Local high-tech start-ups excel with digital business acceleration support from Guildford

26thJul 2017

Eight high tech start-ups are being skilled up to the next level with help from a new digital business acceleration hub in Guildford, extending the established Incubator at the University of Surrey.

Since February, over 114 digital startups in total from the region have benefited from an award-winning, intensive two-day entrepreneurship programme, specially designed for entrepreneurs with a new idea for a digital technology product or service. The programme covers all elements of starting a business, from identifying a solution to a problem and sizing the market opportunity to building a solid financial plan.

At the end of the course, the entrepreneurs with businesses with the highest growth potential are selected to receive a fully-funded place for up to one year with SETsquared Surrey’s digital business acceleration hubs.

The hubs, which supported by the University of Surrey and Guildford Borough Council via their partnership in the global number one university business incubator SETsquared and are funded by £2.4m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and are nurturing new talent in the digital sector to turn entrepreneurs into the next British tech success stories. As well as Guildford, growth towns of Basingstoke, Farnborough and Woking are also home to digital business acceleration hubs.

In Guildford, eight high growth potential start-ups have been signed up to business acceleration services with SETsquared Surrey, which is part of the enterprise partnership between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey.

The start-ups who are now receiving support from SETsquared at Guildford include:

  • Bespoke Business Software – which builds applications for businesses tailored to their exact requirements (so that there is no redundancy on software platforms). 
  • Digital Land Solutions – which has created a digital mapping platform for land managers
  • Evolve Dynamics – which builds low-cost drones for the commercial market
  • AMO.ai – which has developed a digital salesperson to help buyers find what they need on a website, and for retailers to increase conversion rates and basket sizes
  • Zeet – which has developed technology that allows banks to provide receipts and other digital content directly to consumers through simple merchant integration.
  • Quadible – which is an agency providing software development services, including mobile and wearable technologies, machine learning and internet of things
  • BRBK – which is creating software for improving accessibility for people with dyslexia, Irlen Syndrome and learning differences
  • Snap Out – which creates digital products using AI and machine learning

Caroline Fleming, head of SETsquared Surrey at the University of Surrey, said: “The programme has had an incredible start, to have had such a huge uptake and effect in just six months. The calibre of start-ups and entrepreneurs we’ve seen applying for the programme has been very high, showing that there is an enormous amount of technological talent in the region.

“The programme has been specifically designed to meet the needs of digital high-tech entrepreneurs across the M3 region, and we’re delighted that we’ve been able to provide significant support to over 114 start-ups in such a short amount of time.”

In total, more than 360 high growth digital entrepreneurs will receive backing from the programme over the next three years. In addition to access to experienced mentors, the start-ups will be able to use specialist services connected to the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre and the Centre of the Digital Economy at the Business school.

Jemma Hillyer, who took part in the programme at Guildford, said: “I really appreciated being accepted on the course. Having access to the amazing bank of SETsquared mentors and angels was the highlight for me. I took 20 pages of notes!”

Gordon Lindsay, from start-up Data-Tight who also took part in the programme at Guildford, said: “It was an excellent workshop, which really helped to provide an approach to finding the real value of a business opportunity.”

James Mannion, from start-up Leo Care Technologies, said: “I have never experienced a programme like this before, or rubbed shoulders with so many successful people. I have learnt more in two days on the course than I have since I started up my company. The course was extremely educating and massively beneficial.”

Through ERDF funding, the programme is funded by the Enterprise M3 LEP and the Department for Communities and Local Government. The programme is also supported by a number of partner organisations and councils, including Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Hampshire County Council, Rushmoor Borough Council, Guildford Borough Council and Tannery Studios Innovation Centre for Creative Industries.

Entrepreneurs interested in applying for a programme or to learn more about the digital business acceleration hubs can visit: http://www.setsquared.co.uk/start-support/digital-business-acceleration-hubs