A government unit dedicated to attracting investment into UK startups has raised £7m in the last few months alone, an entrepreneur-turned-advisor announced at an event last night.
Russell Buckley, the ex-AdMob employee who helped sell the mobile advertising business to Google for $750m in 2009, was the keynote speaker at a Croydon Tech City event yesterday.
He announced that the government's Venture Capital Unit, which he joined in May and plans to work with for the next decade, has helped startups attract £7m investment in the last three to four months, some of which comes from overseas investors.
He added: "I'm hoping that's a tiny fraction of what we will achieve in the future. The government's doing a lot with the [Shoreditch] Tech City initiative and tax breaks for investors.
"I go and find these cool companies and help them strategise about their funding, then help them raise money."
Two local startups also gave talks on their businesses and shared their experiences of launching their companies.
Feast Express mobile app creators Matthew Gomes and Hursh Donde announced that their business, an app which finds local restaurants and allows users to order via the app, will go live in October.
Croydon Tech City co-founder Nigel Dias said: "There's some big players in this market already and this app is very professional looking. If I was to see that outside this context I would have had no idea it was built by two guys.
"There's nothing to stop anyone else from building a similar app that takes on the big guys."
Entrepreneur Matt Kepple also spoke about his app, Makerble, which allows people to track and share the effects of their charitable donations.
He said: "Most people have a desire to change the world. People give when the donation is very transparent. It's a subscription service. You choose causes you care about and Makerble gives you a personal outline and progress of the projects that you help.
"Everyone can see the difference you have made. It never says how much you've given but hopefully inspires other people to give as well."
He also hopes the app will cut out marketing costs for charities by linking users directly to causes they want to support, cutting the cost charities face to raise £1 from 15p to 5p.
As keynote speaker, Buckley also told the audience about his predictions for the future of technology, from the mobile phone cannibalising more technologies like satnavs and landlines to the singularity, a postulation that in 2045 computers will be smart enough to take over.
You can read more about this in CBR's top ten list later today.
Closing the event, organisers Jonny Rose and Dias said they are committed to Croydon's Code Club, which works with children in the borough to teach them tech skills, and spoke about expansion hopes and attracting foreign firms to move in.
Dias said: "We have people out there bringing people towards Croydon so hopefully this will continue to grow."