Music and Literature Industries Ripe for Disruption?

Startup Weekend Sheffield
June 26th, 2015

Pause your playlist. Fold the corner. And other ‘hold the phone’ analogies as well. You heard us right. The next Startup Weekend Sheffield will be the first IN THE WORLD to attempt to launch startups who disrupt the music and literature industries with technology.

FIRST IN THE WORLD. That’s pretty cool.

And we’ll be bringing you a kick-ass set of coaches, mentors, speakers, and judges to help you take your startup from concept to launch… and beyond. This event will also welcome some amazing new sponsors for Startup Weekend Sheffield, and with them come great prizes to help you get a leg up post-event.

There are many reasons you should come to Startup Weekend Sheffield: Music & Literature. But here are some of the reasons our organisers are excited to be part of this event…

Kate Geller
Growing up in Sheffield surrounded by everything from folk to niche I have always been a huge music fan and working at The Innovation Centres I am passionate about the power of startups to drive diversity and innovation. At university I started to research the connection between music and social inequalities, I explored hip hop as a social movement questioning racism, then for my Masters curated a tour of women’s experiences in music for the Sheffield Music Map. For me disruptive technology in music helps to democratize it, for example accessible affordable production software like Fruity Loops and Reason and pirate radio stations run out of bedrooms and garages helped Grime and UK Hip Hop to flourish and created a public voice to a marginalised group. Even artists like Justin Beiber, who started as a Youtube star, are dependent on new technologies. Disruptions in music technology allow music to be made in new ways, allow us to access different types of music and allow musicians and producers to be in control of their own destiny. I’m really excited to see what comes out of Startup Weekend Sheffield: Music & Literature and what potential effect it could have on the music industry.

Elizabeth Shassere
It is a real privilege to be a part of Startup Weekend Sheffield: Music & Literature this June. I participated in my first Startup Weekend Sheffield last November and I got so much out of it, and the people I met as part of it have continued to be so supportive, I am keen to give something back. This unique focus on music and literature also brings together two of my favourite things with the technology I was introduced to and continue to learn since my first Startup Weekend experience, and I can’t think of a better way to widen both the artistic community and digital community’s thinking about the potential of both when we come together. We can truly be disruptive when we share our skills and perspectives, and a Startup Weekend is a fun way to do just that!

Samantha Deakin
I can’t profess to work in either the music or literature industries, but like most other people am a lifelong consumer in both. I have felt the changes the disruptions in these industries have had on the way we experience music and literature. I now carry all of my books with me wherever I go on my Kindle and research what I should be reading next through Goodreads. I listen to playlists on Spotify that I’ve not even had to create. I change my soundtrack every day depending on my mood rather than my music collection. A true Startup Weekend addict, I too am intrigued and excited to discover where new innovations – through tech and entrepreneurship – will take music and literature. It would be awesome if the next big thing were to start right here in Sheffield.

Tickets for Startup Weekend Sheffield: Music & Literature are officially on sale at the incredible early bird rate of £40. Students can get a great deal by entering the promotional code ‘STUDENT’ for a 20% discount (you’ll need to show us your student ID on the door). Prices will go up to the standard rate of £50 from the beginning of June.

Who will take the first gamble on their startup…

Register now:

Help make Startup Weekend Sheffield: Music & Literature AWESOME!

Buying books from Amazon and reading them on your Kindle… or listening to them on Audible. Cashing in CDs and subscribing to Spotify. Having your music discovered on Soundcloud.

Love it or hate it, technology and entrepreneurship are disrupting the music and literature industries. From the way we consume music and literature to the way it is created, produced and sold, they have all been affected by increasingly frequent new inventions.

But there is still room for innovation in this area. Still so many more possibilities, opportunities, improvements.

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.

But we need to find our dream team. Behind every Startup Weekend Sheffield, there’s a team of passionate organisers and volunteers who work hard to make these events happen. Could you be part of this team?

We’re looking for:

Passionate and committed organisers

Interested or have experience in how technology can be used to disrupt the music or literature industries? Have a background in music/literature/technology and feel like you have insight to bring to the table?

Being a Startup Weekend organiser requires commitment of time and effort and is completely voluntary. You must be available on every day of the weekend (26-28 June 2015) and for regular meetings and preparation work for three months prior to the event. If you would rather have less time commitment, but still be involved during the event, perhaps applying to be a volunteer would be a better option.

If you’d like to join the team, please send us the following:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Mobile phone number
  • Twitter handle
  • LinkedIn URL
  • Location

And answer the following questions:

  • Have you been to Startup Weekend before? If so, which city and when?
  • Why would you like to be involved in organising this event?
  • Tell us about your background in music/literature/technology
  • If you could book any speaker for this event, who would you book and why?
  • Do you run any meetups or events?
  • Do you have experience/expertise in (Please include all that apply and don’t worry if none apply):
    • Marketing
    • Sponsorship
    • Getting great speakers/coaches/judges
    • Creative design
    • Technology/website management/coding
    • Events management

Deadline for application for this event is Friday 27th February. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

Energetic and enthusiastic volunteers

Startup Weekend literally could not happen without the support of our amazing volunteers throughout the weekend. They’re the ones who keep the weekend running smoothly and make sure that all the attendees have everything they need to have the best time possible.

