New Ignite100 accelerator launches with £1m fund

Another day in Europe, another accelerator launched. The Difference Engine – an accelerator programme in the North of the UK we covered last year which borrowed heavily from the YCombinator/TechStars model – has itself ‘pivoted’, announcing a rejuvenation and a new name. The new Ignite100 will be a startup accelerator programme with a £1m fund that will invest up to £100k per team for ten teams later this year in the North East of England. The programme set for a September launch and will take applications from across Europe anywhere.

Technically speaking that beats Seedcamp – currently the leading accelerator in Europe – in per-team funding, although it has a larger £3m fund (so far, and the fund-raising on that is not yet finished), plus it tends to attract a pretty stellar array of A-list founders and VCs as mentors. That’s not to say Ignite100 won’t, however, and from listening to the ‘word on the street’ I know there is plenty of appetite for more accelerators in the UK amongst investors, so it shouldn’t be lacking in willing mentors.

Seedcamp takes a variable stake of around 8%-10% of its startups. Ignite100’s offer is this:

Firstly there is between £10k/£15k plus a 13 week bootcamp for 8% (5k per founder). Secondly, if the team meets its milestones (and they want the money), they get the the balance of the £100,000 as a convertible loan note at 20% discount (comparable to VC funding discounts).

Ignite100’s familiar model of a 13 week acceleration programme will be financed by the Finance for Business North East Technology Fund, which is managed by IP Group plc, as well as the Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept fund, managed by Northstar Ventures and angel investors including Hotspur Capital Partners. The Finance for Business North East Technology Fund is backed by the European Investment Bank (EIB), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and regional development agency One North East (ONE). It’s also hooking in participation from angel investors.

Teams will get an up-front ‘ramen noodle’ funding of £15,000 at the start of the programme, with the remaining balance of the £100,000 going in to the teams that finish the programme and meet “pre agreed criteria” – which presumably means the team shows it has some traction with its product.

Jon Bradford, the guy who kicked off The Difference Engine and went on to launch Springboard in Cambridge, returns as Executive Director. He says partners and mentors will come from the likes of Google, Microsoft, Paypal and Amazon Web Services will make the programme “compelling”. The actual running of the programme will be down to Paul Smith, a North East-based tech entrepreneur.

Those interested in applying to ignite100 can visit see the site. The closing date for applications is Sunday 17th July at 23.59 PST.