The following ventures were founded by current undergraduate students from the SETsquared universities and have been nominated for the Best Student Start-Up 2014 category.
Medincle Spellchecker (University of Bristol)
Whilst working in the field of healthcare one is introduced to a vast new vocabulary of complex and esoteric spelling. Unfortunately, the naïve spellcheckers of word processors often fail to recognise medical terms, making error recognition virtually impossible.
We conducted extensive market research at Bristol University and discovered that 96% of the 702 medical students who responded saw value in addressing this problem. This demand extends to healthcare institutions, and indeed medical secretaries we questioned do not have such software, yet stated they would save considerable time using it.
The only current British medical spellchecker is prohibitively expensive and lacks sufficient compatibility with Macs, used by an estimated 27% of students. Using personal savings, and a grant awarded by Bristol's RED, we therefore developed a spellchecker that might address this need at an institutional level.
We recently began to distribute our software and have secured a sale with Bristol University, which will cover most of our investments, and we've received significant interest from other universities. We plan to grow through the biomedical and healthcare student populations within the UK, aiming for a profit of £45,000 in our first year of trading, and afterwards expand into the vast UK healthcare market.
Socialike (University of Surrey)
Our mission is to make people more social through the use of mobile apps. In February 2014, we published our first app on the iOS-app-store called MyUniSurrey, the one-stop-utility and entertainment app for Surrey University students. Our app created a go-to-platform for students to discover all the local social activities offered along with relevant travel information. Our goal is to develop customisable mobile application platforms for Student Unions to use as a 21st century communication tool to openly connect and engage with their student bodies. To date, MyUniSurrey has achieved 1,000 downloads, and 120 daily active users. We are in talks with the Surrey University Student Union to establish a joint venture. This relationship will give us the financial support, credibility and insight into our target market, culminating in the release of the first Student Union platform app in October 2014. We expect to fully develop our platform over the next 6 months and be ready to launch sister apps in other further and higher academic institutions. There are over “600 member student union’s of NUS”, and during the next 12 months we plan on signing-up 10 student unions with a further 50 signed-up in the next 24 months.
Spuddy (University of Bath)
We conducted studies online and in person about sporting activity and the use of services like Spuddy. The market potential is vast; Spuddy could serve users of all ages and abilities. With a tailored, location-based service, we have no known competitors.
Further to what Dom said in the video, we intend to grow the platform into a sporting-hub so users can organise their entire active life.
Our highlights include winning the 2013 Bath Business Plan Competition, securing £36,000 investment and showcasing at VentureFest Bristol 2013, winning the Highly-Commended Pitch Award. We are currently undergoing final testing and expect an alpha launch in June.
We plan to launch in Bath over the summer, then target the new (and returning) University students in September. By Q4 2014 we expect upwards of 20,000 users. Thereafter we intend to introduce the app nationwide and offer tailored ‘white-label’ versions (e.g. for large corporations). We’ll then be in a position to obtain a second, larger investment to expand the development team, market the app more heavily and further increase user base, on which our revenue streams are heavily dependent.
The University Enterprise Department has been instrumental in our success; their knowledge has been a significant help!
Tickbox (University of Exeter)
TickBox exists because the way in which we interact with democracy and voting is outdated.
We believe vast portions of society feel disconnected from the process, especially 18-24 yr olds.
Our aim is to use technology to make voting as easy as possible.
We are pioneering the field of digital democracy and innovating in part of society that is seen by many as backward and out of touch.
The TickBox platform has been tested at the University sabbatical elections at Exeter and Bristol and has since secured over £50,000 of investment from grants and private individuals to fund the development its website, which will be launched at the European elections in May.
In the 2 weeks prior to voting in May, TickBox will aim to engage with more than 80,000 voters across the SW & SE, providing a unique opportunity for them to identify the candidate which will best represent their views.
With these levels of voter engagement, Tickbox will be a more cost effective method to communicate with voters than currently used and the data collected is valuable to political, polling and media organisations.
TickBox has won awards from the UKTI and cross party support in Westminster.