Being a Startup Weekend volunteer requires commitment of time and effort and is completely voluntary. You must be available on the weekend (26-28 June 2015).

We need volunteers to commit a minimum of 8 hours throughout the weekend. Duties may include:

  • manning the reception desk
  • directing attendees to amenities
  • directing attendees between buildings
  • contributing to social media
  • keeping the venue clean and tidy
  • moving furniture and equipment around
  • setting up food and drinks
  • distributing stationery

Although we can’t offer any financial reimbursement (hence ‘volunteer’), we will feed you at mealtimes, give you a Startup Weekend Tshirt and invite you to the after-party. And you get to soak up the creative atmosphere and spend your weekend doing something a little bit different.

If you’d like to join the team, please send us the following:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Mobile phone number
  • Twitter handle
  • LinkedIn URL
  • Location

And answer the following questions:

  • Have you been to Startup Weekend before? If so, which city and when?
  • Why would you like to be involved in volunteering at this event?
  • Tell us about your background in music/literature/technology
  • Do you have experience/expertise in (Please include all that apply and don’t worry if none apply):
    • Social media
    • Photography
    • Videography
    • Creative design

Deadline for application for this event is Friday 1st May. If you have any questions, please get in touch.


Your invitation to hear from 9 awesome new startups TONIGHT!

This has been a most excellent Startup Weekend indeed. I mean, all Startup Weekend are awesome… obviously. In fact, if you manage to get through a Startup Weekend without saying ‘awesome’ at least 15 times, you’re probably not doing it quite right.

Anyway, what I mean to say is Startup Weekend is always a hive of creativity, problem-solving, collaboration. But this Startup Weekend has seen a few added extra gems… for example, an impromptu but mandatory dance party…

And built amazing and totally viable Lego bridges…

Look how happy Organiser Chris is. Hurrah for Lego!
Look how happy Organiser Chris is. Hurrah for Lego!

There are many brilliant things about this Startup Weekend, but as always, one of the most brilliant things is the teams. The problems being solved this weekend are so wide and varied, no industry is safe from the entrepreneurial minds of our awesome attendees. We have politics, health, transport, education, and even gaming. Whatever your startup interests, there’s a smorgasbord of ideas here to tickle your tastebuds.

So, with that in mind, we would like to invite you to come and share in the excitements and achievements of our teams over this weekend at our free pitch session today. These teams have been working hard to launch their startup in just 54 hours and they want your support!

The event takes place in Mappin Hall, Mappin Street, Sheffield at 5pm. Amazing things happen at Startup Weekend. One of these startups could end up being the next big thing of 2015.

To register for this evening (and the after-party), visit:

See you tonight!


Venues and car parks

Here’s a handy map of venues and car parks for this weekend’s Startup Weekend Sheffield:

Startup Weekend venues

New tracks and prizes announced for Global Startup Battle

As you may be aware, the November Startup Weekend ties into Global Entrepreneurship Week and the Global Startup Battle, which is awesome news for those of you who have already bought your tickets for Startup Weekend as that’s how you get access to the bigger competition.

This year, as well as the champion’s track, there are other tracks to be entered, which means more chances to win on a truly global stage. These tracks are being updated all the time with new prizes and judges, but here’s what’s available right now:

Champions Track: The Champions Track will showcase the best of every city and Region. To compete in this Track your team must place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd at your local Startup Weekend. Learn more.

Startup Women Track: We’re honoured to support building diversity with a Track focused on women entrepreneurs and highlighting their work and talents. The Startup Women Track drives participation at all levels by accepting teams that have a female founder, led by a woman, or consisting of 50% or more women members. Learn more.

Education, Empowered Track: From improving the way we learn to increasing access to education, we’re looking at you to join us in creating a world where everyone is empowered to be a thinker and a maker. Education, Empowered Track is sponsored by General Assembly. Learn more.

Do the KIND Thing Track: Bring your socially impactful ideas to Do the KIND Thing Track. With commitment to social entrepreneurship with impact, this Track focus is to make the world a little kinder, one act or idea at a time. This Track is powered by KIND Healthy Snacks. Learn more.

The Innovator’s Track: The .CO Innovators Track is calling all Startup Weekend teams that are launching their brilliant ideas on a .CO domain. Prizes for this Track include a trip to Jason Calacanis’ LAUNCH Festival – the best place to launch your startup, raise money and learn about starting a company. This Track is powered by .CO. Learn more.

So if you want access to the Global Startup Battle, the competition, the glory and all those amazing prizes, make sure you’ve got your ticket to Startup Weekend Sheffield. It’s where it all begins.

Register now.

Our Startup Weekend Story…introducing planabee

Planabee founders: Celina Ploskonka (left) and Laura Thomas (right)
Planabee founders: Celina Ploskonka (left) and Laura Thomas (right)

This is a guest post by Celina Ploskonka, founder of Planabee and Startup Weekend Sheffield attendee. Celina attended Startup Weekend in March 2014 and her team came in third at final presentations.

