K9 Digital, the 3D character outsourcing studio for games, film, TV and VR, that is based at The EpiCentre, has trebled in size since it moved to Haverhill in June this year.
The company started with the two founding owners, Ashley and Tia Sparling in one of the smaller offices and since then it has moved into a larger space on the third floor at The EpiCentre now that staff numbers have grown to six with eight more contractors working remotely. A further move at the centre is on the cards.
Director, Tia Sparling, says: “Our business has grown significantly over the last six months, and we have been working with companies like Ubisoft and Behaviour Interactive creating characters for their new AAA games. At the same time, we are working with start-up studios creating stunning characters that are used as benchmark pieces to be pitched to developers and publishers to raise funds.
“The reason for our success is that the team we have hired are fantastic and have plenty of experience. Both our graduates from Hertfordshire University and De Montfort University in Leicester have gained firsts and won awards, and our intern is fantastic. We’ve also hired a super talented character artist to add to the team as the companies needs have grown.”
“We have recently come back from XDS external developers summit in Vancouver, Canada and we will be attending the global developers conference in San Francisco next spring, so we expect our workload to increase significantly in the coming months,” adds Sparling.
And the business support services at The EpiCentre, operated by Oxford Innovation Space, is helping K9 with its growth. The company is working with the centre’s Innovation Director Gary Jennings on its growth strategy. Jennings says: “We’re advising K9 on applying for an innovation grant and are assisting the company in joining the innovation mentoring scheme, connecting young talent with the business, that will help them to apply for bigger grants shaping the business going forward.”
K9 believes it is vital to link in with local universities and colleges such as West Suffolk College to harness the talent that is graduating so that it can stay in this country rather than being tempted abroad. “There’s huge talent in areas such as 3D art, visual effects (VFX) and animation, but young people cannot gain a leg-up with London being too expensive to live in and a scarcity of studios in this region, so we are trying to help bridge that gap,” claims Sparling.
On the recommendation of Oxford Innovation Space the company has joined the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and through the centre’s monthly breakfasts catchup and other events there is strong sense of business community that is especially beneficial to the younger members of staff embarking on their careers. K9’s future is bright, based on a solid platform and sound support.