I’m Kate Patton, Tech Nation’s North East Scaleup Engagement Manager. We’re building a national network of ambitious entrepreneurs. If you’re a founder who requires support, feel free to book a meeting with me using this form.
Opportunities and events
Interested in attending events for digital tech founders in the North East? Then follow Kate on Twitter, where she’ll be sharing the best ones that come her way.
Kate also tweets noteworthy national opportunities for founders – everything from accelerators and competitions to investment and collaboration opportunities, panels appearances, and much more.
Have an event or opportunity for Kate to tweet? Get in touch
For additional stats, explore Data Commons. It’s our ground-breaking national database of technology businesses, founders, investors, VC funds, angels, accelerators, universities and service providers to the sector.
How do the world’s biggest brands make sense of the millions of tweets, emails, webchats, online reviews, CRM-entries, forum posts and survey results written by their customers? What about their competitors? In our world of big data, we’ve become really good at understanding the numbers, but numbers are easy: we know exactly what they mean.
Wordnerds is a software platform that helps brands uncover and understand the true voice of their customers. By combining cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) with old-school linguistics, our disruptive tech is a new way to train computers to read – and genuinely understand – language, and not just count the words.
Why did you choose to base the company in the North East?
I choose to live in the North East because it’s an amazing place with a unique mix of urban and rural, coast and country, modern and historical. I have family and friends here; people that have kicked lumps out of me at football for 30 years.
We have access to the combined genius of five universities, all within a stone’s throw of our Gateshead Quayside office – some of which boast world-class AI departments with research facilities and hardware to match. The UK’s National Innovation Centre for Data – NIC-D – has been built in Newcastle; we can walk there from our office. It is a resource that forms the vanguard of the UK PLC’s attempt to introduce businesses that want to use data better with the people, tech and hardware to do so.
How is ZeroLight disrupting the automotive industry?
The cloud is the key to our continued disruption of the automotive industry. We offer the world’s only globally scalable, cloud-based car-configuration and content-production platform. This enables us to provide a range of solutions that deliver tangible competitive advantages for our clients by driving customer engagement, higher specification sales, and lower content-production costs.
Why is the North East a good place to grow your business?
With five leading universities and a number of top colleges on our doorstep, we have a very deep talent pool, and we’ve worked hard to enhance this by establishing strong links with these institutions.
Through these close relationships, we’re able to engage with students at the formative stages of their studies and introduce them to new career paths, which has helped us foster our highly successful graduate scheme.
Which markets and parts of the world do you operate in at the moment?
We are a global business in the truest sense. Our major clients – like Cadillac, Audi, and Lamborghini – operate in key automotive hubs, but our technology extends much further, and its impact is felt by car buyers in every corner of the world. We have achieved this through our close relationships and collaboration with global technology leaders – including Amazon, Facebook, Google, and NVIDIA.
Why did you choose to base the company in the North East?
The North East is my home – it’s where I wanted to set up and grow a new business. The reason for this is that, if we are successful, then Paid will be an example along with others of what you can achieve without needing to move to another city. Having more successful companies in the North East improves the environment for all businesses, increasing the likelihood of investment and the attraction and retention of talent. I want to be part of that and play a part in the digital revolution that we have started. In the short time Paid has been running, we have been accepted to well-known programs from Tech Nation and the Barclays Accelerator, where we were the first northern company to be accepted. This I hope has served as an inspiration to others who want to do the same.
How could the North East be better prepared for your business growth?
The missing piece in the North East is the access to the right finance, such as people who will take a risk as an angel investor and mentor you through the process of business growth and investment. Paid have been incredibly fortunate to have an amazing set of investors, but we have none from the North East. To be more successful as a whole this needs to change. Programmes to help new businesses are a great start but we need the hands-on people who have built, scaled and exited businesses to inspire the next group of companies.
External support for founders
Our curated picks of support for founders from around the North East
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