Three-month San Francisco ‘landing pad’ offered to startups on Ignite’s Belfast accelerator

  • Applications are now open for 10 places on the 2019 IgniteNI Accelerator. Five high potential business who make it on to the second Ignite NI Accelerator will get the chance to spend three months in San Francisco building their startup after the intensive 12-week programme in Northern Ireland.

    The IgniteNI Accelerator, run by Ignite and backed by Invest NI, has invested in more than 150 companies across the UK since 2011. The company is now looking for ten high potential technology start-ups to take to the next stage of development, each of whom will receive £15,000 of investment and a further £5,000 if they are relocating from outside Northern Ireland.

    Each start-up that is successful will receive nine months of free office space within the Ormeau Baths building and extensive mentorship, including sessions with world-class start-up founders and workshops with industry experts in order to assist the start-ups with the development of skills and business scaling.

    Ignite has revealed that five of the teams will also avail of the opportunity to spend three months in San Francisco, with office space, travel and accommodation costs covered, a £5,000 grant, and the chance to research and set up meetings with key people within the city and Silicon Valley. The teams will meet top-tier venture capitalists and business angels in order to raise investment for their plans. San Francisco, London and Dublin trips will be included in order to meet various founders, investors and advisors to expand networks.

    “In our experience raising investment from US investors or launching in the US market can be transformational for European startups, but it’s also incredibly difficult to get your foot in the door and decide whether it’s a viable option”, states, Tristan Watson, CEO of Ignite. “With the support of Invest NI we’ve developed an extension to the IgniteNI accelerator programme that we’re calling the US Landing Pad. The idea is that we can give founders a helping hand to explore the possibility of raising from US investors and what would be required to launch in the US.”

    The founder of Continually, Paul McKeever, was one of the ten founders to take part in the first IgniteNI Accelerator in 2018. Paul stated that the “business growing much faster as a result of taking part in the 2018 IgniteNI accelerator”. Starting a business is hard work, whilst Paul had previously built and sold a business, the programme helped him overcome challenges and avail of opportunities in the most effective way. Learning from mentors and learning from the other founders on the programme gave Paul “the confidence” in what they are attempting to achieve within Continually.

    Teams applying for the Ignite programme are expected to already have a product built and/or some early traction with potential customers, as well as ambitions to raise between £250,000 and £1m in the next year. Applications for the second IgniteNI Accelerator in Belfast are now open at https://www.f6s.com/igniteniacceleratormar-jun2019/ .

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