Dragon's Lair II - Manchester

2009-03-26 18:00
2009-03-26 21:00

The Dragon's Lair format was first introduced in Dec 08. Due to its success, we have decided to add the format to our premier event series, and in March, we will hold the Dragon's Lair II at our new venue at UMIC. Dragon's Lair provides a compelling environment for early stage technology companies to pitch to a panel of investors and the audience. If you wish to grab one of the 8 slots available, now is the time to get in touch. Please note that only 4 slots are now available.


17:30 to 18:30 Registration + Networking + Demos by Presenting Companies
18:30 to 18:45 NS20 update
18:45 to 19:45 Session 1: 4 Pitches and discussions
19:45 to 20:00 Break
20:00 to 21:00 Session 2: 4 Pitches and discussions
xxx bar for networking till early hours


Pay by Paypal before the event:

1. Student £10.00 - must show valid Student Union Card and must not be employed
2. Tech StartUp £25.00 - must be listed as a startup. If not contact Manoj today to have your company listed
3. All Others £30.00

VAT will be applied on top of above prices at prevailing rate.

Payment at door for all - £40.00 - buy now to avoid paying more at door

Attendee Type


NicBrisbourne's picture

Nic Brisbourne - DFJ Esprit - Venture Capitalist - $6bn capital under management

Nic has been in venture capital since 2000. In that time he has worked in London, Europe and Silicon Valley. His main areas of focus have been software and media. Prior to DFJ Esprit he was with Reuters Venture Capital. Nic's investment experience includes buy.at (sold to AOL for $125m) and UltraDNS (acquired by Neustar - NYSE NSR). He currently manages DFJ Esprit's investments in Zeus, WAYN and Tribold. Prior to joining Reuters Nic worked for Operis, a software and services start-up, and Cap Gemini. Nic also authors a blog commenting on the European technology and venture capital markets.

Simon Howship's picture

Simon Howship - ex-CallServe Communications

An experienced MD, CEO and COO, Simon has real hands on experience running a range of businesses from small start up through to plc. He has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, as demonstrated when just fourteen years old, borrowing a tie from his father, he went out after school cold calling the local retailers to find himself his first paid job, to fund the purchase of a new computer for himself. After his education, Simon went on to have an impressive career in retail where his strengths were utilised in “trouble shooting” and “turn around” management for several blue chip retailers. In 1995 Simon joined PC World, part of the Dixons Stores Group, where he fast tracked through the organisation and set many prestigious records of achievement en route. Simon is proud of his formative career in retail and he strongly believes that it created the foundation for the rounded business professional that he is today.

In 1999 Simon was had picked to join the Freeserve project, the Internet Service Provider created by Dixons Stores Group, and he was responsible for establishing key commercial relationships and ground breaking revenue generation through the Freeserve portal. Simon went on to define a successful ecommerce strategy drawing on his early career.

In recent years Simon has worked within the Mobile and Internet telephony space both in London and the North. In 2005 he was appointed as CEO of Callserve Communications by the Private Equity investors and tasked with saving the failing business. With decisive leadership and sensible business practice, Simon turned the business around, moving it into operational profitability and then negotiating an exit through a trade sale in January 2008, to AIM listed Vyke Communications plc. Simon was retained by Vyke Communications plc as COO, to ensure a smooth integration of the two businesses and oversaw the migration of the entire Vyke infrastructure to the UK.

Simon is currently working on several internet and telephony projects and is looking for new and exciting opportunities to get involved in.

