Posts Tagged ‘SyncNorwich’

Norwich sets out its tech startup stall

June 10, 2016  |  Digital innovation, Innovation  |  Comments Off on Norwich sets out its tech startup stall

This blog post was originally posted on on 30th September 2015.

TECH NATION: Business leaders in Norwich have worked hard to get the Norfolk city recognised by Tech City UK as one of its key tech clusters outside London. With a fast-growing digital sector specialising in creative media and gaming, that recognition is proving justified. Fiona Lettice of Norwich Business School offers an overview.

Norwich’s economy was historically based firmly on manufacturing: textiles, shoemaking and mustard – the city was famously once the home of the Colman’s brand.

Norwich City Skyline – this image is by JimmyGuano

Over time, Norwich went through a transition to a more service-based economy, with an increase in insurance and other financial services companies. Aviva (formerly Norwich Union) is the largest and longest established in the city.

Norwich has also long been associated with an innovative, creative and pioneering culture, particularly in art, literature and publishing. It was the site of the first provincial library in England, the first provincial newspaper outside of London, the first provincial art movement and the country’s first arts festival.

This continues today, with Norwich being home to national publishing group Archant, which grew out of the city’s local newspapers, and BBC East. And in 2012, it became England’s first UNESCO city of literature.

Today’s emerging digital sector in Norwich is closely linked to these creative sectors, with strong specialisms in content and media production and digital marketing, as well as a fast-growing game development sector.

Digital businesses and jobs are part of Norwich’s strategy for the next wave of strong, high-value economic growth. Tech City UK’s 2015 Tech Nation report showed that there was a 21% increase in the number of digital companies incorporated in Norfolk between 2010 and 2013.


All UK clusters have experienced digital sector employment growth, but in Norfolk, digital job growth outpaced overall regional growth by the highest margin anywhere. Tech Nation reported that there are 14,521 people in digital employment in Norfolk, with this predicted to grow significantly by 2020.

One of the key strengths of Norwich is its ability to create and develop strong networks that enable people to share experiences and knowledge across sectors, and to look for innovative new approaches to the challenges that society faces.

Within Norwich, there are many proactive, grassroots digital meet-up groups, such as SyncDevelopHER and SyncNorwich (with more than 1,000 members), Norfolk Developers (over 600), Norfolk Indie Game Developers (over 250), Hot Source (over 350) and Norfolk Network.

These groups host regular monthly meet-ups with presentations, skills development and networking opportunities and larger annual events such as the Sync the City startup weekend in Norwich; NorDevCon, a technical conference with about 300 attendees; and Norwich Gaming Festival, which attracts more than 35,000 visitors in a week.

The groups have forged close and supportive links with the local councils, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce and New Anglia LEP.

The Tech Nation report highlighted access to social networks as a key strength of the Norfolk cluster, with 82% of businesses citing it as a key benefit of being located in the area.

Norwich has seen considerable recent investment in the infrastructure of the digital sector. In 2014, White Space was established in Norwich by Proxama as a co-working space for dynamic, high-growth digital, creative and technology businesses.

Based in an old textile mill, White Space at St James Mill is now a focal point for the digital, creative and technology community in Norwich. Tenants have included Rainbird Technologies, Axon Vibe and Cuju Media. White Space is also home to the SyncNorwich and Norfolk Developers meet-up groups and hosts their networking events.


Norwich Research Park (NRP) is an internationally renowned science and business community and Europe’s leading centre for research into food, health and the environment.

With 3,000 scientists based at NRP and at the University of East Anglia, one of the highest concentrations of academic research institutions in the UK and some of the most cited research scientists in the world, NRP is an attractive home to around 30 innovative science- and IT-based businesses.

The Innovation Centre, Centrum and the Enterprise Centre provide a combination of office accommodation, meeting rooms and support to stimulate innovation and economic growth from a strong research base.

This year Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) is opening its Ideas Factory Centre and UX Lab, which will offer high-quality incubation space and business support for new digital businesses with close links to the NUA academic community.

Norwich is home to a cluster of unique businesses that are internationally established, but base their operations in the city to take advantage of an excellent, cost-effective talent pool, supported by two universities with more than 17,000 students and an effective property infrastructure.

A vibrant and growing group of creative agencies are based in Norwich, including user experience design agency Foolproof, creative technology firm Knit, digital design agency Soak, communications outfit MADE, brand agency Creative Sponge and Neon Tribe, a web development agency.

