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Northern Ireland based Accelerator Start Planet NI aims to build global appeal

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by Startacus Admin

A brand new accelerator programme aiming to put Northern Ireland on the map as a global go-to place for high potential startups has been launched. Here’s all the details on how you can apply… 

Aiming to place Northern Ireland as a great location for high potential startups is StartPlanetNI - an accelerator programme based in Belfast. Uniquely it is setting out to bring together local NI startups with international StartPlanet NIstartups on a 50/50 basis to build Northern Ireland’s next generation of world class businesses.

Applications now open to startup founders from across the world. Here are all the details you need to know.

Funding for the programme comes via the regional economic development agency Invest Northern Ireland, who want to help high potential start-ups access early stage support and investment in Northern Ireland. It has contributed £2.6million to establish this accelerator programme, which will specifically focus on attracting both international and indigenous businesses with technology based ideas in the Knowledge Economy sectors.

The programme will also make approximately £2million of private sector equity investment funding available for selected startups (50 in total) over the length of the five year programme.

The StartPlanetNI accelerator is backed by an expert team with an internationally credible pedigree. Led by startup stalwart, mentor and founder Bill Liao, SOSventures European Venture Partner (also co-founder of CoderDojo and founder of, he is joined by Wayne Murphy - Accelerator Manager with Belfast based Diane Roberts from Xcell Partners running the programme.

In addition they have put in place an impressive team of expert mentors with a wide range of international experience who will offer invaluable and intensive mentoring and coaching to programme participants.

It will kick off in November 2015 with the programme’s first cohort of 10 teams. Each team will consist of 2-4 people who will have a product or idea almost ready for market. Participants will receive £15k ($23K USD / €21K EURO) seed funding and in return will be expected to part with 8% equity investment.

The accelerator offers an innovative co-operative approach to the investment the startups will gain and the equity they offer in return.

Uniquely, of that 8%, 2% will go towards a Founders’ Fund, which plans to generate shares in a pool made up of each company participating in the five year programme. The goal being that if in the not too distant future, one or more of the startups has a significant exit - all those in the ‘pool’ will benefit!

With relatively low living costs and a strong entrepreneurial spirit at its heart, Belfast is a prime location to start a tech centred business. The 3 month long Accelerator will be based in Revolution BFS, a new purpose designed accelerator and co-working space located in the heart of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. This space will be part of a global network of SoSventures Revolution co-working spaces – from San Francisco and Schenzen, to Cork and New York.

Each company who is successfully selected onto the accelerator will receive;

  • Equity investment of £15k
  • Up to a further £250k available per cohort
  • 3 months of intensive mentoring and support
  • Access to a state of the art co-working space for 3 months - with the option to stay for a further 6 months free of charge
  • Legal and financial support 

Startups have until 18th September 2015 to apply for the inaugural programme, commencing at the start of November and ending three months later with an all-important Demo day.

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Published on: 1st June 2015

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