It was a pleasure to be hosted by the Prime Minister last week as Kykloud was invited to Pitch 10 as one of the 10 “most promising digital companies” across the technology industry.
The Pitch 10 event aimed to bring more attention to the UK digital sector and create links between digital businesses and prospective partners. I was asked to pitch Kykloud – not a funding raising pitch – far from it, this was instead a great opportunity for Kykloud to showcase its market leading surveying and asset management software to some of the UK’s leading FTSE100 chief executives, investors and other stakeholders related to and benefitting from the technology sector.
The day started with an entrance through the famous door at No 10. Asked to leave our phones at reception (no selfies here…) we took the walk up the hallowed staircase that displays the portraits of all of the previous Prime Ministers. I took 5 seconds to look at Winston Churchill’s portrait remembering his love of a good speech and I took some comfort in thinking he had once stood on the same staircase before addressing the nation. My brief was a 4 minute pitch and the words of Churchill came to me “I’m going to make a long speech because I’ve not had the time to prepare a short one” – a reminder to keep it short! As I made my way up the stairs I couldn’t help but think of who’s portrait would look good at the top of the staircase. I was also struck by the hive of activity in No 10 and as I walked the stairs I noticed people in the courtyard café area engaged in deep conversation, and someone randomly working out on a rowing machine. The buzz was great and it was clear that it would be an event to remember. A networking drinks reception followed where I was able to talk to some great businesses such as Telefonica about the great work they are doing to encourage and support digital innovation.
The event was kicked off at 10.30 by an introduction by Joanna Shields, Chairman of TechCity UK and a special adviser to Government. Joanna’s polished and upbeat introduction really stood out for me highlighting the UK now has the highest % of GDP attributed to the digital and internet sector than any other G20 country. The UK is well and truly riding a technology wave and Kykloud is on the top of the wave. David Cameron has stated his commitment to making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a company, and this event highlighted and raised awareness of the strength of the UK’s digital sector. See Joanna’s comments here
The Prime Minister, David Cameron then gave his introduction. He added some humour and seriousness to the event commenting that he had appointments that day on Technology, the Syria Conflict, Trade Unions and the Brownies. What a combination!
It was clear that No 10 Downing Street is incredibly proud of the success and innovation of digital business and enterprise in Britain. David Cameron highlighted the growing evidence that the UK has been “taken out of the recession by technology” in terms of job creation but also through attracting investment.
Following the Prime Minister’s remarks Ben Rooney (co-chief exec Informilo and formerly Editor of Wall Street Journal Europe) introduced each business and moderated the company presentations.
The presentations were rapid fire, punchy and littered with ground breaking innovation and clients across the globe. Ben asked each speaker a searching and provoking question. I was asked if 20 years industry experience had made the process of co-founding a technology business any easier? A reflection on the fact that there is a perception that all digital business are founded by computer science graduates. I responded by highlighting that Kykloud’s co-founders in Nick Graham and myself had over 35 years industry experience under our belts before founding Kykloud and that has given Kykloud a very firm foundation from which to grow. In the enterprise software world where its Business to Business it helps to know the business inside out.
Other presentations from other businesses included Huddle, the enterprise content collaboration platform that helps organisations across the globe to collaborate intelligently and whose customers include 80% of Fortune 500 companies and 80% of UK central government departments as well as companies such as Diageo, Kia Motors and PwC. I was particularly impressed by Swiftkey who have developed world leading keyboard text recognition software, Roli who have literally invented a new digital instrument and Lumejet who have created the high resolution printer in the world.
I was interesting to note that 8 of the companies were London based and many of the CEO and leaders coming from outside the UK. Kykloud was the only businesses to represent the many technology hubs of North of England. We were alongside some very well known, successful brands which have been going for quite some time – in many ways we are the new kids on the block in comparison but we are certainly well-regarded and have gained huge credibility in our industry.
Following the final presentation the MP Ed Vaizey (newly appointed Minister for Culture and Digital Industries) made the closing remarks again reaffirming the Government’s commitment the digital sector.
The event was organised by leading lights in the industry including Jon Bradford, Eileen Burridge, and Joanna Shields, the Prime Minister’s Adviser on the Digital Economy. Credit to them for their vision to organise such an event and that there will probably be follow up events. 2015’s Pitch 10 companies are probably out there already.
It was a real honour to be asked to be part of such a high profile event to demonstrate the impact that the emerging digital sector is having on the British economy and be highlight to the country’s most successful business leaders that solid growth is underway, driven by business like Kykloud.
This visit to Downing Street closely followed Kykloud going to Buckingham Palace in June to meet the Queen and other members of the Royal Household as one of the UK’s emerging digital success stories. Kykloud is making is mark but it’s now clear that the UK is also making its mark on a world stage and the US dominated tech scene is taking note.
The event look book which list all of the 10 companies that’s presented can be found at:
The No 10 press release can be read at:
Other media pieces of note: