This was Demo Day!

Posted by Chris at Nov. 26, 2015, 12:12 p.m.

Tagged in: demoday, wayra, founders, friends, noneedforcheerleaders


So yesterday was Demo Day at Wayra UK. The culmination of nearly 10 months hard work from 23 amazing young companies whose journey we’ve been proud to see and share. From financial well being to giving sight to the blind, helping farmers in developing countries, putting better diabetes management literally in the hands of patients and their loved ones, ambient presence of those you care about, fixing the hours we spend on hold and a way to deeply connect the career hopes of young people to experienced mentors. You can’t help be inspired by these companies day in day out, to see it all in one day was almost overwhelming, especially when the founders have become friends. 

The day started with an impassioned speech from Martha Lane Fox, exhorting all in the audience to create a fairer, more compassionate, more equal web and technology industry. Her Q&A was excellent, pointing out that there were women in tech all around and calling out her discomfort at being objectivised as a founder at LastMinute.com. We have to all admit to being in awe of Martha and all she does and stands for. 

Next came the pitches. Sheldon’s story of how Mumoactive came from his children’s Diabetes is always emotional and amazing. Moment of the day had to be from State of Ambition who managed to connect an exceptional young man on their program, Carl, with Sol Campbell a guest at the event who could help him with his ambition. Sol also gave a moving and impassioned fireside chat about racism and intolerance.

We were delighted that the themes - Curiosity, Open Endedness, Playfullness whilst making resources which work within and map to the Curriculum - which run through our products were so well received by the audience. We were truly moved by the response and are now wading through the new contacts we made. We’d like to thank those who came specifically to support us, it meant so much to see you there. It was also really lovely to have for the first time most of our first wave of products displayed together on a table we’d made by scaling up Strawblox and to announce that the files for Strawblox have already been downloaded in over 30 countries.

it was a great day, with excellent discussions on diversity, incredible pitches, and aside from some ill-judged interval entertainment which could have easily been replaced with a silent slide show of the amazing year the teams had at Wayra, we had a great time. We’d love the work we all did to be the thing people remember the event for, whilst at the same time acknowledging that what happened over lunch has no place in our industry or any other industry in this day and age. The cheerleaders should be the people in the audience, there was more than enough to cheer about in the incredible work from amazing cohort.

Oh, and we let off a cola volcano mid pitch and the audience loved it. And so did we. Family friendly fun which illustrates the pent up energy in a volcano, a bottle of coke and a group of very hard working founders and teams at an accelerator demo day.

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