IgniteNI, a Belfast-based startup accelerator backed by Invest NI, has opened applications for its next batch. The ten selected startups will get a convertible loan of £15,000 and a further £5,000 if they are relocating from outside Northern Ireland.

During the six-month program, the accelerator team will choose five out of ten teams to go to San Francisco between September and November to meet VCs and angel investors and raise funding. The accelerator is convinced that the internal competition wouldn’t interfere with the programme’s objectives.

“Based on our experience not every company on the programme will want to join the US Landing Pad — either because the US isn’t currently on their expansion plans, or because of their personal situations,” Tristan Watson, CEO of Ignite, told Tech.eu. “However, if there are more than five companies who want to join the Landing Pad then we will be selecting them based on their progress during the programme and we believe that this will encourage healthy competition.”

The applications for the IgniteNI programme are open for startups that have a product and/or early traction with potential customers, as well as ambitions to raise between £250,000 and £1 million in the next year.

“For the programme, we’re looking for high potential startups that already have some early traction – ideally a version of the product built and some customers on board,” Watson said. “We’re then looking at the strength of the founding team, and the market they’re going after — we’re particularly interested in people bringing innovative solutions to legacy industries.”

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