Image manipulation, processing and film companies include FXHOME (green-screen and visual effects software), Spectral Edge (image fusion, processing and enhancement) and Lambda Films (video production and animation).

There are some well-established tech businesses like Proxama (digital payment and mobile proximity marketing), Validus (insurance technology solutions), ServiceTick (solutions for multi-channel customer feedback) and Liftshare (the UK’s first and largest car sharing scheme), along with exciting new startups such as Supapass (connecting fans to artists) and Rainbird (a TechStars company using artificial intelligence to automate knowledge work).

The next step for Norwich is to use its strong local digital communities and businesses to establish partnerships further afield – both nationally and internationally. This would build support, infrastructure and investment for the progression from startup to scaleup, and attract and retain the best talent by continuing to promote Norwich as a vibrant and appealing place to live and work.

Sync the City 2015 - An overview of Norwich's 54 hour startup weekend

Sync the City 2015 Participants (Photo: Tim Stephenson)

Sync the City 2015 – An overview of Norwich’s 54 hour startup weekend

December 17, 2015  |  Digital innovation, Innovation  |  Comments Off on Sync the City 2015 – An overview of Norwich’s 54 hour startup weekend

After the success of Sync the City 2014, SyncNorwich and UEA planned and ran another 54 hour startup weekend, called Sync the City 2015.  The event was held at The King’s Centre in Norwich from Thursday 19th November to Saturday 21st November 2015.

The aim of the Sync the City events is to bring together Norfolk’s business community of entrepreneurs, product developers, software developers, designers and digital creatives (members of SyncNorwich’s virtual technology and startup community) with students (in 2015 from the University of East Anglia, Norwich University of the Arts and the College of West Anglia) and to facilitate them to create new business models and form startups that are enabled by digital technologies.  The mixed business and student teams then have 5 minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges at the end of the event, to win a prize.

The Organisers

SyncNorwich (John Fagan, Fiona Lettice, Sean Clark and Paul Cutting) and UEA (Norwich Business School and Careers Central – Julie Schofield, Susi Waters and Laura Johnson) planned and organised Sync the City 2015.  SyncNorwich is proactively developing partnerships with local universities, colleges and schools, so that the organisations within the community can more easily recruit student interns and graduates and to give students opportunities to meet, network with and learn from local tech sector employers.  Sync the City is part of the strategy to organise events that will benefit both the SyncNorwich technical cluster, businesses and startups, as well as students.

Sync the City 2015 (Photos: Tim Stephenson)

Sync the City 2015 (Photos: Tim Stephenson)


We had great support from local and national sponsors for Sync the City 2015, without whom this would not have been possible.  The primary sponsors were: Norfolk County Council, UEA, SyncNorwich, Liquid11, Aviva and Barclays.  The supporting sponsors were: Adnams, Allies Computing, Tim Stephenson Photography, Maxi-Cool, MigSolv and OnePulse.  The prize sponsors were: Sandler Training, White Space and Norfolk Network.  Thank you all!

Mentors and Judges

We invited local tech business leaders to act as mentors for the Sync the City teams over the weekend.  We had mentors from Aviva (Paul Russell), Barclays (Andy Adams, Gavin Ratcliffe and Paul Mayne), Liquid11 (Chris Venables), Adnams (Duncan Cardwell), UEA (Dr Joost Noppen and Steve Jones), Allies Computing (Stephen Keable), Liftshare (Ali Clabburn), Rainbird (Ben Taylor and Dom Davis), Axon Vibe (Paul Cutting and Elizabeth Scholefield), Earthware (Brian Norman), FXHOME (Josh Davies), BAE Systems (Jo Vertigan), Sandler Training (Ermine Amies), 1Password (Matt Davey), Blooming Founders (London – Lu Li) and OnePulse (London – Nick Walter), representing a range of the different organisations from small to large across the local tech sector and this year we also attracted 2 mentors from London.

The judges were Jon Bradford (ex-MD of Techstars, London), Grant Hardy (founder and CEO of Liquid11 and New Patricks Yard), Julianna Meyer (founder and CEO of SupaPass), and Julie West (Growth Hub Co-ordinator, New Anglia LEP).

Thanks to the mentors and judges for giving up their time and helping to make the event such a success.

Graham Gannon of Google’s Prototyping team gave the Keynote presentation on Thursday night and Neil Garner of Proxama gave the Endnote presentation on Saturday night.  Michael Ni-Man of SyncYouth also gave an update on his November 2015 #ihackednorwich event with Year 9 pupils from Norfolk schools.


