Digital Communities in the South West of England

I get asked this a lot so I thought I would share a list of the digital communities I’m a part of, or have heard good things about. The south west is a growing region for all things digital and these groups are essential to that.

If you’re looking to build your own digital startup in the area, these groups should be for you. They can help you connect with similar businesses, potential new hires and even generate new client leads should you need it.

  • Software Cornwall – Hertzian are very proud to be a part of this leading Cornish community.
  • Kernow DAT – Supported by Software Cornwall but very much creating it’s own name in the Cornish digital scene.
  • Digital Plymouth – Partly organised by my friends at Elixel, Digital Plymouth has helped bring together software developers, marketers, copy writers & any one working in the digital space.
  • Cornwall Geeks – For your more developer-heavy topics, check out Cornwall Geeks. Full to the brim with the best developers in the local area, they host monthly meetups essential for keeping on top of all the latest industry trends.
  • Falmouth Game Makers – A revived networking group dedicated to the art of making great games. A growing network that’s always great fun to be a part of.
  • Cornwall Startup Meetup – Another growing group that reaches outside of digital but also gives you a great finger on the pulse for all things startup in Cornwall.
  • Plymouth Game Devs
  • Digital Exeter

For those in the area, if you think I’ve missed any then please comment below and I’ll make sure to add them in.

Getting VC Support For A Cornish Startup

I opened the topic of my next blog up for choice through Twitter, choosing a few topics that i’ve had experience with.

As this is only just the beginning of my blog I thought the fact that anyone replied was pretty amazing! Anyway, as you can see, the public have spoken and they want to know more about the experience of raising Venture Capital for a startup in Cornwall…

The idea of getting Venture Capital (VC) support often seems foreign and impossible for many companies I talk to in Cornwall. I sympathise here because I can see why this is the default stance. Getting introductions to the right people and then knowing what to do when you do meet those people can make the task seem daunting.

The good news is that it shouldn’t feel as impossible as it currently does. There are a number of companies in the area that have raised VC recently and the shift towards looking outside of London for investments is increasing.

If you’re currently sitting on the fence about whether VC funding is right for your business, and how much you should be looking to raise, this post by Paul Graham from Y Combinator is worth reading.

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Why Cornwall?

So it’s that time of the week again, late Sunday evening when I should really be catching 40 winks and instead I’m sitting here thinking about all of the things I need to do this week at work.

With this blog now live I thought it may help to write the initial post for the subject matter thats inspiring this blog, why setup a technology start-up in Cornwall?

When I take a look at the list of rival competitors in our space I see a who’s who of startup founders based in Silicon Valley who, after gaining millions of dollars in financing, are now attacking the same space as us and have grown teams of developers, salesmen and people with other fancy job titles. So again, why are we doing this in Cornwall?

Just to recap, the companies I’m talking about are the ones who are also building their business around the on-trend technology that is Machine Learning. Due to a combination of affordable data storage, powerful processing and a thriving open source community, tech start-ups are realising the opportunities open to them to disrupt and change the way business is done across many sectors.

We too at Hertzian realised this early on in our life (2 and a half years ago actually), and have spent the last 18 months just building the underlying technology that now powers applications across a number of industries.

That’s not the subject of this blog post though, so as we’ve been asked by a number of very educated individuals, WHY CORNWALL?

Ultimately the main reason for why Cornwall is why not! We are striving to create a world where technology such as Machine Learning can have an exciting impact on our lives but yet we’re expected to create this technology in single, metropolitan locations such as London, San Francisco or New York. Why?

There are of course a number of benefits to working out of these tech epicenter’s, access to skilled talent, ability to sell, access to finance and of course good PR coverage. But are they really worth uprooting the entire team to move or even just myself? I’m not so sure.

The truly exciting thing about building a disruptive business in a location such as Cornwall is the opportunity to build something new. If you’re meant to be building technology that the world has never seen before, why not start doing that by doing it in place that has a very limited amout of businesses like you. I feel very privileged to be working alongside a number of growing communities and hope that in the future Hertzian can become a catalyst and inspiration for other businesses and that is the main reason whilst I’m happy building the business in Cornwall.

Of course there are limitations to building a business in Cornwall and I’ll write up another post about them very soon. In the meantime if you want to follow any of my smaller ramblings on the usual social channels then click the buttons at the top of the page.