All posts by piap2014

Spica Technologies’ Devicepoint™ is shortlisted for the Cisco BIG Awards

Innovation Birmingham Campus-based start-up Spica Technologies has been selected as a semi-finalist in Cisco’s BIG Awards 2015. The final of the ‘Internet of Things’ focused awards event will be held in London on 22nd October, where the winner will receive a top prize of cash and support worth $220,000. The runners up prizes are worth $110,000.

Spica Technologies’ nomination is for its ‘Devicepoint™ for healthy water’. The start-up is developing the system on Innovation Birmingham’s Low Carbon Accelerator programme, which is part of the European-funded Climate-KIC initiative. Devicepoint™ is a risk management tool to control Legionella, powered by a secured wireless network and low-energy sensors.

Real-time data is transmitted to the Devicepoint™ cloud and the networked solution issues alerts if there are any immediate risks to be addressed. The low-power system also produces detailed reports, identifying any areas of stagnant pipework that need attention.

Paul Collins, CEO of Spica Technologies said: “Devicepoint™ revolutionises how Legionella is monitored and controlled, which is a basic requirement of every commercial premise and public building. Rather than conducting a manual on-site test, our system continually monitors the risks, producing real-time data and alerts when action is required. By constantly monitoring the temperature of sections of pipe work, it provides a vastly superior picture of any likely risks and eliminates the potential for human error from the process.

“It is great news for us that the 2015 Cisco BIG Awards are focused on Internet of Things start-ups. Being selected as a semi-finalist is a huge endorsement of the work we’ve done to date to launch this new solution to the marketplace.”

20 start-ups have been selected as BIG Awards semi-finalists by Cisco. The shortlist includes projects that turn information into actions and present businesses, individuals and countries with new capabilities, richer experiences and increased economic opportunities. The finalists for the Cisco BIG Awards will be announced on 28th September 2015.

Tom Kneen, Head of the British Innovation Gateway (BIG) programme said: “We see pilot projects such as ‘Devicepoint™ for healthy water’ as a new Internet of Things networked solution, which could have tremendous commercial value and disrupt a traditional market.

“By eliminating regular manual testing work, the risk of a water system being contaminated with Legionella is significantly reduced for a fraction of the current typical cost. The benefits of Internet of Things powered systems such as this are numerous in many domestic and work environments, as we move towards a future of Smart Cities.”

For more information about Devicepoint™ click here or email paul@spicatech.co.uk.

Scout7 Kick-Off 2015/6 Football Season With Pro.tv Video Content Analysis App

Ahead of the new 2015/16 football season, Scout7 has launched a new video scouting and analysis app within its industry-leading Intelligent Sports Framework (ISF) application, which is being used at 150 professional clubs worldwide.

During the last six months, the Innovation Birmingham Campus-based football technology company, whose clients include Chelsea, Manchester City, Barcelona, Paris SG, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund, has invested heavily in its video content infrastructure. With data centres covering the globe, Scout7 captures over 3,000 professional broadcast matches each month, totalling over three million minutes of new footage a year. It is the industry leader for analysis solutions in the major European football leagues.

Bradford Griffiths, Operations Director for Scout7 said: “During the last 10 years, scouting and analysis departments have expanded considerably at the elite end of professional football.

“These departments operate 24/7 and are under constant pressure to deliver detailed analysis to their club’s senior management. It is our job to support these departments by providing an environment that allows them to manage, review and collaborate on content as a team.”

Sxout7 has worked in close collaboration with Intel to completely upgrade its video processing environment. This has included the adoption of Intel’s Quick Sync Video hardware, allowing football matches to be transcoded in just 15 minutes, four times faster than was previously possible. It also enables the company to deliver video for streaming and download with one parse of the original file, meaning crisp HD content is not compromised through transcoding.

Scout7 also works with the sports data company OptaPro, who provide time-coded match event feeds for every football game played in over 60 leagues and competitions during the season, which are integrated into the match video. The improvements mean that Scout7 can now deliver HD content, with the integrated events, to each client within two hours of the final whistle.