Last year I was lucky enough to win a ticket to Startup Weekend Sheffield, a three day event during which you work as part of a group to turn a concept into a minimum viable product. I went along to the event with very few expectations, having never attended an event like this previously, and it ended up being the starting point for our new and exciting business idea, planabee – a mobile website providing  people who plan events with a supplier search and booking system, event planning tool and social hub all in one place.

During the weekend I met a whole host of interesting and extremely useful people from a range of backgrounds and industries. It was a new and exciting experience to work alongside my ‘dream team’ and it gave me a real insight into the stages involved when developing a new product. I met some great people who provided me with inspiration and support throughout the weekend, and thereafter, which really got planabee off to the best possible start. Prior to this event I had very little experience in pitching a business idea to an audience, and in all honesty I found the idea completely terrifying, but after going on to finish third at the event not only was I really proud I also gained a huge confidence boost and have since gone on to do countless other pitches and presentations.

Since the Startup Weekend my business partner and I have been on a whirlwind journey and planabee has developed and come a long way since the initial idea. We’ve spent the past few months fine-tuning our concept, conducting thorough market research, finalising our business plan and looking into several funding options. We’re hopeful to begin our software development within the next few weeks, with the aim of launching our finish product to the market at the beginning of next year. Overall this has been a fantastic journey, which wouldn’t have come about if it wasn’t for Startup Weekend Sheffield, so we’re extremely grateful and would encourage any other young entrepreneurs to go along because you never know what you might get out of it!

Global Startup Battle: Champion's Track Prizes


So, Startup Weekend is certainly not all about the prizes and the winning. BUT, what makes the November Startup Weekends even more awesome than at other times of the year is that it’s your way to get access to the world’s biggest entrepreneurship competition, the Global Startup Battle.

And we’re excited to say that the first lot of prizes for the Champion’s Track of this mega competition have now been announced. How do the following sound?

  1. Startup Oasis during SXSW
    Stay with the UP Global team in Austin, TX. We’ll support you the whole week with stage time, introductions, mentors, and sweet digs near all the action.
  2. Booth at CES Eureka Park
    CES is the Global Stage For Innovation, as a winner your team will be front and center in Eureka Park with all the best new startups from around the world.
  3. LAUNCH Conference
    We’ll set you up at of Silicon Valley’s premiere places to launch, last year’s speakers/attendees included Mark Cuban and Travis Kalanick.
  4. Ring the Bell: NASDAQ
    A trip to New York city for a media tour capped off with a ringing of the legendary closing bell.

That means as well as having an amazing experience at Startup Weekend, you could be riding the entrepreneurship wave for even longer by competing in this Global Startup Battle. To keep yourself up to the minute on all the prizes updates, keep an eye on the Global Startup Battle website.

Think you’ve got what it takes?

Well, you’ve got to be in it to win it…
Get your ticket.

Local startup Razorjam sponsors Startup Weekend Sheffield

We’re super pleased and excited to announce that Friday night pizza and beers is being sponsored by local startup, Razorjam. Startup Weekend couldn’t happen if it wasn’t for the support of the startup and tech communities in Sheffield. Hope you’ll be joining us for a beer! 

Now, here’s a message from our sponsor…


Razor Jam has been operating for just under a year, so we’re walking the start-up walk. We’re in the business of solving problems with ingenious technology. Our aim is to make the tech work so well that you’ll hardly notice it’s there.
We’re big supporters of Startup Weekend because:
  • We love working with startups, helping them use tech to bring their ideas to life
  • We want Sheffield to be the next hot spot for technology businesses – a strong start-up culture has a big role to play in making that happen
  • We’re always on the look-out for talented, ambitious people with serious skills and a go-for-it attitude
We hope you have a fantastic weekend and we can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

Introducing the LeanConf + Startup Weekend Sheffield ticket bundle

Come to Startup Weekend Sheffield with an unfair advantage.

That’s right, we’ve teamed up with LeanConf 2014 to bring you access to two amazing startup events in the very same week. Come to Startup Weekend just days after total immersion in Lean Startup mastery and put into practice all the amazing stuff you’ve learned.

So, what exactly do you get?

  • Two days of inspiration and learning from 19 (so far) amazing speakers at Europe’s premier Lean Startup conference
  • 54 hours of Startup Weekend excitement, energy, and atmosphere to implement everything you’ve learned, find co-founders and launch your startup to battle on a global arena
  • And food. Lots of food.

OK, how much is this ticket bundle gonna cost me?
Well, that’s the beautiful thing. You can get both tickets for less than the price of the standard LeanConf ticket. No, really. The total cost is just £150.

What’s the catch?
There are only 5 available. So GET. THEM. QUICK. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

£150 and this is what your Global Entrepreneurship Week calendar could look like…

calendarSo, now I know you’re convinced and you just want to know where to buy your ticket. You just sign up as normal on the Startup Weekend registration page and select the Startup Weekend + LeanConf ticket bundle. Once you’ve registered, we’ll forward your details onto the conference organisers and they’ll be in touch with your ticket!

Get me my bundle!