Digital Xtra Fund has received a donation of £25,000 from Chroma Ventures to support its annual grants programme. This investment will enable the Fund to now award up to £100,000 in June instead of the £75,000 announced in February.
Launched in 2016, the Fund provides grants to schools and organisations to boost interest in computing and technology among young people aged 16 years and under. Grants up to £5,000 are awarded to innovative, exciting extracurricular activities that engage young people and teach skills such as coding, data science or cyber security as well as creativity and resilience. Since its inception, the Fund has awarded £660,000 to 80 initiatives around Scotland and helped engage over 38,000 young people in technology.
Chroma Ventures is the newly-established investment arm of 4J Studios, the multiple award-winning games developer best known for developing Minecraft for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo games consoles.4J Studios’ ethos combines innovation, creativity and technical excellence, which aligns with Digital Xtra Fund’s belief that that inspiring young people to understand and create with technology is essential to the future wellbeing of Scotland.
Chroma Ventures’ involvement as a Gigabyte Partner will help enable these digital skills activities and initiatives for young people across the country. The donation is one of the largest the charity has received to date.
Paddy Burns, Principal at Chroma Ventures and CEO of 4J Studios will also join Digital Xtra Fund as a Trustee as part of the company’s commitment to the charity. As well as experience of directly investing in exceptional individuals and teams, he brings an entrepreneurial approach to developing innovative ideas and technology.
Kraig Brown, Partnerships and Development Manager at Digital Xtra Fund, said: Like many charities, 2020 was full of uncertainties for the Fund but Chroma Ventures’ support has enabled us to continue supporting educators and young people at the same level as previous years. At a time when many in the third sector are struggling, this is important as it builds confidence amongst our grant recipients, stakeholders and other industry partners that Digital Xtra Fund will consistently support young talent in Scotland’s tech sector. We’re delighted we’ll be able to continue our work and help inspire more young people in Scotland to pursue a career in tech. With ambitious plans, we also hope Chroma Ventures’ involvement will raise awareness and encourage further interest and support in our grants programme."
Paddy Burns said: Technology is a thread that runs through my own back story and the sort of initiatives delivered by Digital Xtra Fund resonated strongly. I firmly believe improving digital skills in Scotland can lead to life-changing opportunities for young people across the country, and that’s why our support for this initiative felt like a natural fit. I benefited from the support of experienced entrepreneurs and investors when I was starting out more than 20years ago, and it’s fantastic to be able to give something back to a sector that is very close to my heart."
Chroma Ventures was created in 2021 by Paddy Burns and Chris van der Kuyl as a broad-spectrum investment arm. Based in Scotland, but with an international outlook, Chroma Ventures backs companies developing and deploying innovative technology and data-led businesses. Its investment approach will reflect the Principals' commitment to investing in great people with great ideas and supporting their growth through long-term collaboration. Chroma Ventures' expanding portfolio include 4J Studios, TVSquared, Parsley Box, Broker Insights, Blippar, Puny Astronaut, ADV Holdings, Ace Aquatec, Team17 and the property development company Chroma Developments.
4J Studios is a video game development studio established in 2005, based in Scotland, with offices in East Linton and Dundee. With an extremely experienced core team of designers, technology & games programmers and artists, the company’s ethos is to combine innovation, creativity and technical excellence with efficient production practices. 4J Studios is best known for developing Minecraft for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo games consoles.
Digital Xtra Fund
Digital Xtra Fund was launched in May 2016 to support extracurricular activities which boost interest in computing and technology among young people through an annual grants programme jointly supported by the private and public sector. Since its inception, the Fund has awarded £660,000 to 80 initiatives across the country and helped engage over38,000 young people in technology. Summaries of previous initiatives and activities supported by the Fund can be found under the Grants tab on the Digital Xtra Fund website.
The goal of Digital Xtra Fund is for every young person in Scotland to have access to innovative and creative digital making activities regardless of gender, background, or where they live, while also providing a clearer understanding of the types and range of careers in tech.