Our fledgelings leave the nest. First Catalyst tenants prepare to spread their wings…

Six months of blood, sweat and tears have led to this moment. Our four Catalyst Centre tenants graduated this week, and although we’ll be sad to see them go, we can’t wait to find out what their futures hold! As these four start-ups continue on their adventure, we catch up with where they are, and how they have changed during their time here. We’ve loved every minute, and want to say a huge thank you to all four companies for their hard work! The inaugural Catalyst Centre programme wouldn’t have been such a resounding success without their hard work.

JabbaLab, who started their journey in the Catalyst Centre as Double Translate, have just earned their very first revenue, gone through an exciting re-brand, taken on a member of staff, and worked incredibly hard on building a huge fan base with over 26,000 followers on twitter. They are now working on launching their paid-for services with their exclusive VIP club. We’re excited to see how their new twist on language learning is received, and we’ll all be signing up as soon as we decide which language to learn!

Peter Stubbings said “Jabba Lab started as a part time business venture by myself and my wife, and it got to the point where either we did something with it, or it became a time drain. The Catalyst Centre gave us the perfect opportunity to take it to the next level, and moving into the office gave us the focus we needed to grow.”

HealthQuest Solutions began their time in the Catalyst Centre with three members of staff, two consultants from Southampton Hospital, (Dr. Tom Wilkinson and Dr. Simon Bourne), and Mal North, who is now Project manager for myCOPD Solution. They are now a 7-strong team, with a forecast turnover of £1.5 million for their first year of trading, and a predicted £50 million turnover in 5 years time. The two directors, Dr. Simon Bourne and Dr. Tom Wilkinson still own 100% of their company, having invested their initial £350,000 takings straight back into the business. They have now moved into their very own office on Southampton Science Park, just across the corridor from the Catalyst Centre and have launched their product “myCOPD Solution”. The are also fully booked for their first e-learning diplomas!

We caught up with Dr. Simon Bourne to chat about this phenomenal growth, and he had this to say about his time in the Catalyst Centre, “The last 6 months have been incredibly exciting. The Catalyst Centre gave us 6 months of business support, mentoring, free office space and facilities, which allowed us to concentrate on growing the business, rather than worrying about overhead costs. Also, unlike many other accelerator programmes, they haven’t taken any of our equity in exchange for their services, giving us the freedom to keep 100% of our business. The £1,000 start-up costs provided were crucial in getting HealthQuest off the ground, and we now have a great future ahead of us.”

Cherry Bird, the online student lettings website, has made considerable progress over its time in the Catalyst Centre. I don’t think we’ve seen the Managing Director Zack Young stop for more than 5 minutes, and it seems as though his incredible work ethic and contagious enthusiasm is paying off! His website is due to launch very shortly, and we can’t wait to see what this great tech start-up has in store for students in Southampton, and in time, the rest of the UK. Zack said “Winning a place in the Catalyst Centre has helped my business by not only giving me a dedicated work environment, but also a higher level of credibility. I didn’t just buy office space, I won office space, and this has given my business a real advantage in the competitive world of start-ups.”

SLR Joe’s passion for photography has always shone through in his website, and his clever advertising system saw him raking in a pretty impressive revenue each and every month. Joe’s enthusiasm and passion have served him well, and his website has continued to thrive throughout his time at the Catalyst Centre. Joe said “The Catalyst Centre’s business support system has been second to none. The seminars set up by the University of Southampton Science Park, and specialist business coach Phil Sharpe have been an excellent sounding board for my business ideas, giving me the insight needed to move forward.”

The Catalyst Centre has been a great experience for everyone involved, and it’s been exciting to see these four start-ups develop. Peter Birkett, CEO of Southampton Science Park said “The success of this first round has reinforced the Science Park’s view that the Catalyst Centre is an invaluable resource for start-ups, and one which should continue. We have been receiving some very exciting applications for the next round of the Catalyst Centre (which close on the 31st of May), and we look forward to welcoming some more great start-ups to the Park in the near future!”

For more images from the day, head to our facebook page.