Starting a business in Manchester: Rormix

The music discovery platform shares Manchester's best strengths for start-ups, and what needs to be done to make it "Dublin's tech scene on steroids"

Company name: Rormix
Founders: Amman Ahmed, Emma Owens, Chris Farrell and Mark Wheeler
Founded: 2014
Description: A platform for discovering music videos from emerging and unsigned artists.

What’s great about starting a business in Manchester?

Manchester is the perfect size and is well connected, and so is the business community. Start-up costs in Manchester are extremely low, however the city lacks funding opportunities and investors are not willing to take as much risk with a tech start-up as they would in London or Silicon Valley. However the start-up community is changing that.

We get help from organisations such as Business Growth Hub, Access to Finance, SpaceportX, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and Manchester Met University. It allowed us to build the right team, create a support network of advisors and gives us access to small grants.

What business support in Manchester have you used? How was it?

As well as the above, one strong point about Manchester is the low cost to start up, particularly in terms of office space. We used the Manchester Met Incubator space, which was unbelievably cheap for a city centre office.

When the team grew to eight full-time staff members, we used a great sevices called, which helps start-ups find space in the city centre and also gets you access to the TiE community, a network started in Silicon Valley, which has access to some great mentors.

Name the top three reasons to set up a business in Manchester:

  1. The growing start-up community.
  2. Low costs to start-up.
  3. Emerging financing opportunities.

Where could Manchester be better / what does it need?

The city needs to sell itself better, we personally would like the city to make more noise to capture the attention of American investors. The city needs to create more opportunities for funding, as you only need to look at Dublin as a good example. Enterprise Ireland put the growth of the Dublin tech scene on steroids by providing financial support.

How easy has it been to access finance to grow?

If you are creating an export business the UKTI is very helpful as they have various grants.

Building a website for your business idea is easier than you might think. Our online tool ranks the top website builders that offer free trials.

In our industry, tech is very new to the typical investor way of thinking, as tech start-ups do not have a traditional business model. We think the city needs to bring in outside investors from Silicon Valley, London and Berlin to set the mark and then hopefully North West investors will follow.

The city needs more pitch competitions and grants in order to create opportunities for finance.

Where do you go to network in Manchester?

SpacePortX, which is the centre of the tech community, and TiE, which is part of the overall entrepreneur community.

Where do you take a client for a business lunch?

Northern Quarter is a cool area (equivalent to Shoreditch), which has a bunch of great bars and coffee places. It makes the meetings feel more creative rather than going to a chain like Starbucks.

Where’s great for a company night out?

Once again the Northern Quarter has a unique nightlife. Being in music, we always go to the open mic night, which is an amazing atmosphere with great talent. We also go to live jazz nights, which give you free pizza with every two drinks. Open Mic Comedy nights on a Monday night is always entertaining.


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