News - 14 July 2014

Grants help Nottingham’s digital sector to flourish

A Nottingham digital firm whose app was selected as “Free App of the Day” by global e-tailer Amazon is set to expand in the City thanks to a £20,000 grant. 

MultiPie Limited, based at the Antenna Media Centre on Beck Street, is an award winning mobile application development consultancy.  They have received funding from the Nottingham Technology Grant Fund (N’Tech) to enable the company to expand.

The team designed a jigsaw puzzle game called Spectrum Puzzles which was featured by Amazon and clocked up over 140,000 downloads in 24 hours in the US and ranked as the third highest rated game for the following two months. Spectrum Puzzles was also featured in the UK for the release of the European branch of the Amazon App store and received a further 25,000 downloads.

MultiPie provides a range of bespoke mobile apps for a diverse range of businesses including universities and SMEs across the UK. Following the success of Spectrum Puzzles, MultiPie considered moving to London to expand the firm. But thanks to the funding from Nottingham City Council’s N’Tech programme has chosen to remain in Nottingham to expand its operation.

N’Tech grants are geared towards the growing life science, digital content and clean technology sectors and the fund is run by Nottingham City Council.

Launched in April 2013, the N’Tech fund has awarded the largest proportion of grants to firms in the digital content sector. To date 56 grants have been offered worth £6.6million and 23 (£2.8 million) have been awarded to digital content firms. There are a further 25 applications in the pipeline requesting £2½ million of grant. N’Tech closes to applications on 30 September 2014.

MultiPie was founded in 2011 by husband and wife Steve and Annie Haley, who met while studying at Nottingham University and Nottingham Trent University respectively. The grant has enabled them to recruit a further two full-time mobile app developers, with Dave Leverton, the latest recruit, joining the team in June 2014, bringing the total number of staff to four. The grant has also enabled the company to take office space at the Antenna Media Centre in the Creative Quarter.

Annie Haley, co-founder of MultiPie, commented: “After considering a move to London, we are now committed to growing our business in Nottingham. Thanks to the support of Nottingham City Council and the N’Tech fund we are now are geared up for our next phase of growth.

“The app market is very competitive and bespoke apps like some of the contracts we are currently working on are in high demand. Our clients are based locally and also across the UK.”

The success of Spectrum Puzzles helped MultiPie win the Amplify Award for best start up business at the Antenna Media Centre.

In February 2014, Antenna-based Notts TV was awarded £133,256 from the Nottingham Technology Grant Fund (N’Tech).   Notts TV is the first dedicated channel for Nottinghamshire is run by a consortium of Confetti Media Group, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham Post and Inclusive Digital.

Craig Chettle, Managing Director at Confetti Media Group and Chairman of Notts TV, commented: “It’s fantastic that another digital sector business has been assisted through the N’Tech funding initiative. This is exactly what the N’Tech initiative is about; retaining talent, fostering creative businesses and helping them grow.”

Councillor Nick McDonald, Portfolio Holder for Jobs and Growth at the City Council, said: “Nottingham is developing a really strong ecosystem of digital media businesses, and it’s great that through the N’Tech grant we’ve enabled two of our graduates to build a business in the city that is now creating skilled jobs for local people.”

N’Tech is a core element of Nottingham City Council’s Nottingham Growth Plan delivered through its “Growing Nottingham” campaign – a blueprint for the city’s future business growth and one of the most ambitious strategies of the UK’s Core Cities. Measures introduced as part of the plan have played a key role in encouraging new business formation through various finance and support packages. The three priority sectors outlined in the Growth Plan are digital content, life sciences, and clean technology.                             

N’Tech grants are funded solely through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF). Nottingham City Council secured RGF from the Government for grants to help fast track development of businesses based in the city. The funding can provide grants of £20,000 to £1million per successful company to support growth and expansion.

The N’Tech fund has so far had 56 successful applications across the digital content, life sciences and clean technology sectors and awarded grants to the value £6.6 million with 1,573 jobs created and safeguarded.

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