On Wednesday the 18th February I was told that Veeqo has been selected as one of the 12 most promising tech companies in the UK, and that I would be pitching Veeqo to 40 of the most respected investors and venture capitalist companies from inside number 10 Downing St.
Needless to say, I was thrilled. It was a great honour to be selected for this event and great to get this validation from some very important people.
On Friday 20th, I left sunny Swansea and headed to east to London. When I arrived at Passion Capital office, I had to practise my pitch in front of Eileen Burbidge, one of the most renowned British Venture Capitalists, to get some feedback before the big event later.
For someone so distinguished in the tech industry, Eileen was very friendly and took time to talk me through the day’s plan. I practiced my pitch and it went quite well – or so I thought, until I was told it was great except for my face, which looked like I was performing medical surgery (i.e. a portrait of misery), so I was told to smile!
I spent the next few hours liaising with some of the other tech companies selected. It was truly inspiring talking to them and seeing what they have achieved – the best part was that they were from all over the UK.
At 1:30pm we all got into two taxis which took us from Shoreditch to the big black gates at Downing St., where we walked through security. I had visions of the policeman not being able to find my name on the list and being sent home – thankfully, that didn’t happen.
We walked down the street and I thought the door was on the left, but it’s actually on the right. And another weird thing is that the street is a dead end, which looks so different to what you see on the TV. Going through the door, we were greeted by what looked like a traditional butler and we had to switch off our phones/laptops and leave them in the entrance hall.
Then it was up the staircase, walking past all the portraits of the past prime ministers, Winston being my favorite. Amazing to think that he would have walked up these same stairs countless times.
We then sat around a table in the state dining room with over 30 people from the world of tech in the UK to discuss what the government could do to help tech companies. With so many people, I thought at best it would be a talking shop, but Daniel Korski, special advisor to David Cameron, did a good job of chairing it and making sure he steered the conversation in the right places.
Then it was time. We walked into the Pillared Room, where 40 guests awaited us. After 5 minutes of chatting, everyone sat down and Guy Johnson ran the show. We got speeches from the super cool Lord Young and Daniel Korski. Then the pitches started. For my sins, I had to pitch last, which didn’t help my nerves, and what made it even worse was that all the other 11 pitches were brilliant. The thing about pitching (or any public speaking) is the first 10 seconds are hard, but once you get going, you get more confident and by the end you don’t want to stop!
Then we had about 40 minutes of networking with the guests, and I got the opportunity to speak to 3-4 VC’s, a few important government people and some other cool tech companies.
Walking out, we managed to get some tourist photos in front of the big black door!
It was a fantastic experience and something I won’t forget easily, but more importantly I think and hope it shows to the Veeqo team what a brilliant company that they have built.