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SeedCamp – the contest

So I’ve entered a contest called SeedCamp, and I need your support.  What’s the contest about?  Well, it’s a competition, run by some of the big venture capitalists in Europe (read – people with lots of money, who made it big in the dot.com boom!), including founders of skype, bebo, and some bigwigs from google, microsoft, mozilla, and cisco, amongst others.. (yeah, there’s plenty more people – you can find out about them all at the Seedcamp Team page).

The aim of the competition, is to be selected as one of the top 20 companies, who get to spend a week with Seedcamp, at UCL, in September, networking, making connections with all the movers and shakers in the Tech Startup industry, and then at the end of the week, pitching for €50k seed funding, which will be awarded to 5 startups for a 10% stake in the respective companies.

The aim of this funding, is to provide enough capital to fund the startup for 3 months, and along with enough funds to grow the business, and develop the software.  The lucky winners get to benefit from ongoing support from the ecosystem of startup funders, and mentors,  which includes other successful technology entrepreneurs, and with weekly dinners that provide ongoing mentorship and support, the aim is to be ready to pitch to potential investors, by week 10, when the startups get a chance to receive further funding.

So as a way of differentiating my entry, and in the hopes of getting into the contest with a bit of community support, I created a two minute elevator pitch (well it lasts about 2:50),  which describes the project that I’ve been working on for four years…  In essence it’s a bunch of technology that will make things like facebook, and email so much easier to use, making it easy to find the people you want to find, the information from those people that you want to retrieve, and automatically organising everything in a neat and tidy way.  Think of how easy it is to work in a neat and tidy office, where everything is filed away neatly, and how difficult it is to work when you have a bunch of mess everywhere?  Well the software I’ve been working on automatically takes the messy world of the internet, including all of your email, and logins for social networks like facebook, or linkedin, and by you answering a few simple questions, and filling in the gaps, in your social network, the system can automatically organise all of your contacts, and emails for you.  What this means, is that it gets easier to see what people have been upto – and for you to stay informed when it comes to the people that actually matter in your life.  It’s not to say your other emails and social networking sites are no longer useful, it’s just we believe there’s an easier and better way to do things, and we want to help people get online, find what they’re looking for, and then get off again… With some time, plenty of feedback, and hopefully the right approach, our aim is to reduce your online time checking and reading emails, being on social networking sites, reading blogs, and status updates, and generally being online, for social reasons, down to a quarter of what you currently have to spend, to be on top of it all..

It’s an ambitious goal, and it won’t be quick and easy (necessarily), but it will be something that get’s accomplished, eventually, by hook or by crook!!

The project is called Billion In A Year, and refers to roughly how many people are currently using the internet each year.  The idea being that this number of people are having to waste some time, each year, unnecessarily having to organise, and categorise their information.  I say unnecessarily, because we believe we can automate the process with the right technology, which we’ve already designed, and now need funding to help secure a development budget, and get a prototype started straight away.

So I managed to get a video recorded, as part of the contest, and the person with the most votes automatically gets through the first part of the selection process… (We still have to then attend an interview day, from which the final 20 will be selected, so it’s certainly no easy sailing, even if I do win this video contest).  However, I believe enough people are wasting away their lives on technology, and instead of being enabling and supporting the development of community and connections, social online technologies are looking for ways of being sticky, looking to keep you in their clutches for longer, which I think is completely wrong, and so I will be developing the first technology company, who’s aim is to have you use our technology for as little time as possible.  Some might call me foolish, but worry not, since I’ve not completely lost my marbles.. I do have monetisation models, etc.. but rest assured they don’t involve floating a whole bunch of advertising links on the website, from google.  I think it can be profitable to be able to get people away from their computers as quickly as possible, and let them live their lives, all that remains now, is to find the funding, and get the ball rolling… Trust me, I’ve got more than just one hair brained idea wrapped into this, and between all of them, I will find a model that works, to get the project off the ground, in a financially viable manner…

You can catch my pitch for BillionInaYear.com, along with all the other competition entries and of course, I’d be more than grateful for your support, if you feel like offering it. (Though the competition deadline is Sunday the 10th of August, at 23:59pm so that doesn’t leave much time! as of posting this..)

I know that the pitch is a little unclear, the audio is terrible, and the lighting is really bad, but unforutnately, given that I was scrambling at 10pm, the night before the deadline, to get the entry in, and ended up having to borrow a laptop, use my old headset, and use a webcam, I figured, at least I made it into the contest… I’ll shortly be updating the billioninayear.com website so that you can read the transcript, and also learn more about the project there… But for now, if you’re interested in learning more, drop me an email (if you know it), find me on twitter, and send me a comment (twitter username: magitam), or leave a message in the comments, and I’ll get back to you.

Wish me luck, in this crazy quest, to build this missing piece of technology in the world!

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