Top UK networking events to meet start-ups

Every month Emi Gal provides a round-up of 10 start-up companies which agencies should know about. Emi is the founder & CEO of Brainient, one of the UK’s leading ad-tech start-ups. Headquartered in London, Brainient is backed by some of the most prominent investors in the world including Seedcamp, Arts Alliance, Atlas Venture and 500 startups. You can find Emi on Twitter @emigal.

A previous Digital Sizzle in action

Although it is one of the most overused phrases, the cliché that it’s not what you know, but rather “who you know” is still true. Particularly so in today’s tech scene, where so many companies have been founded or funded from a ‘chance’ meeting at some sort of industry event.

These days it’s easier than ever to be in the right place at the right time – a simple Google search will bring up a plethora of options. Successful networking has played a huge part in Brainient’s growth so far. It’s truly amazing what opportunities can arise from a simple decision to attend one of these networking events.

To make your lives (slightly) easier, I’ve selected the most valuable networking events for meeting start-ups that may end up being your clients or partners.

Digital Sizzle: Beards in Wonderland, London, 17 May

Digital Sizzle was created to bring creative agencies together with the tech start-up community and, to celebrate its third birthday, this next event, ‘Beards in Wonderland’, promises to be the biggest party Tech City will have seen. 1,000 people from across the industries will come together to network, drink, dance... and eat burgers at Brick Lane’s Second Home.

The event, organised quarterly by Silicon Roundabout’s 3beards, is a great space to meet startups and build relationships with the local community. There is already a discount ticket for 5 or more people from the same agency, but rumour has it that the 3beards are also offering a promotional ‘All Agency Party Ticket’ for parties of 25 or more from the same agency. Email hello@3-beards.com for info.

Chew The Fat, London, monthly

Ever been to a talk where it seems like the speaker was on a covert mission to break down your resistance by talking generic fluff, and then trying to sell you their product? This is exactly the ‘fat’ that is chewed off at this event. Each month it holds a series of discussions with high-profile entrepreneurs, founders and VCs designed to stimulate, motivate and inspire. Previous speakers include: Devin Hunt, creator of Lyst, Simon Cook, CEO of DFJ Esprit and the founders of the Hailo minicab app. Go and get involved in the conversation and meet your peers!

Mobile Monday, London, Paris and various, monthly

MoMo (for short) originated in Helsinki in 2000, where 300+ volunteers from around the world organised activities. Now Mobile Monday is an industry leading open community platform and has been running mobile community events in London since 2005, so this is where you need to network with the “who’s who” of the mobile industry. MoMo is all about collaboration and P2P business opportunities. The attitude here is ambitious and global – they run events in new locations regularly. If your work involves anything mobile, attend one of their events.

Google Campus, London, several each week

Good old Google Campus... there’s an event on nearly every day. Elevator pitches, drink-ups, demos – pretty much anything to do with startups you can think of. There is a constant flow of people from the start-up community going through this inconspicuous looking building and even though it opened in 2012, this is one of the best locations to connect with them.

TechHub, London and various, several each week

TechHub is one of the best communities to network with tech entrepreneurs. This environment was created with start-ups in mind, so here you’ll find start-ups at all stages of their business cycle. There’s a lot going on here – several events each week, although a lot of them are specifically for TechHub members. Product testing, VC meet-ups, demo nights – you’ll be spoilt for choice, so it’s more a matter of going to what is most relevant to you. It may be worth getting a membership if you have staff that could take full advantage of the events.

MiniBar, London, monthly

MiniBar Labs has been fostering connections between new technologies and digital start-ups for the past seven years. It built a membership of over 6400 members – 300 of which meet once a month to discuss the latest tech news and trends. It develops events for start-ups, agencies and big tech companies and there are always different events taking place. One to watch is its ‘Tech Business MiniMBA’ series, where new web and tech companies come together with the best from the UK’s tech sector for fantastic workshops, peer-learning and networking.

Tech Wednesday, Birmingham, monthly

Tech Wednesday is a chilled informal gathering in the Birmingham area, for anyone involved or interested in the tech industry. Each month they have “Show n Tells” where startups discuss or get feedback on their product or a specific business area. They’re friendly to new faces and also have food and drink!

Cambridge Business Lounge, Cambridge, monthly

Founded by Ed Goodman and Nicky Smerdon in 2011, the Cambridge Business Lounge is dedicated to hosting workshops and events that are business-focused. Of interest to agencies looking to network with start-ups and entrepreneurs would be the monthly Start-up Cambridge event. From time to time they also host workshops and talks.

Collider events, London, fortnightly

This is perfect for agencies. Collider is an accelerator dedicated to startups which help brands understand, engage with and sell to consumers. It also holds weekly events on all types of start-up-related topics. Not all of them are available to the public but they host fortnightly ‘Down the Pub’ sessions which are free for all. Check out its Demo Day on the 15 May and network with its cohort of start-ups.

London Enterprise Tech Meetup, London, monthly

London Enterprise Technology Meetup (LNETM), is all about fostering innovation in (you guessed it!) the London enterprise technology ecosystem by bringing together early stage tech companies, entrepreneurs and investors companies to network and learn from each other. Most events feature demos from enterprise tech start-ups, panel discussions and keynote speakers. I should emphasise that this event is focused around heavyweight B2B tech for scaling enterprises and is one worth checking out for any agencies in the tech field.

Breakfast and Brains! London, quarterly

I’m going to have to mention our own event here! Join us for our quarterly breakfast, where we invite friends from the industry to discuss the latest in the video advertising world. Each quarter, different topics set the tone for discussion. The next breakfast, on 27 May, will be looking at TV advertising vs video on demand. There will be speakers making the case for both TV advertising and digital advertising as well as an agency perspective.

For more information, drop us an email at hello@brainient.com.

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