Sheffield - 2 March 2017

Founders’ Network: The Summit is a day centred around you, as a startup founder. The Summit will take all the things you love about Founders’ Network – the connections, the peer-to-peer learning, the insights from seasoned entrepreneurs – and throw it all together for a ‘pick-and-mix’ conference so that you can build the perfect day for you, regardless of the stage of your business.

The overarching theme of the Founders’ Network Summit will be “building the right business for you”: whether you should bootstrap or raise funding; how to cultivate the right company culture; what sort of leader you want to be. The Founders’ Network Summit is for ambitious founders creating awesome products and building fantastic companies in the North.

The Founders’ Network Summit will feature practical workshops, one-to-one mentoring sessions with experienced entrepreneurs, and a peer-to-peer unconference.

  • You’ll hear the warts and all stories of successful entrepreneurs – the uncut version that they don’t usually tell.
  • You’ll have the chance to take part in expert-led masterclasses that will give you instantly actionable insight.
  • You will be able to meet with seasoned entrepreneurs in one-to-one mentoring slots.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to share the nuggets of wisdom that you have picked up on your entrepreneurial journey to date, or tackle that problem you’ve been putting off, in our afternoon Unconference.

This truly is a pick-and-mix forum. Not as rigid as a conference, and more informative than a meetup, this is the event for tech startup founders in the North.

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Nailing that crucial deal: preparation, sales & negotiation

Even if a startup isn’t sales driven, every company eventually finds itself preparing for an unusually crucial meeting, be it with a customer, partner, or investor. In this session, we’ll look at preparations for major sales and partnerships, as well as how to present yourself during and after the meeting.

We’ll show you how to use proposals to de-escalate tense negotiations, navigate complex purchasing processes, and deal with procurement teams. We’ll also touch on tough situations like what to do when a hot lead goes cold.

You’ll leave with a concrete set of tools and steps to ensure you avoid the obvious mistakes and get the most out of their most important meetings.

Building a mature organisation: sourcing, hiring, and leadership

This session will help you feel comfortable scaling your team and organisation, and have a roadmap for shifting from the role of founder who does everything to CEO who leads a team.

We’ll introduce tools and ideas to help you prioritise work and identify where the true value happens, as well as how to begin offloading it onto a team and processes. We’ll cover when and how to hire administrative and professional help, from personal assistants to lawyers. We’ll help you manage a healthy team as well as to build the structure (seniority, incentives, etc) and find the candidates for your next 10 hires.



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Planning the financial future of your business: cap tables and investment

This session will give you full visibility over who owns what percentage of your business, as well as help you get ready for your next raise.

Having an up-to-date cap table that’s easy to understand at a glance and simple to manipulate is essential for any startup founder. With a cap table in place, you will be able to plan ahead, run different equity and investment scenarios, and ultimately grow your business in a sustainable and strategic way. This workshop will teach how to build a cap table, own it and use it, and ultimately grow to love it.

What it’s all about

This whole summit is about making connections you’ll follow up with and taking away insights you’ll action. The afternoon unconference is the embodiment of these two things. With an agenda shaped by you on the day, pick and mix your way through a smorgasbord of short sessions hosted by fellow attendees, workshop facilitators and keynote speakers.

Got something to share?

Pitch a session yourself and give back to the network. The first rule of Unconference is there are no rules. Anything goes. From micro-workshops, to informal discussions and debates, mini thinktanks, or whatever it is you want to do. Think you’d like to pitch a session but unsure of what to expect? Reach out and we’ll give you the full low-down.

Alex Depledge


Alex Depledge

Founded, built and sold UK based domestic cleaning marketplace start-up,

As CEO of, Alex took the firm to a Series A funding round of $6 million and 70 full time employees within 12 months of launch – using the investment to quickly take the startup into Ireland and Europe and making it one of London’s biggest successes.


Laura Moore

Co-Founder & Partner at BetterMi Ltd

An accomplished and passionate entrepreneur, Laura has been involved in tech startups since she was 19. Her first business, Mobile Heartbeat, had the vision to change the way patients were tracked, treated and discharged from the hospital in a more efficient and effective way. Along with her 3 co-founders, Laura exited this business in August 2016 to a major US group. Currently working on her latest venture, Nell > Natural Elements, an exciting new WellTech planned for launch in May into a major supermarket and online, Laura is an advocate for always dreaming big. Laura regularly mentors and works with Start-ups at all stages, bringing both corporate and smaller company experience and guidance.

Guy Levine

CEO & Founder at Return on Digital

Guy Levine is the CEO and Founder of Return On Digital. He started his Internet career by founding an internet business at 17 and exiting 1 year later during the .com boom. He has not looked back since. Guy has won industry accolades for campaigns he has worked on including the Big Chip’s and was named Entrepreneur of the Year. A speaker keynoting global conferences, and a regular in the press. In his spare time, Guy can be found with his Wife and 2 daughters, flying Helicopters, riding bicycles and generally getting into mischief.

Paulina Sygulska

Director at GrantTree

Paulina is a serial entrepreneur, a TEDx speaker and a founder of GrantTree, started with a purpose to help tech startups navigate the complex world of government funding. In the last six years the team grew organically from 2 to 30, and raised over £50m for more than 600 technology startups and more mature companies using solely government funding schemes such as R&D tax credits and Innovate UK grants. GrantTree is also an open culture company which pioneered open salary scheme, and an empowering workplace. Earlier this year GrantTree launched its own Professional Workspace with Soul in central London to create a brilliant working environment for other companies too.


Deborah McGargle

Deborah is a corporate legal advisor, mentor and investor who helps companies scale and raise investment on both sides of the Atlantic. She has helped take businesses from concept through to exit, working alongside them to raise funds and ensuring that the structure of the business (process, KPI’s and team) is both scalable and sustainable.  Deborah is CLO at and EIR at IGNITE Manchester.

Pete Smith

Pete Smith

Cofounder of, the world’s second-largest concert site with 10M+ monthly uniques, backed by $45M from investors including Index Ventures and Sequoia Capital. Cofounder of Europe’s biggest tech jobs fair, Silicon Milkroundabout. YCombinator alum. Deep thinker on cofounder relationships, startup operations, hiring and team design, and managing work-life balance for busy founders.

Gerald Vanderpuye

Gerald Vanderpuye

Founder of, which helps enterprise salespeople manage large and complex sales deals. Winner of Mass Challenge. Previously was International Development Sales Manager for Rackspace, where he both led large sales and trained and managed the sales team.

Sam Deakin Hill

Samantha Deakin Hill

Lead organiser of Startup Weekend Sheffield, a non-profit event with the objective of nurturing the city’s startup community and inspiring a generation of new founders. Samantha is a global facilitator for Techstars community programmes and Founding Partner at Campus Capital. She also co-organised Leanconf (Europe’s biggest Lean Startup conference) in Manchester in 2016.

Rob Fitzpatrick

Rob Fitzpatrick

Author of The Mom Test, a practical handbook on Lean Startup which is taught at 4 of the top 5 global universities. International speaker on early-stage startup strategy and mindset. Founder of a number of bootstrapped and funded (and several disastrous) companies in both the US and UK. YCombinator alum. Founding partner at Founder Centric.

Devin Hunt

Devin Hunt

Cofounder of, one of Europe’s top fashion startups which recently announced a $40 million series C. International speaker on design-led entrepreneurship. YCombinator alum who has created award winning products for companies including Vice, Disney, and BERG. Partner at Founder Centric.



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