Welcome to Startup Weekly, our roundup of the week’s top tech news for startups in the UK.

Every week, we will bring you the latest from the country’s startup accelerators, incubators, competitions, awards as well as any relevant new hires in the space.

Growth Builder cohort

Growth Builder, a business growth programme, has announced the first cohort of 48 businesses selected to participate in its 12-month programme.

Participants were selected based on existing proven successes and their potential for further growth by a panel of industry experts.  The panel was looking for businesses with either £1.5m revenue or 20 staff and which have grown by over 20% per year for the past two years.

Selected businesses will enjoy access to Government, university innovation, corporate expertise, investors and successful entrepreneurs, including programme ambassadors like Brent Hoberman, Sherry Coutu, Sarah Wood and Ed Wray.

Ben Fletcher, chairman of Growth Builder, said: “Since launching the Call for Applications in February, we’ve been delighted with the calibre and number of applications received. This programme was built because we believed there was a need to help already established businesses achieve their next level of growth – be that launching into a new sector, geography or attracting big contracts. On average applicants were already hitting revenues of £4.5m, backing our belief.”

The tech companies selected onto the Growth Builder 12-month programme are:

Cloudthing ltd
DCSL software
Growth Engineering
Health & parenting
InSkin Media
Inspire digital
MWS technology
Pie Mapping
yoyo wallet

Octopus ventures hire

The London-based venture capital investor has appointed mobile gaming entrepreneur Eyal Rabinovich to its investment team, known for backing the likes of Zoopla, Secret Escapes and SwifKey.

Rabinovich brings 13 years of technology industry experience to the role, having co-founded Israeli-based data-driven games publisher PlayScape.

The hire comes just weeks after Octopus Ventures raised an additional £100m fund.

Alex Macpherson, head of Octopus Ventures, said: “As the European entrepreneurial market continues to develop, we think the role of investors in supporting a business throughout its growth journey will be crucial. It’s great to have Eyal on board and we look forward to benefiting from his hands-on entrepreneurial experience as we look to identify and support the people building impressive businesses.”

Blis appoints board member

London-based data firm Blis has appointed Bill Demas as chairman of its Board.

Demas joins Blis after serving six years as President and CEO of Turn, a global independent programmatic advertising technology platforms across display, mobile, video, and social advertising.

Prior to Turn, Demas held senior executive positions at Overture, Yahoo, Microsoft and IBM.

“I’m delighted to be joining the Blis Board at such an exciting high growth time for the business,” said Bill Demas, chairman of the Blis Board. “Location-informed advertising is set to drive digital marketing into the next era and promises much in the way of deeper audience insights and personalized consumer messaging. I believe Blis is well positioned to capitalize on this huge opportunity.”

Founders Forum and Talk Talk

TalkTalk and Founders Forum have announced “The F Factor”,  the second edition of their business pitch opportunity for budding young entrepreneurs.

They’re looking for 5 teams of young tech leaders to pitch for their chance to win £10,000 to fulfill their idea.

The competition is open to tech entrepreneurs aged between 14 and 25 to secure one of the 5 finalist places at the Founders Forum in London on 16th June 2016.

Brent Hoberman, of Founders Forum, the network for leading digital and tech entrepreneurs, said: ‘We’re helping young people get in front of inspirational investors and world-class technology entrepreneurs. Whoever you are, and wherever you are in the UK, we want to hear from you!’

Applications close on 20th May.

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