New York, New York...

Manhattan Skyline

Last week saw another successful Digital Mission to New York.

We landed in JFK on Halloween and were greeted by a limo and it’s fantastic driver, Clinton, to take us to Manhattan.  Moment of glitz and glamour over, we headed to The Three Monkeys to meet up with all the companies and the UK Trade and Investment team, and generally cause havoc.  I believe everyone had a good time, and judging by some of the stories the following morning, havoc was successfully caused.


The first day saw us all head to Winston and Strawn’s offices on the 43rd Floor of the Met Life Building – needless to say, the views were incredible looking straightPark Avdown Park Avenue and right next to the Chrysler building.

Having been welcomed with a much needed breakfast, we started a long morning of intense sessions, which covered everything from legal practicalities of launching/expanding a business into the US market to support available from the city and regional development agencies and local trade associations and how to connect and partner with major corporations.

The final session, “Tales from the Trenches”, gave our companies unique insight with painful tales and success stories from those who have ‘been there’ and ‘done that’.

After a little break, we made our way to the British Consulate for a reception and networking, where we made each company step up to the mic for a strictly 60 second pitch.  As time keeper, I’ll admit I felt a little harsh cutting our delegates off mid-flow, however our US guests thanked me and it turns out even 60 seconds is pushing the average New York executive’s attention span.  Once pitches were over, I watched as many a business card was swapped and phone numbers exchanged.  

I think it’s fair to say that the days events combined with the jetlag led to a massive energy crash, some of us headed to The Hillstone for some food before heading to back to our hotels for bed.


On Tuesday, our companies were on top form once again and ready for networking.  The British Consulate was our first stop, for the Digital Mission / Reputation Online Breakfast where we filled up on muffins, bagels, coffee and fruit before the networking started.

Ogilvy Roof TerraceNext up it was Incubator tours, taking in some of New York’s leading co-working and start-up spaces.  The first was NYU Poly followed by General Assembly.  After that was a company tour with Ogilvy, whose offices are close to the Hudson River, another fantastic photo opportunity.

Our final stop was the Hive at 55 who, along with UK Trade & Investment, co-hosted a mixer event bringing together the best of the New York and British digital start-ups to share stories and experiences.


Ad:tech started on Wednesday, and having set up our stand (conveniently located by the bar) we took on the US.  There was a distinct lack of sweets & treats, but of course our stand had some – traditional ‘Murray Mints’ to be precise.  Our British charm and fantastic companies won over many a curious Yank, and by this point our companies were running all over Manhattan having their own meetings and catching up with the many contacts they had made the previous day.

Many of the delegates made their way to a ‘Raising Capital Roundtable’ held at the Deloitte offices, which covered the best way to pitch to the industry in the Tri-State area.

HMS Daring 2Wednesday evening saw the majority of the group boarding HMS Daring, where we were treated to drinks, canapés and the rare opportunity of a guided tour through the ship.  Their hospitality was impeccable, who knew that the Navy are trained in hosting cocktail parties?!


As our last proper Digital Mission day, a group of us had breakfast at a proper American diner – and whilst blueberry pancakes and French toast with bacon and maple syrup were on the menu, some still stuck to the English Breakfast!  It was another ad:tech day, so we headed to the Javitz Center in the pouring rain to meet and greet more Americans.

Following ad:tech, we made our way to the Pitchoutofwater Meetup held at the Hive at 55, where some of our own companies (Waspit, Nuji and ShoutEm) were able to present their products & services to some of New York’s Funding Community.  We then decided to end this years Digital Mission in a similar style to how it had all began, in a pub round the corner, where despite the loud music, many an interesting conversation was had.


With no official ‘Digital Mission’ associated plans, many of our companies were busy with meetings.  However, a few of those who were free had a whirlwind sightseeing tour - which of course, as a Digital Mission, included the Apple store, as well as the Statue of Liberty, Soho and the kind of subway adventures only tourists could have.

Apple Store

The only thing left to say is a massive thank you to Patricia, Niall, Carmen, Keith and all at UKTI, Danvers and everyone at Winston and Strawn, Reputation Online, NYU Poly, General Assembly, Ogilvy, Hive at 55 and of course, the stars of the show - all the fantastic companies that were involved.

Photos (c) Lauren Cotton, (c) Andrew Fawcett-Wolf and (cc) Sam Michel