A new accelerator, IoTA Wales, has launched and is on the hunt for business to fund. It is looking to identify and support up-and-coming IoT businesses in key areas such as cyber security, energy, manufacturing, education and agriculture.
The program has been jointly created and designed by The Accelerator Network, Innovation Point, Barclays Eagle Labs, Inspire Wales and the Development Bank of Wales.
It plans to award ten of the businesses identified £50,000 of investment money each, in exchange for 10 percent equity stakes in the companies chosen. In addition to this £50,000 investment, participants will each also receive support valued at over £70,000, which includes training and mentoring, office space at the new Barclays Eagle Lab in Cardiff, engineering support and inclusion on a ‘demo day’ designed to introduce them to sources of follow-up funding, scheduled to take place in April 2018.
Major organizations already signed up as delivery partners on the 12-week programme include Sony, Airbus Group Endeavr Wales, Cardiff University, Sorenson Media, Business Wales, TechUK, Pinnacl and RS Labs amongst others.
Wales – the IoT place to be?
A recent Tech Nation report finds that Wales has the fastest growing digital economy outside of London. The Cardiff/Swansea tech cluster creates £392 million annually in GVA [gross value added], employs 17,000 people and saw 103 start-ups launched last year.
The organiser of London’s biggest IoT meet up, Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, claims that Wales has a competitive advantage over London that it will need to capitalise on in order to make the most of the commercial opportunities available.
She said: “You can make a profitable business in this space by manufacturing just 5,000 pieces and, through the production of the Raspberry Pi, Wales has the manufacturing capability which we just don’t have in London. That bit is potentially the hardest piece of the jigsaw.”
Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “Wales is a dynamic nation that is home to some of the most innovative companies in the world.”
“As we prepare to leave the EU, I want Welsh innovators to seize the opportunities available to expand their companies and help us trade on the global stage.
There’s certainly plenty going on in Wales on the IoT technology front already. In the last week alone, Internet of Business has reported on Cardiff University’s ‘chatty’ factories project and the city council’s aim to save money with smart street lighting.