London, May 3rd 2015
“We are very proud to host another Tech Tastes Wine. We partnered with founder Maya Plentz a few months ago, impressed by the quality of the events and in particular the inspirational entrepreneurs she draws in. Plus, with all the start-up networking events happening in London, one that chose to focus on the art of wine tasting, with a dose of networking on the side sparked our curiosity. Our HQ seemed to be the perfect setting, and with this as our third event it seems we were right! “
Find out for yourself and get your ticket here. We caught up with Maya (regrettably not over a glass of wine) to find out more about her journey to set it up:
Stephanie Cornell – How did the idea for TTW originate?
Maya Plentz – I moved to London a little while ago. As anyone who has moved to a new country knows, one needs to establish a new network, in addition to the pre-existing one, to meet like-minded people. I went to many great tech events but found lacking a certain level of interdisciplinarity.
So I thought that would be nice to have people from different sectors, with overlapping interests, gather in the same room to hear how startup founders went from concept to market, and what investors look for when partnering with founders.
My first tutored wine tasting was at Bloomberg TV where I was a producer covering tech startups. Bloomberg offered these at lunchtime to enlighten us, in case we had to report on it.
We had a great training program to learn how to report key economic indicators and how to connect the dots about a drought in California to its impact in the wine industry in the US and the chain of reaction in other sectors, from transportation demand to water management issues.
Since then I had this idea that one day I would do something around wine, wine economics, or wine history.
What makes you different to other networking platforms?
We really focus on tech startups and investors in these three sectors: food, fashion, and wine. We like to bring together industry experts, academics, and technologists with creatives so there is cross-pollination of ideas.
How do you identify speakers?
It is similar to being a broadcast news producer, a journalist, one has to be truly curious about the world, read a lot about current affairs to keep a finger on the pulse of what is trending, and not be afraid to pick up the phone and call someone. Since I studied and worked in different countries I have former colleagues working in tech, finance, and the news media in Europe and the US, just an email or phone call away. I tap into my network far and wide to match interesting topics with the people who have a great story to tell. Social media make it easier to contact people too these days and Twitter really helps to see what that person is thinking, so I get ideas from listening their comments on topics.
What drew you to The Collective as a partner to host these events?
It is a beautiful space that has the right atmosphere for collaboration. It offers the convenience of being next to the British Museum, a great place to go during a lunch break or even hold a business meeting to get inspired.
Why do you think start-ups in the fashion, food, and wine sectors have gained so much traction in the past couple of years?
Software is eating the world, as Marc Andreeseen (and Steve Jobs before him) said so well a while ago. All companies are tech companies, meaning: no matter what sector you are in software plays a big role in how you will conduct business.
The fashion sector is embracing new technologies for health and aesthetics, and the same with food, there is a trend towards healthy eating, greater awareness of the importance of sustainable farming methods, both for our health and for the environment.
The farm-to-table movement is here to stay and new technologies are enabling it. Convenience, we live busy lives in the urban centers but want to be connected with nature.
Wine is the canary in the coal mine. If you want to know about the impact of climate change look no further than at the health of the vineyards. Being such a delicate crop, in some ways, it tells us about environmental changes before other crops do.
You cannot produce good wine if the soil is too tampered with. So tech startups are tackling these issues for the multibillion dollars wine industry worldwide. Because we will need it, sensors, crop management tools, drones, both hardware and software.
At the last Tech Tastes Wine we had the UK’s top drones’ expert and co-founder of a startup for monitoring vineyards, Dr. Natraj from Oxford University, present his research.