There were 115 active participants for the whole event.  This was an increase of nearly 60% on the number of participants in 2014. Of these active participants, approximately 50% were students and 50% were professionals.  The participants were also identified by their background.  There were 40% developers, 41% business/non-technical and 19% designers represented.   In particular, the number of designers increased significantly from 2014, which was a welcome addition to the teams.

The presentations on Saturday night were open to the public and approximately 100 additional people attended.   This was an increase from the audience of 40 who attended in 2014.

The Pitches, Teams and Winners

The 26 One Minute Pitches (Chris Spalton Sketchnotes)

The 26 One Minute Pitches (Chris Spalton Sketchnotes)

For the initial 1 minute pitches, 26 ideas were pitched by the participants.  The ideas were innovative and the pitches were of a very high standard, which left a challenge of voting for the best ideas to carry forward and form teams around for the rest of the event.

14 ideas were selected to go forward and teams were formed around these ideas.  Click on the names to see their final pitches:

Team Name Brief description of idea
Gordon Bleu Matching you with your perfect meal
Sox Suk Gifts to blow your socks off!
RenTech Making tech affordable
Prompto Digital support and monitoring system for independent people who suffer with memory loss
Menulicious Finding the restaurant that’s right for you
docdirect Agentless NHS: Saving £1900 per minute
Memsabi A delightful tactile way to structure your thoughts
Zap Instantly connect to the world around you
Everyday Spaces Making churches everyday places
Gorrilla Free wifi on the tube
Zest Interactive lectures are here!
Unfold We create quality narratives around events as they unfold
Teepee Renting a house is as easy as ordering pizza
PROTO Norwich A city of people ready to embrace your ideas

After the Saturday night final pitch presentations, the judges deliberated and the audience and team members voted for the best startups emerging from the 54 hour event.

The Judges' Winners - Everyday Spaces (Photo: Tim Stephenson)

The Judges’ Winners – Everyday Spaces (Photo: Tim Stephenson)

The judges’ prize went to Everyday Spaces for their church hall booking system, which included a website that gathered the information of all churches in Norwich and a website widget that facilitated bookings for each church. Their mission was to make churches everyday places for the community.

The People's Choice Winners (Photo: Tim Stephenson)

The People’s Choice Winners (Photo: Tim Stephenson)

The people voted the winners to be docdirect with their plan to save the NHS £1900 per minute, by reducing the NHS’ use of agencies for locum doctors.  They won 28% of the 174 votes cast.

Coverage of Sync the City 2015

A dedicated website was created for Sync the City which gives full details of the event, mentors, judges, agenda and sponsors.

Sync The City attracted local media attention and the event was written up by several bloggers.

The editor of the Norfolk Tech Journal helped to promote the event and then blogged about the event over the 54 hours it ran.

The EDP business writer helped to promote the event in mid-November 2015 and then visited the event and wrote about it on the 21st November and Mustard TV televised Everyday Spaces’ story of winning Sync the City 2015.

After the event, UEA publicised the student success at the event on the School of Computing Sciences website and the Norwich Business School blog.

There were 1491 tweets using the #syncthecity hashtag on Twitter, with a peak on Saturday evening, during the final pitches.  MADE created a storify of their Sync the City 2015 experience.

We had some innovative ways of recording Sync the City as it ran.  Alongside Tim Stephenson’s photography and Sean Clark’s filming which can be seen on the SyncNorwich Youtube channel, we had Chris Spalton’s sketchnotes and East West Design/Flush the Fashion did a 3 minute time lapse video of the whole event.

The feedback from Sync the City 2015 has been great and we will use the helpful participant comments to improve the event further – so look out for Sync the City 2016!

Tech Nation Demonstrates Strength of Norwich Tech Cluster

February 5, 2015  |  Digital innovation, Innovation  |  Comments Off on Tech Nation Demonstrates Strength of Norwich Tech Cluster

The Tech Nation report came out today (5th February 2015), published by Tech City UK.  A very exciting day for Norwich as we got a double page spread in the report (pp54-55).  This has been the result of a sustained campaign to raise the profile and reputation of the Norwich tech sector.

SyncNorwich has been key in this campaign, by hosting Mike Butcher of TechCrunch in November 2013, which showcased some great Norwich tech companies to him and the 300 attendees who attended that event.  Then in 2014, SyncNorwich organised Sync The City and invited Emma Swift of the Tech City UK Cluster Alliance to visit.

