The Fantastic Tavern – Up in the Cloud

EMC Consulting’s very own Matt Bagwell played host for a Fantastic Tavern evening in the Cloud, giving an entertaining and interesting introduction to the evening’s entertainment.

The format for the evening was 5 companies pitching fictitious applications that are hosted in the cloud to 3 dragons. The audience get 50% of the vote, while the dragon’s vote makes up the remaining 50%. The victor gets the kudos – oh and a prize too (unfortunately for them, not the money they request for investment!)

Attendees were also challenged to amend the following statement: ‘Cloud computing is not relevant to creatives because its just another hosting platform’. Anyone who fancies sending alternatives/amendments feel free to tweet #TFTLondon or via email to Matt Bagwell – you can even send it via snail mail, whatever takes your fancy. The best suggestion will win a prize, so get your thinking caps on!

The Dragons

adrianmcdonald Adrian McDonald is EMC Consulting’s Vice President & General Manager for UK & Ireland and is responsible for overall revenue generation, management and business strategy of the region for EMC. Based at EMC’s UK & Ireland headquarters in Brentford, Middlesex, Adrian is also charged with ensuring that EMC Sales, Technology Solutions, Customer Service, and Partner/Alliance groups understand and communicate the unique value that EMC brings to its customers and business partners.
ralph jeffery Ralf Jeffery is a Business Analyst and certified SCRUM Master with a proven track record of creating e-commerce strategies and Web 2.0 solutions that either enhance existing business operations or deliver new business streams. Experienced in multi-channel customer engagement, technology road mapping, Agile development methodologies and digital marketing strategy, his sector experience includes retail, financial services, recruitment and environmental start-ups, within the UK, Europe and USA.
phil carter Phil Carter is a founding partner of Carter Wong Design agency. Founded in 1984, together they are a team of multi-disciplined communications experts working across branding, digital, literature and packaging.

Pitch 1

What? iLife: Life as a  Service for the digital native

Who? Lee Provoost, Headshift

IMG_1195 iLife is a subscription based product that has the customer locked in through their life cycle, which can be up to 80 years. The model re-uses services that are already out there. Initially, six components are offered to help you manage your life. iLife Baby – check baby name availability and suggest unique names and register social networks for you.

  • iLife travel to synch travel
  • iLife dating to avoid disaster dates
  • iLife parents keep track of children’s spending
  • iLife friends
  • iLife divorce – sends an email to break up for you

All accessed from the iLife hub. iLife simply pulls all the services together and lets you access it from one place, helping smooth and streamline your life.

How much does it cost? Follows SCRUM cycle model – projection is to build the programme which will cost £1m.

Revenue: Free for the user and can turn them into paying users – premium and family subscriptions with the potential for 80 years of revenue from each customer!

Dragon’s feedback

Overall: Liked the concept and presentation but slightly sceptical due to large numbers and no marketing in the business model/costs, plus what’s the value when this is simply an aggregator of other people’s web services?

Pitch 2

What? Q-Baloo: Social Reservations

Who? IMG_1204Simon Munroe, EMC Consulting

If you follow the usual channels for purchasing tickets for events you run the risk of falling foul of ticket touts, frustration at spending ages waiting to see if you can buy a ticket and ultimately, disappointment. It can be very difficult to purchase tickets for popular events.

How can we turn this around using cloud computing?

The Q-Baloo application keeps the buzz and fun going when people are waiting for ours in a queue – i.e. selling t-shirts, accessories and even jump the queue. Q-Baloo uses the time spent in a queue to upsell, reinforce the brand and add the idea of competition and fun while they’re sitting in the queue, with applications like foursquare. Q-Balloo also allows people to leave the queue as long as they’re tracked (I liked that part best!). Also allows people to jump the queue (yep, good too!).

Dragon’s feedback: Concept is brilliant, dragons loved it, business plan is solid and hits a real pain point (queuing is a real bugbear).

