A Fresher’s Guide to Future Worlds
You’re here at last – years of exams, numerous UCAS visits and careful applications all culminating in that scary moment when you opened your results. And now, your freedom and independence begins as you start the next phase of your life: welcome to the University of Southampton.
Yes, university is about lectures, coursework and yet more exams. That’s a given. But it’s really the extra stuff that you’ll do that will shape your character, career and the rest of your life. I’m talking about the people you’ll meet, the societies you’ll join, the competitions you’ll enter and the ambitious projects you’ll dream up with your new found friends.
Take Freddie Temperton, for example, who graduated last year.
Freddie did the coursework, the lectures and the exams. But what Freddie also did was design a product, create a company, run a successful £20,000 Kickstarter campaign, travel to China to find manufacturers and deliver 150 finished devices to paying customers. Freddie didn’t stop there – he went on to design another product, called Rise, exhibited it at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and in his third year got headhunted by a top San Francisco design consultancy called Mind Tribe which is where he’s based right now.
Another example is Sharif Alvis, a second year undergraduate.
Sharif came to us earlier in the year with a social media scheduling platform he’d created called Proofer. He was looking to raise £10,000 funding to get it off the ground but we helped him realise the immense potential in his platform. Many introductions, a few pitch practices and one Dragons’ Den event later and Sharif has now raised £150,000 investment, valuing his company at over half a million pounds. All of this before Sharif even started his second year of undergraduate study.
And we have hundreds of examples just like these of alumni who have gone on to be successful in their entrepreneurial careers. Shirin Dehghan, one of our current mentors, left this University to work for Vodafone and soon started her own company in the mobile telecoms sector called Arieso. Shirin grew Arieso into many countries around the world until she finally sold it for $85 million in 2013.
Shirin, Freddie and Sharif all have one thing in common: they took a chance, dedicated themselves to solving a problem and have created great success as a result. But talk to them, or one of our 40 experienced mentors, and you’ll realise it’s not all about money, it’s about changing the world and really trying to make a difference in people’s lives.
So who am I, what is Future Worlds, and how can we help you explore your ideas for products, services and startups?
My name is Reuben Wilcock, and I’ve been a founder of a few startups – most recently Joulo Ltd, a spinout from this University. When I sold Joulo, I decided to set up an incubator, which we called Future Worlds, to help others like me to succeed as entrepreneurs. Future Worlds only supports entrepreneurs from the University of Southampton, so you’re the only ones who can benefit from our network of experienced mentors.
You are the only ones who can drop in to speak to our team about your idea, get our advice, be introduced to the mentors, pitch at our investor events, watch our lunchtime talks and have the opportunity get a professional video made of your idea. Maybe we’ll even show your product at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on the Future Worlds stand.
So where to start? Check out our DISCOVER section where you’ll find the startups we support. Visit the ENGAGE section to sign up for entrepreneurial talks, workshops and competitions. Browse our MENTORS section to watch videos of millionaire entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts who you can contact for advice. Check out the TEAM section where you’ll get to meet people around the University who can help. See which COMPANIES we work with and read what we’ve been up to recently in our BLOG.
The Future Worlds Incubator can be found in Building 16 (R1043) and we love finding out about your ideas, so just drop by and say ‘hi’ when you get a moment.
Above all, realise that because you picked Southampton, you’ve placed yourself at the heart of a rapidly growing startup culture which might just change your life forever.