If you’ve been following the news recently, you might have seen that my startup, giftgaming, was the overall winner of TechCrunch London Meetup:
We also recently featured in Management Today:
(For those who don’t know us: giftgaming (www.giftgaming.com) lets brands give gamers virtual gifts containing powerups and discount coupons.)
How did this all happen? I took a risk.
I went to the TechCrunch London Meetup and did a 30 second pitch in front of a rowdy audience. If you’ve ever watched the film “8 mile” (with Eminem) or perhaps Fight Club, it very much felt like that.
You have got to take a risk.
In November, there were 2 tickets left for the Cambridge Startup Weekend. Having missed the Southampton edition (I’m actually a School of Electronics and Computer Science graduate), I thought I’d hop on a train to Cambridge. After winning best pitch award with giftgaming, I felt confident enough that it was something I’d continue with.
When CJBS offered me a place on the Accelerate Cambridge programme, I was absolutely thrilled. Without further hesitation, I handed my notice into my employer and I left my comfortable lifestyle of bachelor pads in Bath, sold mostly everything I owned and relocated to Cambridge.
The reason why I wanted to go to Accelerate Cambridge was because of the people and the working environment. I had a great time at the startup weekend, and I fell in love with Cambridge. There’s also no London Underground. It is so important to make sure you not only get on with your mentors, but people you also work in close proximity to. Your quality of life and support network is important, and will determine your staying power when things get inevitably tough with your startup.
What I also like about Accelerate Cambridge is the creative freedom; they let us come up with ideas, and all they do is advise on what might work, what might not work, what is the next best way to progress and so forth. Whilst I can’t comment on other accelerator programmes, I know one thing for certain: I have certainly learnt a lot and I feel I have come a long way. Did I mention they haven’t take any equity? It feels very philanthropic.
It’s certainly been an emotional rollercoaster for me. Running a startup is hard. There’s two analogies I especially like about entrepreneurship:
“It’s like being punched in the face repeatedly” and
“It’s like jumping off a cliff and hoping you can build a plane on the way down”
The question is, what would you prefer to do? Sit in an office, 9 to 5, take orders for 40 years, get your gold watch, then retire? Or would you rather take a risk, pursue your passion and try to accomplish all your goals? Your call…
(Next week, there might be something in Cambridge News in the business section – look out for us!)