31/07/2011

Springboard gives birth to 10 promising companies

Friday 29th July was investor day for Springboard, the mentoring and accelerator program based out of Cambridge, where the 10 companies that had gone through the system did their final pitches to a packed audience made up of investors (in Springboard itself), mentors (including myself) and lots of VCs.

Springboard is loosely based on the TechStars program out of the US and was initiated by Red Gate Software in 2009 (this being the second incarnation). This year it was supported by Red Gate, angels and NESTA and took place in the Hauser Forum.

Compared to The Difference Engine (a similar program which took place in Sunderland last year) the teams and pitches were definitely more polished and all came out vastly improved (and some radically different) from when they started the program.

The teams were (in order of appearance)

Adwings - Lithuania - a ad publishing platform that allows tracking of campaigns to various destination media including print, digital and mobile.

Apiary.io - Prague, Czech Republic - A 'techy' service allowing companies to quickly build and deploy web APIs (application programming interfaces) while testing and monitoring and documenting them.

Arachnys - Cambridge, UK - a services for providing due-diligence on companies in emerging markets by consolidating all available information.

Hubflow - Bournemouth, UK - a service that converts existing training material into a mobile format (with tracking metrics to see how well the user is performing). This allows companies to offer training materials to their employees on their mobile device to be completed in dead time (such as when commuting) or at their own convenience.

Mayday - London, UK - a web based service that plugs into a company's .Net process to alert the company to errors in the process, hopefully before customers start complaining.

MiniMonos - Wellington, NZ - a virtual world for children (male) between 8 and 12. A Freemoim service with subscriptions and virtual goods. The site has been around for 2 years, but the new site launched last month and now has around 300,000 users. Membership packs will be available from Sainsbury's in Oct (next to Moshi Monsters etc).

Playmob - London, UK - a platform allowing games developers to easily integrate charitable payments into games (i.e. for virtual goods) and for Charities to easily sign-up to the service which should fully launch in October 2011.

Publification - Tartu, Estonia - a web based HTML5 authoring system and browser based eReader that works across multiple platforms (i.e. desktop and mobile). Once books have been downloaded they can be read off-line. The platform can be white-labelled for publishers and authors can also self-publish.

Tastebuds - London, UK - dating site based on music likes where matches are made based on music preferences. Users can just add artists they like or the service will import from Last.fm and/or Facebook.

Total Gigs, Newcastle, UK - a web service allowing disparate users to share content from events they have attending (making them into groups). After the event has taken place users can relive the event from the group content.

The program was driven by John Bradford with day to day organisation help from Jessica Williamson.

John's next accelerator program is Ignite100 and if the quality improves every time he runs one, it should produce some amazing companies.
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