Then, when Tech City UK announced their Tech Nation survey, SyncNorwich, Norfolk Developers and Hot Source got behind the survey and encouraged their members to complete it.  Norwich has a big enough tech sector and registered enough responses to be included in the report.

Defining the sector clearly wasn’t straightforward, but the report does describe the methodology they used, so that the data in this report can be compared with other surveys.


Until recently, much of the attention has focused on London as the centre of digital innovation in the UK, and indeed Tech City UK were initially set up in 2010 to support the London tech sector.  This survey and report highlights that there is a lot of activity outside of London (74% of digital businesses and currently 62% of advertised jobs are not in London).   These businesses however need proper support and attention from policy makers and investors.

The report identifies the top 3 sectors by cluster.  Software Development is a key sector for Norwich, with 35% of its companies in this sector.  Twelve of the other UK clusters have this sector in their top 3 and almost 25% of companies identified their sector as Software Development.  Advertising and Marketing is another key sector for Norwich, shared with 5 other clusters and is the second largest sector in the UK with 11% of companies.  Telecommunications and Networking is a defining sector for Norwich, with only Sheffield sharing it as one of their top 3 clusters and with just 4% of the companies identifying their company as belonging to this sector.  The key cluster capabilities are: content and media production, machine to machine communications and network infrastructure and protocols.

The Tech Nation survey found that, in the UK, 50% of digital businesses have been formed since 2008.  Many have been formed in the last 2 years across 2013 and 2014.  Norwich has given birth to around 40 digital businesses in this two year period, which represents approximately 13% of the total companies within the cluster, against a UK average of 15%.

Norwich has 14,521 digital jobs, with a 21% growth of digital companies.  Digital businesses are key for employment opportunities across the UK.  The study found that although all clusters experienced digital sector employment growth – in Norfolk, digital job growth outpaced overall regional growth by the highest margin.

82% of Norwich companies identified access to social networks as a key benefit of the cluster.  This is above the national average of 77% and is testament to the hard work put in by the various communities such as SyncNorwich, Hot Source and Norfolk Developers to organise regular meetups and larger annual events, such as Sync The City and NorDevCon.

The other key benefits of the Norwich cluster fall below the national average: access to the right talent for growth is mentioned by 32% of companies (the national average is 54%); access to property is identified by 32% (the national average is 40%); access to private finance scores 24% (the national average is 35%) and access to public finance (grants etc) is identified by 15% (the national average is 33%).

This shows that although there are benefits within the Norwich cluster, there is still some work to do to develop and attract talent, provide enough affordable office space (although White Space and New Patrick’s Yard are a good step in the right direction) and help companies to access funding.  Not surprisingly, and similar to many other of the UK clusters in the Tech Nation report, a lack of fast and accessible broadband and a weak transport infrastructure are cited as barriers to growth.

Norwich has a relatively young tech cluster and has come a long way in a short space of time.  Support and recognition from Tech City UK, policymakers and the local community will help us to build on this and to continue to grow and develop as a key cluster within the UK’s digital ecosystem.


Sync The City – Build and Launch a Start-Up in 54 Hours for Fun or Profit

October 27, 2014  |  Disruptive Innovation, Innovation  |  Comments Off on Sync The City – Build and Launch a Start-Up in 54 Hours for Fun or Profit

John Fagan and I have been working together again to put on another big Norwich event, similar to TechCrunch Visits Norwich in 2013. This time, we are challenging entrepreneurs, product developers, software developers, designers, digital creatives along with students from the University of East Anglia and Norwich University of the Arts to form teams to build and launch an innovative start-up in just 54 hours.  We have called this event Sync The City.

Sync the City, a collaboration between SyncNorwich, HP, the University of East Anglia and Norfolk County Council, aims to help place Norwich firmly on the tech community map over three days in November 2014.


Participants will arrive on Thursday night (20th November 2014) and Emma Swift of TechCity UK – which champions the digital and technology industry in the UK and internationally – will give a keynote presentation about what makes a successful tech cluster and how different clusters can work together to make the whole UK a digital hub for innovation.  Participants will then pitch their start-up ideas in 1 minute slots.  Over drinks and some networking, teams will form around the ideas and the start-up process begins!

