I’ve been fortunate enough to spend some time around TechStars London – from the interview process to find the 11 teams to doing a ‘founders story’ talk (Jon Bradford blames me for causing him to run incubators, but that’s a story for another day).

Their 90 days on the programme has flown past, and now it’s Demo Day – where the teams take to the stage in front of an audience of 500 people.

For me there are two companies that really stand out:


These guys are taking on one of Paul Grahams Frighteningly Ambitious Startup Ideas – fixing email. We can all relate to the problem. Email as we use it today isn’t fit for purpose. Our inboxes contain a mixture of urgent messages, snippets of info, introductions, FYIs, chats, etc.

Last years Gmail improvements were a step in the right direction, but nowhere near a big enough stride.

By adding structured data to email, Spatch makes managing it much more efficient. (Edit: their approach has changed since I first drafted this, they’re now writing a whole new protocol)

It’s been thrilling to watch Mick and his team navigate through the problem they’re trying to solve, coming at it from different angles. They’re a great example of focussing on the problem you’re trying to solve, and not becoming fixated on your approach.

Make the problem you’re solving The Thing, not the way you first think it should be solved.

They’ve still got a fair way to go, I think – it is a frighteningly ambitious idea after all. But if you’re going to do something then you might as well do something big, right?


Good Audience

From a behemoth of an idea to a relatively simple one. The purpose of Good Audience can be summed up in three words: Get More Followers. You’re already thinking about bot networks and “4,000 followers for $5″ aren’t you? Stop being so cynical! It’s nothing like that.

The emphasis here is on building a good audience. Their app takes a scientific approach to finding the right people for you to engage and build relationships with and guides you through the process.

I think their timing is spot on. Taking a structured and methodical approach to building an audience on social media used to be frowned upon as somehow spammy, disingenuous and the antithesis of ‘social’. But just like SEO was once seen as a bit naughty and gaming the search engines, it’s now becoming seen as a sensible and acceptable thing to do when building a business.


You can follow Techstars Dmeo Day on Twitter #tsdemoday.

Just one more thing…

There’s a company from last years TechStars team that I’ve been dying to write about, but I’ve been told I’m not allowed to until they publicly launch (very very soon).

If you wan’t to be the first to know when I can finally post then add your email address to the subscription list.

Can Spatch crack this problem?
Do you disagree with my comments on timing for Good Audience?
Don’t be shy, post in the comments box below.