There are few places better equipped to cultivate innovative ventures than an accelerator within a world-leading university, situated in a diverse metropolitan city. These institutions have the budget, networks and expertise to nurture enthusiastic entrepreneurs with bright ideas into successful leaders with viable high-growth businesses. It is therefore little surprise that some incredibly promising startups are emerging from university accelerator programmes, such as the King’s20 Accelerator of King’s College London.
The highly competitive 12-month programme promises £60k worth of support, including office space, expert mentorship, networking opportunities and exclusive access to grants. Furthermore, unlike other commercial accelerators, each venture retains 100% of the intellectual property.
Refreshingly, for an industry where investment into female-founded companies is still considerably in the minority, 45% of the founders in this year’s cohort are female; the Entrepreneurship Institute aims to reach and sustain a 50:50 gender parity across founders by 2022. In a similar vein, 35% of the founders pitching for funding are BAME, and a total of 17 different countries are represented in the cohort.
Following a successful and engaging Demo Day on Thursday 13th June, in which the 20 strong cohort presented to investors, we’ve profiled the 13 companies that are actively looking to raise funds.
Members of the 2019 cohort raising funds
As CEO and CoFounder of edtech startup Scoodle, Ismail Jeilani is building the “LinkedIn for teachers”, who currently do not have a digital home. In order to afford teachers the recognition they deserve, the app raises their personal profile across the world to make the “Kim Kardashians of education”. Built on the premise that everyone has something to learn and teach, users gain unlimited access to the app for £15 a month, and share and download free educational content. Teachers receive royalties when their resources are downloaded.
Scoodle raised £180k of equity funding in August 2017, achieving a healthy valuation of £1.14m. They are now looking to raise £650k, two thirds of which has already been committed by the likes of twitter co-founder Biz Stone.
MAMOQ is an online marketplace for sustainable fashion set up by Madeline Petrow. The CEO and co-founder’s aim is to educate consumers and inspire a fundamental shift towards more ethical fashion buying behaviour. There are currently 85 different brands featured on the marketplace, each of which have been evaluated against 12 standardise criteria so buyers can gain insight into their strengths. The startup also offers a shareable personal impact dashboard to help customers realise the power of their purchases.
The startup raised £150k in July 2018 and are now raising £400k. All previous investors will be following on in this round.
Husband and wife Co-Founders Tobi Oredein and Bola Awoniyi have been working part time over the last two and a half years to redress the under representation of black women in media and advertising. Their startup Black Ballad is a lifestyle media brand for and by black women around the world, and operates on a freemium subscription model.
So far the duo have raised £15k in grants and secured over 500 paying subscribers. They are now looking to raise £450k in their first round of funding in order to reach 5,000 paying members by the end of 2020.
Panakeia is a deep learning medtech company aiming to reduce the cost, number of tests and time take to establish a cancer diagnosis. Co-founder and CEO Pahini Pandya hopes that their tool, which visually analyses biopsy tissue samples, will save over 90% of the direct diagnostic cost per patient. Their prototype has been shown to shorten the diagnosis process by 18 days and surpass existing gold standard diagnostic techniques.
The team at Panakeia have already secured 80% of their first round investment goal, and are now seeking the remaining £350k.
Led by Robert Koenig, Spoonzy’s mission is to make it easier and cheaper to eat healthy at home, bridging the gap between convenience and affordability. Customers select a week’s worth of meals from the recipes on the app and a local supermarket delivers the ingredients for the dishes to be cooked throughout the week. Revenue is generated from subscriptions, brand placement and brand partnerships.
Spoonzy has already acquired over 2,000 users and, following a pre-seed friends and family round, are now looking for £250k investment and contacts at major supermarkets.
A VR edtech platform that brings culture to life, Musemio bridges culture with a 21st-century curriculum. Co-founders Olga Kravchenko and Kaitlin Fritz have developed a mobile app and cardboard headset which allow children to learn through curriculum-led quests. They’ve secured £20k of grant funding and pre-seed investment from Bethnal Green Ventures.
They’re now on the hunt for £250k seed investment and cultural and educational partners.
This location-based AR app gamifies travelling by rewarding users with in-app points for visiting niche destinations. Co-Founder and CEO Mark Yeo Tee Shen hopes this will change the way that tourists interact with cities and offers users a new way to find unique places.
Following a recent release of their MVP, the team at ExplorR are seeking £150k seed investment.
TIFY is a market research and data analytics platform that analyses the sentiments associated with brands on social media, making the power of data science affordable and available to all. The startup aims to become the Google Analytics of consumer data, and launched their web application on pitch day.
Led by 23 year-old Veronica Sule, TIFY are seeking £150k in seed investment.
NURTURE is a brand providing evidence-based content and neuroscience-backed products for new parents. Drawing upon both her scientific background and her personal experience of being a first-time mum, Dr Louise Weiss hopes to empower parents prevent the spread of misinformation. With existing revenue primarily driven from online product sales, they hope to expand the scope of their offering, and move their existing online following to a paid subscription service.
NURTURE is asking for £150k of seed investment in order to expand operations.
Seedlink is a mobile platform that aims to transform agricultural supply chains in Africa, allowing small rural farmers to sell to urban buyers for a fairer price. Seedlink source contracts from buyers and recruit agents to send out and collect produce from the farmers. Through a mobile platform, the agents register the sales and pay farmers immediately. The app also allows farmers to keep track of their transaction records. Starting in Malawi, the startup has over 4,000 farmers on the platform and has generated £15k in revenue since March of this year.
Led by Muhammad Altalib, they’re now looking for £200k of seed investment to scale across Malawi.
THE ACCESS PLATFORM
The Access Platform aims to provide the university open day experience throughout the year by facilitating student-authored content and peer-to-peer chat between existing and prospective students. By tapping into the gap in the market for ‘personal touch’ marketing in the academic sector, it hopes to attract, engage with and ultimately convert more prospective students for their clients. Their existing client base includes a number of red brick and Golden Triangle universities, along with colleges and language schools.
Through their existing annual licence fee model they have so far generated over £200k in revenue, and have separately raised £360k investment in a previous seed round. For their second round of seed investment, they are asking for £1m to expand the product globally and leverage the lucrative international student market.
MyPainScore is an AI-driven healthtech tool designed to help monitor patients with persistent pain, and provide tailored feedback to enable them to manage their condition effectively. It also enables clinicians to monitor their progress remotely, offering a significant reduction in time and cost to the healthcare provider.
Founder and CEO Sarah Findlay is asking for £300k seed investment in order to scale the existing 7,500 user pilot of the MVP.
RENAI is an online platform designed to provide live-stream workouts for mothers who want the flexibility of working out on demand at home, with the tailored coaching of a personal trainer. The platform utilises a mix of AI and human learning feedback to offer a personalised experience for users. Customers can also engage in an online community via virtual classes. Primarily a subscription-based revenue model, it has the potential for use as SaaS and corporate partnerships.
Led by Dr Priya Mangat, RENAI is asking for £80k investment to scale their MVP.