In his first diary entry from Wayra, the technology
business accelerator launched by Telefónica, Night Zookeeper
co-founder Josh Davidson talks about his pub pitch, Madrid and
Hello. I'm Josh, the CEO of Night
Zookeeper, a children's education and entertainment
website. We are lucky to be among the 16 companies
taking part in Wayra UK.
Wayra UK kicked off a couple of weeks ago with the
teams taking up residence at the office space provided as part
of the academy in central London. The space is pretty spectacular
and has been designed very much with collaboration between the
teams in mind. We have already benefited from these closer
relationships with other entrepreneurs, developers and
designers and I would highly recommend that new businesses try
to replicate these learning experiences, either through
attending meet-ups, applying for a similar accelerator programme,
looking for shared office space or becoming a member of
a start-up hub.
In the first week of the academy we heard from O2 brand
innovations chief Gavin Thompson and we also had the
opportunity to talk with many mobile device manufacturers.
Gavin explained that branding is about great ideas and he
urged teams to imagine what they would say to someone about
their business if they were a door-to-door salesmen.
His advice was to have a clear strategy, rather than a
complicated brand architecture, messaging pyramid or
communications mash potato (I may have made that last one up.)
This is valuable advice at a time when many companies here are
still establishing their brands and shaping their
His advice reminded me of the first activity we were asked to do
when we joined the academy. Ashley Stockwell, the academy
director, asked us for our 'pub pitch' - what would we
say to someone who knew nothing about our business if we met
them down the pub? When you factor in the potential for
inebriation it becomes a very tough challenge to explain
many technology businesses. They gave us beer mats and asked
us to have a go. This is my effort for Night Zookeeper:
"Night Zookeeper is a children's education and entertainment
website where children create their own magical animals, write
stories about them and play creative games. We turn children
from online consumers into creators."
After spending the weekend at the Wellington Festival of
Education, speaking to over 1,000 teachers about Night
Zookeeper, I can tell you that this exercise proved very
Learning how to present your product or service is an
essential business skill. My co-founder Paul, who is a primary
school teacher, and I had an unexpected opportunity to
practice before Wayra even began. The week before it started
we flew to Madrid to talk about Night Zookeeper alongside
Carlos Domingo, the CEO of Innovation at Telefónica, at the
Red Innova conference in Madrid. It was a
fantastic opportunity to make some important business contacts
in Spain and Latin America and, apart from the initial nervous
moment that we walked on stage, Paul and I enjoyed every
minute of it.
Last Friday we officially opened the academy with many
entrepreneurs, investors and journalists coming through the doors.
We had the opportunity to meet and present our idea to the Mayor of
London, Boris Johnson. He seemed quite taken with our prototype
drawing application the 'Drawing Torch' and created a masterpiece
that was actually featured on BBC news.
I will selfishly be reporting monthly about the exciting
opportunities we have here at Wayra. I say selfishly because
firstly, I hope it will be a record of it all for me and secondly
because I would love to hear more opinions and thoughts about
the process we are going through. An accelerator
programme is great, but the internet is the ultimate teaching
There's more to come so please leave me any questions or
comments you have below.
To find out more about Night Zookeper click here.
To read more about Wayra UK click here.