Before the Springboard, there was the Springboard.
In August 2009, Redgate as founded by Neil Davidson and Simon Galbraith (and based in Cambridge) announced the Springboard Incubator – as was reported in Techcrunch (by Milo Yiannopoulos nonetheless). What was unusual, was that it was entirely free to the participants. Springboard was originally run by Amir Chaudhry and four companies took part including Meta Alternative, PagerDuty (which went onto YC), Good Economics and TidePowerd.
These weren’t the only startups that Redgate supported. With spare space and food aplenty, Redgate created what was fondly known in Cambridge as the “accidental incubator”. It’s most high profile residents included Rapportive (founded by Rahul Vohra and Martin Kleppmann) that was acquired by Linkedin and also Mixcloud (founded by Mat Clayton and Nikhil Shah) which continues to grow away from the tech spotlight.
Another common denominator in the Cambridge and boarder UK tech scene is the “shy and unassuming” Alex van Someren, who has had the uncanny knack of crossing my timeline at key points. I first met Alex during a meeting between myself and Derek Goodwin of UKTI at One North East – where his most distinguishing features was his pony tail and his ability to lob awkward and well timed questions about the Difference Engine in my direction. Subsequently, I ended up presenting to the “Global Entrepreneur Programme” team and its CEO – Eric van der Kleij – who went on to become the original CEO of TechCity and the founder of Level39. Our most recent encounter is that we are working together at CyLon, a cyber security accelerator based in London, which he has founded.
It was Alex who made the introduction to Neil Davidson – that had the domino effect which led to me relaunching the Springboard Accelerator in Cambridge.