Seed funding of £15m from a new UK startup programme has helped a group of 31 graduates to establish businesses.
By Sam Shead
The non-profit Entrepreneur First programme — which counts Microsoft, Silicon Valley Bank and the City of London corporation among its core sponsors — aims to turn some of the UK’s most talented students into founders of high-growth tech startups.
Before gaining a place on the programme, which runs out of Google Campus in Tech City, each individual must go through three seperate interviews with a successful entrepreneur, an investor and the founders of Entrepreneur First.
A total of 600 people applied to join the programme last year, but only 31 were chosen. Once selected for the programme, the graduates spent six months building a team, developing an idea and accelerating their businesses to the stage where they could take seed funding.
Companies established by the graduates include a startup called Streethub, an online click-and-collect service that helps people find and reserve products in boutique shops, before collecting and paying for them later, and Blaze Components, which sells bike lights that project a laser image of a cyclist onto the road to make cyclists more visible to drivers.
A further 36 students have now been selected for the second year of the Entrepreneur First programme.