A £25,000 donation has been made to a digital fund that awards grants to boost interest in computing and technology among young people across Scotland.

The contribution from Chroma Ventures, a newly-established investment arm of Dundee-based games developer 4J Studios, means the charity can now award up to £100,000 to students in June instead of the £75,000 that was announced in February.

The Digital Xtra Fund, which was launched in 2016, provides grants of up to £5,000 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 aged 16 and under in technology.

Chroma Ventures’ donation is one of the largest the Digital Xtra Fund has received to date.

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 20 years 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 multiple award-winning games developer best known for developing Minecraft for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo games consoles. Their ethos “combines innovation, creativity and technical excellence, which aligns with Digital Xtra Fund’s belief that inspiring young people to understand and create with technology is essential to the future wellbeing of Scotland.”