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Response to Sarah Lacy on TechCrunch

This is my response to Sarah Lacy’s recent article on TechCrunch

We have never met Sarah, but have heard a lot about you.

I run, which I have bootstrapped for well over 2 years and we are perhaps the first to come up with a commercial model in our market segment, if you ignore Scribd’s commercial entry to’s territory. We will continue to bootstrap until we are ready to raise funding on our terms. This is not a reflection of the market, but our own attitude regarding taking external finance.

Secondly, I run – (NS20) my attempt at building an ecosystem for tech entrepreneurs primarily in the North of UK. The site is currently being improved with the idea of opening up the blog for tech entrepreneurs. We run monthly events in the North and invaded London on 8th June with Michael Birch spending over 8 hours with us. What Michael and Brent Hoberman are attempting to do in London is very refreshing.

In terms of VC market, I can only talk about the North, and specifically NW. Two to three small VC funds closed over the last two years due to running out of cash. NWDA will make £13.5 million available over the next few months for investment up to mid 2010, when they will launch a £140m fund for the next 6 years. This is public sector funding. Other VCs continue to raise small funds in the range of £10 to £15 million from HNW individuals. Two of London based angels network are considering launching their franchises in the NW/North. We at NS20 may also stretch our model or team up with one the networks coming to the North.

Just to conclude, the market is not as bad as you say it is. Yes, selection process is more stringent than ever, and in this game, credibility and contacts are important as ever.

If you do return to UK, and want to wonder up north, we are happy to consider running an event to coincide with your visit. Just give us couple of weeks notice.

All the best

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