Funding from the North of Tyne Innovation Recovery Grant has allowed Newcastle city centre-based business, Aircards, to purchase dedicated and highly specific state-of-the-art hardware and software, enabling continued growth of their business.
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Aircards is a createch (Creative-Technology) company, founded in 2020, specialising in the development of web-based Augmented and Virtual Reality experiences. Their technology is in use by a number of high-profile international companies such as Samsung, Unilever, Dell and Hewlett Packard. In the last 2 years the business has moved from 5 to 25 members (employing solely from regional universities) and the need to maintain state-of-the-art kit is central to their growth strategy.
To succeed in the competitive advanced technology market, Aircards knew they had to grow their business to gain recognition both nationally and internationally. For them to do so, would mean investing into their technology to make it the best in the field. As well as carrying out project work for clients, they decided that developing their own proprietary technologies would allow for them to meet their growth goals.
Support from North of Tyne Innovation Recovery Grant
The grant has allowed for Aircards to develop a new key proprietary software platform ‘Spatial Analytics’ which allows clients to monitor, measure and manage user behaviour within any web-based immersive experience. The funding was used towards the purchase of several new to company, high-end workstations, specialist software solutions and connected audio visual equipment that would allow them to take their new product to market.
“We were guided through the application process, both as to pre-screening and filtering of validity of grant and to the stages required to secure success. As a consequence, we have actively recommended other companies to seek support and we ourselves look forward to further funding opportunities.”Gordon Dodd, Head of Strategy, Aircards
Impact of receiving the grant and support
The improved computing power has allowed the in-house team to develop the integrated platform for next stage iteration; work that would not be possible on existing hardware. This has in turn created three new jobs, all located in the North of Tyne area. The business continues to support local emerging talent and the new kit allows them to do so.
Aircards have been recognised for their addition to the export market with the software they have been able to develop so far by being selected as Northern Powerhouse Export Champions 2021 and 2022. They have also been able to export internationally, boosting their overall growth, with an international client base including Warner Bros, Microsoft, Pepsi, Disney, Haribo, Kinder, Unilever, Lush and Samsung.
The North of Tyne Innovation Recovery Grant is delivered by NBSL in partnership with the Innovation SuperNetwork (ISN) and are looking to support any organisation that may have projects that could improve efficiency, productivity or bring innovation alive – whether new to market or new to the organisation – it just needs to be something you’ve never done before.
50% grant funding is available to eligible organisations across the North of Tyne region for innovation projects costing between £10k & £20k (exclusive of VAT) thanks to the North of Tyne Combined Authority. Grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 are available for projects completed by the end of 2022. New applications are welcome from SMEs and social enterprises across Northumberland, Newcastle Upon Tyne and North Tyneside for projects due to completion by the end of 2022.