Like many other publishers in the internet age, “Retail Week” extends
their brand to live events. Retail Week Live 2015 was held in the
marvellously-located Hilton Metropole – pretty much the only major
London venue that’s readily accessible by both road and rail. The
conference is eye-wateringly expensive, with even the most heavily
discounted 2016 package selling for £1450. That price keeps out the
riff-raff, meaning that not only do you get to hear the CEOs from
retailers like Sainsburys, but you can also mingle with others of
similar calibre, in the tightly-focussed audience.

Whilst the plenary sessions and big-name exhibitors were the main draw
for the event, I found the space allocated to the technology startups
the most alluring. The competition for new firms was held over two
days, but all pitching companies also exhibited, to avoid missing any
one-day visitors. The firms below are my personal highlights.
Whether you’re a retailer, consumer, or investor, this tech is going
to be reshaping your world in coming years – and what’s more, you can
implement it immediately.

Formisimo is a stalwart of the eCommerce startup scene, with their
form optimisation software. As anyone who has ever shopped...

Eventbrite at Google HQ – what’s not to like? All three founders of the billion-dollar ticketing firm went to Google’s palatial London HQ on June 18th, and were grilled by members of the London tech community for a couple of hours. The views were immense, both out of the windows, and from the founders. This team is a seriously impressive bunch. Far more start-up than Forbes, they exuded passion for the product, and what it could do. They spoke frankly about their business and lifestyle, both from the stage and more generally on their UK trip.

It was the kind of from-the-heart event which people will take a variety of messages from, but for me, the key things I learned were…

Be humble – even if your firm is worth a billion, you can’t stop for a second. Julia in particular charmed with a combination of passion and humility. She’s clearly a woman with a talent for drawing people to cooperate on a vision, and was genuinely interested in the audience questions – often visibly excited at the chance to answer something which had caught her eye on the voting system. Furthermore,...

It takes a lot to get the London tech scene to lift off from East London, let alone out of the M25’s orbit altogether. Sheffield counts as interstellar space for most tech types, but it was here that the Deep Impact series travelled to this year – many light years from its previous Kensington venue. There were no incoming asteroids in sight, just an independent cinema as the unusual landing site. Despite the long journey through deep space, there was a strong attendance from the London contingent. Delegates were drawn by the focussed and specialist crowdfunding content. Prior to my arrival, I was expecting a more trade-fair style, with pitches from support providers aimed at winning the wallets of the audience. However, the style of the event was much more peer led, rather like an unconference, but with a conventional keynote style.

Events didn’t take much time to get up to speed, with the first talk from Jess Ratty of being perhaps the most memorable of the whole day. With strong, examples-based tuition in launching great campaigns, .she told compelling stories of what can be achieved when you get your crowd...