Startup Weekend Sheffield: Music & Literature

    Friday, June 26 - 28, 2015

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
  8. Blog
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Startup Weekend Sheffield: Music & Literature

Friday, June 26 - 28, 2015

Friday, June 26 - 28, 2015
Event starts at 6:00 pm

Enterprise Zone
210 Portobello
Sheffield, UK S1 4AE

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Do you have the next Goodreads, Spotify or SoundCloud in your head? Well, let it out!

Love it or hate it, innovation and technology are disrupting the music and literature industries. New inventions are revolutionising how we consume and share content, and the way it is created and sold. Do you want to work on something that could be as popular as ShazamSoundCloud, or Spotify? Or maybe as successful as GoodreadsKindle, or Leanpub?

This is your chance to be part of something disruptive that shakes up the music and literature industries with a new idea that can be coded, designed, developed, or built. Musicians, writers, developers, designers, entrepreneurs - join forces and launch a startup in just 54 hours. Will yours be the next big thing?

Startup Weekend begins with open mic pitches on Friday evening. If you have a music/literature idea here is your chance to share it and inspire others to join you. If you don't have an idea that's fine too, you can still vote for your favourite. Teams are then formed around the most popular ideas - you choose an idea that interests you where your skills complement other members of the team. Over Saturday and Sunday the focus is on building a minimal viable product, validating ideas, and practising Lean Startup techniques. Teams will self-organise so you might get involved with everything or focus on a particular task. Our mentors will be ready and willing to offer their support. On Sunday evening each team will present their prototype, and receive feedback from a panel of experts as well as the chance to win some great prizes, as funded by the Sheffield startup community.

There are dozens of reasons why you should come to a Startup Weekend, including:
  • Learning through the act of creating
  • Building your network
  • Finding someone you can actually launch a startup with
  • Learning a new skill and stepping outside of your comfort zone
  • Getting face time with people who can help make your idea happen
With a whole weekend dedicated to letting your creative juices flow, this Startup Weekend is the perfect opportunity to build a team to launch the app that will overtake Shazam or go head-to-head with Leanpub.

At Startup Weekend Sheffield, we’re known for bringing together creative problem solvers, critical thinkers, and technical talent to take great ideas from concept to reality. These exciting weekend experiences foster great teams, high energy, and new ideas in health, transport, education, social and more. Now, we want to do the same for music and literature. Join us!

Check out our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign here:

Startup Weekend Sheffield: Music & Literature is supported by all of these awesome people:

Adam Hill, Alex Moore, Amanda Parris, Andrew Long, Andy Mayer, Ash Young, Barry James, Brett Chapman, Brice Fernandes, Cathal Sheridan, Celina Ploskonka, Chris Dymond, Chrissie Elliott, Daniel Smith, Darren Chouings, Dominic Wroblewski, Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, Freya Grant, Gareth Edwards, Gary Miller, George Credland, Gordon Macrae, Hannah Lister, Harriet Holman, James Gregory, James Mundy, Jane Hodson, John Gelder, Katie Chase, Kay Klug, Laura Bennett, Leanne Dodson, Lee Strafford, Marc Johnson, Michael Howe, Michael White, Mihaela Gruia, Phil Hornby, Richard Torr, Robin Barr, Rui Trindade, Sara Pates, Shuo Chen, Simon Dawson, Simon Ince, Slate Grant, Steve Jubb, Valdis Krumins



Friday June 26th

6:00 pm
Registration, Dinner and Networking
Arrive at the pitching venue (Portobello Centre) and get checked in. Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants.

6:00 pm
Pizza, garlic bread, jacket potatoes, chicken drumsticks (halal), salad, fruit, crisps.

6:30 pm
Welcome and Speaker
Review agenda for the weekend and listen to an inspirational speaker

7:00 pm
Rapid Pitches
Optionally line up to pitch your music/literature idea

8:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

8:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

9:45 pm
Relocate to the Enterprise Zone
Follow the organisers and volunteers to the Enterprise Zone

10:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalise teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend.

11:30 pm
Enterprise Zone closes
See you in the morning!

Saturday June 27th

8:30 am
Enterprise Zone opens
Arrive at the Enterprise Zone. Sign up for meetings with coaches. Focus on customer validation.

8:30 am
Cereal, croissants, yoghurt, fruit.

12:30 pm
Sandwiches, salad, samosas, quiche, meats, cheeses, sausage rolls, chicken drumsticks (halal), fruit, crisps.

