Welcome to Beltech2016

April 15, 2016

We’re looking forward to getting involved with BelTech2016.  The third annual Belfast Technology Conference event will take place on Thursday and Friday April 21-22nd 2016 in Titanic Belfast.

The event promises to be the premier technology event for software practitioners and business leaders in Northern Ireland.

A full day of conference plenaries on Thursday 21 April will inform technology professionals and businesses of the emerging technologies and approaches that will allow them to innovate and compete effectively at a global level. You will be able to see two companies from the StartPlanet NI Accelerator pitch, Orca Money and Profitbees pitch in a Dragons Den event – and – our very own Diane Roberts will moderate a panel on the Belfast Startup Scene.

There is a discounted rate of £40 for start-ups using the discount code startup16.



Applications are open for Accelerator 2016

March 31, 2016

Applications are open for the 2016 Accelerator in Belfast, commencing in September for 3 months.  There will be investment, mentoring, coworking space and acceleration! To find out more you can visit the programme website.

So what is on offer?

Our plan is simple and the ingredients even simpler:

A total focus on developing your business;

3 months co-working space, with an additional 6 month extension without charge;

Total commitment from a world class programme team;

Each startup will receive equity investment of £15,000, with the opportunity to gain up to £40,000 investment on completion the 3 month programme;

Additional significant opportunity for post accelerator investment;

Potential follow-on support from Invest Northern Ireland;

Guidance from a host of talented entrepreneurs and mentors;

These vital ingredients are mixed with a supportive cast of mentors and successful entrepreneurs who are there to develop your business. They add real value and expertise to the programme and share your passion in your company.



Highlights from our Accelerator Demo Day

March 8, 2016

Before we knew it, the 3 months passed us by and our companies were set for the StartPlanetNI Demo Day on Wednesday 2nd March. With a packed room and a cover of snow outside, the royal throne room was filled with investors, mentors and funders.  Up first was James Donaghy from Freelance Student, followed by 6 other startup companies including a stunning performance by Natalia from Pavanu, both on her feet pitching her business and a delightful piano recital fit for our venue, Hillsborough Castle.

xcell web demo day

Amongst the honours, Matthew Large CEO of Glistrr picked up the award for the ‘Most Investable Company’.

Applications for our second cohort, taking place September to December 2016, are already open at www.f6s.com/startplanetniaccelerator2016.  Will your startup be one of the ten companies?


Accelerator Startup Spotlight || Orca Money

February 9, 2016

As our accelerator programme StartPlanetNI, moves on to its last 4 weeks, we put the spotlight on one of the companies Orca Money,  two Scottish cousins with a vision. A vision of helping everyday people make more money from their money.

Founders: Iain Niblock (CEO) and Jordan Stodart (CMO)

Orca Money is the no.1 peer-to-peer lending (P2P) comparison service in the UK. Orca aggregates and compares P2P investment opportunities on their impartial, informative and easy-to-use website. The goal? Simple. Help DIY investors make smart investment decisions and receive interest rates in the region 5% per annum avg from lending to borrowers through UK P2P platforms.

StartPlanet Adventure

Since joining the StartPlanet NI programme in November, the pair have come a tremendous distance. But let’s go back a year and see where it is they’ve come from. Iain and Jordan were previously running a retail bond issuance company, in Edinburgh. It was here that they became more familiar with peer-to-peer lending. Having gained excellent market insight, establishing comparison sites as the lowest costing acquisition channel, the guys decided to venture further into this new and exciting FinTech sector.

The Idea

The idea was generated in Summer 2015, where it was abundantly evident that no online resources were serving the user base (retail investors) by providing detailed data comparisons and easy-to-digest material, giving the user the confidence to invest in P2P lending. Thus, Orca Money was born.

Orca Money Business Model

Orca operates a referral fee business. They know that their customer acquisition channel is the cheapest and the least risky for the peer-to-peer lenders they list, as they are only paid when a user (retail investor) invests on the underlying businesses website. With 58 UK peer-to-peer lending platforms in operation and the potential to move into other financial products and global markets Orca as poised to exploit other commercial avenues should they wish to.

What makes Orca Money unique?

Peer-to-peer lending is a young industry, it’s 10 years old, but, it has grown exponentially in its young existence. There are now 58 players in the UK, collectively lending almost £4bn having grown YoY over 100% the last few years. This growth is going nowhere. The UK market is set on this upward trajectory for years to come.

What has this got to do with Orca? Well, the problem lies in the confusion surrounding P2P lending. Early adopters, or even those teased by the idea of investing, are confused by the number of platforms in operation. They are confused by the terminology and the products on offer and they lack this confidence to invest. Orca Money illuminates the nuance differences between platforms and products, they simplify the terminology and they empower the investor into making their own investment decisions. No banks, no bias, no advisors. Rather, independent, impartial data and information. No one is doing this effectively at the moment, except Orca Money.

Orca Money three-months achievements

When the guys arrived in Belfast two days before the programme commenced they had no product, no user base and no commercial partnerships with UK peer-to-peer lenders. By now, February 9th, the pair have an MVP featuring comparison table with filters and outputs launched, an abundance of content on-site and partnerships with nine major UK P2P platforms. This means you can visit their site, digest content and browse the numerous lenders listed, empowering you to invest and start earning the rates you deserve.

You can find out for yourself, by visiting www.orcamoney.com.



Gallery | 112 Donegall St, Belfast

February 8, 2016


One to Watch || Diane Roberts, Xcell Partners

January 28, 2016

We were thrilled to have our CEO get a write up in Ulster Business, as One to Watch in 2016. Thanks for the coverage and well done to all the other companies who were mentioned this year.

Ulster Business Magazine Jan 2016 Diane Roberts



Student Placement || Startups, tech and experience

January 27, 2016

We’re looking for a student placement to join us in our Belfast co-working space (@112DonegallSt).  Host to a startup accelerator, investors, entrepreneurs and a lot more.

Ideally this is a great placement for anyone studying Business, Marketing, IT  – but we are looking for a person who is great at helping out at events, admin, marketing, digital media… so students of any subject can ping us.  You’ll learn about pitching, event management, marketing, financing the small business, and help housekeep the coolest venue in town for startups. There’ll be some early starts, some weekend work. You’ll get the best placement in Belfast.

Starts in June/July 2016 and runs for 9-12 months. Good pay and great opportunities to learn.

Interested? Then email mark @ xcellpartners.com with a 1-2 page CV.




In the Press || Sunday Times

November 15, 2015

Delighted to get a mention in the Sunday Times today, giving a mention to Diane Roberts and our partners Invest NI, as we deliver startup programmes Propel and StartPlanet.



Pitch Perfect for Propel

September 28, 2015

The entrepreneurs each pitched to a panel of experts and investors with the aim of taking their business to the next level. The group has been participating on Propel throughout 2014/15 – which involves a programme of intensive planning, networking, mentoring and market visits – with the aim of growing their business internationally. Jeremy Fitch, Invest Northern Ireland’s Executive Director of Business Solutions Group, is pictured with the group as they prepared for the big pitch.


33 of Northern Ireland’s most exciting business start-ups took centre stage at The MAC in Belfast  for the Invest Northern Ireland Propel ‘Pitch Up’ event.

Applications for the next programme are now open, find out more here.




112 Donegall St || Belfast’s new co-working space

August 31, 2015

We’re pumped up to announce some news..   We’re opening Belfast’s first startup co-working space.   Host to the StartPlanetNI accelerator the facility is located on Donegall St and will open it’s doors in November. We’ll be offering hotdesk space on monthly rates, meeting rooms, function space in January 2016. Keep up to date at @112DonegallSt.




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