My year in review — 2017

Last December I wanted to do a review of the previous year but as I started getting involved in new projects, I completely passed the date. I didn’t want to let this happen twice so here we are! Actually, a lot of things changed since last year, I have been involved in various exciting projects, have been more active than ever in communities and took some career changing decisions.

JANUARY — Big plan ahead

Last January feels ages ago. Back then I was part of a co-working space and accelerator for VR/AR startups as one of the founding members as well as Communication & Events manager. After announcing publicly our ambitious project in December, I was focused on planning the busy year ahead with a clear focus on developing the community and making sure we were adding value to the existing landscape.

As some of you are aware of, I am also the co-founder of Unfold UK, a networking group for diversity in immersive technologies. While we started Unfold in September, It is only in January that we seriously started talking about our action plan to make an impact and support even more our community.

FEBRUARY — Executing the plan

February was dedicated to executing all the plans. I was quite busy organising and running every month no less than 3 events including a conference (100+ attendees), a weekend hackathon and a networking breakfast. And this 3 events a month agenda lasted until the summer.

MARCH — Getting more exposure

I kickstarted March with a fantastic support from Code First: Girls who included me in their One’s to watch 2017 selection! As deeply involved in the VR/AR scene, I also featured in various publications to share my views and predictions.

On a personal note I also moved to Central London which enabled me to attend even more events!!

APRIL - MAY — Looking at the future

Still running 3 recurrent events every month, I started coordinating Unity courses for the co-working space. Feeling less and less aligned with the company directions, I started looking at the future.

Inspired by all the hackathons and working on the course, I decided to learn on my own how to create for VR and developed a small project over a 2 weekend challenge. I wrote about my experience over a series of 3 articles you can read HERE.

JUNE — Time for changes

While dedicating lots of my time to VR and AR (and their communities), I am actually passionate about all emerging technologies and follow many other trends. In June blockchain technologies started becoming more mainstream and communities were growing in various cities. At the same time, all the London tech people were talking about the potential of AI and I didn’t want to close my eyes on those amazing tech just because I was labelled « VR ».

Thinking for 3 months about my career evolution. What I love to do and have been doing in various ways for years is supporting innovative entrepreneurs and help them bring their project to the next step. As I met several investors, I got enough insiders feedbacks to understand this would be my next big goal to achieve. I knew a lot about startups and entrepreneurs, so I read everything I could find about investment.

I attended a variety of new events and the more I learned about anything, the more I wanted to know about everything.

Since nominated as « Ones to watch 2017 » by Code First: Girls, I decided to take part of their intensive coding course and won the project competition with a web based application using a Machine Learning API and more precisely text emotion recognition. I wrote an article about that if you want to check it out ;)

Feeling less committed to VR/AR I also eventually set up my own crypto miner that I wanted to build for a while. Along with mining, I also developed my crypto portfolio investment.

JULY — Slowing down

I left the co-working space I was involved in after a last event. I planed to use the down time of the summer holiday to get more familiar with the investment landscape and develop my network outside of the VR space. I was actually more interested in understanding investors thoughts on emerging tech evolution and investment than looking for a job. Looking back now, this approach was certainly for the best.

After a crazy busy first half of the year, I also needed to take some time just for me… at least for a few days. As I can’t stay inactive for too long, I also used this time to practice what I learned during the coding course to create a brand new personal website: www.flachsconsulting.com . I then started getting more involved in other tech communities in Blockchain and AI, getting in touch with event organizers and mapping the London folks.

AUGUST — Feeling energized

When I thought first that August would be really long and inactive, it turned out I managed to meet many VCs from various funds.

Not all of them encouraged me but they all had some constructive feedbacks and their own story to share that I could learn from.

Unfold UK had a break over the summer and my co-founder and I thought about new ways to help the community not just with networking but with more concrete actions and partnerships. Unfortunately over the next months we didn’t had the bandwidth to make it happen and had to postpone our plans.

SEPTEMBER — Getting my thoughts together

All those coffees shared convinced me it is something I would defintely enjoy doing and was ready for a career shift. There aren’t many seats available in VC funds and I understand it wouldn’t make sense to join a fund no interested in emerging tech. Even if joining the right fund became a priority I also knew this would be a long term goal.

…And September was here to remind it to me.

As everyone else, my time was consumed by too many events in September. People I’ve met over the summer (and those I haven’t) were then too busy to follow up.

I was also invited to speak to several events which gave me a good visibility boost. When you leave a project you are so involved in, people have a hard time stoping identifying you with it. I took a clear step back from the VR scene and showed explicitly my interest in Blockchain and Machine Learning to make change the box people used to put me in.

OCTOBER — Back to consulting

Back to do some consulting work, I helped for a few weeks some of my VR friends planning and executing an upcoming equity crowdfunding campaign.

As making my interest in Blockchain more visible, I jumped on the opportunity to work for one well recognized project in the Blockchain space for a few months to help the team set up their community and communication foundations.

NOVEMBER — BLOCKCHAIN BLOCKCHAIN

Involved in the Golem project and working with a worldwide community, I had a hard time keeping up with events but it gave me the opportunity to develop my knowledge of decentralized protocols and applications.

I also had the honor and pleasure to join 2 hackathons as mentor and judge (and not as an organizer for once!!).

Working now in Blockchain and voluntarily taking some distance from VR, I launched a quarterly newsletter for Unfold UK with some amazing community members that I hope we will be able to continue in the coming months.

DECEMBER — A good way to end 2017

Reaching the end of my contract in late December, my involvement in Golem ended. While I developed some great connections with the community, I have also some exciting plans to be announced soon for the New Year… ;)

I featured in Onalytica’s top Women in Tech selection, and even if I am under the VR/AR section, I am proud to be part of this list among many friends and amazing women.

Thanks to some last minute changes, my partner and I both had a week off for Christmas in the same time so we used this time to relax (and spent too much time on Amazon). We rearranged the flat a bit and I upgraded my home office to kickstart the new year in the best environment possible!

So what’s up for next year?

  • CAREER While keeping in mind my long term objective to get into investment, I have another project that will be announced officially in the coming days… Just to give you a hint, I am in the crypto space to stay for a while!!
  • LEARNING — I want to develop my technical skills and create more small projects on my own like the Unity project I did. Learning a music instrument for the past months, I also want to continue practicing.
  • EVENTS — Big fan of hackathons I plan to be involved in a few hacks as well as be part of more events and get closer to the tech communities in the UK but also in Europe.
  • GIVE BACK — Now that I have been working for tech startups for more than 7 years, I want to help projects I believe in and would love to become a more active mentor. This will actually start early 2018 as I am part of the WXR fund mentoring team.

Please do not hesitate to leave any comment and let me know if you also shared any review of the past year or have any exciting plans for 2018!

Happy New year to all, I wish you the best for 2018!!

Supporting startups for the past 10 years | CEO & co-founder of WildMeta| VC scout at Backed VC | Producer & host of EPG.