The introduction of the new ISF video analysis app, Pro.tv, ensures that club staff can utilise Scout7’s enhanced video content to optimise their existing scouting processes, using either a desktop or tablet device.

Bradford Griffiths added: “The features we have introduced in our Pro.tv app mean that scouts and analysts can now start their evaluation of matches played on a Saturday afternoon early on in the same evening. So no matter whether they need video to prepare for their team’s next game, or require footage of players being monitored for potential recruitment, they can prepare detailed analysis for senior management faster than ever before.

“What’s more, if content is time-critical, they can share it with colleagues via email who can stream it on-the-go.

“As a company, we are committed to providing our clients with the best professional services available and with Pro.tv we are confident that top flight clubs will be able to further optimise their various scouting and analysis processes into the new season and beyond.”

Key features of the app include an event filter, which allows users to watch key events such as shots, passes and tackles involving a specific player or team in sequence from multiple games, including events for and against. These event clips can be saved as playlists and archived online, or shared via email.

Pro.tv also incorporates editing tools that enable users to conduct their own editing of games online, without the need of offline editing software. The app also incorporates match and event playback buttons, which allow users to speed up or slow down the footage as they watch it, in addition to being able to jump to a specific time in the game. As well as the analysis mode, the app also allows games to be watched in a pop-out player, so that games can be watched on various devices in full-screen.

 

Innovation Birmingham’s Women in Tech Event

The Innovation Birmingham Campus welcomed 100 members to its Women In Tech event. The event brought together female tech entrepreneurs, coders, programmers and digital media specialists.

Four leaders in their field delivered presentations about their experiences of working in the tech industry. Jessica Rose, self-taught programmer and technical writing specialist, spoke about the need for increased gender diversity within the tech industry to facilitate efficiency and creativity within tech businesses. Sonu Bubna, Co-Founder of Owned It, gave a very honest and inspiring presentation on her perspective on life after moving from the world of corporate finance to becoming an entrepreneur. Florence Okoye, UX Developer, National Grid spoke on the intersection of personal motivation and how that drives technology engagement, reiterating the benefits of developing applications driven by your own self-interest. Faye Pressly, Associate Director, Mortimer Spinks delivered an eye opening review of the findings of their Women in Technology 2015 report. The event was hosted by technology and health enthusiast Mary Matthews, Founding Director of Memrica, an application which helps to improve the lives of those living with dementia.

The event was organised by Michelle Rayner, Innovation Birmingham’s Entrepreneurs for the Future Programme Manager. The refreshments were provided by Mortimer Spinks, the UK’s leading innovator in technology recruitment.

Gosia Borzecka. Tobias Koprowski. Rupi Dosanja - Cotidia
Gosia Borzecka – Developer. Tobias Koprowski – Developer. Rupi Dosanja – Cotidia.
Donna Parchment. Trevor Cornbill - Techinsure. Cleo Morris - MarketingMaker
Donna Parchment – MGDP Consulting. Trevor Cornbill – Techinsure. Cleo Morris – MarketingMaker.
Naomi Edge-SocialSignin. Melinda Marsh-Connect Group. Grace Ngolet. Clare Stevenson - Burley Law
Naomi Edge-SocialSignin. Melinda Marsh-Connect Group. Grace Ngolet. Clare Stevenson – Burley Law.
Florence Okoye. Jessica Rose - Yotta. Pauline Roche - RnR Organisation
Florence Okoye. Jessica Rose – Yotta. Pauline Roche – RnR Organisation.

To view all the photos from the event click here

 

Majestic launches new app which generates influence ratings for all Twitter handles

MajesticInnovation Birmingham Campus’ largest tenant – is launching a new Android app that will generate influence ratings for all Twitter handles. The ground-breaking app provides instant influence ratings based on 800 topics, when scrolling through a Twitter newsfeed.

