Rolls-Royce partner with Global Internet of Things start-ups at Barnsley’s Digital Media Centre

Rolls-Royce has announced it is joining a leading accelerator for start-up tech companies as a major corporate partner, to capitalize on future developments in the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).

The engineering firm has partnered with IoT Tribe North (, as part of an intensive 12-week programme for Internet of Things start-ups. The programme is being run from and with the support of the Digital Media Centre, based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

Throughout the programme, Rolls-Royce will provide mentoring and technical support to build expertise among new companies whose ideas and technology could be integrated into Rolls-Royce products in the future, to strengthen its market leadership.

Tanya Suarez, CEO and founder of IoT Tribe, said: “The evidence gathered to date shows that it can be 3x faster and 5x cheaper to work with start-ups rather than try to develop new key-enabling technologies internally. The expertise and domain specific know-how of Rolls-Royce will be combined the disruptive technologies of our start-ups, enabling the firm to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the cyber-physical worlds.”

After intensive scouting, 60 start-ups competed amongst global peers for the chance to take part in the programme, enabling of which 9 of the best were selected. The founders come from all around the globe, from Lincoln to Bogotá (Colombia). They span diverse fields including digital manufacturing, green tech, health and logistics. All are UK registered companies with at least one team member now based Barnsley.

In addition to working with Rolls-Royce, the tech entrepreneurs will be given coaching in product development, market testing and investment readiness. At the end of the programme they will be given the opportunity to pitch to investors and join trade missions to Europe and South-East Asia.

Caroline Gorski, Director for Global Ecosystem and Partnerships for R2 Data Labs at Rolls-Royce said “Successfully delivering value from data innovation is pivotal to Rolls-Royce’s digital strategy – but we can’t do it all by ourselves in a vacuum. Working with IoT Tribe helps us to engage with technology innovators who can challenge our ideas, bring us new technical insights and encourage our employees to get a wider and wiser perspective on the possibilities of data innovation. And hopefully we also get to help those innovators to succeed, and share in their pace, inventiveness and energy.”

As well as Rolls-Royce, the IoT Tribe North has also been backed by Innovate UK, and Capital Enterprise, having already helped 130 other companies across the UK and Europe scale from start-ups to successful businesses.

Tracey Johnson, project manager at the Digital Media Centre, said: “Having both the IoT Tribe North choose the Digital Media Centre and Rolls-Royce now on board is a huge vote of confidence in the work we do here, helping digital start-ups to fulfil their potential through programmes and facilitating cross sector collaboration. South Yorkshire has a strong manufacturing heritage and an emerging digital specialism, making the Digital Media Centre the ideal place to bring these disciplines together.”