Over many years Bucks of Woodside in Silicon Valley has become known as a place where entrepreneurs and venture capitalists meet over coffee or brunch to discuss their next project. As you can see from the video of owner Jamis Macniven below, Hotmail was started there, at table 15. Of course, other ‘normal’ people go there for breakfast, but it helps that you can ‘run into’ fellow startups and VCs there. Even Valleywag has looked for spies there. Today there are many more places in the Valley where startups go to network, even kite-surfing.
However, here in the UK and wider Europe we are only just really getting going with the whole startup schtick. We need places to hang out in and meet each other. Yes, OpenCoffee has been a great engine of networking startups and investors across Europe. But this is essentially a networking event and although it happens in a real venue, what do you do the rest of the time? Simultaneously, many startups are grappling with the high cost of office space, especially in the UK. Projects like the Social Media Cafe, established by Lloyd Davis, are proving to be a great success amongst consultants and agencies, but that is focused on social media, not on startups (and fair enough).
But there are things we can take away from Social Media Cafe and Bucks which would help startups. These are: desk space (or ‘cafe table’ space) for on-the-go working, coffee, the right ‘crowd’ of similar minded people, an easy to access location (with public transport). It goes without saying that you need WiFi. It would help, also, if it wasn’t so out in the wild country that the odd VC or Angel investor could not stop by. Perhaps the obvious choice – at least in London – might be a converted warehouse near the Heathrow Express in Paddington!
So, here’s the question: Where do you hang out to work on your startup? Do you hang at the local coffee shop? Would you love to have a place where other people like you could run into each other? And are there any cafe/restaurant entrepreneurs out there who would like to create a franchised brand of tech-focused restaurants across Europe? Hell, a guy can dream…