Majestic – the developer of the largest global commercially available website link index – has created the new app to give Twitter users instant data on the influence of all Tweeters appearing in their newsfeed, or as a result of a key word or hashtag search. The automatically generated Majestic ‘Topical Trust Flow’ score is based on the quantity and quality of the weblinks to each Twitter handle.

Majestic is launching the new app in Beta form to make way for further development and functionality. The app will be free of charge to the thousands of Majestic account holders located worldwide. Subscription packages for new customers start from £30 + VAT per month.

Dixon Jones, Marketing Director of Majestic said: “The majority of our customers regard Twitter as a vital information tool, with many increasingly relying on it as a principle route to market. By instantly gauging how influential each account is – while scrolling through the latest Tweets in a newsfeed or search results – our new app will ensure key Tweets aren’t unknowingly overlooked. This will be particularly useful when looking to build up a higher base of followers and interact with established Twitter influencers.

“When using the Majestic Twitter app, it will be apparent if a user has seemingly boosted their account by acquiring fake followers. The app will also display information on the topics that a selected Twitter handle is most influential in. In a nutshell, this groundbreaking app will provide a wealth of instant intel while using Twitter. It will enable engagement with influencers, not interlopers.”

Majestic’s specialist search engine categorises the entire World Wide Web, eradicating the need for manually categorised website directories. Its purpose-designed technology continuously crawls the web in order to map links between websites. Over seven hundred billion web pages – including all Twitter accounts – are filtered into 800 topics to enable easy analysis and comparison. Majestic’s automatic Trust Flow scores then provide rankings based on the quality and quantity of relevant links to a web page or Twitter account.

Majestic’s retained clients include some of the best known international technology brands. Its search engine is multi-lingual and enables analysis of the web to be fully automated. For organisations that want to boost their own web presence, it provides clear results as to which sites are more influential to have backlinks from, without actually needing to view any web pages.

Majestic came second in the Midlands – and 17th overall – in the Deloitte Fast 50 awards programme, held in November 2014, ranking higher than notonthehighstreet.com, Just Eat plc and Sky Scanner. In five years, the web index creator’s turnover has grown by 1,571 per cent. Having been based at the Innovation Birmingham Campus since its inception, Majestic has recently expanded the size of its office to over 3,000 sq ft, to accommodate its growing team of 20 and its suite of servers.

For more information, visit https://majestic.com/

Centro and the Transport Systems Catapult to run Intelligent Mobility incubator within Innovation Birmingham’s £8m iCentrum building

A 2,500 sq ft Intelligent Mobility incubator is the first confirmed quarter of Innovation Birmingham’s Serendip space within the new £8m iCentrum® building.

Centro – the region’s public transport co-ordinator – and the Transport Systems Catapult, which is the UK’s innovation centre for Intelligent Mobility, have both signed up as joint partners for the specialist centre. It will launch when iCentrum®, located off the A38M Aston Expressway, opens in March 2016.

The ground-breaking business incubation centre will focus solely on Intelligent Mobility, which uses emerging technologies to enable the smarter, greener and more efficient movement of people and goods. In particular, it will encourage the development of smart phone and other apps that provide real-time information and advice for passengers.

Innovation Birmingham’s business mentors will actively work in the Intelligent Mobility incubator. There will also be mentoring from industry experts, access to open and closed transport data, and exclusive insight into innovation challenges facing the transport industry. Representatives from Centro and the Transport Systems Catapult will have co-working space within the incubator, in order to open doors to the local, national and international Intelligent Mobility marketplaces.

Tech start-ups looking to develop innovative new concepts within the field of Intelligent Mobility – or responding to the innovation challenges – will be offered space in the incubator.

Geoff Inskip, CEO of Centro said: “The concept for an Intelligent Mobility incubator – based here in the West Midlands – was born out of Centro’s ‘New Journey’ initiative, which we launched 12 months ago to harness new technologies for the benefit of passengers. Being at the centre of the UK’s transport network, we are ideally placed to drive new innovation to further improve the passenger experience. We will help entrepreneurs to interpret the vast data sets that can initially appear as a major hurdle, but actually have the potential to revolutionise the public transport marketplace.

