the hookup, a groundbreaking online dating platform for small and micro businesses, proudly announces successful funding from Innovate UK.

Designed by two local Derby businesses, think3 and Ask the Chameleon who were the force behind the Swap Shop business platform during the pandemic and two-time GBEA finalists, the hookup is based on the simple principle of connecting like-minded small and micro businesses to collaborate. 

It will offer a mobile platform for entrepreneurs to initially meet online with those that share similar aspirations, establish valuable partnerships, and unlock new opportunities. By encouraging meaningful connections, the hookup tackles barriers to collaboration, enabling small and micro businesses to scale their operations with confidence.

The business is one of only 14 in the East Midlands to receive a share of £400,000 from Innovate UK – and one of only four businesses in Derbyshire.

The investment from Innovate UK – targeting pioneering ventures driving technological advancements and economic development – will fuel the hookup’s ongoing development and expansion, allowing the online platform to enhance its user experience, introduce cutting-edge matchmaking algorithms, and leverage advanced data analytics.

With these advancements, the hookup will provide its members with personalised recommendations, facilitate tailored introductions, and deliver actionable insights to foster mutually beneficial business relationships.

Founding partner and owner of think3, Lee Marples said; “Our partnership with Innovate UK marks a pivotal moment for the hookup and the small business community as a whole, demonstrating their confidence is us to create a vibrant place for businesses to find their perfect match, unlocking endless possibilities for growth”. 

Joint founder and owner of Ask the Chameleon Rachel Hayward said

“We are delighted to receive this funding, which will help us to accelerate our goal to change the way small and micro businesses connect, collaborate, and thrive. Business is tough, and we aim to give our members the knowledge, tools and meaningful connections necessary grow their businesses.”

Rachel added; “Based on our experience of running the Swap Shop during the pandemic, we know through this new platform, small businesses can find partners, suppliers, investors, and collaborators, fuelling our futures”.