Virgin Media & Techstars reveal 10 startups to join new London-based accelerator
10 innovative startups from around the globe chosen to join new mentor-driven accelerator
Funding for the programme will be provided by Liberty Global
Accelerator is backed by Virgin Media, Liberty Global and Techstars and will be housed in a newly refurbished space in London
Startups will visit Silicon Valley next week to meet with tech giants and Sir Richard Branson
Virgin Media and Techstars today reveal the ten digital startups chosen to be part of a new mentor-driven accelerator based in London. This follows a competitive application process which opened in November 2015 and received submissions from around the globe.
The businesses come from as far as Dublin, Venice Beach, Milan and Berlin and all have a diverse mix of digital ideas and products. These include a Virtual Reality treadmill; an Internet of Things device that monitors and manages appliance electricity usage; a product for P2P real-time video streaming and a company that crowdsources real-time stats for sporting events.
Intensive three month programme based in London
With the backing of Virgin Media Business, its parent company, Liberty Global and Techstars, the ‘Virgin Media Accelerator powered by Techstars’ will runan intense 13-week mentorship and guidance programme for the ten startups. Funding for the programme will be provided by Liberty Global.
The accelerator, which begins at the end of March, will be housed in a newly refurbished space in Aldgate East, London. The program culminates with a Demo Day, where the Virgin Media Accelerator cohorts will pitch to investors.
Trip to Silicon Valley
To kick-off the programme the businesses will visit Silicon Valley next week to meet with some of the most successful and fastest growing tech companies including Google, Facebook and Cable Labs as well as CEOs from the Techstars portfolio. The startups will then board a Virgin America flight to Denver where Sir Richard Branson will meet with the businesses after landing. On the flight, Sir Richard will take part in a live-streamed discussion on the “future of entrepreneurship” – which will be broadcast via LinkedIn from 35,000 feet. The trip will finish at Techstars’ HQ before the startups return to London.
While in Denver the startups will spend time at Techstars’ HQ and also visit the offices of programme sponsors, Liberty Global, before returning to London.
By making use of the accelerator’s global connections this trip will give the startups exposure in the US and provide a boost of inspiration heading into the accelerator programme.
Global network of mentors and expert advice culminating in a Demo Day
At the heart of this accelerator will be access to funding, business advice, help developing products and services and support from a global network of more than 7,000 founders, mentors, investors and corporate partners. These will include Sir Richard Branson; Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media; Peter Kelly, MD of Virgin Media Business; Bruce Dines, Vice President at Liberty Global Ventures and mentors from successful technology companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Stripe and Twilio.
After three months the startups will take part in a ‘Demo Day’ in London, where they will each pitch to some of the world’s leading investors for the chance to raise capital and secure further investment in their businesses. The demo day will be a chance for the startups to highlight the progress made so far with the reassurance of support continuing after the initial programme ends.
Peter Kelly, Managing Director, Virgin Media Business said: “This accelerator is a true reflection of what we’re all about at Virgin Media – we are passionate about giving innovative businesses the support they need to reach their full digital potential. With the level of expertise backing this programme and the London location of the accelerator, these businesses are going to get the very best start to their entrepreneurial journey.”
Ryan Kuder, Managing Director, Virgin Media Accelerator powered by Techstars, said: “We can’t wait to start helping these truly innovative startups grow and develop their business – it’s what we do best. With the backing of Virgin Media, Techstars and Liberty Global these startups will have access to some of the best business knowledge and expertise as well as a global network of contacts to help them rise above competitors.”
Bruce Dines, Vice President, Liberty Global Ventures said: “This is a first of its kind programme for Liberty Global done in partnership with Techstars and we cannot think of a stronger brand to associate with this accelerator than Virgin Media. London is the perfect location to give these startups the support, advice, funding and expertise they need to develop their ideas, grow their business and in turn inspire the next wave of budding entrepreneurs.”
