Norwich Tech e-book gives detailed insight of life for Rainbird on the Techstars London scheme

Standing before the countdown clock to Demo Day - (Left to Right) Ben Taylor (CEO & Co-Founder), Jam

Standing before the countdown clock to Demo Day - (Left to Right) Ben Taylor (CEO & Co-Founder), James Duez (Chairman & Co-founder), Barry Mears, Dom Davis, Chris Wilkinson, Nathan Roberts - Credit: Archant

A leading figure in Norwich's burgeoning technology sector has lifted the lid on life on a prestigious bootcamp-style mentoring programme for tech firms.

Shaun Lowthorpe with Dom Davis chief technology officer at Rainbird, and Kitty Rosser associate at B

Shaun Lowthorpe with Dom Davis chief technology officer at Rainbird, and Kitty Rosser associate at Birketts - Credit: Archant

Dom Davis, chief technology officer at Rainbird has written an ebook giving a blow-by-blow account of the Techstars London accelerator which compresses two years of growth into three months.

The firm, a member of the EDP Future 50, was one of 11 fast-growth companies invited to take part in the three-month programme between November last year and February and the book, 100 Days of Techstars, is based on a series of blogs he produced during the time, which organisers then encouraged him to turn into a book.

Six Rainbird staff decamped from its offices in St James Mill Norwich to London to take part in the programme which gave them access to mentors and specialists as well as global companies such as IBM.

He said while the working environment was high-presssured it also enabled the company to rethink a lot of the software systems it was using as well as its revenue model.

'We were given access to a lot of people,' Mr Davis said. 'It's been massively positive for the business, the introductions we had were just phenomenal and we have been able to secure more investment on the back of it and we have secured contracts with some fairly big clients.'


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Norwich's emerging reputation as a centre for technology businesses was underscored in a Tech Nation study earlier this year which revealed that the city and the wider county mounted a 21pc growth in new technology companies between 2010 and 2013, with 14,521 people now employed in the digital sector.

The report pinpointed Norwich-based tech companies Proxama and Liftshare as key pillars supporting the city's digital sector, with technology networking groups SyncNorwich, Hot Source and Norfolk Developers (NorDev) also boosting economic growth.

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Rainbird was founded by Ben Taylor, a computer scientist, and serial technology entrepreneur and investor James Duez.

The company is an artificial intelligence platform which allows businesses to capture human expertise in software.

Mr Davis said the business, which employs 14 staff, had also moved from the start-up stage to revenue and was continuing to grow.

'We are hiring new developers and hiring Norwich engineers and we have got people locally applying for jobs,' he added.

He recalled his Techstars experience at an event hosted by law firm Birketts at its offices in Norwich on Tuesday.

The evening also saw a presentation from Barclays about its new £100m fund to help fast growing technology businesses accelerate to the next level. The new drive will see Barclays backing some of the most innovative UK technology businesses with lending of up to £5m, repayable over three years.

Kitty Rosser, an associate at Birketts, said the firm was increasingly looking to engage with tech companies.

'Norwich is now a recognised technology hub and the tech community in the city has put together this great infrastructure through Sync Norwich and NorDevCon,' she said. 'If we want to work with these companies it's no longer enough for us to say we can advise them on corporate transactions, we need to show that we understand this community and can engage with them rather than just service them in the tradtional way.'

<t> Dom Davis will be talking about his book as well Norwich's growing tech scene on tonight's Business Extra programme on Mustard TV at 6.15pm and again in the scheduled news bulletins.

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