Ashfords was a proud sponsor of Exeter's first ever Google Startup Weekend at the Innovation Centre, University of Exeter, which took place on Friday, 17 July 2015.
The Startup Weekend was a great opportunity for entrepreneurs of all ages to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges, and to inspire other people to join teams in making the ideas into a reality. Organised by the University of Exeter a specialist facilitator from Google for Entrepreneurs lead the participants through the process.
Friday saw the business pitches commence and, following a successful first round of twenty business ideas, seven finalists were chosen and teams were formed.
On the Saturday and Sunday the groups contacted potential customers to gauge whether there was a market for their idea and, with the help of the mentors (which included Ashfords lawyers), the teams had to prepare for the final pitch to a panel of carefully chosen judges. All of the teams had to look at and demonstrate by the end of the weekend.
The winning team was Voicelab, led by entrepreneur Matt Pocock. Matt is a professional voice coach who had identified that the only route for delivering voice analysis and voice coaching for those who need to improve their public speaking is currently on a one to one level. His idea involves an App which identifies patterns of cadence and inflexion speed and timing, analyses areas for improvement then provides access to online voice coaching support.
The event was a great success and received positive feedback from attendees and the team organising the event.
Ashfords' Chairman and Head of IP Law, Mark Lomas, who was on the judging panel for the best creative startup ideas, said:
"This was a great initiative and fun to be a part of and we are delighted to have helped mentor the competitors on legal issues and to be able to judge and pick the winning team and to provide legal support to the winners if they launch their businesses. There was a tremendous amount of energy and talent in action all week end. Everyone involved learned a lot. For example during the weekend one team produced a working prototype three-dimensional scanner, others worked on apps intended to disrupt traditional markets in accessing map data, another on a new way of browsing web pages.
"It was a tough and closely argued decision for the judges, to sort out the winners. All of the ideas, the validation of them, the business models chosen, the design and implementation and pitches were excellent. It was really positive to see such a strong effort of teamwork and support from all the teams and their mentors in making the event such a success."
Other sponsors of the event included; Crowdcube, The Innovation Centre, The University of Exeter, Andromeda Capital, Haines Watts Accountants, Frobishers, TechHub Boston and Zenen Education.