A few years ago I came to UK from Nigeria to do startups. Attending Warwick for my masters degree was just a legitimate way for me to be in the country at all (Dear Parents, don’t see this; if you do I am joking). It was really hard getting into the mix of thing especially without knowing where to start.
After 3 years of pressurizing, my man Omo (the guy that introduced me to Twitter in ‘07 but doesn’t tweet and the first good programmer I met) is going the same route). This post is for him and those like him.
Coming to the UK to do Internet startups is not the route most Nigerians take so it was no surprise that I had no one to point me out in the right direction after I had arrived.
The UK is not the UK does not house the most friendly and welcoming people on earth but the guys and girls in the startup community are a different wonderful bunch entirely.
Launch 48: The easiest way to direct you will be to tell you to attend Launch48 (a weekend hackathon) and everything will be ok. You spend a weekend hanging out with awesome people. It was where I met the people I call members of my startup community. If you have the chance to attend only one event, this should be it. perfect for those who have absolutely no idea where to start if they want to build the next Facebook. (organizers: Ian and Adil). They have a conference coming up called The Inspire Conference
Drink Tank: Like the name says you tank drinks while chatting with members of the London startup community. There is nothing like arguing about Twitter’s new API rules under the influence of free alcohol :). Organizers: Huddle.
Bootlaw: This is a meetup for those interested in Startup law. it is very popular among London startups. I have not attended this one but it is highly recommended and I have met one of the organizers Danvers several times.
TechHub: This is a physical space for tech startups in London. It is located in old street. What ever you do, make sure you drop by. it is unfortunate that I left UK just as it was being launched. It is run by the indomitable Elizabeth
Microsoft: Yes Microsoft. The have a program called BizSpark which is very helpful to startups. They organize several events a year where you can meet great startup people. Holla Bindi, she runs BizSpark UK
Iqbal: He is my (now formerly) secret adviser. He is ready to spend time with you on what you are working on and gives AWESOME advise. Don’t go disturbing lest you eat into my advice receiving time!
The bulk of activities happen in London. But if you are in the West Midlands, just go to Birmingham contact Simon who runs a tech Incubator in Birmingham Science Park and my man Joel. They will put you on the right track.
If you want any intro to those mentioned above, Holla me. Of course i can only intro those I know personally.
So Omo, go holla them all, NOW!
Another lazy way will be to subscribe to the London section of startup digest
I wrote this first thing this morning so I must have forgotten quite a bit. I will add more as I remember.
More People to know
David: He is co founder of GroupSpaces. I knew of David when I was still in Nigeria and he was working on a startup called ClickUni. If you want advice of how to go from zero to raising Gazillions, talk to him.
Hermione: The queen of the pack. Founder of a media organization Newspepper. She is highly connected to the startup community in the UK especially London. It was through one of her videos I saw Ian talking of Launch48. How could I forget?!!
Update: Hermione has move to the valley (See mike Butcher’s comment). Bye Hermione!
Sorry Omo for writing this one month late.
Disclaimer: This is how I did it. It is in no way comprehensive and of course I do not guarantee you will have as much fun as I did.