“This is a very important new initiative for Centro and we eagerly anticipate the launch of the incubation facility, when the iCentrum building opens next year.”

Centro and the Transport Systems Catapult will act as partners of the Intelligent Mobility incubator for an initial three year term.

Steve Yianni, CEO of the Transport Systems Catapult said: “Innovation Birmingham has an exemplary record for attracting and developing tech start-ups. By launching a new incubation centre dedicated to Intelligent Mobility within the Innovation Birmingham Campus, disruptive innovation will result. This represents an important step in our long-term aim of helping UK-based businesses to capture a large share of the emerging new Intelligent Mobility market.

“We look forward to the partnership with Centro through this initiative, which will help technology-based start-ups to develop and prosper.”

The Intelligent Mobility incubator will be located on the first floor of the 3,874sqm (41,700 sq ft) iCentrum® building. The three remaining sector-specific quarters are Energy, Internet of Things and Digital Health. Innovation Birmingham is in the advanced stages of discussions with a number of potential commercial partners aligned to these sectors.

The whole 10,000 sq ft first floor of iCentrum® will be known as Serendip, with the ethos behind the space being to harness the power of serendipity and encourage the development of ideas between the four quarters. To complement Serendip, there will be state-of-the-art event and meet-up space on the ground floor for 500 people.  The top floor of iCentrum® will house office suites for growing tech companies.

Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Innovation Birmingham said: “Construction work started on iCentrum® in January and is on schedule to complete on time and on budget in March 2016. It is being developed and funded speculatively as a tech incubator for the generation that is growing up with social media, 3D printing and cloud-based business solutions.

“Sitting at the heart of the new building will be Serendip; a 10,000 sq ft incubation centre purpose-designed to nurture relationships between corporate executives and entrepreneurs. I am delighted that the first quarter can be announced eight months before the building is open. This is a hugely confident statement about Birmingham’s Smart City ambitions.”

iCentrum®, which has been under construction since January, is being funded through a £7.5m commercial loan, agreed with Birmingham City Council, to cover the main construction and fit-out costs. In addition, Innovation Birmingham secured funding from the GBSLEP’s Enterprise Zone’s Site Development and Access Fund to create additional co-working space in the new building. iCentrum® will provide space for 400 high-value skilled tech jobs at any one time, generating £25 million of GVA to the local economy per annum. The building was one of the first to start on site within the GBSLEP’s Enterprise Zone, which features 30 sites within central Birmingham.

The Innovation Birmingham Campus is currently fully let with an extensive waiting list for space from new and growing tech businesses. Significant investment has ensured its 110 technology tenants can already access 30Gbit/s broadband speeds – equalling the fastest internet connection available anywhere in the UK. iCentrum is the first building under construction within Innovation Birmingham’s £45m development zone.

Innovation Birmingham runs UK-wide competition to discover the brightest clean-tech talent

Innovation Birmingham has hosted the UK heat of the European-wide ClimateLaunchpad competition, where the eventual winners and two runners up will collectively receive €17,500 to develop their clean-tech products/services. The competition is one of the initiatives being run by Innovation Birmingham’s Climate-KIC team.

The competition entrants for the UK heat were located across the country. Oxford-based IonQube, whose business is based on recycling batteries into long-lasting battery systems, has come out as the overall winner of ClimateLaunchpad UK. The company, which is devising systems that are ideal for developing countries where battery packs are not fit for use, will now progress to the European-wide final on 4th September in Amsterdam.

IonQube will be joined by the UK joint runners-up; Worcestershire-based Littewood and London-based OpenWatt. Littewood has developed an in-shower heat recovery system, while OpenWatt has developed an ‘internet of things’ smart-plug to enable the rapid integration of legacy equipment into 21st Century electricity networks.

