Five days in the United States. Twenty UK web entrepreneurs. The mission: to showcase talent, explore opportunity, learn, reflect and meet great people…
I’m keen to start this post, not with my own feedback, but with that of some of the 20 companies who took part in WebMission08.
Of 20 feedback forms filled out so far, from a mixture of entrepreneurs and sponsors (which could be anonynmous if desired), 20 people said that Web Mission 08 was a success for them and their company. 100% said that they would recommend the WebMission experience to a colleague.
We asked them to list some positive outcomes from the trip and here are some of the responses;
”3 Very good investor leads”
“Great new partnerships”
“Better understanding of the customer base”
“Met some great companies and great people”
“2 proactive contacts from US VC”
“A lot of useful advice from fellow entrepreneurs, i.e. Michael Birch”
”Fantastic level of Introductions to major companies like YouTube, Sun”
“Generate ideas around how we can use social networking internally”
“Networking with other UK startups”
“Will encourage us to think BIG!”
“Partner meetings helped us understand how we can work with VC”
“Input to business plan”
I would encourage you to connect with any of the 20 companies who went, to hear their personal feedback. None of the trip could have happened without our sponsors, BT, HSBC, Heller Ehrman, UKTI, Etelos, Oracle, Sun, Make Your Mark and Ten UK. My co-organisers were the excellent Polecat team of Bron, James, Nikki and Alex, who I’d work with again at the drop of a hat. In fact, we’re already scheming about where and when the next WebMission might lead.
We’ll be having a meeting of the 20 companies and sponsors in a few weeks time to talk in more detail about the benefits of the trip, as well as things which could be built upon or improved.
Amongst all of the discussions, on and off line, there were certain mutterings that the entire escapade had been something of a ‘jolly’. To this I really ought to admit; In amongst brunching with Jim Buckmaster of Craigslist, between seeing pitches to a dozen US VCs, amid meeting with senior executives from Amazon, Facebook, Linkedin, Sun and SalesForce, visiting Google, Bebo and Oracle, attending materclass presentations from Deloitte, Heller Ehrman and Spark PR, and interviewing with the BBC, the Daily Telegraph, Real Business, Management Today, Startups.co.uk, Demo, VentureBeat and Business Week, not to mention spending quality time with some of the smartest and most characterful entrepreneurs in the UK…amidst all of that, I confess, I personally had an incredible time and a huge amount of fun.
Turning to shores closer to home; I’m not qualified to comment as to whether we have all of the ingredients for web success here in the UK. My entirely personal hunch is that YES, we do. Anyone who thinks that this means that we have NOTHING to learn from the rest of the world should apply for WebMission09 as soon as possible.
I’ll end with some words from one of the great US entrepreneurs, Henry Ford;
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”