CarlAllen's picture

Carl Allen, First Flight Placements - £200m through over 3000 Investing Non Executive Directors

Carl has more than 15 year's experience as an investor and management consultant in growing both enterprise and small to medium businesses. At Hewlett Packard, Carl managed major investment and business development projects in both mature and emerging markets, realising hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental sales and profits, in addition to driving several acquisition projects in the software sector. At Gartner Inc. and Forrester Research, Carl lead the European Investment businesses of both advisory firms, delivering investment and substantial growth to small and medium businesses by driving high-value joint ventures, innovative go-to-market strategies and transforming clients' marketing and business development processes. Carl has a very strong network in the VC, technology and North West SME marketplace and also serves as a regional chairman of business relations for the Conservative Party. Carl has a first class honours degree in engineering from the University of Leeds and an executive MBA, with distinction from both The University of Manchester Business School and University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

ScottFletcher's picture

Scott Fletcher, CEO - ANS Group

Scott Fletcher, one of the country's leading entrepreneurs, has over 18 years experience in the IT industry. Starting in business at the young age of 17 he ran various small businesses alongside his main career in IT. In 1996 Scott founded ANS Group plc and has been responsible for its steady growth over the last 12 years. With Scott's business acumen, ANS Group has grown into a profitable IT solutions, design and support company with an annual turnover of £10m with £1.4m net profit. ANS is listed on PLUS markets, a process that was used by Scott to raise £1.5m of capital to assist the company in its growth. Turnover is predicted to grow to £15m next year.

Further to this, under Scott’s guidance ANS Group has made several successful acquisitions, most recently completing two acquisitions in one year. Software development company Rivington Street Software were added to the group, followed by Cisco Specialist BIOS Ltd. He has since founded sister-company, Smart Identity Plc, an identity management software development specialist that raised £750,000 on its floatation on PLUS Markets in September 2007. Demonstrating his passion for business, Scott holds various non-executive and angel investment positions with Mighty Me Investments Limited, Lowry Investments Capital Limited, Manchester Financial Solutions Limited, JLI Europe Limited and Primoris.

In July 2008 Scott was named Entrepreneur of the Year for the North West at the National Business Awards, and will compete in the National Awards in November 2008 in London. Scott personally donated £10,000 in ANS’ name to fund the first prize in the ‘New East Manchester Enterprize Competition.’ Their business advice service, a cause close to Scott’s heart as he was born and brought up in East Manchester, helped to set up 42 new companies in 2007. He is also active within the local community, sitting on the Board of FC United of Manchester and as a Governor of a local school, Manchester Academy.

Amin Amiri's picture

Amin Amiri, Principal - a2e Venture Catalysts

Amin Amiri is regarded as an innovative and entrepreneurial corporate financier with an impressive track record of successful investing in and advising private companies and other accomplishments. He specialises in strategic development of businesses, revitalising corporates and enhancing shareholders value for clients and investee companies, hence his reputation in MBO/MBI's and private equity deals. His views are often sought by organisations and journalists due to his unique expertise. He is probably the only corporate financier in the North of England who completed his post graduate studies at Harvard Business School.

Gained firsthand experience of New York corporate finance scene for two years and developed a successful corporate finance advisory team. His assignments took him to Moscow, Belgrade, South America and Europe. As head of Grant Thornton Corporate Finance until Sept 2000, he developed from small beginnings an impressive and highly regarded team, across the North of England, achieving no. 1 spot in MBO/MBI's in the 1990s and gaining national recognition and coverage. During this period he completed transactions (MBO/MBIl's, and fundraising) with values in excess of £1 Billion. Many were considered as innovative and pioneering for the industry and V.C.s.

Since founding a2e in January 2001, he has acquired controlling stakes in 13 EMBs, achieved turnaround in 4 cases, and created spectacular results for investee companies and clients. This conglomerate of controlled companies now has an aggregate annual turnover and EBIT exceeding £100m and £9m respectively. He is also a director and shareholder of 3 other companies with aggregate sales exceeding £350m. Amin serves on the court of Liverpool University, the CBI Panel of Judges for NW and is patron of Raleigh International in Merseyside, and a fellow of RSA.

Alex Stevenson's picture

Alex Stevenson - Aquarius Venture Partners - Venture Capitalist

Alex started his career as a scientist, before focusing on the identification, establishment and growth of high value technology businesses. Alex worked for Techtran from formation through to its sale to main market listed IP Group in 2005. Following the acquisition, Alex worked in a variety of roles within the Group and managed investments in portfolio companies including Avacta and Syntopix (where he was also CEO), both of which listed on AIM in 2006. Most recently, Alex was a founder and Chief Operating Officer of Modern Biosciences plc, the drug development subsidiary of IP Group. Alex holds a PhD and was awarded an MBA with distinction from the University of Leeds. Alex's focus is on investment and portfolio management.



