For this series of entries, I will be explaining the steps I take in developing my startup during my placement year at the Northumbria Business Startup Hatchery. Hopefully, these monthly report-style blogs can be useful to someone in a similar position, who is looking to get started with developing their business idea.
ACTIVITIES UNDERTAKEN FOR FEBRUARY 2017
- Had a meeting with Gateshead Council to discuss the possibility of securing space in the upcoming centre for emerging technology, which would help me establish a presence in a key business location once my stay the Start-up Hatchery comes to an end in May.
- VRTGO Labs authorised me to access their co-working space in the meantime, so I could do my work alongside members of their cluster and get to develop my professional presence and relationships with those companies.
- Met with Jiaojiao Zhao at Northumbria University, who discussed how I can use tools such as Caffe and TensorFlow to begin exploring areas of AI relevant to games and VR, such as natural language processing (NLP), facial and emotional recognition and 3D object reconstruction.
- Signed up to attend the additional Grow Your Business sessions ran by the university’s Student & Graduate Enterprise, which are an extension of the Digital Marketing event I attended in December, aimed at helping me avoid the pitfalls that can end start-ups and SME‘s
- Planned to submit a business canvas and pitch video to the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Award, which could net me a cash prize of up to £25,000, mentoring and start-up support from Santander Business and Banking team and exclusive access to an acceleration week as well as other prizes.
- Began drafting my own freelancing contracts for TyneMet College and Northumbria University‘s VRV department after attending meetings with them, which will allow me to submit invoices for the upcoming work I will be doing for them.
- My meeting with the VRV gave me the opportunity to work with them on a project for Sunderland City Council, which involves using my skills and experience to craft a set of media products which showcase certain development sites across their catchment area.
- Made an application for consideration in the next COLOPL NEXT student/VR startup funding round, who are looking to invest $50 million into VR games development and other forms of VR content production, which along could help me hire employees to take one or more of my prototypes into production phase.
- Spent time to advanced my knowledge of coding (C++) and used this to further develop the prototypes I made using Unreal Engine 4, as this is the dominant programming language used in game engines.