Archives for the month of: February, 2013

As our Man V Food Crowd psyche themselves up for tomorrow’s chicken wing food challenge at The Red Dog Saloon in Hoxton, we have come up with the top 5 things to conquer the ‘Naga Viper Chilli Wings!’  6 pieces of chicken in ten minutes without a drink. This challenge is the UK’s hottest & it’s pretty famous.

Wikipedia – The Naga Viper was created in England by chilli farmer Gerald Fowler of The Chilli Pepper Company. It is an unstable three-way hybrid produced from the Naga Morich, the Bhut Jolokia and the Trinidad Scorpion (some of the world’s hottest peppers). The Naga Viper pepper, with its rating of 1,382,118 Scoville Heat Units was the official holder of the Guinness World Records “World’s Hottest Chilli” record as of 25 February 2011.

5 Tips To Eating Spicy Foods:

1. Chew as little as possible.

2. Try to strip the meat with your fingers into smaller pieces so you can swallow whole.

3. Hard I know but try and keep the chillis as far away as possible from the skin in your mouth.

4. Chew some ice before the challenge as ice numbs the taste buds.

5. Interrupt your taste buds by eating some bread or crackers. As you aren’t allowed to drink anything during the challenge, take a box of Jacobs crackers.

Join the table there are still a couple of seats left. If you don’t fancy taking on the chicken wings, how about coming along for some front row seats and enjoy some authentic Texan BBQ food: London’s Hottest Wings Challenge! 

Good luck


Monday. We’re in full fund raising mode, so as well as juggling the demands of the day-to-day business, I’m running around the City and West End for fund raising meetings.

After missing out on their last demo & drinks event, I booked a demo slot on 25 February with Tech Meetups at Google Campus. It’s a good opportunity to further improve our pitch and receive feedback from London’s tech community.

I’m off to San Francisco tomorrow to attend the Vator Splash pitch competition and the Women 2.0 Conference as well as various other meetings I’ve set up. I had no joy using Startup Stay to find a sofa to crash this time round but sourced some cheap digs through AirBnb.

Tuesday. Spoke to Chris Bradley of Suitcase Startup, on the way to the airport. Chris is filming his journey as he takes his startup from his bedroom in North Wales to London, with no money, no accommodation and no office. Despite me not finding a place to crash through Startup Stay, I did acquire Chris as a houseguest when I’m back from the US. I’m looking forward to hearing about his startup Publicate. We agreed to set up a Startup Engine dinner for the night he stays and that he could include the footage in his fly-on-the-wall documentary.

I was approached by a London radio station for an interview – they are interested in stories from female entrepreneurs so I said yes, and booked in a date to head down to Royal Festival Hall for the show.

And off to San Francisco I go! I’m dreading the kick the 9 hours time difference will have, as I need to be on form from the moment I arrive. The agenda is packed to the max.

Wednesday. I arranged a lunch through Startup Stay to meet a fellow entrepreneur from the area. It was good to get the low down about the scene here and he recommended some pitch competitions that would suit TableCrowd.

Then onto Vator Splash, a large and high profile pitch competition in San Francisco at Café de Nord! Last week I reached out (yes, I’m in the US, so I’m switching to US chat – when in Rome…) to some people on the guestlist for the event to introduce TableCrowd and to arrange to meet them over a drink after the pitches. A semi-finalist, we received a complimentary ticket to the event which was a bonus.

There were key note speakers from Evernote as well as some big gun VCs. At the after party, the live band was made up of the keynote speakers and VCs previously on stage speaking or judging, plus a number of people who had made successful exits from companies we all know. Everyone lives and breathes startups here!

I’m missing out on the Startup Engine dinner tonight at the Yard, but Ben Bromerley of AskHerFriends has stepped up to host in my absence.

Thursday. I made an early start to ‘get in line’ (…still in Rome) at the Women 2.0 Conference. Around 1,000 women descended on the Westin St Francis hotel on Valentine’s Day for an action packed day of speakers and a pitch competition. We heard from key notes speakers from Facebook, Bing, the co-founder of as well as many VCs.

Friday. Back-to-back meetings all over town, which gave me a chance to see a bit of San Francisco, and make some very useful connections which will help TableCrowd on its journey.

Leaving for New York tomorrow for Social Media Week as part of Chinwag’s Digital Mission. Looking forward to meeting my 19 other UK comrades that are also on the mission.

This has to be the best Valentines day poem ever and it makes complete sense; Roses are red (true) as well as bacon and poems are really hard to piece together and of course bacon (exactly). One for all the foodie lovers of London. Happy Valentines day to all.

Fancy meeting some of our Hungry Romantics Crowd at our table tonight. Join the table here Single & Mingle Valentines Dinner at Tiger Tiger London.

