Monday April 26 saw the launch of the Tech South West StartUp Studio, a new accelerator programme for early stage tech companies in the South West.
Ten startups from Cornwall, Somerset, Bristol and Bath are taking part in the programme, with specialisms ranging from robotics to healthtech, advanced engineering and software development.
- Storzy (MyAirStorage)
- Designable 3D
- The PeerSpace
- Regulation Technologies
The StartUp Studio is delivered by Tech South West in partnership with Skowt Consulting and Activate, whose specialism in digital startup support makes them a perfect match for a programme that covers the whole of the South West.
Supporting the programme are funding experts Granted Consultancy, accountancy experts Azure, audit, tax and consulting experts RSM and marketing and PR agency Astley Media. These partner companies will provide ongoing support to the startups throughout the six-week schedule.
The programme began this week with the companies taking a look at the big questions: why do we exist? What is our mission? What’s driving us? Each programme day is structured around two modules in the morning and afternoon, with breakout sessions in-between. This allows for a combination of open-floor discussion and more focussed drilling down into each company’s ambitions and business model.
Expert mentors are allocated to each startup to provide tailored guidance, and founders are buddied up in pairs across the cohort for enhanced collaboration and peer support. The week concludes with Friday night drinks over Zoom, presenting an opportunity for the group to come together in a more relaxed environment and get to know each other better.
Ben Cooper, managing director of Skowt Consulting and also a mentor on the programme, said: “It’s been a great first week for the Tech South West StartUp Studio. We’ve got ten fantastic businesses involved who have already demonstrated the enthusiasm, drive and collaborative culture that make the South West tech sector so successful. Each module of the programme is an important building block not only to focus their proposition, but also towards building a standout pitch deck for the live investor event in June. This will provide an opportunity for the startups to impress investors and secure financial backing. All the startups have hit the ground running and I am really looking forward to carrying on the journey with them.”
The second week of the programme will feature the first ‘fireside chat’, a casual event which provides an opportunity for the founders to gain advice and inspiration from a successful tech leader in the region. Andy Doyle of Totnes-based fan engagement platform Filmily will be discussing his business journey, his company’s pivot during the Covid-19 pandemic and how he recently broke into the US market.
The first partner-led workshop of the programme will take place on Tuesday May 4, with non-dilutive funding experts Granted Consultancy providing a session on non-dilutive funding opportunities, such as grant funding.
Harry Cobbold, managind director of Unfold and a mentor on the programme, said: “As a business who benefited hugely from this kind of support at the beginning of our own journey, it’s really exciting to be able to give back through the Startup Studio programme. Competition is fierce in the tech industry and initiatives like this one go a huge way towards ensuring the best new startups get the support they need to thrive.”
Dan Pritchard, co-founder of Tech South West, said: “It’s great to see these ten brilliant startups taking part in the StartUp Studio, which will get them investor-ready and poised to disrupt the market. But the programme is about more than ten companies: it’s about supporting the entire tech ecosystem in the South West, attracting investors to the region, and putting the region squarely on the map as a great place to do tech in the 21st century.
These ten startups are testament to the talent, the innovation and the entrepreneurship that make the South West tech sector such a success story and the fastest-growing part of the region’s economy.”
Find out more about the StartUp Studio, and see the full list of companies involved, at techsouthwest.co.uk/startupstudio