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Fast tracking talent to incubate founders and digital startups

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by Startacus Admin

Launchpad incubator and accelerator programme
Wannabee digital business founders and entrepreneurs rejoice! Launchpad, an innovative, post-graduate incubation and acceleration programme developed by Falmouth University, that aims to create new digital businesses to meet identified market demand in just 12 months, is back on the hunt for their next programme cohort.

Aiming to help define the next generation of tech startups, Launchpad is a great opportunity for software engineers, digital creatives and business developers.

Working on real industry challenges with leading businesses supported by experienced coaches and mentors, the programme cohort are shaped into startup teams that then offer cutting edge solutions that investors want to buy into. All this, and you receive £16k tax-free and study for a no-fees Masters to support and equip you on your startup journey.

With this in mind, we chatted with Nick Dixon, Head of the Launchpad Programme, to find out more about, amongst other things, the programme, their corporate partners, and the type of tech startups that they aim to create.

Nick DixonHi there Nick, so first up, give us your own pitch! Why should someone consider applying to join the Launchpad programme? 

Launchpad is a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs to start an exciting, innovative digital business whilst being funded and supported for a year. They’ll work directly with a high-profile Industry Partner who provides a market demand challenge and they’ll also study for an MA Degree, which is also fully funded. All this will give them the grounding they need to build a high-growth, high-value business.

The programme has been running since 2014. How much has the programme evolved since its initial launch?

Running several years of incubating and generating companies under a rather unique model has helped us to hone the delivery. It really is a very unique programme with extraordinary results. A very experienced, industry focussed staff team combined with an innovative launchpadmethodology of market-based challenges ensures a high degree of success. Typically 80%. So, how has the programme evolved – it has gained strength and confidence with a great deal of success stories for a relatively new programme.

You have a fab list of corporates partners such as BBC, Amazon and Sony. Why do corporate partners like this want to collaborate with Launchpad and the startups themselves?

Because they have direct access to fantastic, often-untapped graduate talent and innovative thinking that has huge value potential. Many partners, despite their size, do not have the ability to assign their own teams to all of the innovation projects that face their sector. This is an opportunity for them to do that, build a business relationship with the team and gain from significant corporate social responsibility.

Talk to us more about the programme commitments and what is expected from those that take part. 

It’s a tough year but, potentially, hugely rewarding. Candidates will need to undertake a rigorous interview process for available positions. Successful applicants will then undertake a year of market study, product development, investment discussions and business development, wrapped around by a real-world focussed academic programme. We expect resilience, courage and smart thinking from those who take part. For those who succeed, which we always aim to be the majority, investment, a strong company and great future is the reward.

fast tracking talentWhat type of products do the startups develop? 

Software products for the most part – covering new tech sectors. We have companies in machine learning, data aggregation, app development, broadcasting, games and gamification and Blockchain. As long as the product is software focussed and in a growing market, we’re happy for the company to pursue that development.

In terms of Launchpad legacy, what are the standout success stories from the programme to date?

We have quite a few success stories. One of our first companies to emerge was named by the Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as one of 5 trailblazing companies in the UK in Artificial Intelligence. After receiving significant investment in their first year, they are now in talks for Series A to enjoy further growth alongside their global customers. In the last programme, we have a company who worked with Twitch TV and Amazon to develop a fantastic, first-to-market product that allows streamers and broadcasters to connect live with their viewers in the thousands.

Finally, for anyone looking to apply, what can help an application to join the programme really stand out? 

Be brave, be honest… and, most importantly, be prepared.

So, if you are a determined, ambitious, optimistic and driven futurist and think you’ve got what it takes to grow a successful tech business, whilst also completing a one year MA Entrepreneurship programme - check out all the details here.

Falmouth Launchpad

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Published on: 19th November 2018

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