The Difference Engine is a really exciting initiative aimed at tech startups across the UK (and Europe) to provide seed capital and support for promising tech entrepreneurs and businesses.
The proposition is simple: a one-page online entry form is assessed and if accepted you will be given £20,000 plus 13 weeks intensive support, development and mentoring (a “boot-camp”) to help you grow and prove your business model in return for 8% of the share capital or equity.
Inspired by the Y Combinator in the US and Seedcamp here, Jon Bradford set up the Difference Engine in the North East of England and has just put its initial in-take of 9 startups through its intensive mentoring and development programme – see feedback from this first phase of startups on “What its really like to take part in the Difference Engine?” videos below.
Helping businesses “do more in 13 weeks than they might otherwise do in 1-3 years” Bradford explained how many of the teams have managed to build connections and networks with key influencers, decision-makers and successful entrepreneurs in their respective fields; people who they might never otherwise have had the opportunity to connect with (almost certainly not within 13 weeks!). Some of the fledgling businesses even managed to add these individuals to their management team e.g. as Chairman, Non-exec directors etc.
This is a superb initiative which, although open to early stage technology businesses across the UK, I would love to see (and assist in) replicating here in the North West.
Here is feedback from two North West based entrepreneurs who took part in The Difference Engine:
First off here’s ScreenReach:
And next we have Canddi:
Another great session held by Techcelerate in Manchester.