Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Investment Forum by Connect Yorkshire

On 7. July, Connect Yorkshire organised the Investment Forum, a one-day event at the Aspire in Leeds with the opportunity for investors to meet businesses with good potential for future growth. I was involved in two roles in this event: In one role I have been a mentor in the group of advisers who would give businesses advice on their presentation at this event, where they would seek funding and would show their prospects in the best possible light. In the other role I represented together with Prof Rod King (Carnegie Faculty) our own project "Virtual Runner". Unlike most of the other participants, we did not plan to give a presentation, but we simply presented our poster, next to the "Proof-of-Concept" fund table.

We arrived in the morning around 9am at the venue. Unfortunately, setup time had been between 8-9am, and while I was carrying our poster to the setup location, the first investor guests already had arrived, zipping their coffee and mingling around for networking. At our table I realised that we did not have any stand for hanging of affixing the poster - I must have miscommunicated our requirements... fortunately Danielle came up with a few stripes of Duck tape, and we could affix the poster to the big column next to the table. We setup the Virtual Runner software on Rod's laptop, and were able to give quite a few demonstrations to many people who were interested in seeing it. The two lovely ladies Amanda Robinson and Danielle Ward did a great job in making sure that the exhibition of the posters and the whole organisation of this event went well!

The presentations by those companies who were seeking investment were very interesting. Quite a mix, from simple but innovative solutions to high technologies. Very interesting to observe the different presentations styles. A panel of three experts from the venture community were moderating and were asking questions to the presenters after their talk.

The Aspire building is a very interesting architectural structure from Victorian times. It has been remodelled and modernised inside and is a very nice venue for these kind of events. One remarkable feature which I got to enjoy were - the gents toilets. Never have I encountered anything similar: somewhat indirect lighting, there are candles lit in glass containers, the main pissoirs are long glass bowls along the walls, the water for washing hands flushes from flat and wide fossetts into the basins. After entering these rooms it takes a while before one realises the purpose of all the installations, so unusual is their design!