Pitch 3

Scorepedia: Real time sports scores from any sporting event

Who? Jamie Thomson, Blink Tank Consulting
IMG_1214

This applications enables real time sports scores on any sporting event, anywhere. You can access the scores with a smartphone and all the scored are input by the spectators. The application takes the crowdsourcing model and uses it to report scores on any sports – not just the big events but small local five a side games and other local team events.

Contributions are rewarded by a reputation based model (Scorepedia bragging rights) and current games as well as scores from yesteryear are all welcome. Real time data can be sent out via RSS feeds. You pay for what you use and the system is wholly scalable (as it’s hosted in the cloud) and mobile.

The revenue streams include targeted advertising opportunities, for example custom dashboards for your favourite team selling related products. Also once data is collected and aggregated there’s real value in that information to re-sell.

Dragon’s feedback: Good idea overall, very inventive idea – but would like to see more marketing. Much of the data is already available online and so the dragons saw revenue as selling the application rather than advertising. Why would people use it when the majority of the data is already available online?

*******************************PIZZA BREAK!!*******************************************

Pitch 4

Ui2: Unified Infrastructure intelligence

Who? Matt Mould from EMC Consulting

For most companies the services they use are all over the place and from different companies with different systems, e.g. Microsoft online, Google docs, etc.

What’s the impact of U12? It enables enterprise companies to monitor, manage and carry out transactions, whether via public or private cloud services, all in one place. It can run on a PPC model, so every time you click that service you’re charged .25p – but don’t have to built your own custom version.There’s also the U12 pay per module = £15,000 per annum per module and finally the full blown enterprise version which is £60,000 per annum

Dragon’s feedback: Loved the concept, including the logo (except one of the dragons’, who hated it!) and message ‘take control’ – numbers are great. However needed to validate the model lots of people offer similar services so how is it unique or how does it deliver better than the competitors?  One of the best presentations of the night, simple idea.

Pitch 5

Cheatr: Cheat at online gambling!

Who? Simon Gallagher, ioko

This pitch didn’t ask for cash, it was all about making a fast buck as quickly as possible… and then run! Cheatr gathers data on gambling behaviour from running mass online gambling activity. It then offers advice and guidance to the gamblers to help them beat the casinos and win as much money as possible. This would be the paid for service. Genius!

So phase 1 would be to use crowdsourcing to get developers and geeks involved. Cheatr won’t pay people, but uses a revenue share model that’s reputation based, tracking contributions and mapping it to the return. Cheatr would therefore build a loyal tribe who build all the apps.

Phase 2 = commercialisation.By automating hundreds of thousands of games, finding the logic behind the games and do the number crunching in the cloud, Cheatr optimises online gambling and gives punters the feedback they need to help them win, including machine learning and observed patterns.

There’s by no means an infinite lifespan- in fact the risk is a hefty fine or prison!

Dragon’s feedback: Brilliant, taking the piss out of gambling associations. However the dragons value their passport – it’s too risky! A great idea overall and would be great to couple it with a counting system!


Pitches over, the dragons went away to ruminate, cogitate and deliberate in true Lloyd Grossman style, and returned after about 10 minutes with their verdict, which was added to the scores from the audience.

In joint second place were Cheatr and iLife…

And the winner was…

Q-Baloo!

The next Fantastic Tavern event is the 19th August for the ‘lock-in’. This day long event starts with breakfast, then moving onto workshops and culminating in an evening awards ceremony.

More from Matt Bagwell’s blog if you want to see the actual presentations.

In the meantime, I’m getting a serious case of deja vu with this Dragon’s Den format, that’s two in one week! ;)

Published by Sara Allison

Sara is the editor of Ubelly - when not heads down scouring Ubelly articles for typos (and not always catching them), she's scouting for new writing talent. Give her a shout @SaraAllison if you've got something to say about development/design and want to be heard.

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