission.

Clare Mackey and Eliot Brooks are two young entrepreneurs who post-university ended up working together at TravelEx and caught the entrepreneurial bug soon after.

Their first foray into the word of startups is Jaramba – a fledgling peer-to-peer equipment rental service that enables creatives to share equipment.

Buoyed by the growth of the ‘sharing economy’ in the UK, training through the New Entrepreneurs Foundation and a clear solution to problems facing creatives and freelancers alike, Jaramba is well placed to become an interesting player in the P2P sharing space.

The dynamic duo hugely impressed the audience with their systematic approach to testing assumptions (“Will people list their equipment? Yes… Will people meet and exchange equipment? We don’t know yet”) about the product, whether there is demand for it (“A third of photographers we spoke to have had to turn down jobs because of lack of equipment…”) and identifying a market opportunity (“$26bn p2p rental market, $131bn spent on photography equipment…”).

If you are a creative interested in making some money from your unused equipment, pop over to the site now and check it out!


Photo by Fluid4Sight. Used with permission.

Statuesque double act and CTC scene heroes, Simon Tomes and Andrew Easter are two friends whose thoughts of starting their own tech startup germinated over years whilst working a popular listings site, Gumtree.

Spurred by attending Croydon Tech City, the two both left their jobs last month to pursue their dream in the shape of Unroutine.

One month in and they’ve yet to drill down on the exact product. However, the duo were able to impart an incredible amount knowledge based on their first thirty days as tech entrepreneurs. Their bon mots included:

“We recommend going to conferences, but don’t do anything criminal” – on where to get helpful advice quickly

“Drawing our customers as stick men helps us understand them” – on how to work out product-market fit

“Using a framework to validate our ideas keeps us out of the ‘quadrant of delusion’” – on testing the viability of ideas

You can follow their journey – and enjoy a few well-placed Alan Partridge references – on their site here.

The next Croydon Tech City event: Women In Tech

Croydon Tech City’s ‘Women in Tech’ event takes place on Thursday 19th June at 7:30pm at Matthews Yard, Croydon. It will be an evening of presentations and debate focusing on female founders from South London’s tech startup community.

To attend, please sign up via Eventbrite.

A full gallery of photos by Fluid4Sight can be found here.

Photo by Fluid4Sight. Used with permission.

Photo by Fluid4Sight. Used with permission.

Photo by Fluid4Sight. Used with permission.

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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