Tag Archives: Startup

The leap of faith too far

StreetPin Crowdfunding

The StreetPin team has spent years understanding what ‘local’ means. We’ve literally got the t-shirt, and worn it to all kinds of community events, fairs, pubs, parks, retailers, churches, you name it…

We have brought out various iterations of our beta (test) product, ridden the ‘must have an app!’ wave and compiled plans and applications in every conceivable format. We recently ummm’d and arrr’d long and hard about asking ‘the community’ we are aiming to serve, to help us fund the progress of a product that is currently in a beta (test) state. Yes!, we thought, let’s test the water. We’d put ourselves on a reward-based crowdfunding site, www.zequs.com Twitter was the first port of call. We went with a few initial product/service tweets such as:

Enticing, huh?

These were obviously also echoed on Facebook and LinkedIn in the appropriate language and style. We even had some big Twitter users post or Retweet us.

<caveat>My personal feeling is that those with hundreds of thousands of followers, or post hundreds of tweets a day are pretty ‘excitingly diluted’ and are actually the equivalent of a scatter gun approach. My ethos (and the direction of StreetPin) is that 10 local, relevant contacts are worth 1,000 random views from the likes of ‘Mike123′ in Kansas seeing a tweet whilst playing a shoot ’em up on his X-box. Tweets from them always brings a smile though</caveat>

We wrote/contributed to a number of blogs, sent mails to subscribers, buttered up friends and family, went networking but the cold harsh truth is that StreetPin in beta, is still a little too vague and less tangible than is needed for people to part with cash. The crowd funding approach was partly about the money, partly the desire to have several advocates with a small vested interest in our success. We did of course look at equity rewards to provide a larger incentive, but we actually need a comparatively small amount of money to prove something that could be great. As the equity crowd funders make a percentage of funds raised, they just aren’t interested in these smaller raises. We will be considering this option to grow exponentially once we have ticked off a few boxes including revenue stream and rising membership, so potential shareholders, watch this space!

Badger verb, gerund or present participle: badgering:repeatedly and annoyingly ask (someone) to do something.

We thought that the crowd fund option was worth a try, gave it a good shot over the course of a week, but essentially we are not going badgering or alienating those that we want nurture and be our trailblazers in the new digital community world. Having run 3 marathons, climbed the 3 peaks, trekked to Everest base camp etc – I recognise ‘giving fatigue’ where the same people are asked for money time and time again. I don’t want this to be the case for StreetPin. I’m looking for familiarity, followed by real examples of how our concept could really work for customers. We of course hope this will lead to sales due to StreetPin being the best solution at the best price

The Edison effect

We’ve been on another little journey, no doubt about that, and someday I’ll write a book – just need to succeed big time first 😉 Attempting a small, reward-based fund raise was another in a long line of learning experiences. We haven’t failed, we’ve found another way not to move StreetPin forward. As a super-driven guy, struggling to contain the ‘big picture’, as long as we are learning and improving the end product, I will continue to push with all my might.

Build it and they will come

In the perhaps deranged mind of founder, Tim Buick, StreetPin will enjoy enviable global usage numbers, perhaps rivalling LinkedIn. The StreetPin concept and tool itself is rapidly scalable and we will aim to prove its virality and reseller value in a host of different community, managed service and commercial areas. South East London first, then the world! We are aiming to provide an inclusive and supportive network like no other – I guess it takes a bit more evidence and tangible examples to move forwards – so that’s just what we’ll do!

What now?

We are about to go dark for a couple of months whilst we work with some new developers to give YOU the community product you deserve, if for nothing else other than making it to the bottom of my blog :)

StreetPin is going to come back early in the New Year with a viable alternative to online shopping for the High Street.

  • We are also progressing discussions with sales and community partners large and small, so if this is of interest, drop us a note.



