Eighteen up-and-coming web technology companies in the UK have commenced a mission to develop business relationships and pitch for investment in Silicon Valley.
The initiative, called WebMission 2011, is supported by the UK government, through the Technology Strategy Board and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), and international law firm Orrick’s Merging Companies Group.
“This mission gives the companies a unique chance to be exposed to how businesses and their peers here in the US achieve success, and that has potential to add a whole new dimension to their own business,” said Helen Moore, UKTI’s vice consul of software, who is based in San Francisco.
“This is about taking the UK’s brightest, up-and-coming companies and introducing them in international markets. It is UKTI’s mission to guide companies and facilitate access for them to key contacts, and so bring these innovative technologies to a global scale.”
The entrepreneurs will be in San Francisco for a week, between 5 March and 11 March, during which time they will have the opportunity to meet and pitch to potential investors and business partners.
They will also be visiting the offices of large technology companies including Twitter, Salesforce.com, Microsoft and KickLabs.
There have been two WebMissions in the past, held in 2008 and 2009. Around 40 companies in total took part in these previous missions, and raised more than $60 million in private finance between them as a result. Companies that were on the previous missions include Huddle, the online collaboration application for businesses, and social media agency Fresh Networks.
“The technologies developed by mission companies change and benefit the way we network and interact with each other. They take advantage of ubiquitous web and mobile technology to advance the industry,” said David Bott, director of innovation programmes at the Technology Strategy Board.
Companies on the WebMission this year cover wide range of technologies, including ParcelGenie.com, a service that allows users to send real gifts to friends on social networks without having to know their addresses, Crisp Thinking, which uses behavioural analysis to stop cyber bullying, and Brainient, which makes existing video adverts interactive.
They were chosen from hundreds of competitors by a panel of judges from the sponsoring organisations, which also include software company Polecat, sustainability and entrepreneurial consultancy The Long Run Venture and Co-Sponsorship Agency, which provides consultancy on social action projects.
The other web technology entrepreneurs on the mission are BookingBug, BraveNewTalent, CloudApps, Conversocial, housebites.com, MADE.com, Mobcast Services Limited, Qwerly, oneDrum, Prisma Star, Pusher, Rightster, Screenreach Interactive, Skyscanner Ltd and PeerIndex.