The 54-Hour Startup Event

After the roaring success of Sync the City 2014 2015 and 2016, SyncNorwich & UEA are again bringing it to you this autumn. Sync the City 2017 is a 54 Hour event that brings together budding entrepreneurs with experienced business mentors and technology expertise, during which groups of entrepreneurs, developers, business managers, marketing gurus, graphic artists pitch ideas for new startup companies. For a flavour of last year, please see the 2016 videos and photos.

You will form teams around those ideas and develop a working prototype and demo, and present to a panel of judges.
This is more than your average Hackathon. It’s a three day frenzy of start-up building that could win you and your team £4,000 in cash prizes (£3,000 judges’ winner and £1,000 people’s choice), as well as sales training from Sandler Training and one year associate membership of Norfolk Network.

Come and experience what it’s like to work in a tech startup for 3 days – for fun, or maybe even for profit! For some background details about what to expect at the event, see our blog post on Norfolk TechJournal.


We will appoint a panel of experienced judges with startup and investment experience.
Judges will be announced shortly, check back soon!

Ian Watson

CEO of James Southall Limited, the parent company of Start-rite Shoes Ltd

Ian came to Start-rite Shoes in February 2016 with a comprehensive knowledge of global markets and a passion to improve profit and grow the 225 year old company in today’s changing retail environment.

Previously, Ian held the position of European Managing Director at Britax Childcare, where he oversaw the full P&L responsibility for the market-leading European business.  Ian joined Britax in 2007 which was then owned by Carlyle private equity and devised and implemented new strategies for the European business improving profitability by over 80%.  This resulted in a successful sale of the business in January 2011 to Nordic capital.

Ian’s career started in 1989. The first 10 years of his career at Shipley Ronal – a speciality chemical supplier in a number of commercial roles, before moving to Irwin Industrial tools a division of Newell Rubbermaid a fortune 500 company consumer goods company.  He progressed to Vice President Europe / Asia Pacific during his eight years with the company, and worked and lived overseas throughout the world.

Kirsty Jarvis

Founder & CEO at Luminous PR 

With over ten years’ experience in public relations, Kirsty founded Luminous as a boutique solution to tech PR. Over the last five years, Luminous PR has provided marketing, PR, and social media for innovative tech startups, large corporates, and amazing non-profits. Kirsty is well-placed to judge this year’s Sync the City competition. She has worked on many strategic media campaigns to launch exciting tech startups, including the likes Transferwise, Azimo, and Flypay.

Chris Sargisson

CEO - Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

Chris is a disruptor with over 25 years’ experience within the digital start-ups and consulting. His organisations use tech to revolutionise and reengineer traditional business models to improve the customer experience. He grew a previous start up to achieve a multi-million pound turnover followed by a successful sale and exit.

As a local entrepreneur he recently took the CEO role for the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce and is busy building on the chambers 120 years of trading by lifting customer interaction and developing a digital platform allowing the organisation to transform into the most relevant business membership group of its kind.

Married, kids 2, dog 1, likes to run, REALY likes to ski and also fronts a ‘crazy’ steam-punk band called Time Machine !

Wayne Taylor

Chief Technology Officer - Thyngs

Wayne is the brains behind Thyngs technology: he keeps the team up to date with the latest tech and software developments. He also designs and builds the tech behind the Thyngs platform.

His first software gig was building simulations for the UK and Italian MOD, before moving on to consultancy and games development. More recently, he founded and built the software products and team at Epos Now, and won Queens Award for Enterprise Innovation.

Along side technology Wayne also runs a product development and manufacturing business (Rehook) which designs and produces cycling accessories.

Juliana Meyer

CEO & Founder - Supapass

Juliana Meyer is Founder and CEO of SupaPass, the fair-trade streaming app.  SupaPass, based in Norwich, is an award-winning B2B SaaS platform that gives any Content Owner their own “mini-Netflix” or “mini-Spotify” app for their audience.  For businesses across many verticals, including music, sports, TV, film, charities, membership organisations, e-learning, health & wellbeing, professional training, or celebrities, SupaPass provides a powerful subscription toolset to Content Owners, enabling them to market directly to their audience and monetise their content with their own paywalled subscription app.

Prior to founding SupaPass, Juliana Meyer ran her own label and was an award-winning singer-songwriter, including writing Norfolk’s Official Olympic Song for the 2012 Olympics.  She has a Masters Engineering Degree from Oxford University.  Juliana also co-founded SyncNorwich.


Tom Wood

Managing Partner - Foolproof

Tom Wood is one of the founders of Foolproof, a design agency with studios in Norwich, London and Singapore. He’s played a part in the previous Sync the city events, including being one of the judges in the inaugural year.

Hayley Johnson

COO - Epos Now

Hayley Johnson, winner of 2017’s First Women Award for Business Services is Epos Now’s COO. She manages the day-to-day business operations for both the UK and US offices. Calling upon her wealth of experience as a former senior manager at Aviva Plc, she ensures Epos Now are constantly improving their service and meeting commitments to their ever growing customer base.

Hayley drives excellence from her team by rewarding achievement and celebrating success, a tactic that has received royal recognition, with Epos Now announced winners of 2017’s Princess Royal Training Award.

Kathryn Wright

General Manager at VPS247

Following 9 years in a customer facing sales role, Kathryn started her digital career with a local Entrepreneur as business manager of Blurtit an online Q&A site. After a successful 4 years at Discountvouchers increasing revenue through personalised email marketing, Kathryn is working with the VPS Group working on building out their B2C operations and marketing strategy.

