North-East
Accelerator Programme

North East
Accelerator Programme

A funded, 6 month accelerator for MVP-stage founders or teams, looking to scale their business and potentially raise further investment.

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Applications for the next accelerator cohort are currently closed. The accelerator is open to companies based, or willing to relocate to / with a material presence, in the North East (County Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear).

Apply with Technology Concept

Apply if: You are a founding team, working full-time on your technology startup, and need help scaling and potentially raising further investment.

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Apply with
Technology + Ageing / Data Concept

Tapping into the North East’s world-class expertise in both data and ageing, we are especially keen to talk to founders looking to work on ageing-related or data-driven issues!

Closed

Apply if: You are a founding team working full-time on your technology startup, and need help scaling and potentially raising further investment.

Applications are currently closed.

The accelerator programme is designed to help any tech-enabled business that has created an MVP (or version 1.0) to get their product in front of customers and to make sure they are solving a real problem in the best way possible.

Through our coaching, mentoring from successful founders, workshops with experienced entrepreneurs and advice from our portfolio of 150+ startups, we’ll help companies answer these questions and create a scalable growth plan.

For the businesses who also want to raise further investment, we’ll help the founders create a viable investment round, and help them raise the money from an investor network that consists of the UK’s top VCs and angels, many of whom have already invested in our portfolio.

The programme is remote for three weeks a month, with the fourth week hosted in cities around the North East (and one in London), alongside our programme team, mentors and partners.

Over the course of the 6 months, we’ll help you scale your business, define your routes to market, get you closer to product/ market fit and help you build your network.

The accelerator programme includes:

£40,000 investment for 5% equity, with a further 1% contributed to The Founders Cooperative

We charge all teams a £15k programme fee

6 month remote programme that includes 6 monthly in-person events

Mentoring from a global network of experienced entrepreneurs, mentors and investors

Introductions to our network of Angels and VCs throughout the programme and during our investor lunch events

£100,000+ in programme perks with our partners (who include Amazon, Stripe, Revolut and many more).

Frequently Asked Questions

What does ‘distributed’ mean?

A ‘traditional’ accelerator programme has always required its founders move to a central location in order to participate. We do not ask for this. If founders have a business up and running, moving some or all of a team to a new city for a period of time can be a disruptive event that should be avoided. We only require you to be based in the North East.

We’ll spend a week with you in person when you first join the programme getting to know you and your business. We’ll have a call with you every week to see how you’re progressing and what else you need help with, and we’ll do regular sessions both remotely and in-person to give you the support you need to grow your business.

Once a month we bring all our startups together for an offsite in a city in the North East (with one held in London) for two days. There you get the chance to dig in on specific topics in 1-1 mentoring and group workshops, share learning, and meet with other teams. You leave with actionable advice to implement immediately.

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Is this actually an accelerator programme?

You’ll find a lot of the same elements as an accelerator programme here but with an additional focus on you continuing to operate as a company in your home location.


You’ll still get mentorship, you’ll still get investment as part of joining, you’ll still be meeting and working with other excellent founders but, you’ll also be able to stay focused on your business whilst working with us for a minimum of 6 months to ensure that you’re as strong as you need to be to push yourselves forward.

How is this different from other accelerator programmes?

This new approach is an evolution of the original Ignite design and pulls from many of its best traits. What makes Ignite different is the focus on longer-term support, building businesses that will scale, not chasing mythical creatures in terms of valuations and ensuring that founders are in the best place possible, both personally and business-wise, when it comes to raising follow-on investment.

What is expected of my company if we apply and are accepted?

Our aim is to give you support, whilst allowing you to experiment and operate in a non-disruptive manner. To this end, we expect you to work with us for a minimum of 6 months. During this time you will only be away from your home city for a maximum of 18 days.


We expect you to commit to the programme by attending weekly review sessions, prioritising programme content and one-to-one sessions as well as our monthly off-sites in whatever city they take place in.

Why do you require teams to work with you for at least 6 months?