Friday and Saturday the teams will work together supported by a great line up of mentors including: Ha Cole, Enterprise Architect at Microsoft; Ben Riches, Digital Integration Director at Aviva; Ali Clabburn, Managing Director & Founder of and Ben Taylor, CEO & Co-founder of Rainbird.

On Saturday night, at the end of the event, there will be an endnote presentation by Neil Garner of Proxama.  Then the mixed business and student teams will pitch their ideas, for a chance to win a £3000 prize, to a panel of high-profile judges including: Anastasia Emmanuel from crowdsourcing platform Indiegogo, Jon Bradford from TechStars and local investors James Duez and Tim O’Shea. The presentations, judging and prizegiving are open to members of the public, with the award presentation concluding the event.

John and I have been quoted in the local press as saying: “Norfolk is already home to a rapidly growing number of technology innovators turning their creative ideas into real business, and Sync the City will bring together the strength of Norwich’s tech community in one place. The judges and mentors can offer real-life advice whilst we hope the competition will kick start the developments of the next generation of Norfolk tech companies.” And “Start-up weekends are a global movement in the tech community.  They prove it really is possible to create a tech business from scratch in 54 hours. Sync the City is a platform to bring people together from public, private and education sectors to collaborate in small teams and have fun.  If the teams come up with an amazing product concept and prototype, then that would be the cherry on the cake.”


Photo: John Fagan

Patrick Stephenson, HP General Manager Digital Norfolk Ambition Partnership, said: “HP is delighted to be a sponsor and active participant of Sync the City. I am excited about the disruptive innovation this event will drive and collaboration amongst local entrepreneurs, SME’s, public sector and private sector organisations such as HP.”


Cllr Bev Spratt, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Economic Development Sub Committee, said: “Norfolk, and Norwich in particular, has a thriving community of excellent ICT and digital creative businesses. The sector is strongly supported by our two Universities which produce dozens of high quality graduates every year. I hope, by supporting this event, we can help some of those graduates to become entrepreneurs of the future.”

SyncNorwich was founded in 2012 as a virtual community to support the growing digital economy in and around Norwich and is now one of the biggest and most active tech meet-up groups outside of London. SyncNorwich has over 900 members, of which approximately 50% are software developers and architects, 20% are founders, entrepreneurs, directors or investors and 20% are project managers or others.

Sync the City will be held at the King’s Centre, King Street in Norwich from 20-22 November. Participants will pay £25 to enter which will include food and refreshments throughout.

The event has been funded by HP, Norfolk County Council, NEMODE (New Economic Models in the Digital Economy), Rainbird and the University of East Anglia.  Thanks also to Purple Tuesday and Everpress for their website and design work.

To register

Anyone wishing to be part of a start-up team for the whole event, or interested in being an audience member on Saturday night only (free entry), can register and get tickets at The website includes information about the agenda, judges and mentors, or contact the UEA Events team with any queries by emailing

Press Coverage of Sync The City so far:





Go Crowdfund Norwich!

July 4, 2014  |  Crowdfunding, Innovation  |  Comments Off on Go Crowdfund Norwich!

Indiegogo organised a tour of Britain to raise the awareness of what crowdfunding is and to help those interested to crowdfund more successfully. The “Go Crowdfund Britain Tour” is a million pound mission to get Britain’s best ideas, coolest inventions, brightest young businesses and the most creative music and arts projects crowdfunded on Indiegogo before the end of 2014.

Go Crowdfund Britain” started on 23rd June 2014 with Indiegogo visiting 10 UK cities over three weeks to gather individuals, groups and companies with big ambitions and show them how to crowdfund successfully on Indiegogo. Starting off in Manchester, the tour visited Birmingham, Swansea, Bristol, Norwich, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle and finished in Edinburgh on 10th July 2014.

go million britain logo

On the 30th June, Indiegogo visited Norwich, hosted by SyncNorwich and Norwich Business School at the University of East Anglia. So what did we learn?

Anastasia Emmanuel, Indiegogo’s UK Marketing and Community Manager, gave a great presentation to an audience of over 50 people in Norwich. She defined crowdfunding as “The collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the internet, to support the efforts initiated by other people or organisations.” She explained that it wasn’t a new concept, but has been made popular by the founding of organisations such as Indiegogo.

