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NDA returns to Manchester for the second edition of Dragons’ Den-inspired event

NDA’s Dragons’ Den-style event headed to the North of England for a second time, once again bringing together industry tech providers and a trio of agency leaders in Manchester.

A spin-off of London’s Soho Sessions, the Salford Sessions sees three adtech companies make 15-minute pitches to a panel of judges from leading agencies, before having the opportunity to privately take part in a 25-minute ‘deep dive’ session. These deep dive sessions allow the adtech firms to explain how their solutions can directly address the specific needs of each agency, and answer any questions that agency may have.

In this edition, representatives from Brave Software, Adform, and Reach PLC’s Mantis pitched to McCann Manchester, Republic of Media, and Dentsu.

This more intimate, smaller scale event setup provides a platform for businesses to more easily network and form relationships, compared to the often overly noisy settings of other events, benefitting both the adtech business and the agency.

“We took part in the Salford Sessions for the networking, to build both personal and agency profiles, and to discover new solutions to add to our agency’s arsenal.” said Tim Ainsworth, Executive Director at McCann Experience, McCann Manchester. “I struggle to network sometimes. The format encourages some engagement with some wins for everyone.”

A major aspect of these “wins” for businesses is the ability to get directly in front of people that you may otherwise not been able to within larger scale settings. For businesses with relatively unknown adtech solutions, this means getting in the door of the biggest agencies of the advertising world.

Moreover, it creates a space where small teams don’t have to overly stretch themselves when attempting to get through the door with multiple agencies.

“Brave took part in the Salford Sessions because of the small in-market sales team and the ability to reach a wide and varied number of agencies at one event,” said Andy Squire, Vice President Ad Sales – UK at Brave Software.

“The main takeaway was getting a face to our business across different media agencies, with the look to increase our footprint within agency teams. So far, this has resulted in two follow-up meetings with agencies from the Salford Sessions.”

For agencies, being able to meet these businesses gives them direct access to the innovative technology that will help them to do better work for brands and get ahead of the competition and, ultimately, bring in more revenue for all parties involved.

“There’s some exciting technology out there, with the capacity to drive further competitive advantage for us and fill some capability gaps,” said Ainsworth.

While opening up this capacity for agencies, the format creates an environment where adtech vendors are able to pitch to multiple teams within an agency at the same time.

It’s well-documented how siloed processes can be within agencies, but the Salford Sessions tackles these barriers by enabling agency leaders to bring any colleagues with them to hear about the solutions the adtech companies have to offer.

“For me, the biggest difference is the ability to not only pitch to agency leaders, but to be able to discuss with different teams from the agency following the pitch,” said Squire.

The third edition of NDA’s Salford Sessions will be on 21 August 2024, followed by networking drinks. If you have any interest in being part of the Salford Sessions and/or the drinks, get in touch with