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Startup Weekly: Indiegogo’s equity crowdfunding service, Just Eat FoodTech cohort & more


As we wave goodbye to yet another exciting week in UK tech, here’s your weekly round up of startup competitions, awards, co-working space and accelerator news.

Equity crowdfunding

Indiegogo has announced the launch of its new equity crowdfunding service, which will enable anyone to invest in startups and scaleups.

The news comes as Indiegogo claims it has helped entrepreneurs raise more than $1bn from 8 million backers.

“Our mission has always been to make it easier for individuals to raise money for projects they are passionate about and this is the latest way we’re helping entrepreneurs access the financing they need while also giving backers the chance to invest in new companies,” said David Mandelbrot, CEO of Indiegogo.

“Since Indiegogo first launched we’ve wanted to offer these sort of investments, and we’re very excited to be officially giving the millions of people who visit our platform every month the chance to get involved with equity crowdfunding opportunities,” he concluded.

Barcelona trade mission

Some 15 London-based smart cities tech companies have joined the Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, on a trade mission to Barcelona.

The companies will showcase their projects at the Smart City Expo World Congress.

Agrawal said: “London is already a world leader in tech, with some of the best talent in areas such as big data and sustainability. The companies on this trade mission are part of the capital’s thriving sector, which is at the forefront of developing cutting edge technologies which will change the way cities function.

“The Mayor and I are clear that digital technology and data have a vital role to play in the future of our public services, in energy, water, safety, transport and city infrastructure. And our progress in these areas, supported by an exceptional talent pool, will create opportunities for all Londoners and realise our ambition to becoming a truly smart city.

“There is a growing opportunity to work with cities across the world to develop innovative solutions to our challenges and London will always be open to sharing ideas and talent with the entire globe,” he added.

The companies on the trade mission were: BlockDox, Mastodon C, NFC Ring, Smart Energy GB, Spacehive, WiFi Spark, Design for Social Change, GeoUniq, Gett, JustPark, Invotra, Open energi, Polysolar, SEaB Energy and Space Synthax.

Just Eat FoodTech cohort

CityMunch, Fanceat, Go Cart, Nutrifix and Share Dining will be the first companies to join Just Eat’s FoodTech accelerator.

The five startups will spend the next 10 weeks on an intensive programme, which will provide them with mentoring and networking opportunities.

Stuart Mainwaring, head of Corporate Ventures at Just Eat, said:

“We are excited to kick off our FoodTech Accelerator today. We’ve had a number of great start-ups pitch to us over the last few weeks, covering all aspects of the sector which shows how energised and exciting London’s FoodTech community is. The five startups we’ve chosen demonstrated the exceptional creativity, innovation and growth potential to stand out from a really strong crowd. We’re delighted to have them on board and have an action-packed schedule for them over the coming weeks to help them on their journeys towards becoming outstanding food tech companies.”

Each startup will receive a £20,000 investment in exchange for 5% of their business.

London’s ‘first’ sports tech hub

London will get a sports tech hub as a result of a partnership between London & Partners and London Sport.

The new facility will be housed in London Sport’s four-story forthcoming ‘House of Sport’ project, providing tech, digital and data startups with direct access to the sport sector to foster innovation and collaboration.

Peter Fitzboydon, chief executive at London Sport, said: “Building effective partnerships with technology is the biggest opportunity for getting more people active in the foreseeable future.

“London’s standing as a global hub of tech innovation makes it the perfect place to form these partnerships, and this new tech hub will create an environment which breaks down barriers and opens up opportunities for startups, for the sport sector and, ultimately, for people in London and around the world who want to be more active in a way that works for them,” added Fitzboydon.

The hub is set to open in early 2017.

Norwich Sync The City

Sync The City, a 54 hour hackathon, took place in Norwich this week giving winning teams the chance to walk away with £4,000 in cash prizes.

The event brought together budding entrepreneurs, business mentors and tech experts and saw them work together on several different ideas and develop a working prototype and demo to be pitched to a panel of judges.

Ideas included a Google chrome extension for sourcing citations and sources on news articles, a mains electric-powered smoke alarm detector and an AI chatbot called Michael that would work with Facebook Messenger.

Winners will be announced tomorrow.

Northern Stars

Tech North has announced the winners of its Northern Stars pitch competition.

The winners, or Northern Stars, were selected by a panel of judges that included Simon Calver, founding partner of BGF Ventures; Harry Davies, head of ecosystem development at Wayra; and Karen Kerrigan, chief legal officer at Seedrs.

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock, said: “We’re determined to do everything we can to support innovation and growth in our thriving digital economy – making it a success story right across the country. This includes backing the Northern Stars awards which celebrate and develop some of the best tech talent from across the Northern Powerhouse. Our funding for Tech North is also helping the region’s startups and scaleups become the world leading businesses of tomorrow.”

The winners are Airtime Rewards (Manchester), Ash.tv (Hull), Dream Agility (Bury), DueCourse (Manchester), Living Lens (Liverpool), ProxiSmart (Newcastle), Radio.co (Manchester), SwapBots (Liverpool), TopicDNA (Liverpool) and Valuechain (Lancaster).