Ycombinator-style programme aims to be The Difference Engine

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We recently ran with the news that a suite of investment funds to the value of £125m ($200m) is coming the North East of England. A substantial proportion are dedicated for technology investments.

At the same time The Difference Engine is arriving as a new acceleration programme for early stage tech businesses supported by various local organisations and mentors. This is going to be a “more Techstars than Seedcamp” kind of programme aimed at hackers producing products quite fast.

Teams get £20,000 for 8% of common stock, mentoring and free accommodation for 16 weeks. This contrasts with Seedcamp, which takes between 5-10% (it varies) for 50,000 Euros. Some might say 8% is a bit high, but Programme co-ordinator Jon Bradford says they are “aiming for earlier stage businesses” than Seedcamp as TDE is “more comparable to YC and TechStars. Our valuations sit somewhere between these programmes and Seedcamp.”

The real estate for will be provided by DigitalCity Business in Tees Valley, and Boho One in Middlesbrough.

The funds to support it will come from regional development agencies and councils rather than central government.

Bradford tells me the “the parameters are set as widely as possible – being open to anyone from anywhere – with no obligation to remain in the region after the programme – we will, however, actively encourage them to remain in the region.”

The closing date is January 4, and you can apply here. Twitter feed is here.

  • Stefan Richter

    I saw this and and thought it sounds really interesting. The mentoring aspect is hugely valuable and I was about to apply when I realised that teams must relocate for 16 weeks. Not an option for me, can’t leave wife and 3 kids behind for that long. Also couldn’t see myself move to the North East afterwards. A bit short sighted on their part I think.

  • Ross Cooney

    This is an excellent scheme… apparently the first 10 companies will be chosen soon after the 4th January deadline for applications.

  • Tim

    Looks great. They now need to increase the size of their mentors team, to make it sound even more attractive :-)

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