2018 Founder Awards winners

These 11 companies have won the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Founder Awards, giving them a place on this year’s Incubator programme.




Fineazy is a profit-with-purpose ed-tech venture improving financial literacy in Africa. Fineazy has developed an innovative approach to teaching basic financial concepts using bespoke content, chat bots, storytelling and learning personalisation. Fineazy’s goal is to empower all people to make excellent financial decisions, unlock the fin-tech value chain and drive sustainable financial inclusion.

Founders: Monique Baars MBA2018 and Hannes Leskelä


GQS Hedge Fund
GQS Hedge Fund is a quantitative hedge fund that uses data mining, and machine learning at its core, to drive a superior systematic strategy across global markets.

Founder: Vinicius Guterres Karam SLN2018


Jellani is an African inspired premium beverage brand. Jellani creates non-alcoholic adult beverages using natural nutrient dense superfruits and botanicals sourced directly, ethically and equitably from across the continent.

Founders: Bamidele Omotosho EMBALJ2018 and Kayode Obateru


Parallel AI

Parallel AIbelieves artificial intelligence should be ubiquitous across all enterprises large or small. Parallel AI’s Reflex addresses most real-time AI challenges businesses face today. Reflex is an enterprise grade real-time platform with a modular suite of intelligent building blocks akin to Lego. It opens opportunities for businesses to derive exponential value from data and intelligence by combining those blocks in interesting ways. Parallel AI has a track-record of delivering 15x return on investments in the media, retail and gaming sectors.

Founders: Chandan Rajah EMBALS2015,
Tamas Jambor, Senior Director of Artificial Intelligence and
Ryadh Kshib, Senior Director of Engineering


Partner Insight
Partner Insight is a Software-as-a-Service platform that helps technology-oriented business-to-business companies better manage their channel partners, increasing engagement and profitability across the entire partnership lifecycle. Leveraging artificial intelligence, automation and in-depth knowledge of the partnership journey, Partner Insight presents companies with a holistic view on the current state of their partnerships and helps them to act on emerging growth opportunities. With the Partner Insight platform, companies can better engage and quickly scale channel partners to reach new customers or enter new markets.

Founder: Roman Kirsanov SLN2017


Proplabs is Airbnb investing at scale. Renting out property on Airbnb can create far superior returns than traditional leasing. Proplabs takes advantage of this at scale by establishing a fund to purchase property and rent out professionally on Airbnb. Proplabs’ proprietary investment tool uses Airbnb data from 10 countries to identify the best possible locations for an Airbnb investment, and maximise the returns for investors.

Founders: Mitchell Stevens MBA2018, Sayu Sina SLN2018 andEvan Green MBA2020, Co-founder

searchsmartly 1

The property search and move-in experience has always been deeply inefficient, painful, and time-consuming, with renters spending up to 100 hours scouring the internet to find the right home. SearchSmartly makes this process faster for renters through the use of its intuitive, smart matchmaking algorithms that allow true understanding of the user and their lifestyle needs. SearchSmartly matches users to their ideal properties and neighbourhoods on an intimate level, and generates highly-convertible leads for estate agents and local amenity service providers.

SearchSmartly are winners of the 2018 Great British Entrepreneur Challenge. The founding team has a diverse background in technology, real estate, sales, operations and strategy, from companies such as Red Bull Racing, BCG, Citi, Salesforce, Microsoft, and KeyAgent.

Founders: Taha Dar MBA2018, and Gil Razafinarivo MBA2018


Skwire aims to be a one-stop shop for property investment. Using in-house algorithms Skwire has found capital appreciation hotspots within Hackney, identified ‘recession-proof’ residential investments for a family office, profiled target tenants for a new private rented sector development and identified areas of undersupply and high yields for student housing developers.
But Skwire is more than pure data – it makes insight investable

Founders: Elisabeth Kohlbach MBA2018 and Bilal Khan


The Ocean Bottle
The Ocean Bottle is a new stainless steel reusable bottle, which funds plastic collectors in impoverished coastal communities, to stop ocean plastic at source and lift people out of poverty. The Ocean Bottle funds collectors in Haiti, Indonesia, Philippines and Brazil - via partners, The Plastic Bank, an award winning organisation, which use an IBM blockchain platform to track plastic collection. Each Ocean Bottle funds the collection of 1000 ocean-bound plastic bottles, the equivalent of 12kgs of plastic. The product itself has been developed by a Norwegian design agency, K8, to be the ultimate everyday reusable drinking bottle. Each bottle is also smart chip activated, which means that owners will be able to donate more to plastic collectors, when they refill their Ocean Bottle at partner locations.

Founders: William Pearson MIM2018,Michelle Wiles,
Mauricio Coindreau and
Nick Doman MIM2018


VITA Vodka
VITA Vodka is the world’s first spirit specifically designed to taste great mixed with sparkling water, avoiding unnecessary sugars, additives and calories found in other cocktails. VITA Vodka is triple distilled from Italian grains and infused with a secret formula based on natural citruses from the Mediterranean region. VITA Vodka has gained more than 500 investors through crowdcube and is available on Amazon and at major retailers in the UK, Spain and Mexico.

Founder: Victor Ruiz Lafita MBA2018


Zumu is a Mobility-as-a-Service company. It is the first to offer full access to electric scooters (similar to a Vespa) throughout London, providing everyone a smooth, seamless way of travelling in the city. Zumu is also a great way to show love to your town, by reducing congestion and noise while getting out in the fresh air. It will all be done seamlessly with a mobile application.

Founder: Alberto Garnier MBA2018

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