Teesside University graduates snap up major contract win with AkzoNobel

A tech startup founded by Teesside University graduates has signed a major contract to develop an innovative digital sales platform for a multinational chemicals company.

Big Nasty Studios successfully pitched to win a contract to work with paint and performance coatings manufacturer, AkzoNobel NV, to design an app to showcase the company’s specialty chemicals used to prevent fouling on boats and marine structures.

Big Nasty Studios was formed with the help of a DigitalCity Fellowship and is based in Teesside Launchpad, the university’s startup incubator.

Using games technology, it has developed Project Viz, a visualisation app used as a sales tool which can demonstrate products to customers as they would be operated in real life.

The app allows users to zoom, pan and rotate the products and swipe between different product skins to showcase different colours and materials.

The company was founded in 2016 by Teesside graduates Josh Bamforth, Adam Davies and Jack Fletcher.

Creative director, Josh, said: “Our apps work to make it easier for sales people to explain difficult concepts and showcase different types of products more easily. We tailor them to the specifications of the client so each business gets something that is exactly what they need.

“It’s great to think that a company with such a high reputation as AkzoNobel was suitably impressed with our work and so we’re delighted to have won this contract with them.”

Big Nasty are adapting this technology to develop the app for AkzoNobel and showcase technical information in an easy-to-access visual format.

Mo Chowdhury, a technologist in AkzoNobel’s transformative research team, added: “The collaboration with Big Nasty will help convey multifaceted information into a simpler, more visual format for our end use customers.

“They have managed to take our complex requirements and provide a bespoke solution whilst understanding our needs and what benefits they can carry to our customers.

“One of the benefits we are seeing working with Big Nasty is the time and effort they have dedicated early on from the initial scoping stage and their availability throughout the course of the project.”

DigitalCity Fellowships – funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Teesside University – offer entrepreneurs with innovative businesses up to £5,000 to support their business expenses during the initial development stage.

Big Nasty also received help from Teesside University’s Launchpad FUEL, an eight-week development programme open to Teesside University students and graduates who are in the early stages of developing a business idea.

It offers up to £19k of grant funding to help them develop their concept.

Laura Woods, director of The Forge, Teesside University’s business hub, concluded: “Big Nasty are a fantastic example of a young business using the latest technology to provide an innovative service to North East companies.

“We are delighted to have been able to support them and are looking forward to seeing the results of their collaboration with AkzoNobel.”


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