SOFTWARE firm Bond Solutions has started an ambitious expansion as the first company to sign up for a place at a new hub for digital companies in the North East.
The nine-year-old company will move from Innovator House once the 13-office Jupiter Centre building is completed at the North East Business and Innovation Centre at the start of August. It has been developed as part of the Sunderland Software City initiative, which aims to boost the city’s profile as a hub for software.
Managing director Derek Curtis said: “Sunderland Software City is a customer of ours, so we came across the centre when the idea was first launched about two years ago. We’re expanding so we need a bigger office and we’re a Sunderland software company so it ticks all the boxes.”
Jupiter Centre tenants will boast offices with balconies, additional annexes, mezzanine floors and spiral staircases, and will have access to two meeting rooms with free WiFi.
David Howell, director of operations at the North East BIC, said: “Whilst it will be an ideal home for burgeoning software companies to further their growth, The Jupiter Centre is also a major element of the larger infrastructure strategy of the Sunderland Software City project.
“It will offer a perfect location in terms of both technical specification and support services for software companies in the region.”
Bernie Callaghan, chief executive at Sunderland Software City, said: “A huge part of Sunderland Software City’s work is persuading leading software companies to make our region their home.
“World-class, cutting-edge accommodation is a huge attraction to businesses of all sizes and that’s exactly what the Jupiter Centre offers.”
Bond’s new office will allow it to expand from 700 square metres to 1,200 square metres, which will in turn enable it to expand its six-strong workforce.
Curtis said: “It will give us space to add another four or five people over the next four years. Essentially we sell Sage software, train people how to use it and customise it, but as part of the expansion plan we’ll be looking to develop our own software complimentary to Sage products.
“We have bases in both the North East and North West. We have customers all over the country, but the majority are in those two areas. Customers who had the software going into the recession are utilising it a lot more, and now people are seeing the benefits of buying new systems as money is tight.”
Curtis believes that Sunderland is benefiting from good graduates coming from the region’s universities, and that continued investment is required to allow companies to keep abreast of changes in markets.
He said: “Software will be developed as a service which you buy or rent as and when you need it. At the moment you buy a CD and you upgrade. It will soon be more on a rental basis available on the internet rather than CD. It’s happening to some extent now, but it will happen more and more.”