Indiegogo talk 2

 Anastasia Emmanuel presenting

Indiegogo, with its headquarters in San Francisco, was founded by Danae Ringelmann, Slava Rubin, and Eric Schell in 2008, with the ambition to democratise finance and allow anyone with an idea to sign up and raise money.  There are now many different crowdfunding platforms out there, such as Kickstarter, Crowdcube and Seedrs, but the choice of these depends on your reason for crowdfunding. Anastasia explained the reasons to use Indiegogo, which is based on gifts and rewards (perks) rather than an equity stake in the idea:

(1)   Global – Indiegogo has run over 200,000 campaigns from 224 countries/territories and operates in 5 currencies and 4 languages

(2)   Open – there is no application or approval process for an Indiegogo campaign, it is merit based and covers entrepreneurial, creative and cause campaigns

(3)   Customer Focused – Indiegogo has a Customer Happiness team available 24-7 to support its campaigners, they produce a lot of guides and videos to help campaigners and they offer both fixed and flexible funding.

Anastasia emphasised the benefits of crowdfunding with Indiegogo as being able to: validate your idea, gain awareness for your campaign, connect with customers, create evangelists and raise money. She explained that often the money raised was the least important of the benefits. She then gave a few case studies to illustrate the benefits that other campaigners had realised.

London’s first cat café was financed through Indiegogo. Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium in Shoreditch raised £109,510 against a target of £108,000 to open its doors in 2013.

Indiegogo talk 1

Tens: The Real Life Photo Filter is an Edinburgh-based sunglasses brand that set an initial target of £9,400 on Indiegogo and went on to raise over £350,000. They had met their initial target within hours of posting their campaign and the exposure from this and the validation of their idea really helped them take the product to the next stage.

Misfit Shine, a personal activity tracker, was another example of an American campaign that was able to do real time market research and connect directly with the customers that would buy their product. They had a goal to raise $100,000 and ended up raising over $800,000 from nearly 8000 funders from around the world.   But, possibly more importantly, they learnt a lot through the campaign that influenced the final design of their product and they secured a strong customer base.

Norwich has had its own successful campaigns too. Stuart Ashen, a Norwich-based YouTube comedian raised over $73,000 against a target of $50,000 to make his first feature film “Ashens and the Quest for the Game Child”, which was about 41% of the overall film budget.   Stuart joined the Norwich leg of the tour to share his Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign experiences and tips.   He encouraged the audience to develop their ideas sufficiently before launching a campaign. If you look like you know what you are doing and what you need the money for, people are more likely to give.

Norwich also raised over £12,000 with Indiegogo for the Knightmare Convention held at EPIC Studios in May 2014, where the original award-winning children’s television show was filmed.

So how do you develop a successful pitch? First remember that a higher goal does not mean more money! People want to give to successful projects and so setting a lower and more attainable goal works better as you will more quickly raise a higher percentage of your goal (this is nicknamed the green bar effect on Indiegogo). There are no penalties for exceeding your goal, you keep all of the money raised, and people will keep contributing even after your target has been met. You need a good pitch video that is short (about 3 minutes), explains who you are, what you are raising money for and provides a clear call to action. Make your pitch text easy to read, with pictures and infographics that help to sell your product or product.

Reaching goal

Anastasia then went on to share the 6Ps of successful crowdfunding:

(1)   People – they want meaning in their lives and they like to support projects and causes that they care about. Make it easy for them to see the opportunity in your project

(2)   Perks – campaigns with perks raise more money. Limited quantities of perks create demand and provide a thank you to contributors

(3)   Passion – you need to find ways to show your passion for your project and then it will generate passion in others

(4)   Pride – people want to feel proud of having supported a campaign – what will make them proud to join yours?

(5)   Participation – people like to participate in successful projects and your perks can also provide motivation for people to participate to get an exclusive product

(6)   Promotion – you need to think carefully about how you will promote your campaign.  Start with a soft-launch and get your family and friends to donate (approx 30% of your target) in this phase so your project starts to look successful before you go to full launch. Have them ready to do this. Run your campaign for 21 to 45 days and launch on a Monday or Tuesday. Email and social media are the best ways to raise contributions and also contact the press, bloggers and do live events. Campaigns usually start well and then drop off a bit, so plan to have some perks for this quieter phase. Send out regular updates and celebrate the milestones as you reach them.  Campaigns that send at least 3 updates raise more cash!

After the energetic and engaging presentation, there were plenty of questions for Anastasia and Stuart and an opportunity to network before heading home much clearer about how crowdfunding could help to bring a multitude of ideas and projects to life!

