I work on early-stage startups. There have been many. Some were sold, some IPO'd, some merged, some failed.
Let's chat about yours. Click any of my social pages.
Mike Harrop presenting Fit-Chat in 2012, the
alphabet-based public exercise game,
one of the precursors of Fifteening.
Born on August 20, 1945 in Manchester. I left there at 2 months and lived mostly in Switzerland, Spain, Italy, and briefly in Scotland. I have Swiss and UK nationality.
I am comfortable in English, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuñol. My German is functional but has gaps because I learned it via Swiss dialect as a kid.
I have been a lifelong friend of Béjart Ballet and Prix de Lausanne. Maurice Béjart's ballets plunge one into many cultures, often in ways that surprise even the inhabitants of those cultures. He, his music choices, his ascetic and erudite insomnia, and above all his dancers, with their surprising nuances of emotion, and whom I have often had the pleasure of knowing as individual artists, have been a vital force in my life, ever re-aligning my chakras. As for music, I like it sentimental: hispanic, levantine, romany, country, slav, schlager, alpine, norteño, fado, blues.
LONG RESIDENCE OR WORK
For years, I traveled regularly between Europe and the Americas. I also spent quite some time in these: Argentina (Buenos Aires, Trenque Lauquen), Austria (Vienna, St. Pölten), Belgium (Liège), Brazil (São Paulo, Indaiatuba), Bulgaria (Sofia, Plovdiv), Canada (Vancouver, Yukon), China (Beijing, Shijiazhuang, Chengdu, Harbin), Colombia (Medellín), Denmark (Copenhagen), Finland (Helsinki, Tampere, Karelia), France (Paris, St. Quentin, Châteauroux, Toulouse, Oyonnax, Châtillon), Germany (Freiburg im B, Düsseldorf), Israel (Haifa, Tel Aviv, Negev), Italy (Lucca, Milano, Verbania, Bergamo), Lebanon (Beirut, Baalbek), Mexico (Tijuana, Baja), Montenegro (Titograd), Netherlands (Schiphol, Almelo), Norway (Kristiansand), Serbia (Belgrade), Slovenia (Ljubljana, Maribor), Spain (Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Cadaqués, Villanueva y Geltrú), Sweden (Uppsala, Gothenburg, Halmstad), Switzerland (Geneva, Collex, Nyon, Schwyz, Obwalden, Engadin, Zürich), Syria (Damascus), Turkey (Istanbul, Bursa, Izmir), UAE (Ghantoot, Jumeirah), UK (Glasgow, Paisley, Helensburgh, Cambridge, Peak, Brecons, Cairngorms, Malvern, Manchester, Penmaenmawr), Uruguay (Punta del Este, José Ignacio), USA (NYC, Wilmington, Natick, Denver, Long Beach, Columbus, San Francisco, El Paso, San Diego, Las Vegas, Madison, Pueblo, Idaho Springs).
Scuola Svizzera, Milano, Italy (primary)
Merton House, Penmaenmawr Dwygyfylchi, Wales (preparatory)
Academia Ladislao de Berzeviczy, Barcelona, Spain (cavalry)
Malvern College, Malvern, England (secondary)
Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award
Cambridge University at Pembroke (linguistics)
West of Scotland University at Paisley (textile engineering)
Clyde Explorers Club - mentoring gang youth in the Clyde/Glasgow area
Chavannes-des-Bois Fire Brigade - volunteer fireman for many years
LIFE and WORK
Until 10 I lived in Italy, speaking a mixture of Italian, Swiss-German, and English. At 8 my parents put me on the Milano to London Orient Express to go to boarding school in Wales.
At 10 we moved to Glasgow, which was a change from Tuscany, but I loved its rawness and lovely people.
At 12, I founded my first startup with some entrepreneurial Scots girls, washing found golf balls and painting "Champ !" on them. The local golf pro offered us free golf lessons if we would stop.
