Web Mission 08 – UK tech start-ups hit Silicon Valley

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san-francisco-hippy.jpgBack in the ’60s if you were on pilgrimage to San Francisco chances are you were wearing flowers in your hair and pursuing a hippy dream. Today you are more likely looking for funding for your tech start-up. Which is a kitschy way of introducing the fact that for the next week or so I am going to be reporting/blogging from the undisputed tech capital of the world.

I am part of a trip called Web Mission 2008 in which twenty top UK start ups plus a few media hangers-on like myself and TechCrunch UK, are visiting the city to hopefully learn more about how to create a successful tech business.

The calibre of the people that we are going to meet this week is astonishing. On the schedule is dinner with Michael Birch, a man who is a few million quid richer after selling his start-up Bebo, tours of Google, Oracle and other major league tech businesses, the chance to pitch ideas to some of the world’s most investment-friendly VCs and meets with key bloggers like Pete Cashmore from Mashable and Michael Arrington from TechCrunch. We are also going to meet execs from Facebook, Amazon and LinkedIn.

So each day for the next week I am going to give you a glimpse of what is happening on the trips plus profile some of the leading UK start ups that are in attendance.

And there are some amazing people here. Some represent companies/websites you are probably already familiar with. So there’s Peter Ward from Wayn, the social networking travel site which has been going since 2002 and is a firm favourite in Shiny towers. Then there’s David Courtier-Dutton, an ex-lawyer who believes he has the holy grail – a business concept for the music industry. His site Slicethepie, which offers bands a chance to develop their careers, is a genius idea and one that is really starting to gain momentum.

On Tuesday they will get the chance to pitch their businesses to a group of VCs, movers and shakers and bloggers. It is going to be fascinating.

Ashley Norris