Boston, BABCNE and our very own Mr Brown Banner
30 Jan 2015

The date is the 1st December 2014 and not only is skignz embarking on the 1st day of December but Co-Founder and CMO was setting off to Boston MA, USA, to speak to some of the worlds largest brands.Joining Si on this trip was a delegation from the North E

Boston, BABCNE and our very own Mr Brown

The date is the 1st December 2014 and not only is skignz embarking on the 1st day of December but Co-Founder and CMO was setting off to Boston MA, USA, to speak to some of the worlds largest brands.

 


Joining Si on this trip was a delegation from the North East of England including UKTi, NECC and a number of businesses keen on finding out what Boston has to offer them.

Deb McGargle, the awesome Co Founder of Particular Law, one of the UK's leading law firms working with start up tech companies was Si's travelling companion. Si takes up the story of the trip:

Deb and I were routed through Dublin from Newcastle and the biggest shock we came across was Passport Control, normally what you have to go through in the country you land in, was in Dublin Airport, right after you went through security. US Sovereign soil in Ireland. Hence no time for duty free or even breakfast! The trip had begun.

Both Deb and I are still not quite sure if this is a good idea or not, as it felt rather strange, but upon landing in Boston and literally getting off the plane, walking through a corridor, one door took us right out onto the taxi stand where the other led us to the baggage carousel. Not the usual miserable face wanting to know your 'inside leg measurement' as proof your visit to their country is for anything worthy.

 
 

BABCNE (British American Business Council of New England) and the British Consulate were fine hosts and many of their board members were on hand through our trip to welcome us and introduce us to many different people. I was slightly shocked as the President of BABCNE, Ken Vacovac was my own father's Doppelganger! The Boston, Malcolm Brown. Both seemed that their counterpart was probably the best looking guys in their native towns ... mmm!

 
Back to business and whilst I was off spending a number of days in meetings with different organisations including UKTi, Microsoft, CIC, British Consulate, Local Government office and a number of local businesses, Deb was off meeting other lawyers across Boston, whilst taking some time out to address a group of students at Harvard Law school! As one does!

I'm very privileged to say that I've actually known Deb since we were in primary school and she's equally at home in the House of Lords or Harvard Law as she is in a start-up company's garage trying to understand their next move!

 



I spent a lot of time showing demo's of the skignz technology to various audiences including many people from our own delegation, in turn finding out what got those guys out of bed on a morning. I must say we had quite a wonderful eclectic group of people and thoroughly enjoyed their company.

Over the years I have been on a number of delegations with UKTi and I always enjoy meeting and enjoying talking to others who have gone on the trip. I think I find a kindred spirit that these guys are prepared to get off their derriere and go out and make things happen. There does not seem to be an age, sector, industry or background barrier. They are all out there as I am trying to make things happen on a global scale, trying to get a slice of the bigger pie than what is on offer in our own immediate areas.

 
Not many of you will know this but both Gary (skignz other Co-Founder) and I met on a UKTi mission to Cannes, France way back in 2001. I believe we were the only people to secure work from that trip, but that was from each others' company as we went on to build a strong partnership and longer lasting friendship and now a partnership.

So if you have not spoken to UKTi or been on a 'Trade Mission' Sector visit, then I highly recommend you do, not just from a business perspective but also from your own personal development point of view.

Back to Boston and BABCNE, where some of us were invited to their Christmas Luncheon at the Harvard Club. A most splendid afternoon was had by all and I walked away with quite a few prizes from their quiz ;-).

Another reason for the trip was to engage with their Venture Capital Community to try and get an understanding of what they are looking to invest in, what profile of company, stage of growth etc. However nothing prepared me for the 'sheer size of this VC Community'.

 
In the building, One Broadway, in the centre of the Cambridge area of Boston, they have five times as many Venture Capitalists than the whole of Europe combined! Yes you did read that right! From what I was told, their combined wealth would place them as about the 5-6th world's largest GDP!

After pitching skignz to a number of potential VC's I then went on to take a look at the government buildings, the Consulate General's Residence for an early reception and a visit to WCM, one of Boston's top media agencies.

One of the visits that really stuck out in my mind and was probably most relative to skignz (other than the fine people at Microsoft - you know who you are ;-) ) was visiting CIC (Cambridge Innovation Centre) also in the same building as ALL these VC's and the British Consulate.

After showing us around the start up and growth accelerator areas, they invited us to take part in their Thursdays weekly gathering, free beer and plenty of interesting people with similar interests in creativity, tech and all at different stages of their business growth.

I even had the opportunity to speak to some Russian students who were on an exchange programme for four weeks. It was really interesting to see what they made of the tech scene compared with their homeland. Obviously this conversation took place in Russian, with me being fluent! Yeah, right oh!

In summary, Boston was an awesome experience, a worthwhile trip and a great opportunity to meet new friends, catch up with old friends and expand the gospel of skignz ... speaking of gospels ... Gospelware who were another awesome company on the delegation I spent time with.

I had met Ryan previously but it never ceases to amaze me, his passion for all things in the mobile tech sphere!

 
 

Since the trip we have already met one of the key guys from Microsoft for lunch in Newcastle, UK, we have pitched skignz to the most senior people at 3 different leading global brands.

We are hoping that a delegation from Boston & BABCNE will come over to the North East of England for the return leg! They are very welcome and I'm hoping that between BABCNE, UKTi, British Consulate, and the NECC, plus the guys who went out in December can make this happen in 2015.

skignz will certainly be returning to see our new friends in Boston in the coming months as we increase our US activity and fingers crossed with the 3 brands we have already engaged with ...

 


Watch this space as we update you all through the year on our progress stateside ...

If you would like to know more about BABCNE and what they do, even how they can help you and your business then please visit https://www.babcne.org/

Would like to know more about UKTi and see how you can take part in their annual activities. Please visit https://www.greatbusiness.gov.uk

If you would like to pray at the altar of Gospelware, see how these guys eat, sleep and breathe mobile. Please check them out at https://wearesurge.co/

Do you have a tech business and need the best legal support team on the whole planet then you need to get in touch with Deb and her team at Particular. http://particular.legal/

However if you just want to know how skignz could help your Business or even just be a cool thing to have for your own personal use... www.skignz.com
 

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