PostDox - e-invoicing platform - Matthew St. John

PostDox is a completely new way of managing the transfer of sales invoices from suppliers to their customers. Currently, most invoices are processed in an accounting system (e.g. Sage Line 50) and then printed before being put into an envelope and sent via the post. These invoices then arrive at the customer who has to manually input them into their accounting system (e.g. Sage Line 500, 1000, etc.). PostDox allows your suppliers to send you their invoices electronically without your staff having to re-key the data. This is far simpler to manage, is less prone to errors, is cheaper and also gives the supplier full visibility of the status of the invoice (e.g. sent to hub, received by customer, approved from processing, rejected, etc.). Not only does the invoice arrive electronically, but you can also workflow this invoice around your organisation electronically. Approval of invoices can then be managed without passing paper documents from one department to another. There are fewer delays in dealing with supplier queries as the information required is instantly available. Our national network of partners will assist your supply chain to join the network so that your company can benefit from reduced invoice processing overheads.


RecycleLocal - Recycling - David Hawdale

As money gets tight, and concerns about climate change grow, more and more people are starting to act to make changes in how they live. RecycleLocal is a start up business to help people in Manchester give away and recycle things that they don’t want anymore, to save money and to save carbon. A little bit like eBay in reverse.

RecycleLocal will operate using a Google-like ‘freemium’ model, where the basic service is free and premium services like delivery, SMS alerts, wanted ad placement and eco-removals will incur a cost. There is no cutting-edge technology magic required to make this work, but many recent and existing communications technologies - iPhone and Facebook applications, Twitter, SMS, will be employed to make the service as easy to use as possible and easily accessible. RecycleLocal will start small - South Manchester only - and be co-developed and marketed to and by influencers and advocates at a local level. There is no real local or national competition of this sophistication, although an email-based service called Freecycle operates nationally and with nearly 30,000 members in the Manchester area proves the market need.

RecycleLocal is in an early startup phase and is being championed by David Hawdale, a User Experience Consultant with many years experience in making websites easy to use for ordinary people. Business and technical roles within the team are being actively sought, as well as seed funding for a projected Beta launch late 2009.


Tourdust - Travel - Ben Colclough

As independent travel grows ever more popular, travellers are looking for more from their holiday than just the usual tourist hotspots. Tourdust.com is a new website designed to help independent travellers find locally-sourced ‘off the beaten track’ experiences. Tourdust is an affordable marketplace where local grass roots travel providers can create stunning listings to really inspire travellers. It aims to become the leading global community site for authentic travel experiences.


DataNovata - Legacy Software Upgrade - Howard Sherrington

DataNovata is a revolutionary new tool from NSC Programming Ltd that gives your end-users immediate access to the data they need. Within minutes DataNovata will generate a feature-rich, web-enabled application for any relational database, providing powerful, secure data retrieval. DataNovata provides a host of simple and advanced facilities to tailor and control your user's access to that data.

An 'out-of-the-box' DataNovata application can be tailored to suit your precise requirements using a variety of techniques. From on-line design, through configuration parameters and simple DataNovata Scripts all the way to Java coding, the ideal application can easily be created. A fully tailored system can be ready within hours, days or weeks at most, depending on complexity. For unstructured databases (i.e. relational databases without unique and foreign keys) DataNovata includes a Data Structure Tool that can help analyse your data and build these structures, enabling DataNovata to build the application. The tool can also be used to quickly create an application for analytical databases where defining keys within the relational database itself is unnecessary and undesirable.


