This was the very first community event for Decksender – I was excited!!

It had taken me over a year to get out of the garage and into the field and meet Decksender users – startup founders and investors and everyone in between.

The first one? Really??

We’ve had gatherings before – but they were more like office hours and drop-ins than dedicated meetups. There was a different vibe to this one. My intention was that it would be an open space for ideas and engagement and I wasn’t disappointed.

The idea was to just have some finger food, a few drinks and let people chat, discover something interesting about each other and see what emerges.

Within 2 hours of sending out the Eventbrite invitation, the 18 places I had planned to fill were booked and had to release 12 more standby tickets. All free, of course. These too disappeared within a really short time. There was an interesting mix of founders, investors and 3rd party service providers in the sign up.

Very exciting.

The Backroom at The Craft Beer Co.

It was wet and cold on the evening of February 19th when we had our mingle and the The Craft Beer Co pub in Islington was a welcome haven from the elements.

With its 24 keg lines and gourmet burgers and range of BBQ and/or Buffalo chicken wings – it was well placed to meet our needs.

And a low minimum spend of £100 was perfect!

“Community, whoever comes are the right people”

As the evening progressed, it became clear that the large number of initial sign ups were not all going to show up. In the end there were 10 of us at the peak and after an initial round of introductions, we got to chatting about what we each wanted from the event. I asked everyone to take a few minutes to write down their responses to 3 questions….

  1. What are the top 3 problems you are trying to solve
  2. What do need (apart from money)
  3. What do are you willing to share (including money)

Even in such a small group of people – I was astounded at the diversity of backgrounds and startups (yes – all the people who finally showed up were founders).

We had someone disrupting fashionTech, a professional inventor (with patents and stuff!), someone trying to help companies offer spare team capacity to a wider market, 3 edTech startups – similar but distinctly different.

Never mind their personal stories and incredible journeys!

“Whatever happened is the only thing that could”

I spent far too long sharing what was in the pipeline for Decksender (they were all users after all) and got some brilliant feedback on the onboarding process (thanks Charlotte!)

We chatted about…

  • Why it was hard to raise money for education tech
  • Ways to get people to come to meetups 🙂
  • More peer reviews of decks, plans would be a good thing
  • Getting more similar startups to work together
  • How we might increase empathy in the ecosystem – startups for investors and investors for startups.

What happened next…

We agreed to collaborate more and will start with sharing emails and possibly all get on a Slack channel.

Everyone who came said they found value in the event and would come again, so the next one in March already has committed attendees and will have a slightly different structure – featuring a speaker and then some networking.

At the next event, we’ll hear about a ‘A Year and Day in the Life of a VC‘ to us all understand life from the other side and build some empathy.

What did happen to that minimum spend, I hear you ask – well, a few of us stayed behind to polish it off on marmalade vodka and chicken wings!

Until next time.