ClimateLaunchpad is Europe’s largest clean-tech business idea competition. The UK is one of 28 countries taking part, along with Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands. As well as the cash prize, the winner of the European final, which is held annually, will also receive a place on Climate-KIC’s Accelerator programme.

Catherine Shelley, Innovation Birmingham’s Climate KIC Programme Development and Delivery Officer said: “Many of the innovative concepts that entered the ClimateLaunchpad competition at the beginning of the process have made genuinely impressive progress with developing their products, plans for reaching the mass market and the quality of their pitching. We are confident that IonQube, Littewood and OpenWatt will do the UK proud in the final, and I really hope that all entrants keep developing their ideas.”

ClimateLaunchPad is a Climate Knowledge Innovation Community (Climate KIC) project, which Innovation Birmingham is a delivery partner for. Climate KIC is the EU’s main climate innovation initiative, and was one of the first Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) created by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) in 2010. The EIT is the European Union body tasked with creating sustainable European growth and jobs while dealing with the global challenges of our time.

Six new tech start-ups join Innovation Birmingham’s Entrepreneurs for the Future programme

Six new tech start-ups have enrolled on Innovation Birmingham’s Entrepreneurs for the Future programme. Since the launch of the programme in November 2009, 111 start-ups have been created, with over £7.8 million of investment secured during initial funding rounds.

Entrepreneurs for the Future is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). To date, close to 200 new employee and director positions have been created. The latest new tech ventures are: Borroclub.co.uk, which is an online platform that enables people to borrow household items from others living close by; Eye Tracking Analysts, which is undertaking research and development on innovations in eye tracking; Hopper, which enables marketers to schedule posts on Instagram; Language Garden, which creates online interactive materials to teach literacy and languages; Stride Education, which is developing a 3D learning system; and Voltrics, which is undergoing product design and innovation in electronics.

The six new start-ups will receive up to nine months office space, telecoms, meeting rooms and superfast broadband at the Innovation Birmingham Campus. In addition, they will benefit from structured mentoring from the Entrepreneurs in Residence, regular visiting expert sessions, a series of workshops and events, networking opportunities and peer-to-peer support. All of this support comes for free; Innovation Birmingham does not take an equity stake in the start-up businesses, as enrolment onto the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme is part-funded by an ERDF grant.

Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Innovation Birmingham said: “The continued growth of the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme is driving the success of the Innovation Birmingham Campus. Our new iCentrum tech incubation centre will be open for business in March 2016, which will enable us to deliver much more activity and provide state of the art space for new and growing tech businesses.

“Launching a new business in a sector specific incubation centre ensures it has a much better chance of succeeding and becoming commercially viable. We have a full-time team working in the centre, together with the three Entrepreneurs in Residence, who guide, drive, motivate and facilitate connections for the start-ups, to ensure they become investment-ready and/or revenue generating in as short a time as possible. “

Mike Bandar, Co-founder of Hopper said: “Developing a new business can be a tough and testing time. At the Innovation Birmingham Campus, everyone is either launching or growing a tech company, so the atmosphere and peer to peer support is fantastic. Opportunities naturally emerge to collaborate on projects and get instant feedback on ideas.

“The structured aspects of the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme, such as the regular sessions with our Entrepreneur in Residence, are also a really valuable way of ensuring all the right opportunities are maximised and nothing crucial is missed. During every session, new contacts and ideas are formulated.”

Innovation Birmingham has designed its tech incubation programme in order to capture serial entrepreneurs, who as individuals are working on more than one project concurrently. The Innovation Birmingham Campus is open 24/7, enabling people to work flexibly, or cram in the hours when needed.

For more information on Entrepreneurs for the Future, please visit www.e4f.com

GBSLEP awards Innovation Birmingham a £2.49m Local Growth Fund grant to create a new centre for SMEs to engage with the city’s five universities

A purpose-designed centre to make it easy for SMEs to engage with Birmingham’s five universities will be developed on land within Innovation Birmingham’s Faraday Wharf site.