6:15 pm
Group check-in, status reports, call for help. Get started on build/design if you haven't already.

6:30 pm
Roast beef, roast chicken (halal), nut roast, sausages (vegetarian), vegetables, Yorkshire puddings.

11:30 pm
Enterprise Zone closes
See you in the morning!

Sunday June 28th

8:30 am
Enterprise Zone opens
Arrive at the Enterprise Zone. Plan time to rehearse your presentation.

8:30 am
Cereal, croissants, yoghurt, fruit.

12:15 pm
Group check-in, status reports, call for help.

12:30 pm
Bacon, sausages (meat and vegetarian), scrambled eggs, hash browns, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms.

2:30 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation. At least one member of your team needs to go to Mappin Hall with your laptop and presentation for a brief tech check.

4:30 pm
Relocate to Mappin Hall
Follow the organisers and volunteers to Mappin Hall.

5:00 pm
Final Presentations
Cheer on all of the teams as you pitch your work to the expert judges.

7:30 pm
Sandwiches, salad, samosas, quiche, meats, cheeses, sausage rolls, chicken drumsticks (halal), fruit, crisps.

8:30 pm
The judges reveal the top teams, and some will receive trophies and prizes!

9:00 pm
After Party!
Join us in Revoluciòn de Cuba for the after party!


Paul Drury
Culture Editor, Publicist and Writer

Action At The Intersection Of Art & Advertising: Paul Anthony Drury is a Culture Editor, Publicist & Writer. He delivers social currency, connects content with audiences, and builds brand love. He started his training as a journalist at Sheffield University in 2000 and started working in newspapers in the North of England in 2002 (at the Sheffield Gazette, Sheffield Star and Scunthorpe Telegraph) before moving to London to work in arts & culture communications.
He currently works for communications consultancy UNITY, working on campaigns, entrepreneurship and partnerships between brands and culture. In 2014 the agency won 56 awards and was named the "most creative small/medium PR agency in the world". 

Paul is passionate about democratising culture, and is proud to be a British Council Fellow - he has worked on projects in Moscow, Delhi & Tokyo. Paul was nominated as one of Courvoisier Future 500's thought-leaders in 2012, and does public speaking on youth culture + communications. He still blogs for The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, The News Hub and a variety of film/culture websites.

Event Judges

Dr Adam Hill
Audio and Live Sound Engineer

Adam is a lecturer in audio engineering at the University of Derby and a live sound engineer at Gand Concert Sound (Chicago, USA). He has designed and operated sound systems for over one thousand artists including Beck, Joe Bonamassa and The Black Keys. Apart from live sound, Adam collaborates with various firms such as Bowers & Wilkins, JL Audio and SIA Acoustics to enhance their products and services, and he is currently assisting the Hollywood film industry to develop practical techniques for achieving consistent high-quality immersive listening experiences in theatres and at home.

Ellen McLeod
Business Manager at The Poetry Business

Ellen is the Business Manager of The Poetry Business. She completed a Masters in Cultural Policy and Management in 2010. Ellen has worked as Centre Manager at Bank Street Arts and Programme Assistant at Writing Yorkshire. She has also participated as a freelance project administrator on several arts projects including The Sheffield International Artist's Book Prize, and on two creative learning projects for Sheffield Children's Festival.

Colin Tan
Founder & CEO of Rentlord, EIR at Dotforge Impact

Colin is the Founder & CEO of Rentlord, a 500 Startups, Seedcamp and TechCrunch Disrupt company. He is also Entrepreneur-in-Residence and investor at Dotforge Impact, which applies technology to social ventures. Colin was a scholar in critical theory and is a published poet. He is passionate about education and exploring the intersection between technology and the humanities. Colin has also been Tutor in Culture and Literary Criticism at St John's College, Cambridge University and has a special interest in humanities and the arts.

Sara Hill
Director at Opus Independents, Mesters Events, Mesters Works and Peace in the Park Festival

Sara is a Director at four social enterprises in Sheffield which she helped incorporate, all of which operate in the arts. Opus Independents publishes Now Then magazine and runs Wordlife live literature events. Mesters Events specialises in outdoor festivals and has a large portfolio of events ranging from the Octopus' Garden at Y-Not festival to the Commons Fair heritage craft day. Mesters Works rents studio space to artists and start up businesses at a low cost in Neepsend, and Peace in the Park is a biennial one day free music festival that raises money for nominated charities.

