Digital start-up
scheme with global appeal

Digital Start Up Business 'Paul Brooks of Twile
Digital Start Up Business 'Paul Brooks of Twile
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A second bootcamp for digital start-ups is being run in Sheffield after a 50 per cent success rate among the first year’s graduates.

Eight teams of people from around the world including Chile, Portugal and Romania, as well as teams with members from Hong Kong, China, Lithuania and Nigeria, have embarked on the Dotforge programme.

Based at the Electric Works in Sheffield, it puts them through 12 intensive weeks of development, mentoring and preparation for pitching for funding.

Last year, three of the six start-ups gained investment of up to £120,000, firing them to the next stage of development.

Dotforge was dreamt up by Plusnet founder Lee Strafford, who still acts as mentor and entrepreneur-in-residence. It is funded by Creative England and nine local angel investors. The start-up teams receive up to £30,000 of investment to pay for expenses, in return for eight per cent of equity.

Emma Cheshire, Dotforge director, said: “In addition to the fantastic support of our angel group, Creative England, the LEP, mentors and leading global technology companies, we are also grateful for the support provided by Sheffield City Council and the excellent working relationship we have with Creative Space Management at the Electric Works that helps us offer the right environment for the thriving new companies.”

Participants this year include Hive, a collaboration tool; All4Coaches, a platform for football coaches; Hastrack, for # campaigns and Solayo which aggregates content from Youtube and Soundcloud.

Last year’s successful start-ups are Twile, Flowify and Delver:

n Twile is a visual timeline for families. It secured £75,000 investment in October from eight angel investors plus £50,000 from Creative England

n Flowify makes Sofia, an application for restaurant waiting staff. It raised £46,000 through investors and borrowed £40,000.

n Delver lets people talk to computers through natural language programming.