Reflections on start-up life: Week 24

I don’t know if I left my heart in San Francisco, but my inner geek found its spiritual home.

In our two and a half weeks we met many amazing people doing many amazing things. The quality of the start-ups, the engineers and the networking is phenomenal.

Perhaps the most inspiring thing is that when you meet some of these startups you realise it can be done. A small dedicated team with a dream can pull it together and make things happen. It gives us confidence we can do it too.

While it seemed a little slow heading into the final week, we ended up with a large number of meetings which kept us busy and out of mischief.

I went on a wine tour of the Sonoma district courtesy of Tina Lui who I met the week before. It was great to get out and see the countryside, but also to meet and network with some tech AND non-tech people. This lead to a meeting with Chuck on Monday who put us in touch with his Angels from the East Coast — we follow up with another meeting this week.

Tuesday we were back at OATV for a second round meeting via a web conference. Difficult to judge where this is at as OATV is very focussed on closing their next fund at the moment, so it’s probably not the best time to pitch to them.

Wednesday we had a full on day — we were on the CalTrain early for a breakfast meeting in Palo Alto (feedback — “analytics is like Crack cocaine — addictive but it’s downhill after that — where do you go with it?”).

Then to Sand Hill Road (the heart of VC land) for another pitch — this was a really productive meeting which went well and hopefully leads to a second round (have to follow up on this).

Finally back into the city to meet with SXVP a joint AU / US fund who indicated they were happy to explore co-investing but they don’t typically lead. We also had good feedback on areas to focus on improving our pitch.

Thursday I went out to Oakland for a social meetup, then Alex and I went meet with Klout (a Twitter influence ranking startup). Klout are on the first floor of the same building Twitter are in. This was excellent — really educational and a great sharing of ideas between us both. Klout have just sealed a 1.5M seed round.

While we were there we also sat down with LiveIntent, another Twitter focussed app. The great outcome here is that the VC we met on Wednesday who might lead to a second round meeting is also an investor in LiveIntent and they seemed happy to make an intro for us — this is pure gold in the start-up space. Investors trust the opinions of people they invest in.

Finally Thursday afternoon it was our much awaited meeting with Twitter. We had some great conversations and were pleased to confirm that we aren’t treading on any toes from their perspective as well as learn a bit about how they thought we might fit in the eco-system. It was a strong highlight for me, although the investor meetings are more important, it was nice to know that Twitter now know what we are up to.

Late Thursday it was a meeting with a friend of a friend from Melbourne, then Thursday night I saw on Twitter that Samantha Bell, who I know in Melbourne was in San Francisco too. So it was running around to meet up with her and we all went out to dinner. Who says Twitter isn’t useful! I missed Ross Hill who landed at SFO only because we weren’t close enough together to actually meet in person.

Friday it was the MongoDB San Francisco conference — this was also cool. It’s interesting that my background in Enterprise has well prepared me for a lot of scaling challenges and issues — this is at least in part because several servers (or virtual servers) for global projects at PwC was relatively easier than in a startup where every server counts. It’s given me a good head start in understanding the architectures and configuration possibilities for scaling out our own systems now. The big highlight at the MongoDB conference was a live demo of a 25 server cluster running at over 800M+ transactions per second. Pretty mind blowing stuff.

Then I waved goodbye to Alex and headed home. We could of accomplished more in San Francisco if we’d stayed, but it was time to go. This week we’ve got plenty of emails and meetings to follow up on and we’ll see where we get to. It’s also good to be able to focus on some coding again, although the capital raising continues to tick along in the background now.


  • Good range of VC and investors meetings.
  • Winery tour was awesome.
  • Meeting other startups and meeting with Twitter.
  • Great social catch ups with various people including Chuck Baker and Samantha Bell.
  • Meeting with Twitter
  • Going home
  • Learning my favourite new joke — “Renes Descartes walks into a bar, the bar tender says to him ‘Hey Renes, do you want a beer’. Renes says ‘I think not’ then disappears.”


  • The fact the visit has had to come to an end — although I wanted to go home to the family, there’s little doubt in my mind if we could spend a few months there we’d lock away the money.

Goal(s) this week

  • Back to coding and some critical things to be done (for me getting the pipeline live).
  • Follow ups with the meetings from San Francisco.