• Status: Closed

  • Key features: Investment of up to £1m to support micro, small and medium-sized businesses working on the Internet of Things (IoT).

  • Programme: Launchpad

  • Award: Up to £1m

  • Opens: 16 Jun 2014, 08:53

  • Registration closes: No deadline

  • Closes: 03 Sep 2014, 12:00

  • Support phone number: 0300 321 4357

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Tech City Launchpad 2: London and Cambridge - Internet of Things

Competition results

See here for competition results.


Tech City UK logoThe Technology Strategy Board, with Tech City UK Ltd and Cambridge Wireless, are to invest up to £1m to support micro, small and medium-sized businesses working on the Internet of Things (IoT). This competition will support innovative research projects centred in and around the clusters in Cambridge (equipment and communications) and London (software and services).

Cambridge WirelessThis competition aims to stimulate these hotspots of IoT industries by enabling companies to move towards commercial success. We want to draw investment and people into the areas and to encourage networking and collaboration to strengthen the clusters.

We are looking for projects that:

  • may be too risky for companies to take forward without support
  • may take companies into new innovative areas
  • the majority of activities are carried out in Cambridge and/or London.

Tech City Cambridge imageWe will fund up to 60% of eligible costs for industrial research projects, with individual grants of up to £150k and estimated project sizes ranging between £50k and £250k. Projects can last up to 12 months and should be led by companies that are likely to be in the early stages of development.

An integral part of Launchpad is the offer of support to help applicants to raise additional new external finance that we expect will be needed to fully fund the project and its subsequent commercialisation. In addition to receiving project funding, successful applicants will participate in a programme of business support and growth activities that will run in parallel to projects in conjunction with partners including John LewisEEUnileverSeedcamp and Redgate.

Tech City London image

The competition opens for applicants on 16 June 2014. The deadline for video submissions is at noon on 3 September 2014.

A briefing event will be held in Cambridge on 8 July 2014 and in London on 21 July 2014 click on the briefing event link on the right.


What is a Launchpad?

Launchpad competitions support business innovation through a combination of R&D project funding, business support and attracting new investment, delivered through an accessible application process. Launchpad enables businesses to take advantage of being part of a developing cluster to realise their potential for growth.

Launchpad aims to support the development and strengthening of clusters of innovative companies in specific sectors and geographical locations. Due to the concentration of expertise within these clusters of businesses there are often advantages of speed and knowledge transfer which we want to encourage. We do not create the clusters, but we support the development of clusters that are already emerging:

  • by creating opportunities for SMEs (often including those that are pre-revenue) through funding for innovative projects
  • by working with others in the cluster to provide a programme of business support (including coaching and mentoring) that will help the businesses develop solid growth strategies and access finance
  • by providing a letter of intent to fund projects that businesses can use to attract new private sector investment, as companies will probably need to raise other forms of finance (including debt- or equity-based solutions) either to match the grant or to support scale-up later.

Launchpad competitions are open to SMEs that:

  • are in the cluster
  • plan to start up in the cluster
  • move into the cluster
  • collaborate with a company already in the cluster.

They are aimed at young and early-stage companies with significant growth ambition.


The Internet of Things (IoT) is a general term for physical objects with automatic communications capability – this allows them to pass data about themselves and their surroundings through the internet without human intervention. This can be the foundation of automated data collection and control systems or it can create smart service environments for people who come into contact with the objects.

Market projections suggest a move from an internet populated by computers and mobile devices to an IoT comprising billions of autonomous devices (26bn devices by 2020, rising to a trillion in 2025, according to Gartner, www.gartner.com). This will create a $500bn global technology market by 2019, supporting an even more extensive market for products and services.   

Potential applications are as varied as the applications of the internet itself. They could include:

  • technical enhancement of manufactured products such as connected cars, where IoT connectivity could enhance the operation and value of the vehicle
  • automation of industrial processes, including remote monitoring and control
  • collecting data about the behaviour of individuals through their interaction with smart environments and objects. For example, using wearable technology (smart watches, fitness monitors) to collect consumer data. This big data generates commercial value through targeted marketing and services
  • data connectivity across transport networks, energy networks, health and care systems and smart cities to improve operational efficiency (eg more trains using the same tracks) and service experiences, and introduce new services (eg timetable information).

In this competition projects will be organised in conjunction with Tech City UK and Cambridge Wireless. Tech City UK was launched in 2010 to support the growth of the technology cluster in East London that is now Europe's largest digital cluster. Tech City UK collaborates with the digital community, government, academics and business to support the growth of digital businesses across the UK. Cambridge Wireless is a leading and vibrant community with global networks, interested in the development and application of wireless and mobile technologies to solve business problems.


This competition will bring together innovative digital companies in London and Cambridge and attract others to participate in new IoT projects.

We will offer funding for innovative industrial research projects, aimed at the acquisition of new knowledge and skills for developing new IoT projects, processes or services, or at projects that will bring about significant improvements in existing IoT products, processes or services.

