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Robotics and EPoS specialist moves into The Catalyst

June 5th 2024

SPARK at The Catalyst

A Newcastle tech firm specialising in autonomous robots and Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS) systems has a new HQ in The Catalyst at Newcastle Helix.

SPARK, founded in 2019 by Newcastle University alumnus Eric Guo, started out by developing an integrated cloud-based software platform combining EPoS, customer relationship management (CRM), stock control and reservation management solutions for the leisure and hospitality sector.

In 2021, as the Covid pandemic was impacting the hospitality industry, SPARK decided to diversify, expanding into robotics to address staff shortages and improve service efficiencies.

SPARK has introduced 15 unique service robots – from ‘BellaBot’, the cat-like robot popular in restaurants like YO! Sushi, to the UK’s first ‘ButlerBot’, a hotel service bot which Maldron Hotel Newcastle introduced to guests last year.

The tech development company moved into The Catalyst last month through the National Innovation Centre for Ageing’s Internet of Caring Things (IoCT) programme, which is designed to help businesses in the North of Tyne region to advance products or services and explore new and emerging markets, with a focus on ageing and healthy longevity.

Somin Tong, Head of Marketing at SPARK, said: “The Catalyst is such a unique and innovative building. We came to the centre for a meeting last year and the space has a welcoming atmosphere, and we love the community aspect of the work that takes place between the national innovation centres and new and established businesses.

“From our integrated platform for smart hospitality to our smart robots, we aim to provide solutions for a range of venues, including care homes, so staff have more time to spend with the people they’re caring for. We’re not looking to replace human jobs, but rather support the care, hospitality and leisure industries, helping improve efficiencies and enable staff to be more proactive.”

Dr Jennine Jonczyk, Internet of Caring Things Programme lead at National Innovation Centre for Ageing said: “It’s so fantastic having SPARK with us in The Catalyst. It’s really useful for the programme to see how people interact with the bots and the conversations are giving us daily inspiration for new ideas with robotics and SPARK.”

Located at Newcastle Helix – an innovation district with a focus on data, urban and life sciences which is a partnership between Newcastle City Council, Newcastle University and Legal and General – The Catalyst is an award-winning building managed by Oxford Innovation and home to the National Innovation Centre for Data and the National Innovation Centre for Ageing.

Amelia Findlay, centre manager at The Catalyst, said: “We’re thrilled to have SPARK headquartered here in The Catalyst alongside a roster of industry-defining businesses driving innovation in data and healthy ageing.

“We have seen first-hand how impressive their robots are and we’re looking forward to seeing the team continue to develop innovative solutions that positively impact businesses nationwide.”

John Seager, Newcastle Helix estates director, said: “We are very pleased to welcome SPARK to Newcastle Helix. It’s great to see them join some of the most innovative science and tech organisations creating solutions to society’s most pressing challenges, right here at the heart of Newcastle.

“Helix offers businesses like SPARK opportunity for innovation, collaboration and growth in a vibrant, sustainable city centre location which has the potential to benefit the region and wider community.”

March 4th 2024

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October 24th 2023

Welcome, Lauren!

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September 22nd 2023

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