Out-Smarting the Rest of the World

“I am determined that our Country is going to out-compete, out-smart and out-do the rest of the world,” Chancellor George Osborne told MPs in his budget yesterday. Well, here at the Catalyst Centre, we think we’re already working towards achieving just that!

The tech startup scene is booming and not just in San Francisco. Across the globe, and right here at Southampton Science Park within the Catalyst Centre, innovative ideas are changing the way we look at technology. Whether you’re creating the next level in cycle security like our tenant RocPro, changing the way people shop for their food like Parsly, bringing mobile connectivity to under-developed countries like BluPoint, or researching biologic drugs like SAL Scientific, the opportunities are there, but it’s not easy and business owners should take advantage of all the help they can get.

Funding opportunities are growing too, with organisations such as the Technology Strategy Board and, more locally, Future Solent, supporting science and technology based businesses and, in some cases, investing significantly in smart innovations. But competition for investment is fierce and communicating with angels and venture capitalists requires an understanding of their investment priorities. Many types of funding, government grants excepted, mean that startup businesses have to give away a portion of their equity in order to fund their initial business costs.

Of course, no two startups are the same and all solve their funding dilemmas in different ways. Some secure government grants; a few attract significant equity investment; yet others fund their businesses through debt. The more enterprising may choose to bootstrap their business, believing that equity or debt funding isn’t the right route for a startup at all. For an inspiring example of this, check out Christian Chabot’s article, in which he reveals how he achieved a $100million business without initial external funding.

At the Catalyst Centre, we believe that entrepreneurs should be given the best chance to grow and develop their startup whilst still maintaining full control of their business. We take on startups right at the beginning of their journey, where they aren’t in a position to effectively value their business, so bringing equity into the equation at this stage would confuse matters even more. We spot a germ of an idea, and a team with the business acumen to see it to fruition, and give them the support they need to take it to the next level, which will most likely include identifying sources of funding. Our process enables them to access the funding they require in a way that’s suitable for them, but the main thing that sets the Catalyst Centre apart from others like it, is that we don’t take any business equity in the process.

The Catalyst Centre is currently looking for the next round of winners who will move into the accelerator in September this year. Our main focus is finding exciting, innovative science and technology companies, and helping to make them a solid business, gain funding, and move onto the next stage with a workable business plan in place. So, if you think your idea could change the world we live in, fix a real world problem and plug a gap in the market, why not apply for your chance to make your idea a reality?