Professor Hardcastle

Teesside University launches 'bootcamp' for internet start-ups

A group of internet startup companies will be put through their paces at a 12-week ‘bootcamp’ at Teesside University.

The unique project, launched by the university, will see 10 internet startups supported with £15,000 investment and intensive mentoring at ‘Searchcamp.’

Companies invited to take part in Searchcamp will live and work at the Middlesbrough campus for 12 weeks between June and August.

As well as receiving mentoring from academics at Teesside University, companies will take part in weekly masterclasses delivered by internationally renowned speakers, including experts from the USA, Europe and Asia.

The accelerator programme will use ‘Lean Startup’ principles to develop a product which is market-ready.

The immersive accelerator programme will see each company receive £15,000 of seed capital in return for Searchcamp getting a stake of between 6-10% in the business.

After completing the bootcamp the companies will be invited to take part in ‘investor days’ where they can pitch their product or service to venture capitalists and angel investors.

Businesses will also be offered the opportunity of follow-on funding of up to £150,000 and a place within Searchcamp’s incubator in Middlesbrough’s Boho zone.

Searchcamp Ltd is a partnership between Teesside University and North-East entrepreneurs Alastair Waite, Andy Preston and Bobby Paterson.

Bobby will also act as Programme Director, alongside Programme Manager Justin Souter.

He said: “It’s fantastic to be able to bring this programme to this region and work with an organisation like Teesside University.

“It has never been easier to build an internet startup, but equally it is also now much harder to make them successful and more than 75% of startups fail.

“This is a brilliant opportunity for 10 startups to de-risk the whole process.”

Professor Cliff Hardcastle, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Business Engagement) said: “We are very excited to be a part of this unique project.

“Teesside University already has a rich history of working with business and helping budding entrepreneurs to start businesses and Searchcamp will strengthen those links even further.

“Additionally we hope that this will further establish Teesside and the North-East as a hub of innovation.”

The scheme is open to early-stage internet, software and technology businesses from across the North-East as well as both nationally and internationally.

Deadline for entries is midnight on May 5.

Andy Preston said: “I’ve been involved in many projects and all kinds of businesses but this is the best.

“Creating an intensive, fast and furious bootcamp for entrepreneurs in Middlesbrough is a winner because there are talented teams of startup entrepreneurs here – ready for that first helping hand.”

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