A software company founded by a Teesside University graduate on his third year industry placement has reached the finals of a highly-prestigious international pitching competition.
JDrew Creations, based at Digital House in Stockton, is one of only 12 finalists, and the only representative from the United Kingdom, in the HATCH Pitch competition at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas.
In 2012, the company’s founder, James Drew, took the unusual step of spending the third year of his BSc (Hons) Web Development degree working for himself as Managing Director and developing Ambix, a social intranet which allows members of organisations to collaborate and network securely.
HATCH Pitch is a pitching competition for tech start-up companies producing new, disruptive products which make life better.
Since its inception in 2012, winners have raised nearly £98 million ($150 million) in invested capital.
JDrew Creations was encouraged to enter the competition by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and was also given advice and feedback on its entry.
Company Director Kate Baucherel will deliver the pitch at the festival on 16 March and will receive coaching via Skype from HATCH Pitch sponsors and mentors, Prezi.
The Ambix platform will also be demonstrated on the UKTI stand at the festival.
The announcement that JDrew Creations had reached the finals of HATCH Pitch follows a successful crowd funding campaign which raised £55,000 to help grow the business.
Ambix has also been selected recently by Jargone Learning and Development to underpin its training and networking organisation, Skills Network.
The company also employs Teesside University graduate Jordan McCord as a UI/UX designer and Adam Hilditch, a BA (Hons) Web and Multimedia Design student, to work for the company on his third year placement.
James said: “It’s great to see that the team’s hard work and dedication to the project is now beginning to open up opportunities all over the world.
“The support shown by our investors, friends and family has helped us to get where we are today, and we’re now excited to be gearing up towards pushing things on further.”
JDrew Creations has also been supported by the DigitalCity initiative based at Teesside University which has helped the company with coaching and mentoring as well as organising networking events.
Director of DigitalCity, Dr Michael Ryding, said: “JDrew Creations has come an incredible distance in a short space of time and we are delighted to have been able to support them.
“HATCH Pitch is a very prestigious competition and for JDrew Creations to be one of only two non-American finalists and the only British company to be taking part shows the strength of their product.
“We are sure that they will do a fantastic job of flying the flag for Teesside while they are in America.”