Cluster Progress

Since July's launch event there has be a great deal of progress with our initiatives. This page will provide some more detail about the work on the accelerator, regulatory provision; the Workforce and Skills Initiative; and the Temperature Controlled Facility/Cold Chain Initiative.


The Accelerator


What do we mean by ‘Accelerator’?

The Accelerator we are planning will be a Venture Capital (VC) -backed intensive programme where a highly competitive selection process forms a cohort of 6-12 highly promising start-ups to go through an intense 3-6 months mentorship and training programme designed to prepare them to be funding-ready. The start-ups are likely to receive a £20-50k funding package at the beginning of the programme from the VC in exchange for a small equity stake. At the end of the programme, a demonstration day will be organised by the VC in which start-ups pitch for funding with a wide-range of investors. The experience from successful programmes shows 80% can receive seed-funding. The model is extremely popular in the US and Israel, and is being picked up in the UK, mainly in London.


The Model

Application process

  • Potential for 100s of companies to apply, following the selection criteria

Highly competitive selection process

  • VC firm/s choose a shortlist in a very robust selection process. For example,
    US Accelerators often only accept 1% to 3% of start-up applicants to a cohort.
    Between 6 to 12 start-up companies join a cohort or ‘class’.
  • Each company:
    • Is hosted physically in a joined working space over a period of time, often 3-6 months
    • Gets initial funding (between £20-£50k) in exchange for an equity stake (£5-15%).

 Time in the Accelerator

  • During this period, the start-ups (always a team per start-up, never just one individual) work to develop the product (sometimes building and testing the prototype), develop and calibrate financial models, business plans and marketing and branding approach with the support of venture capitalists, professionals and other experts.

Demo day

  • The class graduates on what is often called a ‘Demo Day’ where each of the start-ups demonstrates
    and pitches to a select group of venture capitalists for funding in return for equity. Usually the guest list of invited venture capital firms is wider than the firms that support the Accelerator. However, in some cases, the venture capital firms that sponsor and run the Accelerator are given the first right of refusal to invest.


Why do companies use an accelerator?

The entire concept is geared to accelerate the development of high-potential start-ups by providing hands-on support to enable them to become funding-ready quickly and providing direct access to high quality seed funding.  The fact that companies will have a shot at pitching to major venture capital firms makes these programmes highly competitive. Companies will have access to advice from corporate partners, benefit from free workspace and a communal working environment, have a structured development programme and be partnered with mentors that have ‘been there done that’ with deep industry knowledge.


Why an accelerator in West Sussex?

West Sussex offers an incredible amount of knowledge and industry expertise to start-ups with its diverse range of Health and Life Science companies based here. From logistics to drug delivery methods to manufacturing expertise start-up companies can benefit from the in-situ mentors and corporate partners on the doorstep of the programme who really have ‘been there done that’. Many established West Sussex Health and Life Science companies started as start-ups run by entrepreneurs, and have a huge amount to offer. Companies and mentors will benefit from spearheading the next innovations with these exciting start-ups. The West Sussex Accelerator will make a significant contribution to building our reputation in the sector. It also offers a fantastic opportunity for mentors to strengthen their own business and entrepreneurial skills.


What is next?

We are currently at a stage to put out a call for Venture Capital Partners and in due course we will be putting a call out for Angels, Mentors and companies wishing to apply for the accelerator.

If you would like any more information or you are an interested partyplease get in touch on






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