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28 April, 2011 - 13:27 By News Desk

Springboard Cambridge and Business Weekly launch double startup stimulus

Jon Bradford

Springboard Cambridge, the new tech startup accelerator, is working with Business Weekly in a double header designed to raise awareness of the event and boost the commercialisation prospects of the teams involved.

From May 4, Springboard Cambridge’s daily blog will be appearing exclusively on Business Weekly’s new and globally influential business website.

In a separate initiative, Business Weekly CEO, Tony Quested, chairs a groundbreaking Round Table Q&A on May 12 to help inspire the 25 members of the 10 competing teams.

Cambridge has spawned some fabulous tech startups in the first 50 years of the cluster – tyros that have gone on to achieve world leadership. But their early years have often been fraught.

Quested will be sharing inside track insights on the Cambridge greats that really didn’t look like they were going to make it in the early days and highlight the best and worst practices of the tech cluster pathfinders.

Six UK contenders – including one from ideaSpace Cambridge – have made the cut of just 10 teams from a total of 231 global entries for Springboard Cambridge.

The other four teams are from Estonia, Lithuania, New Zealand and the Czech Republic.

Bradford said the teams covered a broad mix of sector types including online gaming, data analytics, entertainment, dating, e-publishing and developer tools.

US investors and UK Venture Capital firms as well as leading corporates have booked ‘ringside seats’ to check out the innovation on show.

In an exclusive interview with Business Weekly, programme director Jon Bradford revealed that Microsoft, Google, PayPal, Facebook and Amazon Web Services were among the corporate heavyweights monitoring the Sprinboard event on May 12.

VCs engaging with participants include Amadeus Capital Partners, Octopus Ventures, Eden Ventures, Index Ventures, DFJ Esprit, Pentech, Doughty Hanson and Balderton Capital.

More than 70 mentors have committed to take part in the Cambridge programme. Bradford said: “We’ve had great support from Cambridge angels, such as Robert Sansom, Hermann Hauser and Sherry Coutu. Many other mentors will travelling to Cambridge from London and overseas including Sweden, Poland, Spain, Denmark, Romania, Switzerland, Canada and Silicon Valley.

“It’s been an overwhelming response to the inaugural event. Getting down to just 10 teams from such a large and impressive worldwide entry was exhausting but exciting.

“We would have had 11 teams but one of the teams we chose pulled out after hooking £350k investment – which is good in a way, because it shows we were  thinking on the right lines.

“The vagaries of choosing so few from so many can work both ways: One of the mentors who visited me asked whether we had seen X company among the 231 contenders and said they were absolutely amazing. We counted them out in the first round! Someone has to make the judgement calls.”

The Springboard programme starts on May 3 at the Hauser Forum, culminating in an investor day on July 29 in Cambridge.

“We have already been contacted by a number of US investors who have expressed a desire to attend the event,” said Bradford. He has been approached by a number of parties about extending the programme into London and the UK regions.

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