BT launches hunt for technology start-ups

Broadband plugs

BT has launched an initiative in London's Tech City to encourage start-ups to develop applications and services that will take advantage of superfast broadband connectivity.

Dubbed BT Infinity Lab, the programme has been set up with TechHub, an organisation based in East London that offers workspace to tech start-ups.

For UK start-ups or those wanting to enter the UK market, it's an opportunity that's usually hard to come by.

The project is looking for entrepreneurs to propose business ideas that can be sold alongside BT's fibre broadband offerings. Once backing has been given by BT, firms will receive six months' support including access to its R&D and engineering departments, rather financial backing.

Firms will also get space at TechHub, based off Old Street in the heart of Tech City.

An initial competition will be looking for "apps and services which bring to life BT's new innovations in the consumer market, including 300mbps broadband and the new Home Hub 5 which makes use of 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology [and] provides up to Gigabit transfer speeds," according to BT.

Elizabeth Varley, co-founder and CEO of TechHub, said the programme was an "unmissable opportunity" for tech start-ups.

"Working with BT gives entrepreneurs the chance to test their innovations with a major partner, receive specialised help and advice, and take advantage of the huge promotional reach offered by this bastion of British business," she said.

"For UK start-ups or those wanting to enter the UK market, it's an opportunity that's usually hard to come by without partnerships like this one between TechHub and BT."

Communications minister Ed Vaizey welcomed the programme and said, "TechHub and BT are to be congratulated on this brilliant initiative, which will result in exciting new products and prototypes, helping all UK internet users to make the most of all the benefits superfast speed has to offer."

More details on how to get involved in the competition and deadlines can be found on TechHub's website.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.