Business Monthly: ‘Pitch battle’ at Sheffield Tech North event

Dave Cates, left, and Matt Jeffs-Watts
Dave Cates, left, and Matt Jeffs-Watts
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Sheffield’s digital community witnessed a ‘pitch battle’ as 10 tech start-ups vied for the audience vote at the city’s first Tech North event.

Ten ambitious bosses gave it their best shot on stage in a bid to win through to the chance to pitch to investors in London.

The audience at Tech North

The audience at Tech North

The Northern Stars night – held at the Union Street co-working offices Sheffield city centre – was the fifth stop on a tour of seven Northern cities.

Tech North is a Government-backed organisation which aims to support businesses in the North.

Dave Cates, managing director of Redemption Media, won for his Foodbank app ( which allows foodbanks to message supporters with urgent requests for food, volunteers or to share news.

Dave said: “We need Tech North to help champion the great technology, businesses and people of Northern England to replicate the great success Tech City has already seen in London. I’m so excited on nights like tonight. At Northern Stars, we see the start of the story that we have the people, talent, skills and businesses to attract the investors we need to make this one of the best tech zones on the global stage.”

A panel of independent judges will shortlist 20 companies from all the winners, and those who have taken part, and they will pitch again at a grand final on November 24 in Manchester.

Ten winning Northern Stars will be chosen to pitch to investors at the Bloomberg headquarters in London.

Matt Jeffs-Watts, programme manager, Tech North, said: “It was great to see another packed venue.

“It was a diverse group, but many had a strong social element to their business and this seems to be reflected in the supportive tech community that exists here.”

Sheffield-based Laura Bennett, community engagement manager, Tech North, added: “Sheffield has a strong tech ecosystem that brings together start-ups and scale-ups, established businesses, the two universities, co-working spaces, accelerators, the local council and LEP, and business support and growth services.

“Because much of the infrastructure is in its infancy, start-up founders in Sheffield turn to each other for support and advice, which in itself creates a united and supportive community.

“There is a lot of exciting activity happening at a grassroots level, but it is often very much under the radar, so Northern Stars gives us an opportunity to bring it to the fore.”

All companies applying to Northern Stars will be entered into the Northern Stars network and kept informed of events, missions and networking opportunities.

The ten tech start-ups pitching at the Northern Stars event in Sheffield:



A Sheffield-based agency for drone operators in more than 80 countries. It has created a platform to enable people to hire operators for any job and in any location around the world.



‘Uber for breakdowns’. This app contacts the nearest independent breakdown company for fast and cheap roadside assistance, with no annual subscription. The recovery vehicle can be tracked onscreen in real time, like a taxi on Uber.



Chummunity is an online marketplace that connects freelance writers and people who don’t know how to write, but have a story to tell. The final product is a book. Chummunity is a place where you can order a life story for you and your loved ones.



An online platform that helps fundraisers and grassroots arts organisations develop projects that deliver better social outcomes.



A web and mobile platform that allows customers to buy a meal and have it delivered to their office. Deliverd outsources production to local businesses so owns no infrastructure.



A bladder infection diary app, which is analysed remotely by a medical professional.



Matches university ideas with funders from more than 400 companies via a website and app.



Instant photo printing of pictures posted to Instagram or Twitter with a specific hashtag. Printers can be hired for parties, weddings, conferences and festivals.



A service connecting vetted private tutors with students.

Northern Stars:

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