How We Can Help


C4DI helps fast-track high-growth startups through smart investment capital and a bootcamp process that develops robust and globally-connected businesses.

Hull has a number of priority areas such as engineering, renewables, tourism and social/healthcare. By encouraging startups working in these areas, we can ensure that our startups have the greatest competitive advantage, with access to the supply chains and mentors within those sectors to help them grow.

We focus on two sorts of startups and scaleups :

  • Those with startups, ideally working in one of the region’s key sectors.
  • Those who want to be running a startup, but are struggling to think of an idea. Through our existing innovation programmes, we are discovering a number of ‘industry problems’ that businesses within these sectors face. By bringing those businesses together with individuals keen to run a startup, but without a product, we can assemble specialist teams for our incubator.

Real People.  Real Stories.  Real Success.

Simon Kidd

From concept to selling to a FTSE100 in three months.  Being a member of the C4DI has allowed me to drive the applications that I develop at a pace I’ve never been able to before. By spending most of my time in the “quiet room” it allows me to remove almost all the distractions I have been used to throughout my working life, leaving me to focus on what matters the most. The team at C4DI frequently run events that only members have access to, which not only improve me as a person, but also give me a competitive advantage over others in my field.

James Horspool - TXOPS

The beauty of C4DI is through its members, their connections, talent and the creative atmosphere within. I simply do not think I could not have achieved my vision anywhere else, because those now engaged with my project are truly engaged in a way that a purely commercial transaction could not achieve. I could not find a better pool of passion, knowledge and an ability to seek solutions and solve challenging problems under one roof, and the fact it is in Hull is fantastic! 



Jim Wardlaw - MrLista

Working alongside the members I was quickly flooded with lots of new clients and exciting work. I really enjoy having an ever changing cast of people to bounce ideas off, or just chew the fat over a biscuit or three.

Through C4DI I was able to turn MrLista from a long term dream into a full fledged startup. This would have never happened with out links to local investment and business advice that comes with being a member.


For Startups Whilst many early stage businesses have interesting ideas and technology, they still require substantial intervention to prepare them for seed finance. The provision of ‘smart money’ that includes mentoring, business and product development support and introductions alongside pre-seed capital has greater value to these businesses than cash alone. This approach has been successfully developed in the US by Y Combinator and TechStars and is known as a ‘pre-seed accelerator programme’.

C4DI runs a pre-seed fund, and has access to other funds.  To apply for this, please contact John Connolly

For Investors

C4DI startups are very investor-friendly.

In addition to the shareholding, there are a number of advantages of our approach to investment:

Tax efficiency: Investors select the startups that will participate in the programme and their money is invested directly in the companies, attracting (S)EIS relief.

Portfolio diversification: Angel syndication provides investors portfolio diversification and spread of risk across ten teams per programme.

ROI across portfolio: Siding with Angels (NESTA, 2009) is the most authoritative analysis to date, reflecting experiences from running these programmes in both the US and UK: “The most likely outcome in any one angel investment is failure, but ‘winning’ investments are very attractive. Fifty-six per cent of the exits failed to return capital, while 9 per cent generate more than ten times the capital invested. Because the 44 per cent of investments that generate positive exits win at a larger multiple than the costs of the negative exits, the overall return to business angel investing in the UK is 2.2 times the invested capital [in a] holding period of just under four years.”

Reduced cost of discovery: Leveraging the international pre-seed startup ecosystem creates a ready route to provide investors with a stronger and wider dealbase, by both geography and sector. The accelerator programme is actively promoted to identify and attract the best startup teams locally and worldwide, bringing entrepreneurial talent and global business connections back to the region for business development.

Enhanced business opportunity: The accelerator programme brings dozens of like-minded investors and entrepreneurs together, increasing the opportunity to extend networks and successfully do business together.

Increased investment confidence: Investors are encouraged to mentor in the programme and take advantage of seeing the momentum in the startups. As relationships develop on both sides, there is an increased opportunity to extend a commercial or advisory relationship. Investors participating in the programme are in a prime position to be involved in next round decisions as the startup steps up.

Next round readiness: The programme increases the prospects of a startup quickly developing a scalable business model for a product that is generating revenue by the end of the programme, and that can therefore attract further funding. On average 50% of the teams on the affiliate programmes run by Springboard go on to successfully attract between £100k - £2m, with an average of £300k second round investment.