Six companies have joined the first Dotforge Accelerator Programme to be based at Electric Works on Sheffield’s Digital Campus.
Delver, Flowify, GigOwl, Motoneer, Scholarly and Twile are seeking to develop software and applications for vastly different potential clients, but all will receive the help they need to develop their skills and businesses.
Delver – http://delver.io – is a data mining application that is being developed by Thom Lawrence, from Sheffield, and Richard Hull.
The application is intended to connect securely and privately with a client company’s data sources and allow authorised users to use their own language to search for information.
With Delver, users should be able to ask questions like “Which clients have overdue invoices?” instead of having to write complex database queries using computing languages such as SQL.
Delver is being designed to operate over the web, or to be integrated into a company’s existing software.
Flowify – http://www.flowify.net – is being developed by founders Laura Baines, Benjamin Gibbs and Tom Pepper to provide a real-time workflow management system for the hospitality industry.
Laura Baines is a restaurant shift manager turned education student, while Benjamin Gibbs, rose from waiter to assistant manager in the hospitality industry before becoming a web developer, specialising in Cloud Development and Line of Business software.
Tom Pepper is a graphic designer who specialises in on-screen media and motion graphics, whose achievements include selling his services to colleges and universities while still a student.
Flowify’s founders claim their software will help businesses such as restaurants to make the most efficient use of their workforce, enabling them to deliver outstanding service and reduce complaints while needing fewer staff.
GigOwl – http://gigowl.co.uk – aims to be a web-based matchmaking service for independent musicians and the promoters or owners of pubs, music venues, studios and other locations capable of catering for audiences of up 200 people.
The business has been set up by Anthony Bliss, Chris Mead and Sam Fitzpatrick in direct response to the 2012 Live Music Act, which aims to encourage more small live music venues and events in the UK for new and independent musicians.
GigOwl’s founders say the site will cut the time wasted searching for appropriate locations for different music genres, streamline communications and increase trust between musicians and venues and make it easier for both to promote events.
Motoneer – http://motoneer.com – has been set up by David Greenwood and Manu Matute to make the whole process of choosing and buying a new car easier.
Its founders say the new car market is huge – worth more than £28 billion in the UK alone – but fragmented and highly inefficient, with three out of four customers reporting a negative experience.
Motoneer’s founders say limited stocks and high-pressure sales tactics are the most common buyer complaints, but, at the same time, dealers are struggling to get web-savvy shoppers into the showroom and that is pushing up the motor industry’s marketing spend.
The company hopes to improve the buying experience for customers whilst providing high-quality leads to dealerships in exchange for a subscription fee.
It aims to let buyers search for and compare hundreds of new models from the comfort of their home, request quotes anonymously and see what different dealerships are prepared to offer them.
Scholarly – http://scholarlyessay.com – is the creation of Daniel Duma and Brian Ford, who say they want to give everyone the power to write better, faster.
The duo are particularly targeting students and researchers, using Natural Language Technology to automate proofreading and provide assistance with research papers.
If all goes according to Duma and Ford’s plan, Scholarly will be able to automatically find and suggest references to other papers and citations that are relevant.
It will also give the researcher visual feedback on the structure of their argument, help to adjust the word length and detect plagiarism, among other things.
“In essence it automates the mechanical tasks required by academic writing and frees and empowers the writer to focus on creativity and critical thinking,” say Duma and Ford, who believe they are at the forefront of a revolution in the way all writing – not just academic writing – is done.
Twile – http://twile.com/ – aims to combine digital autobiography, social media and future plans in the form of a personal timeline.
The idea is the brainchild of Doncaster man Paul Brooks, who decided to set up Twile after completing a contract to help a large organisation to develop its own social media presence.
Paul Brooks teamed up with Kelly Marsden and Cristina Koppel to launch the successful bid for a place on the Dotforge Accelerator programme.
Twile says its aims is to bring together “everything you’re interested in that has happened, is happening and will happen in the future.”
A Twile timeline will include information on what someone has been doing on a day-to-day basis, social media content from Facebook and Twitter, photographs and even what’s happening in the news and with the weather.
It won’t stop there, however. It also aims to draw in movie and music releases, upcoming sports events and anything else that the individual is interested in, allowing them to buy music, books and tickets or reserve a restaurant table.
Twile’s founders say: “In a market dominated by platforms for sharing trivial daily occurrences, we’re aiming to be refreshingly useful, giving an at-a-glance view of what’s happening in your world right now and a personal planning tool to make the most of your time, while also offering the sharing and community features you’d expect from social media.”
Twile is up and running at twile.com with basic social networking features and some early commercial content.
The company has a small base of beta users who are providing feedback on features as the company develops them and is planning to accelerate development, identify business to business opportunities and launch the site publicly.