We ran our trial on Zequs.com, who are currently doing their great work for free. Tarkan and team are super helpful and I would heartily recommend them if you are considering a raise yourself – just make sure it’s a bit more tangible 😉

3, 2, 1… D’oh

StreetPin at the Whitgift Centre The startup world is a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows – elation and frustration often go hand-in-hand as the precious hours of the day tick by. Here at StreetPin, we’re no strangers to ‘nearly there’ and the occasional ‘D’oh’ but we fully intend to keep getting out there, meeting our potential future customers and fine tuning the service to ensure that when we are given a clean bill of health, the demonstrations can progress in earnest.

Bugs: 2, StreetPin: 1

We’ve had a couple of Croydon events recently, where we don the StreetPin colours and meet/present to the people of Croydon in various guises. The first of which was the Tech City Roadshow (@TCRoadshow), where we set up shop next to 9 other startups in the Whitgift Centre for a show-and-tell of technology and creativity. As I set up my banner, splayed my leaflets, readied the lap top and the iPad, I caught my breath and looked at my neighbouring stands. My static banner was looking pretty flimsy next to a 10ft wide, interactive movie wall featuring Will Smith and the 3D scanning machine knocking out realistic plaster casts of the fascinated shoppers. Mental note to self: Go Big or Go Home. It was far from a competitive arena however, and was a pleasure sharing the startled shoppers with such fine startups and small businesses. The issues came when the updates and fixes (which were receiving band aids as I set up the stall), started to come away at the seams. I am a huge advocate of testing, testing, testing, but also in the startup world there has to be an element of ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ in order not to miss an opportunity. We were also somewhat scuppered at the Croydon Heritage Festival, with our presentation in Matthew’s Yard. You may remember an evening when Germany were playing a game of football or something and we were treated to some absolutely sheet rain from about 5pm. This, together with other talks in the grand Fairfield halls and alike meant I was very grateful not to be spending time catching up with my shadow. Those of you who made it down are real superstars, thank you! I like to think of the event as ‘cosy’.

Tomorrow’s a new day

We’re nearly there now and the beta demos will be coming out thick and fast as of next week – fingers crossed, with a good wind. If you would like to check out the before and after, you can see the Croydon Tech City demo, which will get a bit of TLC in the responsive areas (so to speak). As ever, if you have any thoughts or feedback please get in touch

StreetPin – a brief history

StreetPin history

The StreetPin journey started when Tim was Global Web Manager at STA Travel. This role provided unique insight into behaviours of travellers worldwide, and how they used technology, word of mouth and printed media to engage with those ‘here and now’.

A long story cut short and STA Travel funded the early StreetPin proof of concept. We were also selected for the incubator, Accelerator Academy which prepared us for the ‘business’ of StreetPin. These factors led to Tim leaving STA to spend what would be 8 months testing and tweaking the proof of concept in his hometown of Orpington. Working out of his shed, he set up demonstrations for schools, pubs, village centres, shops, hairdressers, scouts, churches etc to find out how they and their associated communities interacted now, and how it could be improved. StreetPin leaflets were distributed in their thousands, the pub and church in the village had huge banners, the Queens Head was adorned with coasters and we were ready to trial.

We had stalls at festivals and fairs to show instant communication, we attended any and every event and even demonstrated how StreetPin could be used as an eBay style bidding tool at the local school fete. There are too many people to thank for their patience, interest and feedback, but Edmund estate agents put their hand in their pocket to sponsor our leaflet campaign. The irony of using leaflets to promote a digital notice board wasn’t lost on us, but we will continue to address audiences in the way that best suits them.

The feedback was great, when using on a smartphone (we adopted the mobile-first build approach) but a lot of community/retail owners then went to update from older PCs and we fell foul of old (unforgiving) Internet Explorer versions. Lessons learnt and we defined a build plan based on some great real-life case studies.

We went into research overdrive and secured a team of students from UCL Advances who spent 3 months investigating audiences, competition, market etc. We also won a TSB innovation voucher for £5k which funded a specialist research company to drill down into go-to-market strategies and validated the customer need for our new and improved StreetPin.