Web Mission launched to showcase UK startups in Silicon Valley

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TechCrunch UK is a media partner in a new initiative to create connections between Silicon Valley in the US, world famous as a crucible of technology innovation, and UK startups, as well as to showcase what the UK has to offer. I’m delighted to support this initiative. Another successful project, Paddys Valley, was created by and for Irish startups in December last year to introduce Irish companies to Silicon Valley players. Similarly, it’s great to to back a UK initiative like this. If you are a UK startup, please consider applying for a place. (And just for the record, I still think Europe is a great place for tech companies, but the more connections we can make globally the better it is for all). Here is the information sent to me by organiser Oli Barrett:

Web Mission 08
The Web Mission is taking 20 UK Web Entrepreneurs out to Silicon Valley at the end of April this year. The point is to enable the successful entrepreneurs to build relationships with great people in the US and to explore opportunities for their companies.

The Web Mission is supported by UKTI (UK Trade Invest), Microsoft and Make Your Mark (the National campaign for enterprise). It’s organised by me, Oli Barrett ( and Dailynetworker.co.uk ) and by Polecat.

The trip itself will be a blend of organised activities from drinks receptions to a one day ‘Momentum’ event at Microsoft, one-to-one meetings and opportunities to visit companies in Silicon Valley, from VCs to start ups to high growth success stories. It is designed to coincide with Web 2.0 Expo, so there will be time to drop into that if this is interesting to the companies. We’ll be working with colleagues in the US to help us populate a ‘local calendar’ of coffee shops events and informal drinks, the vibrant business scene for which San Francisco is rightly famous for. An outline agenda is on the web site.

Today, we’re opening up the application process to companies all over the UK. The entries will be filtered by UKTI, and individuals who have agreed to feed into that process include Mike Butcher from TechCrunch UK and entrepreneur Doug Richard. They will be looking at the organisation’s market potential, technology, traction, go to market strategy, management team and commercial viability. Polecat will be assessing the applicants’ sustainability impact. The successful companies will pay a nominal fee which will cover flights, accommodation and passes to Web Mission activities. This will come at a subsidised rate, thanks to the sponsors.

The registration site is here;



“The Web Mission represents an amazing opportunity for the best of entrepreneurial UK talent to visit Silicon Valley, and learn for themselves the differences that make the US a breeding ground for innovation and more importantly successful execution of ideas. With a spark of inspiration the UK has every opportunity to replicate that success on UK soil.”
Michael Birch, founder, Bebo

“Innovation is global, and what better way to help than Web Mission: get the disruptors from both sides of the Atlantic to meet and discuss how they are creating the future. A great initiative!”
Fred Destin, Atlas Venture

“San Francisco is the world’s leading startup centre. The importance of building ties with the web community there can not be underestimated. I congratulate all involved in this hugely positive initiative.”
Robert Loch, founder, Internet People

“I think The Web Mission is a great idea. The best businesses are global from day one and initiatives like this help entrepreneurs build the networks they need to grow their companies internationally.”
Nic Brisbourne, DFJ Esprit

“In reaching across the Atlantic, the Web Mission is leading the way in networking key talents here with great opportunities in the USA. Good luck in Frisco!”
Mark Prisk MP Shadow Minister, Enterprise & Competition

‘When we create a web business we create it for a global marketplace, we source our products globally, and we’ll probably end up being acquired by a global company or listing on a worldwide stock exchange. It’s absolutely right that we encourage the hottest web talent to look to the unequivocal pace-setter- Silicon Valley – for opportunities, inspiration, and partnership as we build Europe’s answer to the Google, Microsoft and Facebooks the other side of the Atlantic’.
James Murray Wells, Glasses Direct

“Success in business comes from meeting people, sharing ideas and creating partnerships. ViaPost has benefited greatly from a close relationship with key partners in the UK such as our Accelerator partnership with Microsoft and we are really excited about the upcoming Web Mission in April.”
Simon Campbell, CEO ViaPost

“The Web Mission couldn’t come at a better time. The entrepreneurial spirit in the UK is more electric than ever, with communication channels to the US improving all the time. The current climate is one of collaboration and networking, with passionate individuals going out of their way to connect other like-minded peers so they can build stronger relationships, leading to more business. The Web Mission is testimony to the kind of thought leadership that the UK could do with more of. Again, people going out of their way to help other entrepreneurs to build stronger ties with the US. This is a fantastic opportunity for the UK’s top entrepreneurs to build their businesses by either securing investment, collaborative, partnership opportunities. This is also an opportunity for the Americans to see exactly what the UK has to offer.”
Paul Walsh, Chairman, BIMA (British Interactive Media Association)

  • http://www.trendcatching.com jamescoops

    >Polecat will be assessing the applicants’ sustainability impact.

    not sure what that’s got to do with anything?

