SwapBots is gaining traction with the tech community as our augmented reality toy and game secures a place on one of the world’s leading accelerator programmes – HAX and wins a place in the final of one of the UK’s best start-up competitions – all in the space of a week!
The Northern Stars competition seeks to find the best tech start-ups situated outside of the south of England. With Skyscanner becoming the latest company in the UK to be afforded ‘unicorn’ status, that is to say it is valued at more than a billion dollars, and with numerous other companies in the north chasing similar scale, events like Northern Stars help to shine a light on the potential of the north to deliver disruptive new concepts and technology.
With 11 companies going for glory and two places in the final up for grabs we were not taking anything for granted especially when the pitches got underway and we saw just how good the contenders were. The three minute pitches were to be judged by an independent panel consisting of investors from GP Bullhound, Ignite and Dotforge with votes also being submitted by the audience.
We were thrilled to win the audience vote and to secure second place with the judges to propel us into the final to be held in November alongside the other winners on the night, the brilliant LivingLens who are a Liverpool-based video analysis software platform. If this regional heat of Northern Stars was anything to go by, the quality of the national final will be sky high so it’s time to get polishing our pitch!
While we were prepping for Northern Stars we received an offer for SwapBots to take part in HAX Boost, part of the world’s first and largest hardware accelerator. The aim of the scheme is to prepare innovative concepts for the market with a mentoring programme and a series of intense workshops. Primarily dealing with the manufacturing, distribution and marketing of a tech-infused product, this fills the gaps in our expertise perfectly and sets up SwapBots to make it out of the studio and into the shops.
Run by SOS Ventures, HAX features two strands – one focuses on manufacturing and is based in Shenzhen, China, with the second located in the heart of San Francisco. It is the latter that SwapBots is partaking in, so SwapBots officially has an office in California right now; that’s something we could get used to! John and Jack are our chosen away team who will be amassing the knowledge we need to not just get SwapBots to retail but to get it flying off the shelves too.
With so much time spent in front of the screen or counting the minutes until the 3D printer finishes working its magic it is brilliant to be getting SwapBots out into the world and to secure places in two prestigious schemes that pride themselves on nurturing creative ideas and crafting unique niches by using the latest technology.