It's only the middle of January but the first investor day of the year has already been held. Birmingham based Oxygen Accelerator, a 13 week tech accelerator modelled on the likes of the US's hugely successful Seedcamp and Y-Combinator, held a demo day for the startups that took part in its most recent programme.
The event was held at Google Campus, the tech startup hub in the heart of the 'silicon roundabout' area of London, and was attended by a handpicked group of 110 investors. The humorous light hearted tone of the day was set by a video of the teams singing Hey Big Spender playing whilst investors filled their seats.
David Rowan, UK editor of Wired magazine, kicked off proceedings with a video of Elon Musks SpaceX mission. With a rousing speech he claimed that entrepreneurs need to ready to "dare to do the impossible" and focus on the big problems not the little solutions. At one point a member of the audience challenged him to say what he thought Europe did well and he answered by saying that although Europe has some fantastic entrepreneurs, ideas and energy he felt that sometimes many were too focused on the exit or the next stage of growth rather than changing the world.
The pitching was kicked off by the first of a very varied bunch of startups called WeWana. Led by Dee and Mez who between them had a long background in gaming and user experience design WeWana is a mobile app that makes it easier to organise and schedule online games with your friends. The slick looking app allows you to remind your friends when it's time to get together to play Fifa, place wagers on games and buy games your friends own but you don't.
Next to the stage was Myna who claimed to have reinvented A/B testing for web sites, email and mobile. Through the use of machine learning algorithms to adjust tests in real time they reduce the time need to conduct an A/B test whilst at the same time minimising the risk and increasing conversions. The company, led by Noel Welsh and Dave Gurnell who between them have a decade of experience in software development and consultancy, claimed it could be revenue generating within the year.
Following Myna was a more consumer focused startup called Carhoots. Carhoots sets its mission as aiming to put the fun back into buying a car. The Carhoots website combines social networking, videos, expert car reviews and social recommendations to build a better car purchasing experience. Founders Lee and James have already been featured on Sky News and the startup, described as the trip advisor for cars, has more than a million followers on Pinterest.
The third startup to pitch was once again a whole different kind of startup. Rate My Romeo set themselves the challenge of solving the problem of online dating. They claimed that fake profiles and lengthy form filling are a real issue for users and think they have a far better solution. They plan on validating user profiles together with their other social networking information leading to a safer and quicker online dating experience.
For Walter Mut and Gabriele Mittica their ambition was to solve the traffic problem for websites and ensure they can make the most of their users attention. They describe Upcloo as a "smart way to correlate content" which it does by analysing your page and its content and ensuring that each user always sees on the page different content which makes the most sense together.
Finally there was Sorted, a mobile app which allows anyone to ask for anything. The app emulates the success of websites such as GumTree but with a laser focused localised service. Led by James Pursey, Jade Sehbat and Piotr Neitrzebka Sorted allows users to post requests for services such as cleaning a flat or fetching a coffee which other users are free to respond to. The platform has already been featured on Tech Crunch and was a winner of the Tech Entrepreneur Week.
The six startups that pitched were all incredibly varied, were all looking to solve incredibly diverse problems and all had differing backgrounds. What they shared however was a huge amount of energy and passion which has become commonplace in the burgeoning tech cluster around the Silicon Roundabout area of London.