What businesses will Augmentor support?

Augmentor supports early-stage B2B companies developing innovative and commercially-focused immersive solutions designed for enterprise-level clients (for example large organisations and small and medium businesses).

In particular, it’s focused on backing solutions that demonstrate cross technology applications, linking the immersive with other emergent technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and 5G.

Augmentor caters to the needs of the UK immersive technology community. It focuses on four areas of support that guide B2B immersive companies on their journey to scale:

  • Access to investors to help attract greater private investment
  • Building scalability through technical and business support
  • Access to immersive technology hardware, facilities and labs
  • Business development and opportunities to pivot solutions into new markets

What are the judging criteria?

Applicants to the Augmentor acceleration programme will be selected and must demonstrate the following criteria.

1. Product or service characteristic

 

Idea

The product/service idea is compelling, original and it demonstrates strong product and company vision.

Value proposition

The product/service solves a real problem that customers face.

Maturity

The product/service has been developed to the point that is ready to or has already started to commercialise.

Technical assessment

The product/service uses suitable immersive technology and uses it as its core business proposition.

Business strategy

The product/service aims to generate revenue and make the business sustainable.

Growth potential

The product/service has the potential to succeed and grow beyond the programme and receive further funding opportunities.

2. Market characteristics

 

Market potential and product/market fit

The market size is significant and market is ready for its application.

Differentiation

The product/service is different/unique/stand out to other already exist.

Traction

There is evidence of existing sales and distribution channels or a clear plan for the future sales and distribution strategy.

3. Team characteristics

 

Team quality

The team is of adequate size and is equipped with the right technical, financial and business skills, and has the ability to deliver the solution successfully, as well as showing good complementarity.

4. Financial characteristics

 

Financial consideration

There is a clear plan about investment or funding strategy. The risk and profitability are assessed.

Who can apply?

  • The startup has to be registered with Companies House in the UK (or equivalent establishment in the UK and the majority of work must be carried out in the UK)
  • The startup has to develop solutions enabled by immersive technologies
  • The startup has to have a minimum viable product (for example at least TRL5 on Technology Readiness Level)
  • The startup has to have two or more team members with a range of different expertise
  • The startup has to be considered as an early stage business, for example have <£500,000 in seed investment or public funding
  • The startup has to be looking to raise private investment in the next 12 months
  • The startup team must be able to attend most of the activities (for example attend both the programme kick off and investor showcase, as well as attend 70% of the workshops hosted in London for the duration of the programme)

FAQs

Below are a few of the key questions about Augmentor and how it works

  • What is Augmentor?

    Augmentor is a 12-week acceleration programme developed by Digital Catapult supporting early stage businesses developing innovative and commercially-focused immersive reality solutions.

    The programme offers companies business and investment mentorship, access to state-of-the-art facilities, workshops and support to confidently pitch their ideas directly at an exclusive investor showcase.

  • What are the objectives of Augmentor?

    Augmentor was launched to accelerate the development of B2B immersive products and applications among the enterprise sector – helping to drive adoption of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR) and haptics, scale high growth potential immersive companies and increase the size of the immersive UK market to become a global leader.

    The programme is designed to support startups to develop more commercially viable solutions, help them understand the investment landscape and become investment-ready.

  • Why get involved?

    Augmentor offers access to:

    • Industry mentorship – support network of industry mentors with technical and business expertise to help startups grow their businesses and develop market ready solutions
    • Investment mentorship – dedicated investment mentor to help startup improve their investment readiness, understand what investors are looking for and answer specific business challenges, preparing them to start their fundraising process
    • Workshops – more than 10 workshops to help develop startup solutions on topics such as value proposition, customer experience, sales and marketing, building a team
    • Facilities – for the duration of the programme, the cohort will get the opportunity to make use of Digital Catapult’s Immersive Labs in Belfast, London, MediaCityUK, and North East Tees Valley (subject to availability and site terms)
    • Peer-to-peer learning – be part of a cohort of up to 10 companies made up of talented entrepreneurs from across a different range of sectors
    • Investor showcase event – opportunity to participate, pitch and host demos and meetings at the final investor showcase event
  • Who is Augmentor developed by?
  • What are the key dates for the Programme?

