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Future Worlds entrepreneur voted ‘Best Young Innovator’ at Venturefest South 2018

Future Worlds entrepreneurs impressed at the Venturefest South 2018 economic showcase, with Route Reports’ Connell McLaughlin scooping the Best Young Innovator award.

Investors, entrepreneurs and industry professionals united at Winchester Guildhall on Thursday 1st March to celebrate the region’s innovation economy. Exhibits, networking and pitching opportunities were divided into six zones for the event, and included 20 of the south’s brightest talent sampling their technologies in a Young Entrepreneurs Village.

Aeronautics and Astronautics with Spacecraft Engineering student Connell was named Best Young Innovator for his work founding Route Reports, an embedded sensor system for public transport that can detect overhanging branches and potholes for operators, minimising maintenance costs caused by damage.

Maciej Szpakowski, Przemek Zientala and Mauro Cozzi drew much attention through an exhibit for their Researchably search tool in biomedical sciences, while web scientist Travis Ralph-Donaldson demonstrated the next stage of his Handy Kanji startup, now known as Perfect Score.

“There were a lot of really interesting and promising startups in the Young Entrepreneurs Village so I’m thrilled to have been recognised,” Connell said. “It was great to network with other startups, advisors and investors, and I’ve even received an offer of investment from a contact as a result. Over the next year, Route Reports is looking to trial and launch a third version of the Route Reporter – with new cutting edge features and a design that caters for buses, trains and trams.”

Hundreds of visitors came from across the UK – through heavy snow – to hear from 20 expert speakers on the day. The centre was divided into a Collaboration Zone, Innovation Zone, Knowledge Zone, Young Entrepreneurs Zone, Pitchfest and open mic arena. This winter’s event was the first appearance of the Young Entrepreneurs Zone, a focus on emerging talent coming from the region’s universities and colleges.

Southampton exhibitors at Venturefest South 2018 also included Law student Tom Phipps with the Handshake startup as well as Electronic Engineering student Dylan Grey with his business, BOON. Computer scientists Daniel Martinho-Corbishley and Jaime Lomeli demonstrated their Aura Vision Labs startup at the Venturefest South Innovation Zone.

“I think Venturefest South is a really good opportunity for any entrepreneur wanting to expand their business,” Connell added. “I’d definitely focus on making your stand eye catching with a live demo and flyers, etc. It really helps to tell your story and give a more convincing pitch.”

Be inspired by more student startups launching from the University of Southampton through videos and profiles in our Discover section.

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Jon Nurse

Content Manager
Future Worlds

Jon compiles the latest innovations, articles and interviews for as the platform’s Content Manager. He is also helping researchers in Physical Sciences and Engineering impact society with their work as a Communications and Impact Officer at the University of Southampton. He previously worked as a Senior Reporter for the Trinity Mirror newsgroup.

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