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Startup Weekly: Wayra expands across the UK, Startupbootcamp launches in China & more


It’s been another exciting week in UK tech … here’s your weekly round up of startup competitions, awards, co-working space and accelerator news.

Wayra’s UK expansion

Wayra UK, part of Telefonica Open Future, has announced plans to support more digital and tech startups across the country next year.

The accelerator is set to offer mentoring, coaching, office space and access to its networks in the Greater Manchester and Midlands regions.

A total of 24 startups will be hosted in new facilities in Oldham and Birmingham, and six companies will join the new GCHQ Cybersecurity accelerator in Cheltenham.

Gary Stewart, director of Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future UK, said: “It’s become abundantly clear that not everyone feels the benefits of technology and entrepreneurship. Our goal is to democratise entrepreneurship by ensuring that people from all around the UK are able to launch their start-ups without being pressured to come to London.

“Our new programmes allow us to help businesses in the Midlands and Greater Manchester much more effectively, generating jobs and economic growth, while we continue to also support London’s tech ecosystem. In addition, our new accelerator with GCHQ will encourage the next generation of cyber security startups, with the ambition that people will start to see the UK as the cyber capital, just as it is the FinTech capital,” he added.

Additionally, Wayra held a demo day earlier this week, which saw the following startups showcase their products:

· Baby2Body, an app and online platform that provides pregnant women and new mothers with health, fitness and wellbeing advice, has grown from 50,000 subscribers to 500,000 worldwide. It is now thought to be used by 10% of pregnant women in the UK, and has an extensive user base in the US.
· Pzizz , which launched its new paid app 60 days ago. It claims to help consumers sleep better, resulting in over $60,000 in revenue and 2,000 paid monthly subscribers.
· Codec, which uses AI to help companies understand their audiences before they plan or make content and is now working with major brands and publishers.

Startupbootcamp in China

Startupbootcamp has announced its expansion to China.

The global network of accelerator programs will be partnering with Thinkzone – a Chinese state-ranked private incubator accommodating over 500 enterprises in mobile internet, software R&D, and digital media.

Expected to be the first in a series planned Startupbootcamp programs in the Asian country over the next few years, the first accelerator will focus on digital health and will be based out of Chengdu (Southwestern China).

Carsten Kølbek, co-founder of Startupbootcamp, commented on the expansion: “Chengdu’s leap in technological development makes the city the perfect gateway into other Chinese regions.The opportunities for digital health in China are vast, not only in the Sichuan region, but within the entire China.

“The big demand for better health services by the fast growing middle-class and the liberation of the private insurance market requires new and scalable solutions fast,” added Kølbek.

“Startupbootcamp’s proven model for igniting entrepreneurial ecosystems will help attract world-class talent to Chengdu and cultivate our growing community of local innovators by providing them with the resources they need to succeed,” said Chao Wang, director of Thinkzone’s partnership with Startupbootcamp.

FinTech envoys for Scotland

Scotland will get two FinTech envoys to help build regional and national financial technology ventures and foster a culture of collaboration across the country.

On a visit to Edinburgh earlier this week, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury announced that David Fergusson, CEO of Nucleus, and Louise Smith head of design in personal and business banking at the Royal Bank of Scotland, have been appointed as the government’s new FinTech envoys for Scotland.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby, added: “I’m delighted that David and Louise have agreed to become the government’s FinTech envoys for Scotland.

“Their in-depth knowledge of the industry and excellent reputations make them the right people to drive forward positive change and allow Scottish FinTech to flourish,” Kirby concluded.

EDF Energy UK Pulse Awards

London-based Bright Little Labs, which seeks to help kids become computer coders, was one of the winners at the EDF Energy Awards for innovation.

Other winners included Warwick Analytics, a spin off from the University of Warwick, which walked away with an award for improving health and safety at work.

A further five companies have been shortlisted to take part in a 10-week acceleration programme to develop their products and services.

The shortlisted companies are:

Futurehome, a team of four specialists based in Norway who have developed a cloud-based web platform; Howz, founded by UK entrepreneur Jonathan Burr, Ipsum Energ, a Netherlands-based team led by CEO Peter de Bie; Momit Thermostat Company, founded by Miguel Sánchez from Spain; and Upside Energy, a UK-based team of six led by systems engineer Dr Graham Oakes.

… That’s all for today’s roundup. Stay tuned for next week’s!