The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) has awarded a £2.494m Local Growth Fund grant for the capital project. Subject to planning, the new facility will be open in 2016. The universities centre is the second of five new developments totalling £45million planned on the Innovation Birmingham Campus, which is visible from the A38M Aston Expressway. The first – iCentrum® – is a 3,874sqm (41,700 sq ft) technology incubation and collaboration building, which will open in March 2016.

The universities centre will be designed by AHR Architects’ national technology team and delivered by Midlands headquartered Thomas Vale Construction Ltd, a Bouygues UK company. A planning application will be lodged this summer. The centre will feature state-of-the-art video conferencing, offices, training and meeting space, co-working and collaboration space. The centre will be designed and operated to promote a much greater interaction between start-ups and SMEs (less than 250 employees) and the city’s five universities. International evidence suggests that true connectivity and communication between universities and business can add 8-10 per cent in increased, sustained growth.

Andy Street, Chairman of the GBSLEP said: “Having a dedicated, neutral centre where SMEs and researchers, staff and students from the five local universities can meet and collaborate on projects will be a new asset for the city region. Innovation Birmingham will work with Aston University, the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, Newman University and University College Birmingham to drive activity that will resonate with SMEs.

“The technology and digital sector is one of the GBSLEP’s target growth areas, and this £2.94m Local Growth Fund grant award will lead to many new relationships and projects being forged year on year, which will contribute to the regional economy.

Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Innovation Birmingham said: “Having a dedicated centre for university engagement on the Innovation Birmingham Campus will give the city region a catalyst facility, creating a novel edge in how we can help to support start-ups and growing SME businesses. While universities already run a range of initiatives to engage with business, we will coordinate a bespoke programme that will enable SMEs that have never thought of collaborating with a university to see how it could add value.

“We are working on submitting a planning application for the new centre this summer and hope to start construction later this year. That will mean only a matter of months after iCentrum® opens in March, we will be able to open another new facility, gathering real momentum for the £45m expansion of the Innovation Birmingham Campus.”

iCentrum®, which has been under construction since January, is being funded through a £7.5m commercial loan, agreed with Birmingham City Council, to cover the main construction and fit-out costs. In addition, Innovation Birmingham secured funding from the GBSLEP’s Enterprise Zone’s Site Development and Access Fund to create additional co-working space in the new building. iCentrum® will provide space for 400 high-value skilled tech jobs at any one time, generating £25 million of GVA to the local economy per annum. The building was one of the first to start on site within the GBSLEP’s Enterprise Zone, which features 30 sites within central Birmingham.

The Innovation Birmingham Campus is currently fully let with an extensive waiting list for space from new and growing tech businesses. Significant investment has ensured its 110 technology tenants can already access 30Gbit/s broadband speeds – equalling the fastest internet connection available anywhere in the UK.

Synapse is awarded a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Leicester, after securing £380,000 of grant income

Synapse – a business spreadsheet collaboration company based at the Innovation Birmingham Campus – has concluded the 2014/5 financial year with a total of £380,000 secured in grant and investment income. In addition, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Leicester has just been awarded to further accelerate product development.

Started in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Brian Donnelly, Synapse has tripled in size to 18 people during the 2014/5 financial year. A £250,000 SMART Grant from Innovate UK, a £25,000 investment from Finance Birmingham, a £15,000 grant secured via a Coventry University project, and a £90,000 grant from The Birmingham Post’s Regional Growth Fund have supported the tech start-up’s rapid growth. Revenues have grown from £300,000 in 2012 to over £1.3 million in 2014.

Synapse’ largest clients include a high street bank and a leading Swedish furniture retailer.

Brian Donnelly, CEO of Synapse Information Ltd said: “Despite the prevalence of enterprise software, companies large and small still opt to produce financial reports using spreadsheets, which are manually cut and pasted together every time amends and new data are inputted. Spreadsheets offer employees a familiar, flexible format, but the time wasted and significant margin for error created by cutting and pasting various versions – sometimes as many as 200 versions are being worked on simultaneously –is bad for business.

