Supporting role: Steve Dougan and Aaron Preece

June 4, 2019

Steve Dougan, head of enterprise at Teesside University, has mentored Fox Byte Games’ chief executive Aaron Preece and his team as they look to grow the business

Steve Dougan

I lead the enterprise team to create and deliver the university’s enterprise strategy, supporting our students to develop future ready employability skills through authentic entrepreneurial experiences and creating the ecosystem within which our amazing graduates and staff can launch scalable start-ups.

I met Aaron when he and his fellow students came into Launchpad seeking out support to form an indie games studio after graduation. Aaron struck me as a strong communicator, persuasive, passionate and articulate – just what you need to lead a games studio.

Our relationship has developed over time, to become one anchored through mutual respect and it has become more informal and less structured. My role now is part sounding board, part critical friend and occasional devil’s advocate.

One of the main pieces of advice I give is to recover from setbacks by accepting the learnings they bring. Another is to always act to protect your reputation, even if it means taking a hit financially.

I hope I help Aaron to move forward, feeling strong, capable and confident. He can, and I am sure will, go on to build a wildly successful indie games studio, bringing jobs recognition and investment to the region.

I am very proud that Teesside University creates graduates of that calibre.

Aaron Preece

Fox Byte Games was started in 2016. Originally, the company had seven original founders, however, due to other commitments and job offers, that number dropped to four. These four, two of which were from the original seven, started work on the Creator’s Legacy title.

The company formed proper in 2017 and went on to receive funding from Launchpad Fuel, run by Steve, and then Tranzfuser, a graduate offshoot of the UK Games Fund.

Following Tranzfuser, Creator’s Legacy was shelved, and the studio needed to find a way to fund itself. It was at this point we started Fox Byte Digital; a brand used for B2B projects outside of games.

Steve and the Launchpad team have been instrumental in offering support and mentorship. They brought in experts to run courses and workshops, while assisting us in creating a strong business plan and preparing us for a funding pitch.

It was also Steve that pointed me towards Tranzfuser in 2017, which we were successful in getting funding and exhibition space.

In June 2018, Fox Byte Games became fully sustainable from client projects.

Our current game project is a fast-paced multiplayer brawler, with players controlling pigs wielding meat tenderisers as weapons.

I’d love to see Fox Byte Games grow as a studio and become a known name in the industry for good quality games, even if they are a little bizarre. Running Fox Byte has been a dream job.

Teeside University
www.tees.ac.uk

Fox Byte Games
www.foxbytegames.co.uk

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