Image Alchemy - Printing Solutions - Paul Banks

Image Alchemy, is a Manchester based start-up company, that has developed a revolutionary bulk-ink supply system for desktop printers; marketed under the description Digital Image Print System (DIPS). After stringent tests and prototype marketing, they have received committed interest from the photographic/fine-art industry. Image Alchemy’s, Digital Image Print System (IA’s DIPS) is up to eight times cheaper, and comes with at least ten times the amount of ink as a OEM desktop printer cartridge and is infinitely refillable. Image Alchemy’s DIPS offers a choice of four “creative” types of ink for the inkjet printer (the OEM, only one). All of the special inks have a performance advantage compared to competitor’s systems. Competitor companies have made requests to purchase Image Alchemy’s hardware. Additionally, the Company has developed a new iconic electronic ink system, that will have patent protection; this should be ready to market in the summer of 2009.
There are other profitable activities relevant to the Company’s core product, which will also yield significant profits with minimal effort.

DCS Logo.jpg


DCS is a start-up that will use advanced mobile capabilities to exploit the market for Proximity Based Marketing. We will drive “footfall” (consumers) to visit shopping malls, and when they are at the shopping mall, to participating retailers.

The USP is that it allows retailers and brand owners to send marketing messages to consumers when and only when, they are in shopping mode and in the proximity of outlets. This very tight targeting of marketing spend should command a premium rate from brands and retailers. Mobile marketing is a nascent market expected to grow to over £4bn in the UK by 2014.DCS is working closely with a leading mobile operator; part of the technology has been trialed in Scandinavia, part is under development and is DCS IPR.We have a very experienced team with over 100 years of retail, advertising and technical expertise


Captive Portals - David Stead

CaptivePortals.com is extending the traditional WiFi hotspot to offer location based social networking, marketing and entertainment services. Our focus is on creating an experience where the digital environment interacts with the physical environment to bring together the best of both worlds.

What’s more, CaptivePortals remove what has been the biggest barrier to mobile services, there are no mobile data charges - all services are free to receive.

The majority of organizations are yet to appreciate the value of their airspace and rarely think of this as an asset and source of new revenue.

Mapme - Maps - John McKerrell

mapme.at aims to be a central hub for your location history online. You can easily store your current location and your location history using one of the many different methods including Twitter, FireEagle from Yahoo!, and mobile applications. You are able to share your location history with friends and family and can vary the level of accuracy that is shown to each group. You can also share your location with members of the public to whatever accuracy you prefer, including not at all.

There are lots of reasons why people want to share their location online with friends and family. Holidaymakers are using the site to keep family and friends at home updated on their travels. People who enjoy running, cycling and walking are using mapme.at to track the routes they take and plan future adventures. Avid photographers use the site to document where and when their photos were taken.

The site is built on a strong technological foundation that provides the consumer with many options. mapme.at hopes to leverage this foundation to allow large numbers of third party services to use the site via the API with the ultimate aim of being the best and biggest repository of location history online. The site was built by John McKerrell who brings four years of experience in Geographic Information Services from his time working for multimap.com and over ten years experience building applications and websites on the internet.

Each of the companies get 5 mins presentation time and 10 mins Q&A by Dragons with optional Q&A by the audience. Cost £60+VAT for presenter and colleague. Contact now to secure your slot


Pay by Paypal before the event:

1. Student £10.00 - must show valid Student Union Card and must not be employed
2. Tech StartUp £25.00 - must be listed as a startup. If not contact Manoj today to have your company listed
3. All Others £30.00

VAT will be applied on top of above prices at prevailing rate.

Payment at door for all - £40.00 - buy now to avoid paying more at door

Attendee Type

Click on thumbnail to download the relevant invoice (L to R: Student, Tech StartUp, Others and At Door)

Invoice: Northern StartUp 2.0 - Event Attendance - £10.00 - Students Only Invoice: Northern StartUp 2.0 - Event Attendance - £25.00 Tech StartUps Only Invoice: Northern StartUp 2.0 - Event Attendance - £30.00 - Others Invoice: Northern StartUp 2.0 - Event Attendance - £40.00 - Payment at Door

Notice: By attending this event, you grant permission for publishing photographs and videos taken at the event on public websites. Do contact us if you have any specific issues regarding this statement


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