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Norwich start-up accelerator Tech Velocity gets into gear as four firms join programme

PUBLISHED: 12:12 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:12 07 December 2017

Technology accelerator Tech Velocity. Left to right, Callum Coombes, Matthew Bolton, Joe Hodge, Kris Jones, Michael Leftwich and Shane Morgan.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Technology accelerator Tech Velocity. Left to right, Callum Coombes, Matthew Bolton, Joe Hodge, Kris Jones, Michael Leftwich and Shane Morgan. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

A programme which aims to turbo-charge the development of Norwich’s technology sector has named in its first crop of businesses.

Accelerator Tech Velocity is attempting to bridge the gap between start-up firms and those which scale up to become national or international players.

The accelerator scheme, based at Whitespace, in Whitefriars, Norwich, aims to help businesses to the next level through mentoring, introductions to investors and channelling them towards public funding.

Tech Velocity’s aim is to help turn each of its chosen companies into a £20m business by 2019.

Programme director Kris Jones said: “The key thing is to help people grow fast or fail fast.

“If their idea isn’t going to work they need to know early and we need to help them come back with something that works better.

“Not everything is going to work as a commercial product in its own right but we can make sure they can meet the companies which can make use of the technology in their own systems.”

Four companies across a range of sectors have been chosen for the first intake, with a fifth in the pipeline.

They are remote worker communication app Assemble, e-commerce platform Commercity, land management software firm The Land App and personality recruitment firm Protu.

Mr Jones said: “Our approach is to equip them with the proper ecosystem support before they go out there to get investment so that they are in the right place to grow when they do.

“Some of them need investment right away and we are helping to put them in touch with the right people as well as helping them to meet companies which can test their tech before they go live.”

In deciding which firms to include Mr Jones said the programme had been selective with only those they were sure were “explosively scalable” – having potential to grow rapidly through customers rather than staff – and which had unique features in their markets.

There is also a pre-accelerator scheme running alongside the scheme and the project is being supported by sponsors such as housing company Flagship Group, which is sharing the expertise of its team, as well as businesses including Barclays and Aviva.

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