Aberystwyth-based Tech Startup Celebrates Innovation Grant


Aberystwyth-based tech startup Starfish Labs Ltd is celebrating being awarded an innovation grant from Welsh Government by appointing two new graduates to their app development team.

The grant awarded to Starfish is part of the Welsh Government rapid response Covid-19 RD&I scheme.

The company, based at Aberystwyth University’s Innovation Centre, specialises in the development of apps to enrich the lives of people with special educational needs and disabilities, along with mobile applications for education, healthcare and training.

Spencer Nicholas joins the team as a recent Computer Science graduate from Aberystwyth University, having completed a four-year course including a placement year at IBM.

Will Withey joins having spent 11 years working in the healthcare industry, in diverse care settings. He studied Computer Science at the University of Hull.

Will says,

“I have a strong interest in assisting people through the use of mobile technology and I’m looking forward to making a positive impact on peoples’ lives through technology, building on my experience working in the care sector.”

Spencer adds,

“I’m passionate about delivering the best possible user experience for people of all technical abilities. The chance to join Starfish Labs and to be able to continue working from Wales on a number of exciting an innovative projects is a great opportunity.”

Starfish Labs Director, Neil Bevan, says,

“We are delighted to have been awarded a grant by Welsh Government to support our R&D, job creation and growth plans. Our project to develop of a suite of mobile apps to help people with learning difficulties and disabilities to cope with the changes enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic is ground-breaking work, and will, we believe, be the first suite of apps of its kind aimed at that sector of the community. We’re also proud to be developing the apps in the Welsh language, to support vulnerable people in our communities in their own language.”

The suite of apps is being developed for Apple and Android devices and will be distributed through the AppStore and Google Play.

The company has recently enjoyed considerable success in developing apps to help students with learning difficulties to gain work experience and to enter the job market, working in collaboration with Ofsted Outstanding-rated Derwen College. The suite of apps won Derwen a national Natspec award for the use of innovative technology in June of this year.