The first Welsh IoT accelerator opens

Wales’s first Internet of Things accelerator programme has opened to give businesses access to financial investment, invaluable knowledge and industry networks.

The Internet of Things Accelerator Wales is a collaboration between  Innovation Point, The Accelerator Network (TAN), Barclays Eagle Labs, Inspire Wales and the Development Bank of Wales.

Set to run across twelve weeks, the scheme will support businesses working in areas such as cyber security, energy, manufacturing, education and agriculture.

Ten promising businesses will be accepted onto the programme, and each will receive £50,000 in investment in return for a 10 per cent equity stake in the business.

They’ll get access to world-class facilities, academic expertise and free creative office space to promote intensive-growth. Economy secretary Ken Skates said:  “It is great to see the establishment of an Internet of Things Accelerator in Wales.

“Digital Technology is developing at lightening speeds, and the Internet of Things focuses that change on how we live and conduct business.

“The connection of SMART devices and the analysis of the data they generate will help us to improve service delivery, productivity and resource efficiency in Wales.

 “Working with our partners at Innovation Point, I’m delighted that this accelerator is coming to Wales. It’ll help us understand the possibilities and secure boundaries for this technology and will support the innovation and entrepreneurship that is vital to delivering our goals of Prosperity for All in Wales.”

Businesses from across the UK can apply to take part in the programme, but those based outside Wales must be willing to relocate. Applications close on December 9th.

Industry expert Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, who runs London’s largest IoT meet-up, believes that Wales has “a competitive advantage over London which it needed to capitalise on to make the most of the trend’s opportunities”.

She said: “You can make a profitable business in this space by manufacturing just 5000 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.”

David Warrender, CEO of Innovation Point, said: “Launching the nation’s first IoT accelerator programme here in Wales is no mean feat, and is yet another example of the country’s growing role in the digital revolution.

“The programme will have an intense focus on IoT security related devices and applications, providing high-potential applicants with access to a globally proven network of business mentors, high calibre partners and potential investors – all critical components of accelerated success.”

A number of major organisations have already signed up to support the programme, including Sony, Airbus, Cardiff University, Group Endeavr Wales, Sorensen, Business Wales, TechUK, Pinnacl and RS Labs.

Ian Merricks, chair of The Accelerator Network, said: “The appetite amongst tech entrepreneurs has never been greater, with the number of individuals turning their business idea into a reality growing year on year – yet still 50% of all start-ups in the UK fail within the first five years.

“The IoTA Wales is responding to this through an intensive-growth programme that is specifically designed to help make the IoT start-up journey a shorter and more successful one.”

Steven Robert, head of strategic transformation at Barclays Eagle Labs, said: “As well as providing an inclusive environment that fosters innovation and promotes shared growth, businesses will have access to a “Maker’s Lab” set up, plus support staff and structured support programmes to help with the rapid development of IoT prototypes.

“As ideas and products progress, businesses will also benefit from access to additional state of the art IoT labs at Cardiff University, which is making an in-kind contribution that includes academic expertise.”