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[Update: Please join the TechCrunch Europe Facebook group]

Right after my long post about VCs and startups in Europe, something interesting happened. In the post I advised startups that – while starting-up on Europe offers great opportunities – it’s still smart thinking to put out feelers in Silicon Valley, or at least have some kind of connection.

Not long after we had a comment on the post from entrepreneur, alpha-geek and blogger Ben Metcalfe along the following lines:

“I’m really interested in reaching out to British start-ups that would like a ‘feeler’ in San Francisco/Silicon Valley. At this point I’m really keen to see if I can help the Brits get a leg up over here rather than thinking about business angles at the moment. So if you’re interested please contact me via the contact page on my blog.”

Now this is interesting because while Ben is now a pretty well connected guy out in the Valley now – currently working on MySpace and Seesmic – he started out 18 months ago virtually cold. Don’t be fooled by his vaguely left-field appearance – he’s a smart guy with a lot of experience both at Orange and the BBC. And now he knows what it’s like to be a Brit abroad in the Valley.

It’s probably unfair to highlight this offer with a whole blog post (sorry Ben!), but this seemed like too good to bury under the carpet. And while I’m at it, if you are a Brit out there in the Valley and feel like helping some UK and European startups have a voice out there, get in touch. Perhaps we can help build some kind of useful network out there…

[And I should also add that while TechCrunch UK and Ireland is my chief focus, I also write for TechCrunch.com, which is a useful platform for UK and European startups to be covered on].

  • http://segala.com/blog Paul Walsh

    I think it was worth the post Mike.

    It’s not just Brits in the Valley who are there to help. Tyler from Mahalo said he’d meet me in the Valley if I decide to go over early in the new year. I hosted breakfast and hooked Jason Calacanis up with folk when he and Tyler were in London, so I guess they’re as eager to help us connected as we are.

    It would be great if there was a central communication channel through which Valley people could see when Europeans are in town. Hugh MacLeod asked if I wanted to join him on his next trip, so I’m likely to hit the Valley and NY in the first quarter. It’s time to start connecting over there.

  • http://ledastray.co.uk Laura Francis

    We’ll be out there in just over a week, and although its holiday season we’d be really interested in meeting anyone and everyone! I’ve just been getting pointers on all the good geek hang outs in SF. (And where to go on NYE)

  • Robert Duffy

    “It would be great if there was a central communication channel through which Valley people could see when Europeans are in town.”

    Paul, what are you thinking? Sounds like a perfect facebook app? I’m down for coding it if you want to flesh out the idea and get some people onboard to promote it…

  • Mike Butcher

    @RobertDuffy – Perhaps it’s also a dopplr group / app / thing?

  • http://segala.com/blog Paul Walsh

    Robert – I love to see this kinda ‘just do it’. I’ll create a FB group but need to give it a little more thought later today. I’ll ask the usual suspects to join so others will follow. Let’s keep it simple and do it on FB – as I said ‘central hub’ – you can’t have that if you use different tools/apps.

  • http://segala.com/blog Paul Walsh

    … Robert – an app is a good idea. I’ll setup the group so we can promote the app.

  • http://webappropriate.com Neil

    And I’ll join it!

  • http://segala.com/blog Paul Walsh

    European & Valley Community group on Facebook.


  • http://www.loudervoice.com/ Conor O'Neill

    The recent overwhelming success of the Paddy’s Valley Trip to SV showed just how useful those links to the Valley can be.

  • http://www.danielbower.com Daniel Bower

    A great idea.

  • http://benmetcalfe.com/blog Ben Metcalfe

    Thank you so much, Mike, for nice the write up.

    This is definitely a project I’ve been intending to get going for 2008, so your previous post was fantastic timing. I’m really keen to get this going so I’ll join Paul Walsh’s Facebook group but I’m also interested in hearing from companies directly, especially if they know what they need from the US.

    “Left of field appearance” – ha, you should see the new hair colour, Mike – fire red/orange/yellow. (For everyone else who is not sure what on earth this is about – I tend to dye my hair different colours a lot as part of my trademark look. That’s about as ‘left of field’ as I get). Most of my corporate clients think it’s a hoot, other than that it’s pretty average for San Francisco.

    Finally, it’s worth noting that the French Embassy has a two-three person presence in San Francisco purely to promote French technology firms and start-ups in the area. They host monthly demo events, etc. It’s a shame the UK consulate in SF doesn’t provide such a service.

  • http://segala.com/blog Paul Walsh

    @Ben – as Chair of BIMA (http://bima.co.uk) during my 48 hour day, I could start some conversations. I also advise the British Council on a number of projects, of which, one is the Digital Pioneer Programme. So, let’s get them talking. Who do I need them to speak to on your end?

  • http://blog.newscred.com Shafqat

    Great discussion going on. We’re one of those startups incorporated in London, business development in Switzerland, and development offshore. Most of the entrepreneurs I meet here in Geneva are now thinking global (we certainly are), although the challenges outlined in the original blog post still remain. I do believe, however, that being outside of the Valley could be a blessing in disguise. Without the constant lure of VCs and the million dollar deals happening in your neighborhood, it allows you to put your head down and focus on building a great product with sweat and passion, rather than with money.

    Really looking forward to building this Europe-Valley bridge!

  • http://benmetcalfe.com/blog Ben Metcalfe

    @Paul, they can certainly talk to me and I can help or put them in touch with someone else if I can’t.

    There is the British American Chamber of Commerce SF but they don’t run any events of this nature – they seem to be more geared towards the financial industry (banking, institutional, rather than VC investment) that is also prevalent in SF.

  • http://www.accmanpro.com Dennis Howlett

    Ben did take a rep with him – a big one – plus a gig with a then major voice in social media. Everything else is his doing for which full cred.

    BT has a presence out there I believe and it’s always worth tapping up JP Rangaswami to make contact.

  • http://segala.com/blog Paul Walsh

    @Ben I’ll get them to get in touch with you. I’ll have a chat with JP too @Dennis – need to speak to him about my next event anyway as he has offered the Tower with the rotating restaurant!

  • http://www.gigpay.com Joe

    Great ideas, and suggestions guys, I’m coming on over to joing the FB group.

  • http://benmetcalfe.com/blog/index.php/2007/12/19/helping-uk-startups-get-ahead-in-san-francisco-and-silicon-valley/ Helping UK startups get ahead in San Francisco and Silicon Valley | :Ben Metcalfe Blog

    […] is something I’ve been slowly brewing for a while but will probably accelerate now that Mike Butcher spontaneously wrote about it on TechCrunch UK (following a comment on another TCUK post about VC investment in 2008). Spontaneous in a good way, […]

  • Mike Butcher

    BTW, I have also now created a group for TechCrunch focused on Europe:

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