In the bid to raise a hub of innovation this side of the Pond, Silicon Valley Comes to the UK (SVc2UK) is a key annual event. Chaired by angel investor, Sherry Coutu and LinkedIn co-founder, Reid Hoffman, SVc2UK flies over some of the Valley’s most respected industry figures. From the balmier climes of California to the dreary skies of Blighty, investors (like Index and Greylock) and industry experts (from LinkedIn, Facebook and Google) come to counsel young aspiring British entrepreneurs and policy makers.
Under the umbrella of the SVc2UK event, there are a series of micro events hosted at universities across the country called Silicon Valley comes to Your University (SVc2U). On the 18th November 2011, over 20 societies hosted their own local SVc2U for thousands of students and alumni, including Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial. The enterprise societies had complete authority over who they would invite to speak and the format the event would take.
But a carrot was dangled.
The host of the best event would win… wait for it…
A trip to California to technology’s Mecca!
To be precise:
8 days in California with flights, accommodation and visits to start-ups in San Francisco and the legendary SXSW (South BY South-west conference) in Texas.
And we’re very pleased to announce that the carrot belongs to UCL Enterprise Society!
In celebration of Reid Hoffman’s quotation, “Jump off a cliff and assemble the plane on the way down”, UCL Enterprise Society hosted a dynamic aviation-themed evening called “Flight to the Future”.
Here are just some of the winning highlights:
- Over 200 delegates took part;
- Air hostesses welcomed the crowd onboard;
- Inspirational speakers like Daniel Hulme of Satalia, Rob Fitzpatrick of The Start-up Toolkit and Dan Sodergren of the Marketing Man wowed the audience;
- Delegates could enjoy footage from UCL student entrepreneur pitches in an actual elevator competition;
- The t-shirt design competition demanded a little creativity. Participants filled in the blanks after “In the future I want…” Answers ranged from “money” to more original ideas like “a car that runs on water”. The prize was an iPod Touch;
- The ‘Come Date Me’ session allowed participants 2-minute installments to flirt with an angel investor, a marketer and a “setting up in business” guru. By the end of the speed dating-styled meetings, the partaker had an overall framework for their start-up with bite-size points of action;
- Delicious food for thought was served by a UCL catering start-up called Thalantino;
- And Physical Pixels, a design and research practice that bridges the digital divide, displayed an experimental and multi-sensory art exhibition. Delegates interacted physically with tactile, weightless pods that communicated wirelessly with each other (see photograph).
UCL Enterprise Society’s theme was original and creative and the event was well executed. Ayath Ullah, a delegate, says, “I would just like to congratulate you and the rest of the team on winning SVC2U. I still talk about the great event, even to this day!”
And what is UCL Enterprise Society’s reaction to the news? “We are inspired by this success to hold an even bigger and better SVc2U event next year,” said President of the society, Ahmad Bakhiet.
We’ll look forward to that. Congratulations guys and enjoy sand, sea and innovation!