One of my favourite new software companies Rainbird Technologies has today announced that it is one of 11 startups accepted onto the Techstars London Accelerator Programme. Techstars is a mentorship-based startup accelerator currently operating 15 programmes in 12 cities, more recently including London. Twice a year, each location selects around 10 businesses from a flood of international applications, invests in them and takes them through an intense 13 week programme.
Norfolk Future 50 winner Rainbird was founded by computer scientist Ben Taylor and serial technology entrepreneur and investor James Duez. It is currently in open beta with over 250 companies, who are using the technology as far afield as Hawaii and Australia.
Rainbird is an artificial intelligence platform that enables businesses to capture human expertise in software. Anyone can use it to create powerful knowledge bases on any subject, and then publish web-based virtual consultative experts capable of making human-like decisions. This can include websites that can make recommendations, or diagnose technical or health problems.
Rainbird was selected from over 1,000 applications, an acceptance rate that is harder to get into than Harvard. This week, the Norwich-based team of six relocated to London for the 13 week programme. The team includes: Ben Taylor (Co-founder, CEO), James Duez (Co-founder, Chairman), Dom Davis, Barry Mears, Nathan Roberts and Chris Wilkinson.
The three-month programme will culminate in Demo Day in late February, an event that allows the companies to showcase their products on stage, pitching to hundreds of investors from across the world.
Rainbird’s CEO Ben Taylor says, “We are very excited to have been selected for this next cohort of Techstars, which includes a great range of UK and international talent. We are looking forward to working with the massive network of Techstars mentors. Between them they boast over 3,000 years of experience and have founded over 600 companies. In addition, we will have the input of many leading investors”.
Historically, Techstars companies go on to average more than $1.6M raised in outside capital after the program.
Techstars founders get great perks such as free hosting and services, a nice place to work, three months of intensive mentoring, and the chance to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the end of the program. When the program concludes, being an alum does not. The supportive network of Techstars alumni, mentors, and investors is unrivaled.
The Rainbird team have been developing Rainbird for more than 12 months having successfully raised £330k in seed funding earlier this year. They are known around the Norwich tech scene because of their active support of local technology initiatives including the upcoming 54 hour start-up competition syncthecity.com (which Rainbird co-founder James Duez and TechStars MD Jon Bradford are both judging) and the technology conference nordevcon.com.
Rainbird Chairman James Duez says, “The aim of Techstars is to accelerate a business, compressing 2 years of discovery into just 3 months. They have an amazing reputation worldwide, and are transparent about their success rate. Out of the 500 companies that have been through the programme since it was founded, 90% are still trading or have been sold. That is in stark contrast with the normal failure rate of 90%.”
“Rainbird is in the top fraction of 1% of tech start-ups, and this is a great testament to the disruptive nature of this technology, and the innovative work the team have done to get us here.”
To find out more about RainBird or to take part in its open beta, visit www.rainbird.ai.