  • http://www.clearmymail.com Dan Field

    Could be good… but shouldn’t organisations like UK Trade Invest be concentrating on bringing the investment back here to the UK.. maybe bringing the right bods back here to London to meet with prospective businesses, showing the great facilities and skilled people we have?

    Connections with the US are great and are to be encouraged but isn’t there a risk that this exercise may end up with the successful businesses leaving the UK?

  • Mike Butcher

    Dan – That’s a question you should ask the organisers, like Oli Barrett. But from my experience it is quite hard – and usually requires quite a lot of cash – to attract experienced US players to the UK just to meet with startups, so this is a case of taking the mountain to meet Mohammed, because that’s how it’s going to ‘get done’. Of course, there’s a risk of a business being lured there, but I think that’s a risk worth taking to expose some UK firms to the experience of the Valley and showcase firms – which may well lead to inward UK investment. Conversely, I know one startup who just went over there to explore a move and came back saying he hated it and, although got a lot from his trip, plans to stay put in the UK!

  • http://www.manojranaweeram.com Manoj Ranaweera

    I think this is a great initiative, and we would love to be part of this mission (need further understanding of costs, etc). UKTI, as far as I understand is keen to promote UK businesses to the rest of the world, part of this being supporting overseas trade missions. I buy-in to what Mike was saying. As a digital startup with no geographical boundary, it is vital for us to get a foot hold into the USA. At present, over 50% of our traffic is from the USA.

    Mike, I also took the liberty to get Sun Microsystems UK interested in this initiative. I am sure (you know who) will be in touch soon (with you and others).

    Best regards, Manoj

  • http://www.chinwag.com/blogs/deirdre-molloy Deirdre Molloy

    @Dan Field / everyone – I would add that this is just one initiative from UKTI – and a very healthy one if it exposes UK start-ups to the vast experience that Silicon Valley offers and the longstanding innovation track-record that the region encompasses – and it should be judged in that context.

    In parallel, UKTI are also reaching out to UK digital businesses through a joint survey they’re conducting with Chinwag (my employer) regarding their strategy for both promoting UK digital outfits overseas and attracting overseas investment into UK digital media.

    Rather than sitting in an ivory tower, they’re actively looking to evolve their strategy based upon the feedback they gain through the survey which you can access and get more info on here:

    It would be great if Dan and other TCUK readers could take part, as it’s a genuinely exciting move on UKTI’s part… plus folks who complete the survey can enter a competition for a iPod Touch 8GB.

    BTW, the deadline for the survey is this Friday 15th February.

  • Mike Butcher

    Please note: In the interests of disclosure I have just deleted an openly racist comment by someone calling themselves “Cool another pissup” (an anonymous commenter). Any existing commenters may have recieved this via email. They criticised the above initiative but went way, way over-board by referring to something they call the “London jewish VC mafia”. This is clearly *totally* unacceptable, and not the kind of discourse I will tolerate on this blog’s comments. Mike Butcher, Editor, TechCrunch UK & Ireland.

  • Dave Knight

    Mike a great decision based on someone’s poor taste. But can you pls implement openid on this site asap to ensure people at least have to register somewhere in order to comment here.

  • Mike Butcher

    Dave knight – all requests for openid on this site can be directed to Mike Arrington on editor@techcrunch.com

  • http://segala.com/blog Paul Walsh

    @Dave Knight – I’m sorry, but OpenID, as much as I love it the concept, is a pain in the ass. I don’t have an account and I refuse to use any site that ‘mandates’ it. I think it’s great but I don’t want to be forced into saving my details in one location. Not everyone agrees with it by the way…

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