Bethnal Green Ventures 2012

So BGV 2012 is over. Demo Day for the teams was last Thursday and 150 people came along which caught us slightly unaware. The 9 metres of pizza we’d ordered were scoffed in all of about 5 minutes and it was standing room only. The teams had been practicing their pitches for weeks and getting lots of feedback from the mentors but it’s very different standing up in front of a packed theatre. They did a great job.

It’s a bit soon to say whether the programme was a success or not but the early signs are good. Our secret mission with BGV is to create a huge community of people with the skills and networks they need to use technology to change the world for the better. Just the interest we got in Demo Day seems to suggest we’re on the right track.

Glen, Lily and I couldn’t have done it on our own so a huge thank you to:

  • Our partners – Nesta, the Young Foundation and Google. All have been brilliant.
  • The team at Campus – to Eze, James, Anastasia and Hazel who all made it so much fun to work there. The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that we were supposed to be based in Bethnal Green but when Anastasia got in touch saying that Google were opening a building for startups in Shoreditch and would we like some space, we decided we didn’t mind walking a mile and half down the road. We’re very glad we did.
  • Our speakers and mentors during the programme – We’re incredibly grateful for your generosity and honesty during the programme.
  • To our board — who helped shape the programme and made sure we didn’t do anything too silly.
  • And finally, the teams. We’ve worked with them pretty intensively and learned a lot about each other over the last 12 weeks. They’ve all given up an incredible amount to take the difficult path of starting something new and we look forward to seeing them go from strength to strength.

We’re spending the next couple of months writing down what we learned and talking to other programmes to see if we can draw out some lessons — I’ll be writing some of that here as we go. We’re also putting together some pretty ambitious plans for making BGV bigger and better over the next five years. More on that soon as well.

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