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CMP students win big at Sync the City 2015

Luis Martinez Davila, third year undergraduate student in Business Information Systems at the School of Computing Science, has won Sync the City 2015 last Saturday together with his team Everyday Spaces. Their business startup was selected by a jury of industry experts and entrepreneurs from 14 teams that had created companies in only 54 hours as part of the startup competition.

Sync the City was organised by SyncNorwich this year for the second time and challenged the Norwich Technology Community to build an IT business from scratch in just 54 hours. The event brought together entrepreneurs, business experts, developers and designers who in teams turned an idea into a viable business by writing a business plan, performing market analysis, creating technology prototypes and pitching to potential investors.M

Sync the city 2015 winnersThe businesses proposed ranged from smart recipe aggregators for foodies to crowd driven coverage of news events and beyond, and students and alumni from the School of Computing Science were in the middle of the action during the entire event. Ian Weeks, currently working on completing his MComp in Computing Science, was part of the TeePee team where he helped create an easier way for people to do viewings of rental houses by means of interactives tours. Their presentation and prototype was arguably one of the most polished of the event. Aaron Bostrom, PhD student within our School, was part of the Unfold team that aimed to leverage social media and interaction to create more engaging stories of live events. A very ambitious project that produced multiple apps and a great startup.

Sally Collyer, third year undergraduate in Computing for Busienss, was team manager for the SoxSuck team which focussed on creating online wish lists for children so they would get the computer games they want rather than a pair of socks. A very popular startup that featured the youngest participants at 11 and 12 years old, and in the end managed to secure the second prize in the competition as well as a special prize for the youngest entrepreneurs in the event.

In addition to current students the event featured many alumni from the School of Computing Science who either participated or attended the final pitches on Saturday evening. A special mention goes to George Deeks, who completed his MSc in the School of Computing Science last year, for winning the people’s award with his team DocDirect which aimed to save the NHS by cutting out the middle man and thereby reducing costs.

The story of the night however was the journey of the Everyday Spaces team. With a very solid plan of unlocking churches as public spaces when they are not in use, their business plan required a fair few iterations before they settled on the final details. During their final pitch disaster struck when the wrong slides showed up on the projector, which the team managed to sort out in record time. Luis himself had almost missed out on the event completely as he managed to secure a ticket only at the very last minute. But in the end the Everyday Spaces team pulled it out of the bag and secured the first spot which earned them a £3000 cash prize. After winning the event and having a been offered a job in the startup Luis commented:

"I had the amazing opportunity of participating and winning Sync the City 2015. Our team, Everyday Spaces, created a tech startup in less than 54 hours that makes churches everyday places. Our mission is connecting churches with their community and increase their profits to maintain their facilities. We received help from many people, including the mentors of the event. Overall, it was an amazing experience and can't wait for Sync the City 2016.”

The School of Computing Science congratulates all UEA students and alumni with their success in the event. It was great to see so many familiar faces at Sync the City, we hope to meet you all again next year!