We dined at the rather busy Thai Thai on Old Street this week, a stone’s throw from London’s booming Tech City.

Jon Prove joined us for the first time. I met Jon after hearing him deliver a fantastic demo (with prizes for those that listened most carefully!) at Tech Meetups last month for his startup Ginicam. Ginicam allows you to trade online, in real time, earning money without risk. For example, if you wanted to learn how to use a new camera or musical instrument, you can get in touch with someone that has that skill and pay for their time for the advice you need (over live video streaming).

It was good to share a nice bottle of red and catch up and with Kevin Quincey on his project, City Beach London, the UK’s largest indoor beach complex he’s building in Harrow, and to hear how the project is progressing. He’s working on approvals, considering funding options and weighing up the pros and cons of different sites.

Alessandro Philip Maiano of Wilbe, an incubator style business in Milan, joined us again this week and brought along the highly ambitious and driven Mandy, who is currently working in the family business where she is providing innovative packaging solution for startups to multinational businesses.

The charismatic Ben Austin joined us for his first dinner after hearing about TableCrowd at the Lion’s Cage pitch competition (which we won incidentally – still flying high from the glory). Ben is heavily embroiled in London’s startup scene, acting as a catalyst and starter for various ideas and projects and he seems to be having a thoroughly good time!

Mark Mink is working on Investment Works, an investment advice platform, which makes investing and savings a part of everyday life. Mark is looking to work with a skilful software architect who can help him develop the technology for his project.

Other diners had plans ranging from the next big thing to hit Whitecross Street to more than satisfy my lunchtime cravings to supplying the US market with ethically sourced products.

As always, an informative and fun evening with my ever expanding network of people involved in London’s tech and startup scene.

I’m off to NYC and San Francisco next week for pitches, demos and meetings but do join Ben Blomerley of AskHerFriends who will be hosting the Startup Engine Dinner at The Yard on 13th Feb to network with some really exciting startups.

–       Kate
–       @katejacksonk

Last night was our Man V Food yard of pizza challenge at Yard al Rollo and it was AWESOME. The challenge – to gobble down a pizza the size of a small child! For the winner – their name engraved on our Man V Food trophy and eternal glory.

Four separate sections of pizza stood between me and victory. I started with the ‘Spicy Macho’ followed by ‘American Hot’, ‘Mushroom’ then Margarita. I was hoping that I could coast home by finishing with these softer options. A cheeky tactic and it was a close run thing. I posted a time of 32 minutess but was beaten by a quite astonishing 27 minutes sprint from Danny that included overcoming a ‘full english breakfast’ section of pizza. Well done sir!

Thanks to Chris, Danny, Kim, Lee, Sian, Simone and Sofie for such a great evening. Take a look at the contenders below and what challenge we have coming next…..

 Next Challenge – London’s Hottest Wings Challenge! at The Red Dog Saloon (bring your gloves)

This week at the Startup Engine weekly dinner we had a private room booked at Piccolina (great food, great service!). We were lucky enough to be joined by Sylvia Cohen, an expert in public speaking.  There were 11 diners, all keen to finely tune their public speaking and presentation skills for a variety of reasons ranging from fund raising to career changes.

We had an hour taster session where Sylvia shared her wisdom, worked through some exercises with us, explained breathing techniques and offered tips. She then opened the floor for questions. There was only enough time for Sylvia to give us a whistle top tour of her program, which she would usually take hours to work through with clients. I had a presentation the following day so there was a chance to test out some of what I learnt.

After the session we dined and chatted and found out a little about what everyone was working on.

Piotr Zając joined us again from Untitled Kingdom, who is in the UK for 3 months looking into business opportunities here for his crack team of iOs and android developers.

After meeting Mateusz J Łapsa-Malawski and his business partner graphic designer Gosia Lapsa-Malawska at a pitch event at Google Campus, it was great to see them at their first TableCrowd dinner. Their startup is Chayamuni, which provides gamification experience to travelers on their mobiles. A really interesting concept; these guys are looking to partner with top-notch creative writers. Get in touch if this is up your street.

Alessandro Philip Maiano stepped up boldly and tested out his presentation skills on us – very effectively. He is a trainee solicitor by day and runs an incubator style business in Milan by night. Wilbe is a one-stop-shop for innovative entrepreneurial projects looking to incorporate, start and grow their business. Being an ex-lawyer myself, I have no idea how he fits everything in. He’s looking to bring his operation to London this year, which is good news for London’s tech community. Watch this space!

The other diners included people who were scheming and planning – their startups yet to emerge.

The Startup Engine dinner next week is on Thursday; not the usual Tuesday. I’m already looking forward to it. We’re dining at Thai Thai near Old Street, so book on if you’re free.

Until then…