“Synapse has spent three years developing a collaborative solution which connects standard spreadsheets through our cloud service and automates all of the cutting and pasting work in the background. Every change made by a user ripples through to every other user in a controlled and auditable manner, so ‘one version of the truth’ is instantly accessible across the business. There is no software to install or buy and no disruption to business as usual, which is resonating with our clients.

“The three grants we secured in the 2014 financial year – together with the investment from Finance Birmingham – has enabled the team to triple in size to 18. The newly awarded Knowledge Transfer Partnership grant will enable us to carry out much more product development work during this coming 2015 financial year, alongside a team from the University of Leicester.”

Synapse’s growth has also been supported by loan finance from Aston Reinvestment Trust (ART), which is also based at the Innovation Birmingham Campus.

The previous business founded by Brian Donnelly was relocated from the UK in order to grow the business exponentially in California’s ‘Silicon Valley’. Over a series of investment rounds with US venture capitalists, he raised a total of $30 million, enabling the team to grow to 160 with a customer base of 70 large clients, before exiting the business and subsequently returning to the UK.

Brian Donnelly added: “I made the decision to create a new start-up in Birmingham because the wealth of companies in the region makes it easier to establish a strong customer base. In addition, recruiting a high-skilled team of software engineers and marketers is much more straightforward and inexpensive than it would be in London. Birmingham is significantly underrated as a location for tech businesses.”

Innovation Birmingham expands its Entrepreneurs for the Future programme, as three new tech start-up enrol

A new employee and Entrepreneur in Residence have joined Innovation Birmingham’s Entrepreneurs for the Future programme, as three new tech start-ups have enrolled. In the five years the programme has been running, the start-ups have secured over £7 million of investment during initial funding rounds.

Entrepreneurs for the Future is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). To date, the programme has incubated 105 start-ups, with close to 200 new employee and director positions created since November 2009. The latest new tech ventures are: Spica Technologies – a software product development business; Supermeal.co.uk, which is a direct competitor of Just Eat; and Wander City, which has set out to provide real time information to users based on their personal profile and geolocation.

The new Entrepreneur in Residence position has been taken up by Andy Honess, who is a tech advisor and investor, with over 25 years’ experience in the enterprise software industry. Andy has held senior sales and executive leadership positions in IBM, Siebel and a number of start-ups. He was also the managing director and vice president of QlikTech for five years, helping the company to a successful IPO on the NASDAQ.

Holly Watkins has also joined the team as the Entrepreneurs for the Future Programme Administrator, having completed her Level 2 Apprenticeship via Birmingham Metropolitan College.

Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Innovation Birmingham said: “The continued growth of the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme is driving the success of the Innovation Birmingham Campus. Our Faraday Wharf building is fully let, with a lot of the recent uptake in office space coming from the expansion of the businesses that have graduated from the Entrepreneurs for the Future centre. These innovative businesses are creating new jobs for the local economy and driving the growth of Birmingham’s tech community.

“Launching a new business in a sector specific incubation centre ensures it has a much better chance of succeeding and becoming commercially viable. We have a full-time team working in the centre, together with the three Entrepreneurs in Residence, who guide, drive, motivate and facilitate connections for the start-ups, to ensure they become investment-ready and/or revenue generating in as short a time as possible. “

Those enrolled onto the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme benefit from up to nine months free office space, telecoms, meeting rooms and superfast broadband. In addition, there is continued mentoring from the Entrepreneurs in Residence, regular visiting expert sessions, a series of workshops and events, networking opportunities and peer-to-peer support. All of this support comes for free; Innovation Birmingham does not take an equity stake in the start-up businesses, as enrolment onto the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme is part-funded by an ERDF grant.

Innovation Birmingham has designed its tech incubation programme in order to capture serial entrepreneurs, who as individuals are working on more than one project concurrently. The Innovation Birmingham Campus is open 24/7, enabling people to work flexibly, or cram in the hours when needed.