    Key dates:*

    • Open call – Applications open: 1 June 2020
    • Open call – Application deadline: 29 July 2020, 23:59
    • Longlisting selection: 3 – 9 August 2020
    • Pitch practice: 18 August 2020
    • Shortlisting selection: 7 September 2020
    • Intended public announcement of successful applications: 8 October 2020
    • Programme start date: 8 October 2020
    • Kick off event: 8 October 2020
    • Workshops: weekly basis October (13, 20, 27), November (3, 12, 19, 26) and December (3 and 9) 2020
    • Mentorship: ongoing from 8 October 2020 – 28 January 2021
    • Augmentor Investor Showcase: 28 January 2021
    • Programme end date: 30 January 2021

    *Timelines are approximate and can be subject to change

  • Will the whole team need to attend the workshop sessions?

    No – just the founders or other adequate representatives for the topic need to attend the workshops (maximum three people per team).

  • Will Augmentor take any equity?

    Since the programme is targeted on investment readiness and business support, we provide you with the access to a network of mentors that can help you take your business to the next level. To keep supporting future companies, and as part of the collaboration, Digital Catapult reserves the right to acquire 1% shares in the selected companies via a ‘Warrant Agreement’, exercisable upon specific events. Please consult ‘Warrant Agreement’ of FAQ for more information.

    We do not wish to take an active role in your company’s future, nor request a position on your board or advisory roles.

  • Will Augmentor provide me with funding?

    Whilst Augmentor won’t provide any private investment or other type of funding, the programme will help you understand the investment landscape, the different routes to accessing finance and how to build relationships with the investor community.

  • Will Augmentor provide me with a workspace?

    Startups will gain access to Digital Catapult’s Immersive Labs, however, there is no guarantee of access to the workspace.

  • What facilities do I get to use during the programme?

    You won’t be required to work from Digital Catapult offices during the programme. We expect you to have the facilities to produce your experience already.

    For the duration of the programme, you will have use of the Digital Catapult Immersive Labs in Belfast, London, Brighton, MediaCityUK, and North East Tees Valley (subject to availability and site terms).

    The Labs can be booked for many different activities, from workshops to client demonstrations, and we are happy to work with you to support your needs.

    The Labs provide support for activities such as product testing across a range of the latest immersive headsets and devices, such as the Hololens 2, Valve Index with Index Controllers, and Varjo XR-1 (subject to availability), run UX testing with our UX Lab in a Box, or host client demonstrations and meeting.

    Participants will receive details on how to book the Labs at the start of the programme.

  • What if I am involved in another accelerator programme?

    Participating or having participated in accelerator or other startup support programmes does not preclude you from taking part in Augmentor.

  • How will Augmentor respond to COVID-19 implications?

    Digital Catapult is aware of the business impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and knows that early stage immersive startups need our support now more than ever. Augmentor plans to help in the following ways:

    • Business support – we plan to help startups make the right business decisions and pivot accordingly as they are now faced with complex and difficult realities (for example cash flow, team structure, industry impact) through:
    • Bespoke workshops on pertinent COVID-19 topics such as business strategy, pivoting business models or sectors, remote team management
    • 1-on-1 mentorship with experts from business and industry
    • Leveraging Digital Catapult networks and connecting startups with potential clients and partners
    • Peer-to-peer support – with less opportunities for direct communication and spontaneous encounters, Augmentor will:
    • Facilitate and drive forward online peer-to-peer support via virtual sessions and private communication channels in order to bring cohort startups closer
    • Investment support – despite the current investment challenges (for example investment frequency, valuations) Augmentor will:

    – Continue to educate startups about the investment landscape and pair them with an investor mentor who will support and answer investment-specific queries throughout the programme. Startups will begin to build important investment relationships with VCs and angels that will be beneficial in the next future

    – Inform startups about options on diversifying their funding through alternative financial and investment sources by organising workshops on R&D and loans

    We are also applying some important format changes:

    • Remote programme delivery – Augmentor’s cohort four is planned to be delivered online (we are still making plans to deliver the Investor showcase in January 2021 as a physical or online event). This means that successful applicants won’t need to travel and only focus and invest their time
    • Extended access to Immersive Labs – If access to Immersive Labs won’t be possible during the duration of the programme we will offer free access to the space after programme completion
    • Tailored support – We will try to do everything in our power to offer startups what they actually need and do so on a case-by-case basis

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