Ignite100 accelerator takes on new startups with ten new businesses joining the programme

Ignite100 which opened its Campus North doors in June had ten new businesses join the programme last week

A student assembles a train produced from a 3D digital file by I Can Make
A student assembles a train produced from a 3D digital file by I Can Make

Europe's first £1m technology accelerator has taken on its fifth cohort of startups.

Ignite100 which opened its Campus North doors in June had ten new businesses join the programme last week.

One of the ten startups who will spend four months at the campus is publishing firm I Can Make that produces 3D digital files. Co-founder Chris Thorpe, 45, from Oxford explains the business is similar to an mp3 player.

The father-of-two said: “Instead of making sound we make a physical object.

“We’re a publisher in the same way Amazon publishes things on to Kindle or Apple publishes things on to iPods.”

Two and a half years ago, the startup laser scanned a full size steam engine and started thinking about the engineering of the future.

The four-member team based in Oxford, London and Leeds believes if kids play with 3D printers they will reframe things such as manufacturing in an interesting way.

The former chief technology officer at Moshi Monsters, Chris said: “Manufacturing is important in places like the North East where you have a really strong tradition and history of engineering which through economic and political whims and offshoring to China has now disappeared.

“It would be interesting to use 3D printing to bring some of that manufacturing back in ten to 15 years’ time but for us to do that we need to educate the kids now.”

As a team that has a strong background in both the tech and kids space, Chris says they understand how to build digital products for kids that parents and adults will see the value in. With their launch planned for January at the Bett education show, they hope to one day see 3D printers a part of classrooms in the way computers and digital whiteboards are.

“We want to help education. 3D printers are a massive disruption to the classroom. A wonderful disruption and the kids and the teachers will get so much out of them,” said Chris. “When a kid sees one of these machines for the first time they get the feeling that they can literally change the world, that they can form it. That’s exactly what we hoped.”

A 3D printer in action as it prints an object from the digital file by I Can Make
A 3D printer in action as it prints an object from the digital file by I Can Make
 

For these startups, the point of their time at the programme is to grow and become investment ready said Paul Smith, co-founder and director of Ignite100.

“We are helping them test and grow for the next stage,” he said. “They receive a lot of support from us.”

South Shields-based startup Fit Gurus has also joined the programme with the hopes of building a solid business with the backing to scale it globally.

“We’re building the Netflix of Fitness,” said co-founder Paul Slater. “We became a part of the programme quite fortunately and we want to spread our business to all corners of the world.”

The fitness subscription site is run by Slater and co-founders Russ Howe and David Stidolph. At only £4,99 per month, subscribers have access to the workouts and fitness programmes of top trainers and athletes on the site. While at Campus North, they will focus on marketing and expanding their business.

Similarly, founders of photo app Dubble are wanting see improvements in their model while in the programme. After launching a year ago, the free app which allows users to create multiple exposures with images from theirs and other’s camera rolls is the brainchild of Londoner Adam Scott and Latvian Uldis Pirags.

“It could be better that’s why we’re here. We want to improve the product.”

With the new recruits, Paul is excited to see how the startups grow.

He said: “I’m really happy with all of them. They are experienced people with some exciting ideas.”

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