Oliver Higgins
University Relationship Branch Manager at Santander Universities

Oliver has worked within finance in numerous banking institutions over the past 16 years, in roles including business, foreign and retail banking. He started his career in HSBC, before moving to Citibank to help establish their London-based business with a focus on service and risk in branches. Oliver moved to Santander in 2010 as a branch manager, where he also manages the partnership agreement with The University of Sheffield and works with colleagues to broaden Santander's involvement in the higher education sector.

Coaches and Mentors

Michael Pidd
Digital Director at Humanities Research Institute

Michael is the Digital Director of the Humanities Research Institute at The University of Sheffield. He has managed the delivery of seventy digital projects, using technology in innovative ways to engage with the arts and humanities. Michael is co-investigator on the Linguistic DNA project which is using algorithms to model the development of Western ideas and concepts across 30 million pages of early printed books.

Emma Barnes
Founder & CEO of Bibliocloud

Emma is the Founder & CEO of Bibliocloud, a FutureBook award-winning all-in-one publishing solution. She is also Managing Director of Snowbooks, the award-winning, innovative independent trade publisher. Before co-founding Snowbooks in 2003, Emma gained extensive experience in buying, supply chain, business analysis, store management, merchandising and cost reduction both as a retail manager and consultant.

Simon Ince
Directory Technology – International, at Sky Betting and Gaming

Simon runs the technology team focused on growing SkyBet’s products into international markets. Before that he was at Microsoft, working with leading consumer tech brands such as Spotify, SoundCloud, and Viber. He has a passion for entrepreneurship, lean startup principles, technology and gadgets!

Auriel Majumdar
Entrepreneur and Creative Business Coach

Auriel is an entrepreneur, running markets, gigs and street food events. She has worked at Tramlines music festival and DocFest film festival and regularly appears on the door at underground house music clubs and parties in Sheffield.

David Aldridge
Data Architect at Bibliocloud

David is the Data Architect for Bibliocloud, a FutureBook award-winning all-in-one publishing solution. He is a multi-skilled software development professional with business domain experience in publishing, utilities, defence, marketing, logistics, media and finance.

Abdullah Al-wali
Director at Bad Taste Records, Founder of Connect The Dots

Abdullah is the Director of Bad Taste Records, a hip hop and electronic music label whose artists receive radio play on BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra and Rinse FM, as well as support from Pitchfork, FACT Mag, Clash Magazine and The Wire. His current day job is working in the licensed labels department at Warp Records. Abdullah also founded the arts organisation Connect the Dots which do a yearly music/art/tech/film festival in Sheffield, and DINA Magazine.

Sridhar Gowda
Literary Agent at Kadalu

Sridhar has worked in the book trade since 1994 and is a literary agent at Kadalu, a literary and media agency which he co-founded. He has been involved with many startups including one of the earliest online bookshops in 1997, which was shortlisted for the UK DTI / ISI e-commerce awards and the Sunday Times e-league top 100 pre-IPO European internet ventures. Sridhar splits his time between the UK and India.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Sheffield: Music & Literature team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.





Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Sheffield is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Samantha
    Deakin Hill
  • Chris
  • Kate
  • Elizabeth


Samantha Deakin Hill
Founder and Director at Campus Capital

Samantha Deakin Hill is the Founder of innovative venture capital firm, Campus Capital. She has 8 years experience of supporting high growth potential businesses to scale and has mentored these ambitious founders from concept validation and first product launch, through to Seed and Series A investment and beyond. Samantha is a Techstars Community Leader and Global Facilitator and is the curator of Startup Digest, Sheffield's premier startup events calendar. She lives for events like this and loves the opportunity to see ideas right at their birth at Startup Weekend. Outside of work, Samantha is also Mummy to a gorgeous little girl, reads epic fantasy novel series, and occasionally climbs the odd rock.

Event Staff

Harriet Holman

John Castle

Nicole Harte

Ryan Bibby

Janet Grant
Business Advisor at University of Sheffield

Janet works at The University of Sheffield in the Enterprise department, providing in-house support and business advice to student and graduate startups. She also manages the University's startup incubation space and co-runs the Pre-Start Programme that feeds into it.

Chrissie Elliott
Create Programme Lead / Researcher / Design Tutor

Chrissie has coached at Startup Weekend on a number of occasions, so she definitely knows the drill. Feel free to ask her for a problem solving chat.

Event Blog

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