Techstars: Day 14 (N’arch – A city in sync)

I’m pretty sure Jon Bradford never thought he’d find himself in Norwich talking to a potential Techstars company. After all, it’s Norwich. We do mustard, turkeys and insurance and that’s it.


Norwich is home to a burgeoning tech scene which surprises many people. A bunch of us have been making a load of noise about this for a while – hell, we even have an annual tech conference1 – so it was little surprise to me when SyncNorwich said there were putting on a 54 hour hackathon called SyncTheCity.

Rainbird were, of course, all over this and we had hoped to send the entire company for the entire event. Techstars rather threw a spanner in the works there, especially since Ben and I were mentors and James was judging (along with Jon Bradford, who was going to find himself in Norwich for a second time this year2). We settled for sponsoring the event and providing the coffee. Rainbird is all about the coffee.

As it was I was only able to make the Saturday. I wasn’t actually sure how much help I’d be given I’d not been involved with the teams from hour 1, but it turns out I needn’t have been worried. By Saturday the teams had a good idea of what it was they were pitching, and what their product/company was doing so the mentors helped with pitch practice. After a week of mentor madness the ability to sit on the other side of the fence and give advice as other people pitched was a breath of fresh air. I may have looked unimpressed, but that’s just severe tiredness; I was in fact seriously impressed with the quality of what the 11 teams had produced.

Me watching the teams pitch at Sync The City

So let me tell you where I’m at… I’m sorry, I’m out (Photo courtesy of Tim Stephenson, along with loads of others of the event)

There are plenty of other sources covering the event (including the opening, day2, judging and winners coverage) which do it much more justice than I could so I encourage you to go read those if you want a more in depth review. Suffice to day that I’m looking forward to the 2015 event and hope to make all 3 days for that one.

With SyncTheCity done it’s now back to London for a 3 week stint3 where I can hopefully get stuck into some of the development that needs doing on Rainbird and start pushing out some funky new features.

1 Which I’ll be speaking at, so get your tickets soon 😉

2 Although Jon did ask if there was anything we wanted him to say about Rainbird while he was there as he wasn’t going to go to Norwich three times in a year…

3 I’m staying in London for the next 2 weekends