Future Worlds. Dragons invest £200k.
Dragons Den result.
On Saturday 12th May, our CEO, Nick Lawton joined three other highly renowned investors – Andrew Doe (Founder, confetti.co.uk), Chris Broad (Director of Sales Contracting, EMEIA, Apple) and Sonja Lami (Fund Manager, Insight Investment) on stage at Future Worlds’ Dragons Den-inspired event. The event allowed the six best start-up businesses by young student entrepreneurs, to present their ideas and hopefully secure investment from the panel of dragons (more information on the University of Southampton’s initiative Future Worlds can be found in a previous post).
The day was deemed an unbelievable success with the dragons investing £200k in 4 out of the 6 ventures. A fantastic result that smashed previous years. It ran over by an hour or so as the atmosphere peaked on the final pitch with Aeronautics and Astronautics student Connell McLaughlin and his company Route Reports pitching for £100k investment, which he secured.
Nick himself invested in a house sharing app called Cluttr alongside the other three dragons. The app allows housemates to schedule chores, pay bills and manage the shopping seamlessly. Founded by Boateng Opoku-Yeboah, Tunde Alao and Landon Vago-Hughes, two of them had turned down jobs with Google after doing internships there to follow their dream of launching this company, clearly showing they were “hungry and confident”.
Nick’s response to why he invested in this app at this Dragons Den inspired event “I have shared plenty of houses to know how valuable an app like Cluttr could be! I liked the three guys involved as they are clearly extremely talented. We’ve already talked about other app projects too so I think there’s plenty of bandwidth for growth.” Watch this space, especially if you house share or you’re a landlord!
His other investment of the day was in an app called Questioneer. An app that is still very much in concept stage. Founded by first year Computer Science students Kajetan Champlewski and Dan Trickey, it helps students revise for GCSE and A-Level in maths. Nick stated “there appears to be a genuine gap which Questioneer can make the most of, as revising doesn’t appear to have become any more sophisticated than when I used to use my brother’s old exam papers over 25 years ago.”
It should really help those that firstly really struggle in certain subjects like maths and need some extra help, but also for those that are unable to afford tutors. “I know lots of tutors who struggle to scale their business, as there are only so many hours in a day”. Furthermore, there is potential to expand this opportunity into even more subjects and could be an additional tool for schools to help with the learning process, so a huge growth opportunity.
Time for reflection.
His reflections on the event and what Future Worlds and their Dragons Den event is trying to achieve,“I was genuinely bowled over by the creativity, innovation and quality of the ideas. Future Worlds has already played its part in many success stories and this year will be no exception. I was humbled by the calibre and courage of all the presenters. They were all so passionate about their ideas and totally dedicated and committed to making them happen. It was easily one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever been a part of. It was great to meet the other dragons too and I’m looking forward to working with them on our joint investments.”
All in all a huge success. Two big investments and lots of fun working with the companies to build these brands up in the future to come for Nick. It also proved that innovation is most definitely not dead outside of the Big Smoke. If anything, maybe companies should be looking further afield for investment rather than focusing just on our capital for inspiration.
Five by Five will also continue to partner with Future Worlds and the Dragons Den event, giving them launch communications advice to help them gain local and national coverage.
By Alexis Eyre
Head of Marketing