I attended the third annual Follow the Entrepreneur Investor Summit, and wasn’t disappointed by the impressive speakers, entrepreneurs and location. The event focused on: “The New Common Sense” (why society needs to organise around the entrepreneur), and “The New Future” (how entrepreneurs are transforming the future of business). Among the superb array of speakers and topics, a few highlights include:
- Former defence secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, delivered a key note calling for the UK to focus more on growing the economy by encouraging entrepreneurship.
- Dell’s entrepreneur in resident, Ingrid Vanderveldt, descibed how corporates can get into the action by providing the facility to connect startups with resources (e.g. Dell’s Entrepreneur Centre), and she wondered why more corporates were not already doing this.
- Mark Hoffman, ceo of Oxygen Finance group, and founder of Sybase and Commerce One, explained how to make money from account payables, via an innovative new service
- Panelist, Geoff Knott, recalled how social innovation and reform has always had the biggest impact on society, and called for entrepreneurs to “think broader than just business”.
- Panelist, Frank Meehan, described how a 16 year old created a news summarisation service, and secured investment from Li-Kashing’s Horizons Venture. The service is set to be acquired by Yahoo!
- Panellist, Andreas Raptopoulos presented a bold vision for radical transformation of the transport and logistics industry with Matternet, an AI enabled network of drones and ground stations that can be used to deliver medicine and other lightweight goods in remote or road challenged locations around the world. I said it was a bold vision.
- Mary Turner, serial entrepreneur and former CEO of Tiscali UK, described a service that senses and alerts users to events at home. The sensing network being a key component of the intelligent home and the Internet of Things.
This event was full of entrepreneurs with fascinating ideas in different stages of maturity, and it felt very much like an innovations parade; one idea even better than the next. For example, I ran into the founder of Scoopshot, (a service providing crowd-sourced visual content - i.e. images and footage for breaking news); then heard from the founders of Quill (a service for bespoke, branded content, articles which has since raised £1M from Ariadne & partners), and Taggstar (a data rich, content tagging service that enables shopping, sharing, viewing and targeting). When combined with investors and established legal / media industry representatives, one could easily see the future of transmedia content publishing and usage business models all present together in the one room. The same could be said for any other industry e.g. health, defence, logistics or manufacturing you care to name.
In conclusion, I believe it is this sort of occasion and environment (with the right mix of investors, innovators and entrepreneurs) that some key connections and relationships are sparked off, which ultimately go on to impact the world.
About the author
Jude Umeh is a trusted advisor and digital innovator with track record of helping clients identify and define forward-looking business / technology strategies to capitalise opportunities and adapt to the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution. A published author and Thought Leader in Digital Content and Rights Management, Jude is a Fellow of BCS, Chartered Institute for IT (FBCS), and Liveryman at the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, All opinions are his own.