The ten startups that will join the accelerator programme are:
Ecoisme - Poland | @ecoisme
Ecoisme is a home energy monitoring solution. It is capable of recognising individual devices in households based on their signature within the electrical grid. It allows people to track any device’s energy usage and receive personalised tips to reduce consumption.
GoalShouter - Italy | @GoalShouterITA
Connect supporters and football clubs of any size.
KonnectAgain - Ireland | @KonnectAgain
KonnectAgain provides a platform for organisations to keep engaged and up to date with ex-employees to ensure they never lose touch
Synervoz – Canada
Synervoz develops always-on voice communications software. Its flagship app, TurnMeUp, uses voice activity detection to automatically adjust volumes when somebody speaks, allowing people to listen to music and talk at the same time while wearing headphones.
Rally Networks - USA | @@rally_networks
Rally is a rapid charging network that helps developers and enterprises drive mobile app downloads and high-value ad engagements. Customers at retail locations can charge their phone for free after downloading an app or engaging with an interactive ad. Businesses gain insights into their customer base through a data and analytics platform.
Repairly - UK | @repairly
Repairly connects people with local engineers to fix their electricals on-demand. The company currently fixes smartphones, laptops, desktops and tablets.
Sponsokit - Germany | @sponsokit
An easy-to-use platform where companies learn how to collaborate with social media creators.
Stepsize - UK | @StepsizeHQ
Stepsize’s mission is to make software development more accessible, efficient and powerful.
Programmers can use Stepsize's desktop app and website to find, reuse, and collaborate on code snippets so that they can be more productive.
TelToo - UK | @teltoo_cdn
A P2P CDN for video distribution.
Wizdish - UK | @wizdish
WizDish manufacture an exercise platform, designed for Virtual Reality, called the ROVR. It allows a player to perform simulated walk and run in any direction without moving from the spot.
Notes to editors
About the Virgin Media Accelerator programme
On entering the programme, each company has the option to receive up to $120,000 (approximately £78,000) of funding in exchange for an equity stake and convertible loan note. This is broken down as follows:
On entering the programme, Liberty Global Ventures and Techstars will acquire a 6% equity stake in each of the 10 selected start-ups in exchange for an initial $20,000 (approximately £13,000) investment.
Each company will also have the option to take an additional $100,000 (approximately £65,000) convertible loan note backed by Liberty Global Ventures and Techstars, for up to an additional 4% equity stake.
We offer an Equity Back Guarantee. If, after the programme is complete, a start-up is not completely satisfied with the value of the programme, Liberty Global Ventures and Techstars will give them back part, or all, of the 6% equity stake they initially exchanged to enter the programme.
During the 13-week programme, the 10 participants will have access to a range of support facilities, including executive assistants, personal trainers and nutritionists.
After Demo Day, founders will have the option of spending a week in either Chicago or Silicon Valley recharging and meeting with investors complements of Virgin Media
Techstars is a global ecosystem that empowers entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market wherever they choose to live. With dozens of mentorship-driven accelerator programs and thousands of community programs worldwide, Techstars exists to support the world’s most promising entrepreneurs throughout their lifelong journey, from inspiration to IPO. Techstars provides access to tens of thousands of community leaders, founders, mentors, investors, and corporate partners, allowing entrepreneurs to accelerate the pace of innovation and Do More Faster™. Techstars supports every stage of the entrepreneurial journey – from early stage grassroots community development to more formal opportunities that provide education, experience, acceleration, funding, and beyond.
About Virgin Media Business
Virgin Media Business is the division of Virgin Media that provides products and services to UK businesses and the public sector. We have more than 36,000 business customers, most of them small and medium enterprises. We also partner with the public sector; with local councils and thousands of schools to improve connectivity in communities and support learning; and with the emergency services to enable them to efficiently perform their life-saving skills.
We’re part of the Virgin Media group, the UK’s first provider of all four broadband, TV, mobile phone and home phone services. Virgin Media is a part of Liberty Global plc, the world’s largest international cable company. Together Virgin Media and Liberty Global serve 27 million customers across 14 countries, helping connect people to the digital world and enabling them to discover and experience its endless possibilities.