Data Space: The Final Frontier (Or: The Importance of Selecting the Right Conference and Networking Event).

Previously, on Urban Hawk…

We are a Tech Business refusing to be limited or classified solely as ‘start up’ and associated connotations and implications. Instead, we launched, as a spin off from a still healthy parent company.

Therefore, whilst we do of course fit the profile of a tech start up: the trick has been to focus more on how we offer a genuinely new spin on the application of GiS (Geo-spatial Intel Technologies). And, with our core service defined, growth plans clarified, initial networks consolidated and website live, it was time for a kind of soft launch.

IE: Crossing the threshold towards face to face meetings and mining the possibilities for networking / follow -up as we move towards first assignments, revenue generation and longer term investment..

And so, we find ourselves in Glasgow, Scotland, for the prestigious and prized DATA SPACE CONFERENCE, 2017..

I cannot stress enough the importance of finding the RIGHT Conference events to attend. How do I know that? What gives me this divine inspiration?

Put simply and with painful frankness: I have spent many an hour at the WRONG ones! And not because there was any misdirection from the marketing people behind an event or any failure on my part to do my ‘homework’ about what to attend and when.

There is an element of pure old fashioned luck, of timing. So be sure to narrow down and treat EVERY event and follow up as a kind of progression / learning experience. In turn and due course, you find TWO critical ingredients:


An event that is filled with suitably compatible bases of expertise and specialism, with opportunities / monies/ networks to match; 


A personal portfolio / presentation / purpose to match your newly matched Host events. 

Was attending the previous events that wasted time? No. Because any networking, rehearsal and thereby refinement / redefinition at verbal level of what one does is a progression in itself.

If you sent out X number of e-mails and picked up Y set of business cards, yet generated no leads from an event that seemed promising while you were there? Chances are: you needed to re-examine some minor or perhaps even major part of the business you are representing or at least the manner in which you are doing so.

Maybe you offered too many services? Made promises, verbally, that almost immediately seemed too good to be true? Were you just too wordy, off game, maybe not friendly enough? Did not look the part? Stayed too long? Did not stay long enough? Took an age to send out that crucial follow -up e-mail to the people with whom you exchanged business cards? All possibilities. You can spend forever trying to second guess these things.

But there is another possibility: you were just at the WRONG TYPE OF EVENT and had to learn that the hard way! Fine. Learn. Apply. Move forwards. Enjoy! Or: right GENERAL type of event, with lessons on offer there that can prove relevant but in a NEW venture.

In our case, the events at Chambers of Commerce and other platforms helped us narrow down and thereby refine focus to this GiS consultancy model. That does not invalidate what was done previously, especially since the parent company remains in rude health.

But it does show empirically the need to  locate, select and attend the very best, most relevant and useful Conference events. And sooner rather than later as we aim to move on a tightly imposed internal deadline for first revenue and corresponding investment.

We found such an event in the DATA SPACE event 2017. It ‘s a Conference and Exhibition , held at the Technology and Innovation Centre in Glasgow. Bit of a trek, considering we are based currently in Bristol and Birmingham. But so worthwhile.

And it will be clear quite WHY this was so good in the next episode, where we will compose and publish the blog-post AT the magic event in question. We look forward to seeing and debriefing you. 


Urban Hawk: a Business Journey Episode One: The Phantom Start Up’s New Hope

The idea with this blog is not so much to talk about the specifics of our business as the general features of the start-up journey.  We will take you from inception, through launch and development.

Hopefully, we’ll pass go and so onto winning those first, critical contracts. The final part of that trilogy then has to be investment and development into a viable brand and solvent, mobile income source.

This Blog can be read, almost like a serial adventure in business. We will keep the jargon slim and the details minimal. Should you wish to know more about the science or commerce or technology involved then we are only too happy to engage on further platforms such as Facebook /Twitter, in due time.

At worst: it passes the time with anecdotal entertainment. At least: you’ll be reading an assurance that you are never alone in the questions to ask, when charting a business journey and the attendant the risks and rewards: though application to your facts and results will of course differ.

Best case: You see us learn from mistakes en route but pick ourselves up and end with a sensible measure of success by close of business at the end of 2017. Inspired by that, you feel an urge to collaborate, perhaps..on some other, future project? Your evangelical gratitude makes you spread the word about how great we are, both as a business model and an educative, interactive, mentoring blog.

But let’s not run before we can crawl. The first thing with any start up is to START IT! And that, precisely, is what we have been doing of late at Urban Hawk. What is Urban Hawk? It’s a Tech Start up, spun off from a Research and Development Company: Crocotta R n D Ltd.

Crocotta had some big contracts: Siemens! BMW! European Space Agency! A Bio-Pharm company! We were applied science consultants or ‘trouble-shooters’, available to the highest bidder.

Did that work? Yes. Still solvent. Still ‘there’ and able to expand or contract. But is that in any way a sensible or shrewd or even unorthodox yet brilliant revenue model? NO! You can maybe pull that off for a maximum of a year.

Think waiting for procurement processes to finish. Contemplate receiving e-mails from some network opening or other you met at a conference. It’s like picking up mercury with a fork.  No: worse. It is harder and more frustrating and nebulous! Without a core clarity, a business may as well fold into insolvency.

So a step back was required to take a step forward. Having identified a pervasive specialism in data management and a method in our satellite and space expertise /contacts, we focused our efforts on GiS. That’s Geo-Spatial Intelligence.

I shan’t go into the scientific details of what GiS means (we’ll save that for a later sequel or better still, you can just ‘Google’ it?). We did not invent it. It’s been around before we left school. But we do have a unique, in house product, that can zero in on, visualise and feedback the most pertinent data in charting the way forward for an SME.

Our product becomes a service through consultancy on the data charted. Yes: a service, rather than tech ‘product’. For all the previous distinction, there is simply no way around admitting that we are a tech start-up. That entails the usual implications.

There are two main mis-directions one can be trapped by when accepting that ‘tech start-up’ label. The first is that you are some sort of pariah; still working from your parents’ basement bedroom. The second is the polar opposite extreme. You are a tech start-up: of course..well you will be the next Elon Musk! Overnight, investors will come to you. Wrong!

Trick is in finding a ‘third way’: ambitious, professional and mobile yet CREDIBLE.  Accept that you are starting from scratch and progress will be slow. There will be days whereby you think you just want to pack it all in. But don’t give up or despair. Persevere! Endure!

Give yourself an ambitious set of goals and a credible yet ambitious timeframe to accomplish it all, whilst building in regular reviews. If possible, adopt an incubator programme and be prepared for lean yet by no means empty coffers as you consolidate and research all options and embrace all feedback in the first three months.

For the next three to six months? It’s all about the LAUNCH. Define your service as clearly as possible: focusing on client problem, consequences and how you are the antidote. Use old contacts wherever possible to farm new ones.

Join every chamber, network and meeting platform that might be relevant, attending with focus and assessing their value quickly and ruthlessly. Design, write copy for and build an appropriate website. Check your closest counterparts / potential competitors.

Craft and hone an image that is professional and going places but not conspicuously corporate (you are probably not yet a ‘CEO’ even if you do run and found and direct a company that has just started..give that time..meantime just be ‘Director’ or ‘Founding Manager’?).

THEN start your initial meetings with a clear set of possible clients in one or two sectors. Back that up with timetabled mentor meetings and regular creative consultancies with any partners or employees.

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen only the BEGINNING! THAT is the start of the business adventure in the tech start-up universe. And that is also, precisely, where we are ‘at’ with Urban Hawk now. We look forward to keeping you posted. Thank you for joining us. Welcome to a new world of opportunity in data and commerce.