If you’re a small company with a big idea which could drive the evolution of IoT, a new accelerator programme based in Wales can bring the real investment, intensive training and invaluable contacts that can help you make the world a smarter place.
IOTA Wales is a 12-week programme that aims to support up-and-coming IoT businesses in their journey from startup to scaleup.
The businesses can be based anywhere in the UK but will be up for moving to Cardiff in early 2018. They’ll be developing an ‘IoT thing’ or thinking about it. It might be something to do with cybersecurity, digital living, energy, manufacturing and health or it might not.
The accelerator will accept 10 promising businesses to receive a 50k cash injection and an additional 70k of intensive training, support and creative office space in the centre of Cardiff, in exchange for a 10% equity stake in the enterprise.
So, that’s IoTA Wales. And here’s five other reasons why you should make Wales the place where you fast track your business:
Wales is…Better than Beijing, Berlin, San Fran and London
So says Chris Ganje, an American who heads up artificial intelligence (AI) and deep web mining company Amplyfi.
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Chris selected Cardiff as the city to headquarter in after screening for the best location to start and scaleup the business.
Chris and his team took an unbiased look at the international landscape of potential cities, looking at a number of key metrics such as advantaged access to top talent, multiple channels to leverage finance, and world-class government support.
Cardiff came ahead of cities such as Beijing, San Francisco, Berlin, and London.
For Amplyfi, Wales really has proven to be the best place to start, grow, or invest in a business anywhere in the UK.
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Recently, the firm has been working as part of a Harvard University study to uncover the secrets of North Korea’s biological weapons capability using deep web harvesting and analytics technology.
Made of makers
Wales was second only to England as the leading industrial nation in the 19th century, despite only having a population of 500,000 at the time and has continued to punch above its weight as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Did you know that half of all compound semiconductors found in devices around the world are made in south Wales?
Wales’ manufacturing capabilities mean that products invented in Wales can be made in Wales.
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From coal and steel to the Raspberry Pi, Wales has a past and present as a nation of creators and makers.
Its future? The perfect place to drive IoT development through innovation, inspiration and production.
Home to the fastest growing digital cluster in the UK
The IoTA Wales comes at a transformative time for Wales’ tech scene, following September’s signing of a deal for a south Wales home for the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster, CS Connected, the first investment under the £1.2bn Cardiff Capital Region city deal programme.
The cluster is expected to attract £375m in private investment and create 2,000 well paid and highly skilled jobs in the region, working on the technology behind the future of robotics, AI and driverless cars. And the Cardiff and Swansea tech cluster saw 103 startup births last year and many of those go onto scale up.
In 2015, 68% of digital investment in the UK was outside of London and the latest Tech Nation report found that Wales has the fastest growing digital economy out of London.
The Cardiff and Swansea tech cluster creates £392m annually in GVA and employs 17,000 people.
The £1.2bn Cardiff City Deal will create huge opportunities for companies looking for investment above and beyond those that already exist. Last year saw Finance Wales putting in a combined investment of £140m (lender and private sector co-investors).
And with the Development Bank of Wales having launched this autumn, an extra £35m of further funding has been given the green light. They’ve even got a Technology Seed Fund which gives entry investment between £50,000 and £2m and follow-on investments up to £5m.
Talent in abundance
Every location will tell you they’ve got top talent emerging from their universities, but not every location has a National Software Academy. Wales does.
An industry-integrated initiative at Cardiff University, the Academy generates software engineering graduates who emerge with a portfolio of projects and clients ready to hit the ground running.
Then there’s Innovation Point, the company driving IoTA Wales and tasked with driving innovation and growth in Wales by matching the right organisations with the right opportunities.
To find out more about IoTA Wales, visit: https://www.innovationpoint.uk/iotawales. Applications to be a part of IoTA Wales are now open via https://www.f6s.com/internetofthingsaccelerator-cardiff/apply. The application process will remain open until Midnight on Saturday 9th December 2017. Businesses from across the UK are able to apply to be on the programme, but those from outside of Wales must be willing to relocate.