New kids on the block
14 Nov 2017
Meet the 11 alumni-run businesses selected for this year’s London Business School Incubator programme. Find out what makes them innovative, exciting and, above all else, unique.
A tragic event can lead to something positive, as Vishnu Chundi found when suddenly losing a loved one. He helped set up AssetVault after his uncle died, aged 55, without writing a will or leaving any record of his assets. Chundi’s company, which he co-founded with Farid Haque in late 2015, addresses this problem by providing a secure online platform for storing and safeguarding assets such as life and home contents insurance and wills.
So far, the company has secured pilots with some of the world’s largest banks and insurance companies to distribute AssetVault to their customers. It has also logged more than £170 million worth of assets and gained 1,200 beta clients.
Saving businesses money is the driving force behind this innovative blockchain platform. Co-founders Roheet Shah, Adam Hearne and Samuel Green launched CarbonChain after learning that human error in supply chains can hit companies’ revenues.
The trio’s venture addresses two fundamental supply-chain challenges faced by companies involved in mining, oil and gas and construction materials. First, they have to prove their assets are legal and real to gain consumers’ trust. Second, their revenues are severely dented by any mistakes.
CarbonChain overcomes both issues by giving companies a platform to authenticate and account for any assets across their entire supply chain. In time, the founders hope to roll out the business to other industries.
You need something unique if you’re going to make a splash in the crowded world of networking. Ricardo Tannus, Juliano Gomes and Nitish Dewan are offering just that with Global Dinners – a social network that brings university students together for dinners in cities around the globe.
Members choose a dinner party based on their own personal and professional interests and then meet like-minded people for an evening of fine food and networking. Global Dinners’ founders are working with student clubs to boost user numbers. Their plan for the coming years is to get businesses on board so students can connect with potential employers.
Imagine trying to track down every single spreadsheet within your organisation. It’s a mammoth task that never stops as people create an endless number of invoices, customer databases and supplier lists.
Omar Quaraishi and Samuel Arthur are tackling this problem with HUB85, a business intelligence software system for companies to identify, analyse and govern their internal spreadsheet inventory. They got the idea while working for businesses that wasted huge resource on trying to find records, fix reporting mistakes and manage their reputational damage after making errors with customer information.
HUB85’s software analyses an organisation’s spreadsheet inventory to identify and remediate any risks. It also spots any areas of operational inefficiency. The founders plan to grow the business into a global operation.
Aleksander Aleksic isn’t short of ambition. As founder of Madera, he expects to be running Europe’s largest chain of waffle restaurants by 2022 – even though his first outlet, in London, isn’t open yet.
Such confidence comes from believing in the quality of his sweet and savoury treats. Aleksic and business partner Jovana Kostadinovic say they will specialise in making delicious, fresh homemade waffles, along with crepes, sandwiches and salads. They also expect to build a strong brand and loyal customer base by offering great service in a warm, family-friendly venue.
Once established in London, the duo will turn their attention to opening restaurants across Europe.
Seeing a doctor in the UK can take weeks, if not longer, such is the demand for a regular check-up. MedicSpot hopes to alleviate that problem by giving patients easy and convenient access to online GPs working in pharmacies across Britain.
Patients can book appointments via the web, visit their local MedicSpot-partner pharmacy, have an online consultation with a GP and then pick up prescriptions immediately after speaking to a doctor.
Founders Dr Zubair Ahmed, Tarlochan Toor and Nicholas Ibery say their innovative service will make life much easier for people who struggle to see their GP. They estimate that 120,000 patients a day are unable to book an appointment with their doctor, while a further 75,000 have to accept an inconvenient time.
The long-term plan is to work with the UK’s National Health Service and with healthcare service providers in other countries.
My Kingdom Books
Buying books for his story-loving two-year-old nephew inspired Amile Samarakoon to become an entrepreneur. He set up My Kingdom Books, which produces personalised stories that come to life through augmented reality, to “combine the beauty of traditional print with cutting-edge technology”.
The characters spring into action when someone scans their tablet or mobile phone over the pages. When ordering books online, parents can tailor them so that their child’s name pops up throughout the story.
Since launching the business, Samarakoon has established My Kingdom Books as a global operation with people working in the UK, US, Ukraine, Philippines, India and Argentina.
Social media is a great way for athletes to connect with fans. But it’s also an ideal channel through which to develop sporting careers, as the duo behind SportsKred have found.
Victor Stekly and Juan Pablo Mejia Caicedo set up the venture to help athletes connect and work with brands on digital sponsorship campaigns. Sportspeople are able to source the financial support needed to reach their potential by using their social media accounts to share content from paying companies.
The founders have big ambitions for the business. By 2022, they aim to sign up 10,000 athletes – helping 2,000 of them gain annual sponsorship deals worth €10,000 (£8,875) per year. They also want sales and marketing operations in the top 10 developed countries for sports sponsorships.
Buying curtains online should be easy enough: you choose the style and design you want, pick the right size and confirm the order. But customers rarely get a sense of what their made-to-measure curtains will look like.
This is where Stitched comes in. Will Verrill and Elinor Pitt have developed a website using 3D technology so customers can see what they’re buying before making a decision. The company offers 140+ fabrics for curtains and blinds, which are made using environmentally responsible materials. People using the website can engage with other visitors through live chat and photo-sharing designs and ideas.
In the coming years, customers will be able to use augmented reality to see how their designs look based on their window measurements.
How can oil companies bring in consultant engineers from engineering firms without being overcharged? It’s a long-running problem that Phil Houston, Founder of TalEng, is addressing by creating a website where businesses can find and hire freelance engineers directly.
Houston got the idea after working in the oil and gas industry for 10 years. He believes his website not only makes hiring engineers cheaper, but also reduces the time spent looking for a specialist. People using the site can find engineers in any region to work on a fixed-term contract. They can also post job adverts, encouraging engineering specialists to apply for relevant roles and contracts.
As for contractors, they can list themselves on the website as independent consultants. The long-term plan is to establish TalEng as the leading recruitment resource for companies in all industries that need freelance or consultant engineers.
Augmented reality (AR) is commonly used when designing a building. But it’s rare to find the technology employed for the build phase – until now.
Umar Ahmed and David Mitchell have created a business that covers all aspects of digital construction. The company provides HoloSite – AR technology that assesses a building’s measurements and specifications more accurately than any other programme or software in the industry.
XYZ Reality also helps translate construction design to the onsite builders carrying out the work. The digital plans are delivered quickly and practically to manual workers wearing the HoloSite technology.