Here we have the four nominees for the category of Best Graduate Start-up. These entries are alumni members of the five partnership universities who have graduated within the last three years. The company they have started, has been incorporated during this period.
Take Note! - University of Bath
Take Note! Student Advertising provides companies with an innovative and youthful mix of media (connected across print, mobile and online) for companies [big and small] targeting the student market. The flagship product is a free, branded notepad giving companies the chance to communicate with students in a captive environment, where they are attentive, receptive and ready to engage with their brand.
The idea for the business came as Yael and Nicolas spotted a gap in the market during their time as students. Too many companies relied upon flyering and moreover, there was no single multi-campus vehicle (thus making logistics a big issue).
The idea was developed and presented at the university business plan competition, where it finished as runner up. The competition provided the confidence and support to turn the idea into a fully fledged business. The university helped Take Note! find finance via the Knowledge Escalator fund, find a mentor (Stan Frith - former board of directors for House of Fraser, Harrods, Somerfield) and contacts.
To date, Take Note! have distributed 24,000 free and branded notepads to students in Bath and Bristol with advertising from 66 different clients (including Tesco, Nando's, Fitness First...) The company has also released its own mobile app; one of the first voucher networks using augmented reality, which they developed through the university innovation centre.
Important upcoming milestones include launching their student voucher website urbantri.be and the scaling up of the notepad and mobile app around the country (42 universities and 300,000 notepads in September).
Fibixio - University of Bristol
George and Yoav make a great team, and together with their complementary skills they have set up Fibixio, a mobile phone application company. They specialise in creating mobile phone apps for businesses. Currently they are working on selling their in-app in commerce system product "factory front" - an app aimed specifically at retailers to market and sell their products in a new and popular medium. They are also advising on and developing an app for a client which will potentially cure insomnia!
However, it doesn't stop with the product. Yoav has also been providing an "app school" for Bristol's student population. Yoav teaches other students the art of making a good app, for iphone and android. This has been a great success and will hopefully run again next
Outside of Fibixio, George has also spent time and energy securing a place for a graduate to spend six months with the Kauffman foundation in the USA.
PRISM - University of Exeter
Considerable research has been devoted to producing efficient, effective office space. Today European Community regulations monitor ergonomics and safety; management books address issues of planning and space organization, and furniture is designed to be space efficient, flexible and aesthetically pleasing.
Yet research into the psychological effects of working within controlled office space is largely conspicuous by its absence. How are people affected when they are monitored at work? What are the optimum levels of autonomy for both the employees and the company? How does the way in which space is managed affect an employee's involvement, commitment and well-being?
And how does it affect the organisation's bottom line?
Prism, based at The University of Exeter has won a major award from the Economic and Social Research Council as well as attracting funding from leading businesses in the private sector. The promise of academic rigour wedded to insights gained at the cutting edge of the business sector is proving to be a winning combination.
Thoughtified Ltd - University of Surrey
Thoughtified Ltd has produced ManagePlaces, a Web Application in the Cloud that uses geolocation information (GPS) to remotely manage land, projects, customers --‐ or any type of asset, with access from any device (laptops, tablets, mobile phones --‐ with or without an internet connection). ManagePlaces saves staff costs, resources and time, and improves outputs and reporting. ManagePlaces has generated huge interest operating as a social enterprise focusing on applying its cutting--‐edge technology to improve health services and biodiversity protection. Government agency Natural England quickly recognised its potential for the management of biodiverse sites.
It has given advice and feedback for extending the need, particularly for UK Wildlife Trusts, and introduced requirements for the development of this unique, easy to use, secure system.
The prototype was funded with grants from the University of Surrey, EPSRC and SEEDA.
Discussions are underway with the National Farmers' Union for the use of ManagePlaces by farmers claiming DEFRA environmental subsidies.
As a result of targeted marketing, Aggregate Industries Plc. has asked for the software to be integrated with their system. The Company is working with Central Surrey Health (CSH) to adapt the product to manage home--‐care visits by its 200 nurses. CSH identify that the system will save time and money. As part of its social enterprise activities the Company is researching the use of its technology in foetal heart monitoring in Ethiopia.
Thoughtified is a SETsquared partnership member. In its first year the Company predicts sales in excess of £500,000.