Student entrepreneurs secure £200,000 at Future Worlds Dragons’ Den
Four innovative student startups secured life-changing investments worth a combined £200,000 in a record-breaking Future Worlds Dragons’ Den.
The student entrepreneurs pitched in front of four angel investors and a packed audience at the University of Southampton Students’ Union in the Future Worlds showcase on Saturday 12th May.
First year Aeronautics and Astronautics student Connell McLaughlin was pledged £100,000 by four investors – including a surprise last minute offer by phone – in a dramatic finale to a pitching event that was already breaking records for the on-campus incubator. Connell has created Route Reports, an embedded sensor system and web-based dashboard that is detecting and reporting hazards like potholes and overhanging branches on public transport.
Earlier, Aerospace Engineering student Boateng Opoku-Yeboah, Mechanical Engineering student Landon Vago-Hughes and Computer Science graduate Tunde Alao secured £50,000 for their Cluttr app, an all-in-one private social network and household solution that promises to help build harmony in shared homes. First year Computer Science students Kajetan Champlewski and Dan Trickey were offered £30,000 for their maths revision tool Questioneer, while fourth year medical student Laura Brunning was pledged £20,000 for her first aid training enterprise Hampshire First Aid.
Dragon investors Chris Broad, Apple Director of Sales Contracting EMEIA, Andrew Doe, serial digital entrepreneur and founder of confetti.co.uk, Sonja Lami, angel investor and Insight Investment Fund Manager, and Nick Lawton, Chairman of the Lawton Communications Group, interrogated and negotiated on stage with student entrepreneurs from six student startups that had been selected ahead of dozens of entries to the Future Worlds competition.
Fourth year Electronic Engineering student Dylan Grey showed great promise with his online gift service BOON, and Mathematical Studies and Actuarial Science students Louis Dykes and Yacob Siadatan pitched well for their business Airscape, but both startups were deemed too early stage for investment at this stage.
The pitching event is an annual showcase of a growing student enterprise culture at the University of Southampton and was supported on Saturday by the Fish on Toast, Entrepreneurs Club and Enactus Southampton societies.
Dr Reuben Wilcock, Future Worlds Director, said: “It’s been great to see an infectious entrepreneurial culture building on campus in recent years which now seen over £450,000 pledged on-stage to student startups at our four annual pitching events. The student entrepreneurs really impressed the investors on Saturday with their passion, professionalism and presentation, and it will be exciting to see what their fledgling businesses can achieve in the coming years.
“Two startups from the 2017 showcase are now valued at over £1m and will be based in Silicon Valley and London from this summer. Future Worlds will be mentoring the startups as they continue their entrepreneurial journeys alongside their studies and strive to impact society with their innovations.”