Four new start-ups have each received a £10,000 incubation package, enabling the launch of their tech businesses at Birmingham Science Park Aston’s Innovation Birmingham Campus. A total of 74 companies are currently receiving incubation support, or have graduated from the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme.
CrowdSticks, Meducation, My Campus Ride and Viaruly are embarking on a six month-long tailored mentoring programme to achieve investor readiness. In addition, the start-ups receive free tickets to events, free travel tickets, telephone, internet, office and meeting space at the Innovation Birmingham Campus.
Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Innovation Birmingham said: “Since launching three and a half years ago, our Entrepreneurs for the Future tech incubation programme continues to go from strength to strength. Importantly, more of the start-ups based here are securing seed finance from investment houses and angel investors, enabling them to grow at a rapid rate and create high-value jobs.
“Over 98 companies work out of our 44,000 sq ft Faraday Wharf building as tenants or members; 85 per cent are tech-based businesses. This vibrant community of tech entrepreneurs is a huge asset to Greater Birmingham, especially in consideration of the Smart City agenda.”
The four new start-ups to join the incubation programme include CrowdSticks, which is a product designed to harness the potential from online shopping by rewarding a community of customers for making their everyday purchases. By working with popular online stores, the CrowdSticks browser extension automatically collects hidden rewards and affiliate commissions. Unlike other cash-back programmes, CrowdSticks pools these commissions and rewards members of the community at random with larger values, albeit in a less frequent fashion.
Meducation is an education social network, which brings medical professionals and their knowledge together to improve the quality of medicine. While LinkedIn exists to connect professionals, and Facebook to connect friends, Meducation exists to connect the medical community.
My Campus Ride is a start-up dedicated to developing and offering a means to provide carpool and ride share communication to university students through a smartphone application. The app provides real-time information to match individuals looking for a ride with those with a spare seat. It is differentiated from other carpooling apps by specifically targeting students and utilising social gaming mechanics.
Viaruly.com creates targeted and engaged mass audiences for branded videos. The application increases views, likes, shares and comments for any kind of online video content. The company founder – Kristian Jeffrey – is a viral video veteran with 10 years’ experience of producing and creating branded video content for the world’s largest brands.
Mike Bandar, founder of CrowdSticks said: “Straight after graduating from Aston University, I was accepted onto the University’s BSEEN incubator programme for entrepreneurs, based at Faraday Wharf. Over the past few years, as well as running my own business ventures, I have worked as a consultant with several of my clients based here and have made some fantastic friends. There is no other place like this in Birmingham; the people who work at the Innovation Birmingham Campus are passionate about tech and enterprise – the energy is fantastic.
“I am delighted that CrowdSticks has been accepted onto the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme. The networking opportunities, mentoring and support from the Entrepreneurs in Residence, expert mentors and peers is invaluable.”
To date, over 145 new employee and director positions have been created by the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme since November 2009. In addition, Innovation Birmingham’s Low Carbon Incubator Programme – run as part of the Europe-wide Climate Knowledge Innovation Community initiative – creates a further 10 start-up businesses each year.
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