At 13, my father told me we were moving to Barcelona, and that I had to become fluent in Spanish. He handed me a random book by Ramón del Valle-Inclán and after a week my lifelong emotion with the hispanic world was 'on'. We lived for years in Spain.
At 18, I went to Cambridge to study arabo-hispanic history and literature. Well, why not ? I soon realized that without immersive exposure to classical Arabic, I would not reach degree level. So I switched to French literature, discovered the beauty of alexandrines, and got the degree.
At 21, I graduated from Cambridge and got a job with Coats in Glasgow, the world's largest thread company. Coats sent me to West of Scotland University at Paisley to learn engineering, production management, and ergonomics. After that I worked in their silk/cotton thread manufacturing mills in Spain (Coats Fabra), Scotland (Coats Patons), Italy (Cucirini Cantoni Coats), Germany (Mez), and Austria (Harlander Coats).
At 24, I married a Swiss girl whom I had met at Cambridge and got a job with DuPont in Geneva in their new products group, working with Nomex para-aramid, Kevlar aramid, Teflon PTFE, Kapton polyimide, and Tedlar PVF. These products were so revolutionary that they often required the companies who used them to re-invent their business models. This was good training for my later work with startups. A week later, tickets to Germany, Portugal, and Sweden dropped onto my desk, and I was "on the road" as a DuPont salesman.
At 34, after 10 years of incessant travel with DuPont, I needed a change, so I set up a consultancy, advising SMEs on modernization of their technologies, and soon became very involved with startups (see Startups page).
Projects done at Coats included:
a. Refurbing vintage silk hank-winders to slow-process knot-free embroidery threads, expanding the market for automated high-speed embroidery in ethnic fashions.
b. Speeding up 3-D spectrophotometry and automated dye mixing for thread-dyeing, facilitating the market for 24-hour color-matched thread delivery.
c. Using the UK's first industrial mainframe computer to map 3-D color-space, so that every color could be given a numeric co-ordinate, leading to better color reproducibility worldwide in many industries.
Projects done at DuPont included:
a. Developing dyeing of para-aramid fibers to open new markets in worker-protection and fire brigades.
b. Developing quilted para-aramid clothing for F1 motor-racing, extending fire-protection times.
c. Organising the first European Hot-Gas Filtration Symposium in Düsseldorf, leading to improved filtration of pollutant emissions at asphalt and TiO2 plants.
d. Creating a purchasing club of German industrial laundries to develop high-tech calender felts, reducing waste.
e. Developing the first high-threat anti-ballistic vests for Italian police forces. Orders from all countries followed.
f. Working with Louis Vuitton and designer Clino Castelli on futuristic luggage materials for the America's Cup Challenge trophy. The fabrics used a Kevlar/Polyamide wrapped-core yarn technology, originally developed for the first Lycra swimsuits, woven and 'locked' by heat-fusion. The concept was later used for fused racing sails.
g. Working with the European Space Agency on ultra-thin polyimide film with vacuum vapor deposited gold coating, used to wrap satellites, significantly reducing payload weight.
h. Working with polyimide and PVF films in many industries.
i. Working on some of the first ultra-light drones (yes, in the 1970s !), made viable for the first time thanks to the lightness of Nomex paper honeycomb and Kevlar/Carbon composite structures. This is a very long story.
TRANSPARENCY, FREE SPEECH, INTERNET SEARCH AND CACHES
I have been a heavy user of internet and videotext for 40 years and have always posted in a free-speech manner and in my own name. I am relaxed and un-paranoid about privacy and my life is run open source. As part of staying in touch with the latest software, social, organizational, design and marketing trends, I support new, experimental, weird, off-the-wall, artsy, minority, political, loony, or disruptive sites, blogs and fora. All these references may be picked up by search engines. Nothing ever dies on the internet, and search engines make no distinction between fun and professional remarks. In general on page 1 they show the remarks I would prefer to forget, whilst the stuff I'm happy with doesn't appear until page 23. Internet searches may find aged information which, if taken out of context, appears strange. They may also cache versions of my internet sites which were temporary, experimental, parodic or that were modified aeons ago.
