17 bold entrepreneurial projects are now years closer to success than a day ago, thanks to what has happened here today.
Projects ranging from games to entertainment to the barely-describable, and hailing from as far north as Leigh and as far south as Dunedin, have had the chance to get in front of a world-class group of advisors.
So what kind of a boost-up is this for these projects? For some, it's exposure to the sheer experience of getting funding. For others, it's the ability to ask questions of world leaders in their field, whether it's interface design, social media metrics or gaming. And for others, its simply the chance to have someone who's “been there” tell them whether their idea has legs or not.
These mentors are world-class, with global experience. So how does New Zealand entrepreneurship fare against the standards of Silicon Valley, or Bombay for that matter? The feedback is positive.
Tim Chang, from Norwest Venture Partners in Silicon Valley, told me he's impressed with the calibre of ideas, and also for New Zealand businesses' ability to bootstrap - largely because we need to. Because there’s not a VC next door, we innovate and find a way to make things pay, from day one. And that's the kind of companies VCs chase.
Vishal Gondal also said he’s impressed with the quality and variety of ideas. Most other similar events he attends are full of Facebook clones, and ways to make Twitter better (a whole industry in itself, albeit one without a revenue model!).
As I consider the success of X-Media lab 2009, I wonder, is this the best way to do it? Could this level of networking be achieved online? (After all, there is a lot of technology here!)
My thoughts: yes and no. Yes, in that the internet lets you convey more and higher quality information. And social networking profiles are so much more comprehensive.
No, in that the tea breaks, the famed "hallways" that unconferences are based on, are in action here. Random conversations with people you're not likely to meet otherwise. And those conversations are relaxed, unhurried, unlike the conversations you tend to have online.
“It’s a wrap” has just been called for today, which means this is a great time to publish this post. See you tomorrow.