I’ve been around the London tech scene since launching my first startup, TinyGrab, in 2008. As a freelance filmmaker I’ve been heavily involved in some of the best events this industry has to offer. Every so often someone will ask me what I think the best events are. The best events for meeting new people, for feeling the pulse of the Silicon Roundabout, the ones with the best beer and food, for learning new and exciting things. In no particular order here are some of my favourites.
This is the event for anyone with an interest in product. 400 CEOs, CTOs, Product Managers, Sales & Marketing peeps (and a bunch of others) gather monthly in the hall of Central Foundation School for Boys, just off Old Street Roundabout, for an evening of talks, beer and wine.
The format of the event usually takes the form of 3 industry speakers, each with a 20 minute slot, one after the other, with a further 10 minutes at the end for a joint Q&A panel discussion. Networking drinks shortly follow the presentations, before a jolly down the pub around the corner.
Recent topics have included lean analytics (using data to build better products), change management and roadmapping, prioritisation and portfolio management.
ProductTank is organised by the same team who bring you the annual product tech conference, MindTheProduct, which this year was held at The Barbican Centre. The events have been running for 4 years and have definitely become a staple date in many a tech meetup calendar.
#HNLondon started out in a tiny London pub 5 years ago. Now it happily boasts the title of Europe’s largest monthly meetup for developers, with over 400 of them teaming into Silicon Roundabout to drink the free beer, eat the free pizza (if you can get some) and listen to some of the best and prolific developers from around the world.
If you’re looking for a CTO, more developers, a partner to work with on that latest big thing, this is a great place to start your search. If you don’t discover someone at the event, you’ll definitely have a chat with someone who can introduce you to the right person later.
Perhaps it’s become a bit of a cliché to mention Silicon Drinkabout in a list about tech events, its founding story certainly has become a bit of a local legend and is regurgitated so often I can recite it from heart; however I still stand by my recommendation of it being the best networking event to turn up to and get submerged into the London tech scene.
Every week, in a different pub / event space / office, London’s tech population congregate to celebrate that Friday feeling, share new ideas, meet new people and recharge their enthusiasm when the day in, day out, drag of life is wearing them thin.
Organised by three bearded men and one beardless lady (who also run a whole host of other events that might tickle your fancy), Silicon Drinkabout has certainly become the barometer for London’s startup industry.
Every month over 175 of London’s best and brightest design talent descend under one roof, with an open bar and great speakers, for this great event. Currently on hiatus, this event is set to come back better than ever. Check their Twitter feed for more up to date news.
iOS developers, this one’s for you. Fairly new on the scene at 1 year old, NSLondon has quickly become the largest monthly meetup of iPhone, iPad, Mac and now iWatch developers in London. Usually held at a different corporate sponsor’s event space each month, this free event is largely supported by its annual paid conference Cmd+R.
An early morning event this time around. Held in a different coffee shop every week and very reminiscent of the coffeehouse meetings of the 17th and 18th century, this is a small but growing event that follows theLeanCoffee principles started in Seattle.
Finding funding for your startup can be tricky. There’s only about half a mile between Old Street Roundabout and the heart of The City at Finsbury Square, but the two worlds couldn’t be further apart. CityMeetsTech is a quarterly pitching event, that gives new and exciting tech companies to present their proposals and ideas to an audience of city angel investors.
The organisers claim that over 1/3 of the companies who have pitched have gone on to receive and accept funding offers as a direct result of the event. CityMeetsTech does not charge an admin fee, take a percentage, or essentially charge a startup for presenting in any way. They’re just some really nice people making some very good connections and opportunities.
As the Internet of Things seems finally upon us and London is starting to crank out more and more hardware startups, the tinkers and thinkers need somewhere to meet. Hardware Startup Lab is a series of monthly events with some pretty high production values, incredible content and ALL THE TOYS!
It’s no secret that the tech scene has a representation problem when it comes to minority groups. The sad state of affairs is that technically women shouldn’t be a minority group at all, what with being half of the human race and all. GeekGirl Meetup is an event that’s designed to confront the problem of women feeling isolated or alone in a male dominated industry and it does it with great style, gusto and fun.
Unfortunately I can’t comment on the event from first hand experience myself, but I’ve been reliably informed by friends that it’s a must go event.
Lighting talks by and for the digital community from speakers who are just starting out, this is how 300 Seconds describes their pretty unique event. Normally I’d be pretty skeptical at an event that takes 12 people, gives them 300 seconds each to present all to boost their speaking engagements and land in the roster of bigger and higher profile events. However there’s a quirky charm to 300 Seconds, it’s one of those events that’s run with no motivation behind it, other than to share learning and boost confidence.
A great event to go to for anyone just starting out in the London tech scene to see what’s going on, or any old fart who wants to keep their finger on the pulse of Tech City.
Whatever your favourite type of event is, I do hope that there’s something on this list for you. If you’ve got any suggestions that you think I should check out for a future post please do let me know!