Lineup revealed for StartUp Studio accelerator programme

Tech South West is delighted to announce the cohort of startups taking part in the StartUp Studio accelerator programme this autumn.

Now in its second run, the region-wide accelerator provides early stage tech startups with a three month programme of hands-on workshops, funding advice, 1:1 mentoring, expert insight into business growth, guidance on attracting investment, pitch practice, and ongoing support from partners.  The programme culminates with a live pitch event in November with investors and business experts from the South West and beyond in attendance.

The startups joining the programme specialise in fields as diverse as healthtech, digital marketing, robotics, education tech, haptics, and cleantech. They were chosen from a shortlist of companies from across the South West including Cornwall, Devon, Bath, Dorset, Bristol and Somerset.

StartUp Studio is delivered by Tech South West in partnership with startup catalyser Activate Ventures and Bristol-based growth consultants Skowt Consulting. The accelerator provides fully-funded business growth support to early stage tech companies based anywhere in the region that have the potential to make a positive difference.

Ongoing support for the cohort covering investment, grant funding, business strategy, brand, marketing, talent acquisition and financial topics will be provided by the programme’s partners. They are: government-owned business development bank British Business Bank; non-dilutive funding specialists Granted Consultancy; audit, tax and consulting service providers RSM; talent acquisition experts King Recruit; business incubator SETsquared Exeter; finance consultants FD Works; digital legal platform FounderCatalyst and tech marketing specialists Astley Media.

The successful startups are:

  • Eate, a paperless platform for hospitality teams
  • Green + Kode, a food waste reduction solution for commercial kitchens
  • Groundwaves, pioneers in haptics footwear
  • Homegrown Learning, a progress tracking app for homeschooling
  • Milbotix, stress monitoring technologies for use in dementia care
  • Safe Space, an online therapy platform
  • HiBike, all-weather low carbon transport
  • Carrier Pigeon, a digital signage platform
  • Find Monsters, developers of a fun game that brings families together, encourages tourism and builds communities

Dan Pritchard, co-founder of Tech South West, said: “After a successful first round in spring 2021, we’re delighted to be running a second round of the StartUp Studio with even more great startups from all across the region. A special thanks goes to our delivery partners Activate Ventures and Skowt Consulting, and to Astley Media, RSM, King Recruit, British Business Bank, FD Works, SETsquared Exeter, Granted Consultancy and FounderCatalyst, without whom this programme could not take place.

“Tech South West works to connect, showcase and celebrate the tech sector in the South West, and supporting early stage companies to reach investment is key to that mission. We are greatly looking forward to starting work with these fantastic startups, learning more about them and helping them to achieve success.”

Bristol-based Eate have developed Leafe, the first multi-platform app that allows hospitality teams to manage their paperwork on their phones. Proper hospitality record taking can reduce food waste by 75%, the company claims, saving an average restaurant £175,500 a year.

Cornwall-based education tech startup Homegrown Learning was founded by Sarah Cudmore, an experienced educator and former headteacher. The company grew from Sarah’s own experience of homeschooling her two children, and provides a tool for tracking a learning child’s progress through pictures, videos, documents or notes.

Ben Cooper, managing director of Skowt Consulting, said: “These startups are a testament to the strength of the South West tech sector and the potential for game-changing innovation in the region. Research conducted by Tech South West has revealed the need for easier routes to funding for early stage startups, and better support for pre-seed stage companies. Skowt Consulting are greatly looking forward to working with the cohort to support them in these areas, and help them reach the next stage of their growth.”

Safe Space, based in Devon, is developing a platform to facilitate the delivery of online and blended sessions for mental health counselling and therapy. The company aims to help patients to connect more easily with therapists, reduce costs and improve outcomes for those who seek support.

Other innovations developed by startups on the programme include tech-powered trainers that provide a haptic sensation to enhance the experience of listening to music, wearable technologies that identify the early recognition of agitation in dementia, a real-time dashboard for commercial kitchens to monitor and reduce food waste, an AI-powered platform providing property owners with easy access to maintenance and insurance services, a weatherproof low-carbon vehicle, and affordable digital signage solutions for local businesses.

Tracey Keys, managing partner of Activate Ventures, said: “We are delighted to be working with Tech South West and Skowt Consulting to support these startups to get ready for investment. Supporting disruptive companies like these to break through the seed stage is essential for the continued growth of the South West tech ecosystem and the resilience of the region’s economy.”

The StartUp Studio will culminate in December with a live pitch event, before reopening for applications for the spring 2022 programme.

Tech South West operates across the region to support the tech sector, with over 2500 members, and works with the likes of Engine Shed Bristol, Plymouth Science Park and TechSPARK.

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