Brian Norman

CTO - earthware

Brian Norman is an innovative technologist with over 16 years’ experience as a web developer, UX designer and mapping geek. After many years of experience in the travel industry leading development teams, Brian co-founded in 2007 to focus on leading a team to deliver first class consumer web, mobile and mapping experiences for clients including Transport for London, London 2012 Olympic Games, Microsoft and Skype


Ermine Aimes

Business Development Coach

Ermine Amies is the woman to call when you want to sell more. Whether it’s sales skills, staff development & assessment, recruitment, structure or strategy, she provides serious sales support for serious tech companies. Technology sales is fast paced and presents some unique challenges. Sometimes the biggest competitor for the sale is the status quo. An award winning sales trainer and Master Coach, working with Ermine Amies isn’t for everyone. If we’re the right fit, you and your team will get clear on the roadblocks to success, get real accountability in place and get the behaviours, attitudes and techniques for SAAS and tech sales & business development success.


Tom Haczewski

Director -

Tom started his professional career at Virgin Money as an Ecommerce Marketing Analyst – basically, what we would call a UX designer about 12 years ago – and moved on to agency life about 7 years ago, running a digital team and working with ASDA, HMV, Arco and many more. He now runs The User Story, a UX and usability consultancy in Norwich, helping a range of clients from big multinational ecommerce sites to fledgling startups. His team is also working on a suite of next-generation tools for UX practitioners including a research manager tool, and a revolutionary usability research recorder.

Dom Davis

CTO and Co-Founder - Tech Marionette

Dom Davis is a veteran of The City and a casualty of The Financial Crisis. Not content with bringing the world to its knees he then went off to help break the internet before winding up in Norfolk where he messes about doing development and devops. Dom has been writing code since his childhood sometime in the last millennium – he hopes some day to become good at it.

John Harrison

Founder of Coaching 4 Success and Co-founder of Bite the Cherry

Following 30+ years in manufacturing, managing and developing multi-discipline teams, John founded Coaching 4 Success Ltd in 2003 an organisation dedicated to helping both businesses and their leaders grow. John has worked with hundreds of SME’s and Corporates in over 45 business sectors

John is an individual with strong inter personal skills and a wealth of experience in coaching and developing teams and executives from all disciplines. It is said that his coaching style is no soft touch just added value

He is also Co-founder of Bite the Cherry Ltd, disruptive venture coaching organisation that works with entrepreneurs and their businesses to make a lasting difference not just a profit and also a non – executive director of Senlab Ltd . Senlab Ltd started its roots at Sync the City!

Neil Osmond

Founder - earthware

Neil Osmond is a technologist with 20 years’ experience in the healthcare industry. 10 years ago he co-founded digital solutions company earthware. At earthware Neil is passionate about solving real world problems with technology and drives to the heart of every project challenge by asking the all-important question- ‘Why?’. Neil loves helping clients dream about what could be possible with technology whilst balancing that any solution has to be affordable, practical and desirable to users.

Stephen Keable

Marketing and CX Lead at Allies

Building and marketing user centred websites since 1999. For magazines, shops, newspapers, businesses, charities and just for fun.

Sam Notley

Head of Projects & Strategic Change - Epos Now

Sam has over 7 years experience of managing teams to deliver client projects seamlessly. Sam is now Head of Projects & Strategic Change at Epos Now where she ensures business processes are constantly aligned to the evolution of the market as new technology can be leveraged. Sam has successfully delivered Multi-million pound projects on an international scale, specifically focused on eCommerce for global businesses such as Tesco, Walmart, and Coca-Cola as well as launching franchise business models overseas in Canada, the US and Europe.

Paul Russell

Global Digital Architecture Lead - Aviva

Paul spent much of his childhood trying in vain to make computers do his bidding, and eventually realised that someone might actually pay him to do it for a living. Having spent around 10 years writing code (some of which even actually worked), Paul started to focus more on how systems work at scale: How do we connect systems together? How do we allow large numbers of developers to work at the same time without tripping over one another? How do we get code live without breaking things? These days, Paul looks after the systems that underpin Aviva’s web, mobile, Alexa and call centre platforms, making sure we’ve got the technology to build exciting new features for our customers.

Ben Taylor

CEO - Rainbird Technologies

Ben Taylor is CEO and co-founder of Rainbird Technologies, with a vision to make cognitive reasoning technology and transparent automated decision making more accessible to subject matter experts within business.

Ben first studied Artificial Intelligence in the late 90’s. After completing his degree he went on to specialise in expert system technology in the digital publishing market. He created algorithms for digital layout and innovated new ways of optimising printing workflow. He joined Adobe as a Computer Scientist in 2004 where he worked on Adobe Acrobat and the PDF format, focusing specifically on developing high-speed Raster Image-Processing.

He then joined a start up transforming the motor insurance industry using AI.  As Director of Technology Ben led the technical development of an award-winning AI system which became a market leader in the motor claims arena.

His experience of the complexities involved in capturing human expertise in software lead him to prototype Rainbird. Rainbird was accepted by the prestigious Techstars business accelerator in 2014 and is now working with the worlds largest enterprises tackling some of their biggest problems.


Gerard Grech

CEO, Tech City UK

Keynote Thursday

George Davis

CEO, The SenLab Group


Hayley Johnson

COO, Epos Now

Endnote Saturday