CREATIVE MISUSE OF WEBSITE INFORMATION
With much useful and useless information available via the web, investigators, attorneys and competitors can easily generate amply documented positive or negative impressions of a target person, thus justifying their fees or salaries or existence. Please ask me for clarification before jumping to conclusions or allowing anyone to convince you that you have a basis for legal action if you disagree with me or any affiliate. Once again, the easiest way to solve problems is to ask for any information you may need, before silly damage is done to both parties. This is especially true for anyone who has not litigated often, or who is unfamiliar with the internet and how it can be creatively misused.
AUTOMATED COLLISIONS OF INTERNET LINKS AND REFERENCES
Increasingly, web platforms and search engines such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and others automatically generate potentially deceptive and manipulatable associations between pieces of information that were born separate. Please ask for any clarifications you may need.
SPAMMERS, MAILERS, PHISHERS
Spammers and phishers can 'borrow' real or simulated identities and email addresses. Please check with me before opening any unannounced email that appears to come from an email address similar to mine. Although my grandfather in fact died in west Africa, it is unlikely that he left you a million dollars.
WARNING and DISCLAIMER
This website constitutes neither a recommendation nor an endorsement of any company, nor an invitation to participate in any situation, financially or otherwise. Investors should not invest anywhere unless they can easily afford to lose their entire investment. My company, my affiliates or business relations may at all times have interests in companies, some being pure financial investments, some being strategic investments where affiliates are visibly involved, some being small preparatory investments where the position assists in tracking a company's behavioural patterns. Affiliates are at all times informally researching private and listed companies, both for themselves and in liaison with third parties. This involves unsecured exchanges of information, hypothetical deal scenarios, site visits and publications on the internet. However in keeping with regulatory guidelines, if affiliates enter into formal discussions with a company, there is an announcement. If there is no such announcement, there is no meaningful involvement. Investors should be wary of companies, websites, media or sales groups that attempt to create links or purported relationships between affiliates and themselves or other entities. Affiliates and their partners, being systematic value advisors specialised in re-structuring and preparing special situations prior to the involvement of others, are routinely named in litigation, bankruptcies, and judicial procedures in the course of their normal business, sometimes accompanied by unfavourable media attention (affiliates' objectives for a situation may not be aligned with the short-term interests of company management, other shareholders, suppliers or competitors). Investors may at any time contact affiliates for confirmation of any subject. Affiliates are not authorised financial advisers in any territory. Affiliates do not give investment advice to, nor take deposits from, members of the general public. This document is not a source of investment advice. Nothing here may be construed as investment advice or as an invitation or inducement to invest in any situation where affiliates may be involved or not. Readers should always consult a licensed financial adviser in their relevant territory or regulatory environment prior to making any decision about anything. This website you are reading may not be the latest version and may have been changed significantly since its previous versions. Affiliates reserve the right to change any published or draft materials without notice at any time, and without updating previous versions of the materials or websites. For enquiries on any subject or personal or employment questions, please email the appropriate affiliate or project company. This warning and disclaimer is applicable in its entirety to this website.
Products and concepts referred to in this website may be the subject of international patents or patents pending. Company and product names in this website may include registered or pending trademarks. Please check appropriate sources before using any information or names. Contents of this website may not be copied without permission. This website replaces all other existing documents. Mike Harrop's and partners' websites and business processes are continuously modified and optimized, as is normal when operating in new markets and new technologies. Web-pages and links give indicative information and are almost certainly not up to date.
The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) aims to protect both the fundamental right to privacy and the personal data of European Union (EU) citizens. This website neither requests nor collects any visitor data. If they wish to interact, visitors to this website are welcome to visit my pages on third party platforms such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Paypal and others, where GDPR compliance is handled directly by those platforms' own GDPR compliance procedures.