Computer science students secure investment in maths revision tool at Dragons’ Den style pitching showcase
First year Computer Science students Kajetan Champlewski and Dan Trickey secured £30,000 for their Questioneer startup at a Dragons’ Den-style investment event with the University of Southampton’s Future Worlds incubator.
The ambitious student entrepreneurs have innovated a maths revision tool that can generate an infinite number of questions and provide feedback, offering a digital alternative to a personal tutor.
Questioneer was one of six student startups pitched in front of four angel investors and a packed live audience at the University of Southampton Students’ Union on Saturday.
Kajetan and Dan have developed their business during BSc Computer Science degrees and are planning a formal launch of their product in September.
“I had the idea for replacing the numbers in revision questions near the end of my A-Levels, but I didn’t really know how to do it practically,” Kajetan explains. “I met Dan on the Space Cadets programme at the university and together we developed the idea of turning questions into scripts.
“Students currently have little choice but to trawl through past papers to revise, with little or no feedback. We turn past papers into infinite searchable question banks, complete with worked solutions and feedback on topics. Revision should be about improving your maths skills, not searching through long documents, and that’s what we provide.”
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 the entrepreneurs. Kajetan and Dan secured £30,000 of investment from Andrew, Sonja and Nick.
Southampton Computer Science graduate Tunde Alao also secured £50,000 on stage with co-founders Landon Vago-Hughes and Boateng Opoku-Yeboah for their Cluttr app, a private social network with features for shared houses. Tunde graduated in 2017 and runs a YouTube channel for iOS and Android app development tutorials which has over 14,000 subscribers and 2.3 million views.
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.
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 start-ups were deemed too early for investment at this stage in their development.
Dr Reuben Wilcock, Future Worlds Director, says, “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.”