A former contestant of Dragons’ Den, an investment expert who has helped raise £1.5bn for North West firms and an entrepreneur whose retirement lasted just four hours were among the speakers at a unique tech business event in Warrington.
The event called ‘On a Stick…’ – took place in the town’s Parr Hall under the stunning backdrop of artist Luke Jerram’s ‘Museum of the Moon’ installation.
A 100 plus audience made up of high growth companies, entrepreneurs, marketing directors, investors and technologists were gripped by real-life stories from seven panellists who shared how and when they’d been promised the moon on a stick.
Organised by Carpe Diem the Opus Open House event was part of their Look Up Warrington campaign, the event made the most of the perfect scale model of the moon, part of Warrington’s Contemporary Arts Festival, introducing AR/VR experiences of Life on Mars with demos from 4WardFutures.
But in its journeys from Beijing to Glastonbury Festival, the Museum of the Moon is unlikely to have witnessed anything quite like ‘On a Stick…’.
The speakers, ranging from start-ups to investment experts and experienced entrepreneurs, were split into three panels and shared their tales of aiming for the stars and the mishaps they’ve encountered along the way.
Organiser Saul Peake, managing creative director at Carpe Diem, said ‘On a Stick…’ was one of the most ambitious business events they’ve ever put on.
“When we were told that Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon was coming to Warrington we wanted to organise something for the digital and tech sector that was different, insightful and fun. And
‘On a Stick…’ certainly delivered – and not just pizzas,” he said.
“The speakers opened up about everything from how to raise investment to rocket fuelling their businesses and even what it was like to get offers from all five Dragons on Dragons’ Den.
“At the end the audience took the opportunity to grab advice on surviving as a start-up, the right time to recruit and how to scale their business.
“The feedback we had was amazing and hopefully the businesses in the room will be inspired for their own journeys to the moon.”
The speakers were (left to right in the photo above):
•John Kershaw, founder of M14 Industries, who pitched their dating site Bristlr into the Dragons’ Den;
•Serial entrepreneur Lorna Davidson, who sold her first business for several million and is doing it all over again with the launch of The Mothership Group and RedWigWam;
•Atif Mahmood, founder and CEO of Teacherly, which has raised £1.5m and is breaking into the Middle East market;
•Former barrister Sue Wright, who is now the managing director of Signature Living overseeing 900 staff;
•Guy Weaver, director of Praetura Ventures, who has raised £1.5bn for North West companies during his career;
•James Bedford, former head of Investment Partnerships at Tech Nation, who has been involved in around 150 different investments and fundraises; and
•Award-winning Anna Heyes, who was 21 when she launched her business Active Profile and now has a presence in Liverpool, Manchester and London and has grown her turnover to nearly £1m.
‘On a Stick…’ was sponsored by MAP and Yellowbus Solutions who both support Opus, the co-working collaboration space for digital creatives and technologists in Warrington’s Pyramid run by Carpe Diem.
MC’ed by award-winning journalist Chris Maguire, he said it was one the most more memorable events he’d ever been involved in; “I’ve hosted between 400 and 500 events but having the seven-metre wide ‘Museum of the Moon’ as a backdrop was the most memorable setting I’ve ever seen.”