Ignite by the numbers

Proof that the North can hold its own in building the UK’s technology industry

Paul Smith OBE
Oct 24, 2014 · 3 min read

Yesterday saw the conclusion of Ignite’s fourth accelerator programme, with a public showcase at Campus North. Coincidentally, it followed the national launch of TechNorth, a new government agency to highlight and promote the work of the digital industries in cities across the North of England.

Ignite was one of the partners involved in the bid, and provided crucial validation and credibility to the proposed outputs of the new agency. Newcastle has the most developed tech and startup community in the North of England, and Ignite is the only longstanding accelerator programme in the Northern regions.

So while the spotlight is on the North, I thought I’d share some of the highlights of a presentation I made to the audience at yesterday’s event:



Since opening its doors in June, the venue has had over 3,000 visitors. A typical sample of the type of events taking place at Campus North include:

• Tech meetups
• Newcastle University Entrepreneurs
• Sage Mentoring
• Mozilla Maker Party
• Free Coding Courses

The last example is something I’m particularly proud to see the team organise; Phil Jeffes, a developer with one of the startups based at Campus North, offered his time to produce a free six-week course for adults not involved in the industry to learn the fundamentals of programming.




Code Clubs


Code Clubs

£10 million

Ignite is a seed accelerator; that is to say, the majority of teams have never raised investment before joining us. Techstars, on the other hand, prefers experienced teams, a substantial number of which will have already raised before joining, and the expectation is that startups will raise at least $1.5 million once they exit the programme. Seedcamp is a micro-fund, and Entrepreneur First recruits individual graduates rather than teams. It’s important to make the distinction that while these are are incredibly successful programmes, they’re not seed accelerators comparable to Ignite.

While raising investment is by no means an accurate indicator of a startup’s success, it is a significant metric for Ignite, because the purpose of the programme is to ensure teams are investment-ready and capable of raising seed capital (should that be the best course of action for them; generating crazy amounts of revenue is always a welcome alternative).

The long and the short of it is that Ignite is the most successful seed accelerator in the UK. By comparing the top-line figures that are available for other programmes accepting early-stage teams, Ignite alumni are more likely to raise more investment than any other:


Seed accelerator in the UK

Next year our plans will take us across the country and across continents; our home, however, will always be Newcastle. There are amazing founders, teams and technologies wherever you care to look, and we’re excited about playing our part in making the UK’s technology scene shine.

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