We have found that this is the average amount of time we work with a company and has previously consisted of 3 months of support via a programme, followed by 3 months of alumni and fundraising support as a company puts its seed round together.

We don’t feel that rushing teams into fundraising after 3 months is suitable for every business as some require more time to prove their models and metrics are sustainable and scalable. We have extended the time we work with teams to accommodate this.

What happens after 6 months? Are we on our own?

No, we will continue to help as you move forward with your business.

You are welcome to join offsites after the mandatory period of 6 months and can benefit from sessions that are relevant to you. Our support doesn’t end and you are encouraged to update the network and ask for help.

How much funding do you offer?

We offer £40,000 for 5% of ordinary share equity in your company. Of this investment, we charge a fee of £15,000 for your time with us which means that your net investment is £25,000 (GBP).

In addition to this funding, we expect companies to contribute a further 1% ordinary share equity to a shared pool that we call The Founders Cooperative. This pool is made up of the Ignite team, and every other company we invest in and work with. Through this mechanism, everyone has a small vested interest in helping everyone else succeed.

The total equity you will give over to work with Ignite is 6%.

Wait, everyone else gets a share of our company?

Yes. You also get a slice of everyone else’s companies as well. We all do. It’s the price of admission into a group of likeminded founders who want to build successful companies and support other founders whilst they do it.

Think of it as a cooperative of startups: sharing knowledge, experience and successes.

Is my company right for this? What type of startups do you work with?

For the accelerator, we are looking for companies that have a product built and either already have customers and/or revenue, or are now in a position to open their doors to customers.

If you have already raised investment elsewhere we are still happy to talk and consider you as long as you are happy with the equity only offer outlined above.

If you're unsure then get in touch and ask. If in doubt, apply any way. What have you got to lose?

Do you accept sole founder teams?

In certain circumstances, yes. If you are a sole founder and also the main developer of your product then we would be happy to hear from you. Additionally, if you are a sole founder but you employ a technical lead or additional technical team members at present then that will also qualify.


If you are a sole founder but you have no means of developing further elements of your product then we won’t be able to accept you.


Our idea team make-up is minimum two founders, one of whom is leading technical development.


If you are uncertain as to whether or not you meet the criteria, please contact us and we’ll discuss it with you.

Do you accept teams without developers on the founding team?

It most cases no, but if you do have means by which to improve and develop your product then we’ll still consider your application. This means that if you are working with freelance developers, or have a developer working with you outside of the founding team, we can talk. We also have no problem with developers who are working elsewhere in the world as long as they are committed to the company full time.

How long does your application process take?

We aim to have an initial response back to you within 7 days of your initial application. If we aren’t going to progress your application further then we will be very clear about this and give you reasons why. In some cases, we may opt to follow your progress for a few more months before talking again.


If we decide to progress with your application then the next step will be to have an introductory call with one of the Ignite team so we can better assess what you and your company have achieved up to that point and begin to understand the areas where you can be best supported.


We aim to make quick decisions based on conversations with the founding team but we may also ask that you speak with investors and/or alumni and at least two members of the Ignite team before we make our decision.


You can break down the process into these stages:

Stage 1: Submit your application
Stage 2: Initial call with the Ignite team
Stage 3: In person interview
Stage 4: Join the programme

Is my Company Eligible?

To qualify for the accelerator programme, each founder/ team must have a UK LTD company (with a UK business bank account) with less than 250 employees and balance sheet total <€43 million and/or turnover <€50 million. You must also be based/ have a material presence in the North East (County Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear).

Are there any other benefits to joining Ignite (perks, freebies, tech etc)?

Teams accepted to work with Ignite are eligible for benefits from some fantastic companies, including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Digital Ocean, GitHub, SendGrid, Nexmo, Autopilot, Stripe and more. We aim to have representatives of all of our technology partners present to support you at some stage during your time with us.

Haven’t found your answer?

Don’t worry,
we are here for you.

Contact us anytime