June 2013, TechAtPalace - CANDDi meets The Queen

Running a tech-start-up is rarely glamorous

But an invitation to join 350 top British start-ups at Buckingham Palace definitely makes the slog worth while

They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
“Do you think the King knows all about me?”
“Sure to, dear, but it’s time for tea,”
Says Alice.
Buckingham Palace, A A Milne

You can describe running a start-up in many different words (several of which are not suitable for a family read blog like this) however rarely is the start-up life described as glamorous. On 9th June, I was invited to join around 350 of the top British start-ups at the #TechAtPalace event which cumulated in meeting Her Majesty The Queen.

The invitation

I first heard about #TechAtPalace when an email from Private Secretary to the Duke of York requesting confirmation of my details so that she could send an invitation to attend the Tech Reception. To be honest I thought it was a bit of a hoax (really - how would the Royal’s have heard about CANDDi) however after confirmation from other founders that they had also been contacted I replied and waited with baited breath.

Around a week later an envelope arrived at the office with a Buckingham Palace frank (and the team sat nerviously waiting to see the invitation).

Turns out that Duke of York was planning to showcase “the cream” of British start-ups at reception at the Palace to be hosted by The Queen and the Duke of Edinbrough

The Reception

As Jon Bradford (CEO Techstars London) described the event it’s either “Royal Flush or the A Team when it comes to the Royals” Royal Flush

The evening started around 17:00 mingling with the tourists outside the gates of the Palace. The other founders and I were conspicious by the smart new suits - definately an unusual attire for most present (I dread to think how much was injected into the economy).

At precisely 17:30 the gates were opened and after a, fairly extensive, check we were escorted into the Staterooms.

Turning Start-up founders in to "giggling children"

The closest analogy I have for Buckingham Palace is taking my children to Disneyland Paris. Inside the rooms are decked with velvet and gold leaf, the walls decked with priceless paintings. The networking was fantastic, alongside other start-ups were notable luminaries from British Technology industry (I found myself discussing the problems of early stage funding with “a chap from QinetiQ” - I assumed he was a fellow technologist - turns out that Leo Quinn is the CEO and far more experienced at Palace receptions than I was)

After around 60 mintues of circulating we were instructed to join a queue and then presented to Her Majesty Her Majesty The Queen

I can’t tell you how proud of the UK Technology scene, and proud how far CANDDi has come in the last 4 years.

Thank you for reading this far, I’m looking forwards to sharing the next 4 years of the journey

Tim Langley
Who, what, when, now.

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