Plus X Brighton
After love at first sight, Jenny and James found themselves moving from a Rock ‘n’ Roll lifestyle in live events, to creating niche software for global music and creative industry players. But that doesn’t mean they’ve left Rock ‘n’ Roll behind – Storganise is making the data world sexy.
The founders of Storganise started out in arts and entertainment. For years, James was touring the world with a show called The Official Tribute to the Blues Brothers. It was when James gave up a life as a performer and moved into stage management that his eyes met with Jenny’s across a rehearsal room for a Griff Rhys Jones show in Soho, catalysing the future of data software reinvention.
The duo spent a few more years in the arts and entertainment world but started playing around with data software as a hobby. Some might say an interesting hobby, but Jenny and James fundamentally endeavour to switch up the norm. This isn’t isolated to their personal lives either; thinking outside the box is integral to Storganise. They create bespoke data software that functions uniquely for users that couldn’t find anything that met their needs on the market. This software could be something huge with the capacity to run their entire business, or something small, fixing just one small area of their world.
In 2013, James and Jenny decided to move fully into developing Storganise. Though, they’ll never truly leave Rock ‘n’ Roll behind, as most of their clients come from their inevitably abundant network – the entertainment sector.
“I was George Michael’s stage manager for ten years, on and off, and I still work for his estate. Storganise manages and digitises his back catalogue… he used to have a room full of DAT cassettes with his recordings. If ever anybody needed a recording, they would go into that room and get it. Engineers, Management, PR agents would all go in to search for recordings, but there wasn’t really anybody putting it back, so it was a bit of a mess… ”
The project saw James cataloguing and digitising George Michael’s collection of recordings to be accessible for generations to come.
“We’ve done that now for two other iconic bands – neither of whom I can tell you the name of, I’m afraid, we have NDA agreements with them. But we have diversified considerably. We realised that, although that’s a very lucrative market, it’s a difficult place to get lots of clients from. They’re not the most trusting of people, musicians. They certainly don’t want to be entrusting their priceless recordings to any old Tom, Dick or Harry.”
Storganise soon discovered that what they were offering to the big guys, they could offer to the little guys as well. A sweet spot emerged for companies of around 5-10 people, who needed to scale but didn’t quite have the capacity to do so. They worked with a Brighton comedy promoters who were held back by outdated systems and old software, leaving them stagnated in growth. With bespoke software created by Storganise, they doubled their capacity to operate tours without needing to grow their team.
“And we’ve actually sold on that software to two other comedy promoters in London and Edinburgh.”
Naturally, as of March 2020, the entertainment world didn’t really have much money to spend. They were trying desperately to keep afloat. Storganise’s marketplace had disappeared, and they had to diversify very quickly. They started looking further afield and in the past year have begun working with an ambulance company, a security company, two freighting companies, a tree surgeon and… an orchestra fixer.
“We’ve worked with an orchestra fixer, which is an extraordinary and unique job. There are not many people that do that. We were fascinated by her job…
A band might come to them and say that they need an orchestra for three tracks of an album, the fixer will then coordinate every aspect of that happening, from gathering the orchestra to booking the venue. The problem is, you can’t get the software for that from Amazon. This is where Storganise comes in.”
This has turned into a bit of a niche for Storganise, with two orchestra fixers already using their software and the third in their sights (there are only three orchestra fixers in the world – so technically, that’s a 100% market share).
“You wouldn’t ever think “that’s the industry I’ll create software for…” but they’re the people that say “we really need something.” ”
They have since worked with a national Union in London who get one and a half million excel lines of data through their system every year. Using their old method, it took two people three months to complete the process. With Storganise’s bespoke software, it now takes one person just two days.
Storganise moved onto the BRITE programme at Plus X Brighton in November 2020 and is now planning 2021. Alongside reinventing the way databases work, they have recently discovered an innovation for creating mobile apps and so are swiftly moving that into their arsenal as well.
For Storganise, the real value in moving onto the BRITE programme is making meaningful and purposeful connections with fellow innovators and entrepreneurs. Being able to sit down with a potential client, listen to their software problem, and then provide a solution.
“I had a conversation with someone the other day who will now be a wonderful middleman for us in the tech world. We wouldn’t have even known a person like him existed otherwise… It’s having all of these entrepreneurs around that make for a big soup of possibilities…”
When asked what James would do if he could go back 10 years, before starting Storganise, and offer his younger self any advice, his response was…
“I would say… I would probably say “carry on”. Yeah, yeah, it’s been alright. We’ve done okay. We haven’t made any massive, glaring errors. There have been a couple, but I think you’ve got to make mistakes along the way. Otherwise, you’re going to have some in the future that are even bigger”.
If you are also interested in joining the BRITE Innovation programme, you can register your interest here. The Brighton Research Innovation Technology Exchange (BRITE) is a business innovation programme for ambitious and established businesses. BRITE could provide you with specialist research and development expertise and the support and facilities to make your business growth journey a reality.