Ignite Accelerator appoints Jo York as its new CEO

September 22, 2022

We’re excited to announce we have appointed Jo York as our new CEO to oversee the delivery of our startup programmes and alumni engagement.

Jo will be replacing Tristan Watson, who is transitioning into the role of Chairman to support our strategic direction.

Jo has been involved with Ignite since 2013, first taking part in our autumn accelerator programme as co-founder of social video startup ‘Reframed’.

Jo York and co-founder Kev Price taking part in the Ignite 2013 Demo Day in London

Since then, she’s never really left us and has been brought in to mentor on various cohorts.

After her latest startup, ‘Ricochet’, was acquired by ‘Cognism’ in 2020, Jo joined the Ignite Northern Ireland programme as Entrepreneur in Residence. Later that year, she joined us full-time to oversee the delivery of our North of Tyne programmes.

In her role as CEO, Jo will continue to lead the delivery of the North of Tyne Ignite programmes, which are funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority to drive digital business growth in the North East of England.

Jo said: “It’s such an honour to be appointed as CEO of Ignite. I’m all too aware of the number of other alumni whose lives have been changed for better by Ignite programmes and I feel the weight of responsibility to continue that momentum very keenly.“

“It feels very surreal to think it was nearly a decade ago when my co-founder Kev Price and I applied for the programme. I’m excited to be able to bring my experience as founder, mentor and Ignite Alumni to the role.”

“Both Tristan and Paul have left an impressive legacy within Ignite and the UK startup ecosystem, which will be very difficult to follow. But I am really excited about steering the next chapter with the rest of the team.”

“We are currently in full swing with our 2022 Accelerator Programme and will be opening applications for our Pre-Accelerator programme next week. My initial focus will be to continue to support founders and, with that, the impact we make in the North East of England.”

Tristan Watson, who is stepping down as CEO, first joined Ignite in 2013 as Managing Director. He’s made a genuine impact in the region’s tech sector, not only through his work at Ignite but also as co-founder of former tech co-working space Campus North which was home to the very first Ignite programme. Tristan will continue to dedicate his time and passion to supporting the North East tech ecosystem.

Tristan, said: “I remember the first Ignite programme launching at our Campus North hub like it was yesterday. Back then, it was called ‘Ignite 100’ because start-ups would benefit from £100k in investment.”

“Since then, Ignite has changed a lot. We’ve delivered programmes across the UK and consulted other accelerators across the globe. In 2021, we received the news that we were able to bring Ignite back to the North East, the place where it all began, through a brand-new partnership with the North of Tyne Combined Authority.”

“I’m humbled to have been able to work with so many founders over the years, and I’m really proud to hand over the reins to Jo and to see her continue the Ignite legacy.“