Digital Show’n’Tell – 2nd Edition
Last Thursday LightStart took its guests back to basics with a good old fashioned show ‘n’ tell – but improved, because digital! It was only our second instalment of the DSNT, but despite its youth it definitely hasn’t failed to attract a wealth of Leeds-based talent with some exciting gadgets and digital projects to showcase so far. The event followed your typical show-tell style framework, with seven guest speakers up in the spotlight to do their ‘telling’ – but not their selling. If you have attended one of our events before, you will know that we like to keep the vibes accessible, casual and fun with minimal sales and intense tech jargon, and the DSNT was no different.
The evening was hosted by KPMG and we were lucky enough to nab the swanky top-floor of their modern Leeds city centre location. This already excellent set-up was topped off with a mouth-watering spread of fresh pizza and plenty of bottles of wine and beer, and we were ready to go. LightStart’s newbie marketing interns Jess and Laraib (welcome!) warmly greeted guests as they trickled in – directing them straight to the refreshments, of course – and the open-plan space quickly filled with the buzz of nibbling and networking. As it turned 6 o’clock, our founder Dan rounded everyone to their seats and took to centre stage to kick off proceedings.
Telling not Selling
First up was Leon Doyle, entrepreneur who has specialised in start-ups over the last 10 years and also appeared on live TV in shows such as the Apprentice and Dragons’ Den (fun fact). He gave us the lowdown on his latest venture, the Wifiplug, with which users can switch just about anything electrical off and on, from anywhere they may be – even another country! Leon also announced some superb new voice control features of the plug, a recent development stemming from a deal with Amazon’s ‘Alexa’. Simply calling “Alexa, make me a coffee”, for example, will activate your Nespresso and brew your beverage before you know it. This project could be due to revolutionise the remote home control market which is currently developing at lightning speed, and has been eyed by the likes of Apple and Google. Watch this space!
Leon concluded with the announcement that he had to rush home to see his new-born baby (congrats!), and our second speaker Achille Traore made his way up to the podium. Achille began his relatively young business career in Leeds a few years back, and he is now CEO of TopScreen media, and began his talk eager to get us up to speed with the company’s latest project – Swoosch. The website is basically a virtual money bank, and is designed to transform the laborious process of collaborative saving for events or presents. No more bank transfers between every single person in the group, and no more digging for change to contribute. Just go onto the easy-to-use website and create a pot where each member can drop in exactly how much they want with a few clicks and their credit card. Handy!
Next up was Boston-born Chris Cambell, who introduced himself with a heartwarming tale of love and how he relocated to sunny England for it (aww). With an established career in digital design and marketing under his belt, Chris’ latest creative endeavour is Palate, the app for coffee-lovers worldwide. Palate offers users a fun and community-based resource with every piece of information they could need about caffeine-y goodness. Novice or barista, you can get inspired and funky with your flavours (who knew there were so many?) and find out what exactly that aroma is that you love, plus tastes others are currently into. It inspired us to try something new so we are raising our mug to you, Chris!
Another app-happy speaker followed to the stage, announcing that with his widget things were about to get interactive! Starting off as a journalist for the likes of Zoo magazine, and creating several new start-ups since, Mark Walsh has wound up founder of Kwizzbit the digital pub quiz. The app revolutionises the classic quiz set up, by adding punchy digital features such as timed answers and a ‘block google’ function (ha, cheats!). The app has already attracted thousands of pubs around the country and success of the interactive idea is set to sky-rocket in the coming months. To finish up, Mark gave guests a first-hand go at the platform with a mini-quiz, which was excellent fun. Once everyone had been left with sufficient tingling of competitive edge, we decided it was time for a little wine-down – out came some fresh pizza and off went our guests to chat about the cool stuff they’d seen so far.
When everyone was suitably refreshed and comfortably seated once again, Amer Latif was called up. Sonocent is an award-winning note-taking software for students, and their VP of sales Amer has seen it grow massively in the last couple of years. Originally solely for the use of pupils with learning disabilities, it has expanded to universities globally to assist all students in taking great notes due to growing popularity and demand. The software records entire lectures from a laptop or phone so there is no need to frantically scribble, while enabling users to pin personal notes or diagrams to the audio file at points for quick reminders. Notes will never be the same again!
Our next speaker Steven Binnion created his own website and business this year, after 20+ years in the business world. The gap in the market for his startup is large: a service that really helps you buy good gifts. With a social-media-esque structure, Remind2Find asks users to create a profile and provide some simple information such as their favourite brands, hobbies, and products that will help loved ones choose something they wouldn’t mind rocking up in their stocking. Family and friends can then connect profiles, and voila – no more gift face!
The digital dating scene has fired up to the maximum in recent years with sky-high figures logging in daily. Max Adamski is a young Leeds University graduate who decided to totally switch-up the dating app game with a revolutionary concept: not being shallow. On Jigtalk, love-seekers profile pictures are hidden…and covered in puzzle pieces. Only once a sufficient amount of messages have been exchanged and the suiters realise they are basically made for each other from personality ONLY will the pieces fall away one by one. Max’s witty humour and slight self-deprecation rounded off the evening fabulously and left guests giggling as they departed.
If you are interested in attending an event like this show and tell, then perfect, because we have plenty coming up and would love to see you there! You can find a full list and all the info here.
NOTE: Although we run fun, interesting digital networking events like the DSNT a lot, we also do some slightly less social, more serious stuff, too. LightStart is a digital design house that specialises in app and website creation and analysis. If you’re someone who has an idea for a digital product, or would like to improve an existing one, we offer free, one-hour, no strings attached workshops in which we will analyse your goals step-by-step, and provide you with all of the components you will need to power forward and create your dream digital product. Get in touch with us here!