International investment for innovative NI start-up
Entrepreneurial Spark Hatchery start-up business CADshare secures over £200,000 in capital
AN innovative Northern Ireland start-up business is set to create 10 jobs after securing a significant injection of capital from local and international investors.
CADshare, which is based at the Ulster Bank-powered Entrepreneurial Spark Hatchery in Belfast, has raised more than £200,000, including investment from techstart NI, private investors based in Northern Ireland and the US, and support from Invest NI.
Founded by mechanical engineer Chris Acheson, CADshare is a platform that allows manufacturers of heavy machinery to bring their aftermarket customer service online, making it faster, more accurate and more productive.
With the support of Entrepreneurial Spark, Mr Acheson (left of photo) has been working with Northern Ireland-based manufacturing businesses to develop the product, which he now plans to launch fully to the market in the first half of 2017.
He plans to immediately begin expanding his team and to leverage the support of his experienced investors. CADshare will also benefit from significant support from its technology partners Autodesk.
According to Mr Acheson, CADshare has significant international growth potential. ‘Technology is opening up new opportunities to transform the aftermarket business, and CADshare provides a way to unlock new revenue streams and better service. It is a platform that offers significant benefits to manufacturers globally,’ he explained.
‘I am delighted to secure the new investment, which will really help bring the vision for the business to reality. I am also very grateful to Entrepreneurial Spark for the mentoring and support, which has been invaluable in terms of really focusing our technology on its best application.
‘We plan to begin recruiting for some jobs immediately, and aim to recruit 10 over the next couple of years.’
Lynsey Cunningham (right of photo), entrepreneur development manager at Ulster Bank, said: ‘This is fantastic news for Chris and CADshare, and an exciting story for Northern Ireland. Chris will continue to benefit from the support of Entrepreneurial Spark and its vibrant ecosystem for the next nine months, and I am sure the business will go from strength to strength.’
Karen McCallion, Belfast enabler at the Entrepreneurial Spark Hatchery, added: ‘Since joining the programme in February 2016, Chris has displayed a real ‘go do’ attitude. He’s grabbed every opportunity the Entrepreneurial Spark programme has to offer and it’s great to see all the hard work come to fruition. As we work to accelerate his business further, it’s going to be an exciting year ahead.’
Entrepreneurial Spark – a business accelerator and growth hub for entrepreneurs – is part of a major international movement to encourage and support start-up and scale-up businesses.
Powered by Ulster Bank, the Entrepreneurial Spark Hatchery in Belfast provides free space for up to 80 entrepreneurs, with hands-on mentoring, a ‘bootcamp’ for business planning, and a free programme of up to 18 months of advice, support and expert workshops.
Established by Invest Northern Ireland as part of its £170 million Access to Finance initiative, techstart NI provides support for early-stage technology businesses. It is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the EU Investment for Growth in Jobs Programme 2014–2020.