LeWeb, probably the biggest tech conference in Europe, migrated from Paris to London for the first time this year. Overall, the conference was produced with high standards (with minor hiccups on electricity and wifi), there was a really good mix of people and some of the panels were well worth following (Michael Arrington’s ‘unbiased’ moderation in the panel with Hailo and Uber, in which he is an investor, is especially entertaining). While some of the ‘action’ happened on stage, I was asked to moderate a few “Hangouts on Air” backstage. In a nutshell, Hangouts on Air essentially enable you to broadcast a live hangout conversation with multiple participants on Google+, and then automatically transform the live stream into a YouTube video. (Please excuse me for the commercial break – I’m a Google employee, but it’s a good time to repeat the disclaimer that all opinions here are my own). Check out the videos after the jump.
First, I met Shervin Pishevar, Partner at Menlo Park Ventures and former entrepreneur. Shervin is an investor at Uber, among others, and yesterday he shaved the Uber logo on the back of his head (supposedly a lost bet). He had some good advice for entrepreneurs, when it comes to raising money abroad, working with ‘celebrity’ investors and opening international offices for a startup.
Next, I had a chance to chat with Eric Migicovsky, the founder of the “Pebble” smart watch, which is now a poster child for Kickstarter, which Eric accurately described as a ‘platform for donations’. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that Pebble raised $3.4 million in 3 days on Kickstarter, which has now grown to $10,266,845 in funding since it was first posted on May 18th from almost 69,000 backers from all over the globe. Very inspiring story of bootstrapping and perseverance – Eric and his team manually built the fist 600 watches in the garage and are now getting ready to launch an open SDK for developers to build apps on their platform. Eric’s message to entrepreneurs – it’s not so hard to build a hardware business anymore.
Finally, I spoke with Tom Katis, founder and CEO of Voxer, a walkie talkie app for mobile that got millions of users. To a large extent, Tom self-funded his own business. He shared the learnings from the process and urged entrepreneurs to hold the serious marketing spend, until they got the product right.
Additional live hangouts with the likes of Kevin Rose and Chad Hurley are here. If you can’t attend LeWeb in person, you can tune in to the live stream at youtube.com/leweb and follow the live commentary on Twitter at #Leweb