Digital Catapult Centre Opens In London As Three New Locations Are Revealed

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Government hopes Digital Catapult Centre will encourage collaboration and innovation and announces three new locations in Bradford, Brighton and Sunderland

The government hopes the new Digital Catapult Centre in London will provide tech startups with the resources and contacts necessary to foster and commercialise their ideas, and has announced the opening of three more centres in Bradford, Brighton and Sunderland.

Twenty-eight SMBs and startups will showcase their wares at the centre in Kings Cross, across the road from the British Library in the so-called “knowledge quarter”, which will provide a space for collaboration with researchers and academics and to pitch to investors, with 3,500 “high profile” representatives expected to visit in the next few months.

It is the latest in a number of government-backed catapults attempting to foster innovations in fields ranging from offshore renewable energy to future cities.

Digital Catapult launch

Digital Catapult Centre (2)“We are committed to making the UK the best place in the world to start a tech company,” said Ed Vaizey, minister for the digital economy, at a launch event. “We want people to bring their companies here to grow them and we want investors to come as well.

“Clearly, tech is transforming the business landscape as well as our own lives as well. Digital Catapult is going to be one of seven catapults which are going to rapidly advance the UK’s best digital ideas.”

“This catapult will be a space for technologists, creatives, business and academia to collaborate and develop new ideas that showcase products to the UK but also hopefully to the rest of the world.”

“The most important function of the catapult is that it brings together a wide range of partners interested in the success of the digital economy.”

The main focus of the London centre is to solve a number of set challenges including the use of personal data, sharing data inside organisations, the re-use of creative content and the Internet of Things.

Among the first startups to occupy the incubator are Ocean of Light, an immersive light installation firm, and Crystal Key, a company working to develop a non-clonable personal identification tag. The other application winners include firms from Bristol, Liverpool and Manchester.

The new Brighton catapult will focus on data and the IoT, while the Bradford centre will turn its attention to healthcare and the Sunderland facility, present at the launch via a live video link, will look at public services.

“The UK’s digital strengths aren’t just limited to London, there are over 30 digital innovation clusters in the UK,” said Vaizey, who claimed the catapults, along with the recently formed TechNorth hub would complement the work being done in London at Tech City. “The great strength of technology startups is that they are present around the UK.

“Tech City acts a beacon and sits at the heart of these tech clusters.”

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