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This is Ian Ozsvald's blog, I'm an entrepreneurial geek, a Data Science/ML/NLP/AI consultant, founder of the Annotate.io social media mining API, author of O'Reilly's High Performance Python book, co-organiser of PyDataLondon, co-founder of the SocialTies App, author of the A.I.Cookbook, author of The Screencasting Handbook, a Pythonista, co-founder of ShowMeDo and FivePoundApps and also a Londoner. Here's a little more about me.

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24 March 2012 - 21:54This Week In Startups, StrongSteam Pitch, Reimbursements, Mentorship

It has been a pretty nutty couple of weeks. PyCon a week back was ace, we signed up some clients and partners for StrongSteam and got offered investment. David Kim was good enough to interview me so I got to demo our OCR for text recognition and image recognition APIs via some mobile demos – check out the second video on David’s Enthought post.

Last night we got featured on Jason Calacanis’ and Tyler Crowley‘s This Week In Startups (@twistartups), via StartupChile. This was a bit nuts. I pitched earlier in the week for James (@jameskennedy) and Tyler’s (@looglalanguage) BizCamp pitch contest, we won the ‘best 4′ competition and that gave us a pass to be featured on the show. A competition was run yesterday here for 20 other companies to pitch to get a 5th place on the show. Once the show started I was up second.

Check out the video below at 0:19:00 to 0:32:00 to see me pitch and then at 1:05:00 to 1:07:30 to see the three judges decide that StrongSteam was ‘best bet for investment’. Being judged was fun. Focusing on giving our users what they need from our API is more our focus for now.

A few days before I was submitting the second month of reimbursement paperwork for our StartupChile placement. Emily has written a long piece on this already.

Below you can see my pile of paperwork – for each transaction (few big purchases, some contractors, some travel) I have a full audit trail that starts at the receipt and ends, via banks and credit cards, to a bank account in my name, with proof that I own that bank account. For contractors I include a full contract too. This proof is required, this is the ‘price’ of giving up 0% equity under a government scheme. It took 8 hours including my meeting with my account executive. They haven’t reimbursed this round yet, assuming they don’t reject anything (which is far from guaranteed) then this only costs 8 hours (last month cost 2 days). If they reject stuff then maybe I’ll invest a total of 10-16 hours.

Something that’s painfully obvious from yesterday’s pitching and today’s BizCamp is that pretty much all of us here lack t-shirts with our name, logo & strap-line. I could really have done with t-shirts at PyCon, I pitched to 100+ of the 2,300 delegates but got on stage in front of them all once – if someone had seem our name and noticed ‘AI’ or ‘computer vision’ then I bet they’d have come over for a chat. Lesson learned.

I’m also going to give a shout out back to Moo in the UK for their cool little business cards. So many people here don’t have any cards yet, this is such a mistake. Everyone needs cards, I’ve used Moo for years, I’d vote you go via them and get the mini cards and  a plastic case (they’re robust, mine is >2 years old and is still fine).

Finally – Vivek Wadhwa kicked a bunch of us up the arse two nights ago and again last night talking about self-mentorship (given that there is no formal mentorship out here). I’m going to be organising a group who want to self mentor such that we can meet regularly (maybe every week), set goals, be held accountable and basically focus on getting ready for demo day in 2 month’s time. It’ll be an interesting experiment.

For now this is nearly the end of a crazy 2 months. Tonight I’m going to get a take-out Chinese and settle in front of a movie.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

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