TechCrunch Visited Norwich

November 28, 2013  |  Disruptive Innovation, Innovation  |  2 Comments

Mike Butcher speaking UEA were delighted to be the first UK university to host Mike Butcher, Editor-at-Large, for TechCrunch.  Mike is one of the most influential tech journalists in Europe right now and is on a mission to excite students about tech startups.  It started with a tweet back in May 2013 and then finally, last night – November 27th 2013 – we hosted, with SyncNorwich, the biggest tech event and geek meetup in Norwich ever, with over 300 attendees. TCnorwich audience John Fagan of SyncNorwich and I opened the event with an overview of the growing digital creative community in Norfolk.  Then it was the turn of a great line up of tech and startups from the region, with some great success stories and a sprinkling of UEA graduates in the line up too.   It was fast and furious with fantastic presentations from all involved. FxHome’s Josh Davies (a UEA graduate) kicked off the tech showcase and demonstrated how FXHome’s products are used by children to make their own films right through to Hollywood creating the special visual effects in blockbusters like Salt and the short film, Prism. Next up was Liftshare, with Ali Clabburn explaining how his company was born from a need to get to Bristol and not enough cash for the train fare!  From this start in 1998, Liftshare has grown to support 1.5 million trips per month and a typical member can save about £1000 per year by using the service. Then Rainbird’s James Duez and Ben Taylor shared their vision of building smarter software to capture knowledge and solve problems by joining up the dots – lots of potential applications and one to watch as they head for full release in March 2014. Richard Churchill of Service Tick presented and session replay.  This product picks up how users are interacting with your website, where they are touching and looking and so can help to increase conversion and reduce basket abandonment.  Proxama finished this session with James Taylor explaining how they connect the physical and digital worlds with their TapPoint platform, offering next generation mobile market for brands wanting to better engage with their customers.  They offer proximity marketing and contactless payment via smartphones. slide6-techcrunchThe agenda then turned to a series of ten 2 minute pitches:  Get3Sixty offer the ability to gather, store and view anonymous feedback from the people you work with.  99squared have developed Kuoob to support personalised advertising.  Everpress presented their Haberdash app to create your own personalised photo-cushion.  Betahive showcased their Pingle app to match and connect groups of people.  Photocrowd set photographic assignments and allow users to vote and provide reviews from experts and then showcase the winners.  Supapass are building the music ecosystem of the future, linking musicians and fans.  Blurtit presented their social question and answer site. helps source talented software engineers with their matching service.  Zealify, started by UEA graduates, is a recruitment platform to help small companies to identify the right interns and graduates to recruit.  Last up was a 16 year old Norwich School student, Michael Ni’Man, aiming to raise literacy rates with an educational app – Wordwides.  What a brilliant showcase of innovative products and services!mike butcher speaks After a quick networking break, came the energetic and engaging keynote from Mike Butcher.  He took us on a whistlestop tour of the history of tech and the highs and lows of being a startup.  He explained how Web 2.0 has taken innovation out of the labs and into the bedrooms and coffee shops, creating “absolute chaos” – but in a good way!  He emphasised that people are what matters most in the early stages of technology businesses.  He stressed the power of serendipity and the need to keep on meeting at events like this one and the other meetups that SyncNorwich and Hot Source provide.  He encouraged Norwich to build silicon bridges to link up the ecosystem and was impressed with the incredible display of talent that Norwich has to offer.  In the Q&A session he encouraged those pitching their ideas to keep it simple – strip back the text in presentations, make it visual, be enthusiastic and tell a story. Boil down complex concepts and get to the point.  Identify the problem and how you will solve it! The evening was rounded off with big thanks from Peter Schmidt-Hansen of Norwich Business School at UEA to all who helped to make it happen at SyncNorwich and UEA and to the events other sponsors: Smart 421, Naked Element, Lambda Films and Tim Stephenson Photography (including photos in this post).  Thanks also to the OPEN team for the venue, technical support and catering. And of course, to Mike Butcher for travelling up from London and supporting the event for the Norwich tech community and UEA students!

Check out the slides here, great photos from the event here and don’t miss the doodles of the presentations by Chris Spalton.  Inspired by Mike’s presentation, Everpress are building a map of tech companies in and around Norwich at  Watch it grow!

Read other blogs on the event by:

Naked Element at

Smart421 at

ip21 at

Tim Stephenson Photography at

Press coverage by EDP24 and Norwich Evening News24 sites and a feature in the Norfolk TechJournal.