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Accelerated: Springboard takes a ‘people centric’ approach

This is the 21st article in a continuing series that examines the state of the ecosystem necessary to successfully bring technology to market. Based on dozens of interviews with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, business leaders, academics, tech-transfer experts and policy makers, this series looks at what is working and what can be improved in the go-to-market ecosystem in the United States, Canada and Britain. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

This week we conclude our two-part discussion with Jon Bradford, the man behind The Difference Engine and Springboard, two U.K.-based startup accelerators that took their inspiration from TechStars and Y Combinator in the U.S.

The Difference Engine was an initiative supported by public funds that launched in the north east of England two years ago. While that program was successful, funding cuts to regional economic development, as well as a desire among angel investors to regroup in a more central location, led to what was essentially v2.0 of The Difference Engine, Springboard. Springboard is an intensive 13-week program based at the ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator, part of Cambridge University’s state-of-the-art Hauser Forum.

Last week, Jon talked about the role that Springboard plays in the commercialization ecosystem, how it selects teams for its program, and the characteristics of a winning team. This week, we continue with his thoughts on why companies fail, how Springboard measures its effectiveness and what it takes to create a successful startup accelerator.

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