The competition is open to all UK companies, but to be eligible they need to be at least one of the following:

  • based in the Cambridge or London IoT cluster
  • moving to either of the clusters
  • starting up in either of the clusters
  • working collaboratively with a company within either of the clusters.

Consortia containing companies from both clusters are actively encouraged.

Looking for partners to work on your project? Go to _connect to find collaborators and networks. For the Internet of Things competition information go to https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/-internet-of-things-techcity-uk-launchpad/overview.


Funding allocation and project details

We will award grants to cover up to 60% of the eligible costs of a project, as a basis on which project participants can attract further investment from the private sector to fund the rest of their eligible costs. We expect total project costs to range between £50k and £250k, although proposals outside this range will be considered.

We expect that many applicants will not initially have funds available to cover the full cost of their projects, and that they will assemble this finance within six months from external sources, prior to starting their projects. We expect successful projects to attract their external funding from traditional or alternative sources, including equity investment from business angel, venture capital or corporate investors, debt finance from banks or other lenders, and development contracts with customers, suppliers or other suitable partners, as best meets their long-term funding needs.

This Launchpad competition will support the process of accessing the finance needed to complete project funding, through an event at which successful applicants can make presentations to potential sources of private sector finance. Alongside grant funding, this competition will also include a range of business support activities that are designed to help participants grow their businesses.

Projects must be completed within 12 months of starting. Applications may be from individual micro, small or medium-sized companies or from collaborative consortia of SMEs that base themselves within the cluster.

At the showcasing event to potential investors there will also be an opportunity for medium-sized, large and global companies and universities to take part in projects as unfunded project partners or as investors.

To find out if your business fits the EU definition of an SME, see: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/facts-figures-analysis/sme-definition/index_en.htm.

For general guidance on how projects are funded see: https://www.innovateuk.org/-/funding-rules

Application process

This is a three-stage competition that opens for applicants on 16 June 2014.

Stage 1 – Video submission

From 16 June 2014 applicants can submit a brief application form and a two-minute video describing their ideas.

The video should address:

  • the challenge or opportunity being tackled and why it is important
  • the approach that will be taken and how it is innovative
  • the relationship to the Cambridge and London IoT cluster
  • how the solution will be commercialised and what impact it could have if successful
  • why the Technology Strategy Board funding is needed.

The deadline for video submissions is noon on 3 September 2014. Videos will remain confidential, but they will be seen by a panel of expert assessors who will review the ideas described in them and select a shortlist based upon how well they address the above criteria.

Stage 2 – Written proposal

The top-ranking applicants will be shortlisted and invited on 22 September 2014 to submit a written proposal. The deadline for written proposals is noon on 23 October 2014.

Stage 3 – Pitch session

Following assessment of the written application forms, top-ranking applicants will be invited to present their ideas to a panel of experts, who will make the final selection. This pitch session will take place on 19 November 2014.

Applicants will be informed of the results of their applications on 28 November 2014. The selected projects will receive a letter of intent to fund from the Technology Strategy Board, subject to being able to secure the additional funds needed for the project within six months.

Briefings for potential applicants will be held in Cambridge on 8 July 2014 and in London on the 21 July 2014, to highlight the main features of the competition and explain the application process. Applicants are strongly recommended to attend at least one of these events.

We reserve the right to use a portfolio approach in our selection of successful candidates at each stage of the contest.

Business support and presentation to potential investors

A key feature of this competition will be a programme of activities designed to bring together successful applicants to support the development of their businesses and help them to access finance.

Projects will be able to tap into the resources of Tech City UK, Cambridge Wireless and other organisations in the IoT clusters. These resources will be aimed at developing entrepreneurial skills and investment readiness. Tech City UK has identified John Lewis, EE, Unilever, Seedcamp and Redgate as partners for this Launchpad competition, who have agreed to offer mentoring and other support to help projects to identify market opportunities, access customers and meet potential investment partners.

All applicants invited to pitch (whether they have a Technology Strategy Board letter of intent for grant funding or not) will be invited to a workshop to showcase their ideas to potential investors, where they will have the opportunity to attract the remaining funding to run the project.


Key dates

Note: All deadlines are at noon.

  • Competition opens: 16 June 2014
  • Briefing event – Cambridge: 8 July 2014
  • Briefing event – London: 21 July 2014
  • Deadline for video submissions/applications: 3 September 2014, noon
  • Deadline for invited written proposals: 23 October 2014
  • Pitch session: 19 November 2014 


More information

Visit the community web page for this competition at https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/-internet-of-things-techcity-uk-launchpad/overview.


As part of the application process all applicants are asked to submit a public description of the project. This should adequately describe the project but not disclose any information that may impact on intellectual property, is confidential or commercially sensitive.

The titles of successful projects, names of organisations, amounts awarded and the public description will be published once the decision to offer an award has been communicated to applicants by email. Information about unsuccessful project applications will remain confidential and will not be made public.

E-mail pressoffice@tsb.gov.uk with any queries.