Event Recap: Andrea Knopova, ImpromptMe

Event Recap: Andrea Knopova, ImpromptMe

Last Tuesday the Hult Founders Lab was able to host Andrea Knopova, an alumna of Hult, as she launched ImpromptMe here in London. ImpromptMe is a social media startup that aims to connect people in a very disconnected world. “Technology connected the world, but disconnected people” is the problem that ImpromptMe sets out to solve by creating a platform that’s sole purpose is to get people to meet face to face. Previous social media platforms have acted like messaging or “liking” can take the place of real conversations with people but instead, have driven farther into isolation than ever before. This is where ImpromptMe comes in. Instead of being able to build artificial relationships through our mobile devices, ImpromptMe doesn’t allow for any conversation between its users except to set up meeting times and locations in public areas. Once the meetup has been created ImpromptMe lets its users be human and experience real community with one another!

It was great to hear Andrea’s story and what has driven her to create such an incredible platform that you can check out here or in the App store by searching “ImpromptMe”. Thank you all for coming out to hear Andrea speak and we look forward to having you at our next HFL event!

START Summit Recap

The START Summit is an international entrepreneurship summit that takes place in St. Gallen every year, bringing together entrepreneurs, VCs, investors, and speakers from all over the world for a couple of days of intense networking, pitching, and brainstorming. It is the leading student-run entrepreneurship conference in Europe and brings together over 2000 participants to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. Several Hult students were able to take part in the 2018 summit and greatly enjoyed their experiences. Two of our Founders, Adriano,and Monica Fantino, a bother and sister pair out to start their own company, were part of the Hult delegation and let us ask them a few questions about their experience!

  1. Why did you decide to go to the summit?

Adriano: It always great to join such events where you can meet new foreign people coming from different countries and schools from all over the world. This event had several interesting pitches, international entrepreneurs, speakers, and investors. That was an amazing opportunity to share the same interest and passion with other people and to increase my network.

Monica: I decided to go to the summit, mainly because it was a great opportunity in terms of networking and the high level of experts and investors attending the event. I was also drawn to the numerous interesting and useful practical workshops to participate in.

 

  1. What impacted you the most during the conference?

A: The organization was outstanding, and the quality of content shared with all the people involved was really relevant and valuable.

M: I was highly impacted by the numerous real opportunities offered during the event to connect with the right people and to got to share my business idea with them. Thanks to the application available during the entire event, I had the opportunity to book a private slot speaking session with a few investors and was able to receive their trustworthy feedback about my business idea.

 

  1. It sounds pretty educational and informative, but did you also have fun at the summit? What was the most fun part?

A: I really enjoyed my time at the workshops by having fun while working with other international students.

M: The most fun part was being able to take part of a series of pitches delivered by the entrepreneurs, followed by a series of questions coming from the most influent investors/ businessmen within the most influent global industries. From this, I learned how to deliver a great pitch to the investors, useful for current and future endeavors.

 

  1. How would you say this event helped develop your business idea?

A: The event gave me relevant insights on how to improve my business idea. Also, listening to some experts from the sector helped me a lot to achieve it. Every single event was important to me for getting more information and knowledge.

M: It was extremely useful in terms of high visibility and in terms of the high impact of the audience. Moreover, it was more than rewarded, since I and my brother had a real chance for our start-up idea to reach a targeted and high-level audience of investors. A few of them showed a real interest in it and proposed a further follow-up meeting for a more detailed understanding of it. To sum up, it was a great springboard.

 

  1. Would you recommend this to an entrepreneur for the next year?

A: Absolutely. Sharing your business idea and talking about it to others, may help to improve your actual business idea. The event itself is a great opportunity to expand your network and to get insights from all the speakers.

M: Yes, absolutely. Great opportunity to kick-off your start-up, perfect atmosphere, and international networking opportunity. I will recommend it!

Entrepreneurship Panel Recap

Celebrating the Week of Disruption at Hult is no ordinary thing. With panelists from Y Combinator, Zipcar, Founders Factory and many more, the Hult Founders Lab was able to join in the discussion about start-up ecosystems, everyday life at a start-up and the implications of Brexit to the bustling London scene.

The panel was packed with practical info about how to find your true calling, pitching tips and advice for keeping up with the ever-evolving world we live in, from machine learning to quantum computing to blockchain. Speaking of these new technologies, one interesting comment we heard was the idea of not fitting these evolutions inside the customer experience, but rather reverse engineering what consumers want and then trying to find a medium on how these technologies can be fitted to those necessities. Ideas can change but technology is limited, so try to focus on the experience rather than the technicalities. This is a common theme that has been spearheaded by the likes of Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos and is more relevant today than ever before.

The conversation then veered towards practical recommendations in terms of what investors want from a pitch. An interesting analogy made by YC was that pitching is like “peeling an onion”, where each layer is a level of risk and ideally you want to peel off as many layers as possible to make the investors feel more comfortable with your proposal. Essentially this is showcasing your risk management and explaining it in an attractive way. This may also include Brexit risk, which is a hot topic in London right now and rightfully brought up an interesting discussion, led by Clustermarket, on trying to create the best possible product and company, in which “you are so good they can’t ignore you, Brexit or no Brexit”. Founders Factory (another incubator here in London) noted that accelerators and investors look to invest in teams of great people even if their ideas are far-fetched as most ideas tend to be in the beginning (think of Airbnb or Uber).

Needless to say, the panel was extremely insightful on what it actually means to be a founder or work for an incubator, and the panelists left us more motivated than usual, something we all desperately need in this period.

Event Recap: Pitchbook

PitchBook came to Hult to talk about their company to our Founders and stayed after the event for a little bit of networking as well! We were so grateful for their time and glad to see that our Founders were able to hear about such a useful tool to help their startups reach their next level of funding!

PitchBook is a company dedicated to creating a “better way to do VC, PE and M&A” by providing the best research and data on the market. Although the company is growing quickly and was recently acquired by MorningStar in 2016, they have still been able to retain their entrepreneurial spirit by empowering their employees to give suggestions that add value to the product.

They also talked at length about PitchBook University which is a way that they train their new employees on the “PitchBook ways”. The program, while focusing on training their employees, also does a great job of instilling them with company values and DNA.

While PitchBook itself is a good platform for our Founders to look into, it also a great learning opportunity for our Founders to think about how they can run their businesses in the future when they are expanding but wanting to keep that “startup feel”.

Hult Founders Lab: 2018 review

Hult Founders Lab: 2018 review

Following our progress and successes from last year, we expanded the Hult Founders Lab to the London campus this year; effectively offering the student startup incubation system to both undergraduates and postgraduates*.

  1. Dhiraj Mukherjee, Co-Founder of Shazam and former Head of Innovation for Virgin Money.
  2. Andy Jeffries, Co-Founder and Director of Dock & Bay, who managed to secure £75,000 from Dragon Investor Deborah Meaden in the UK’s hit show Dragon’s Den.
  3. Professor David James, CEO of i-Incubate, anchor professor for the HFL programme in our London Postgraduate campus and expert marketer.

The panel session discussed the future of entrepreneurship in the UK and what the entrepreneurial mind-set means to them. You can read our recap of the panel here.

We were also present at Hult’s entrepreneurship week panel which featured Y Combinator, Zipcar, Founders Factory, amongst others. You can read more about it here.

Professor Daniel Rukare, anchor for the Hult Founders Lab, representing at the Pitch@Palace Bootcamp in Ashridge.

The Hult Founders Lab was also represented at the Pitch@Palace bootcamp held on our very own Ashridge Estate campus as well as the Hello Tomorrow Summit in Paris, France.

Hult International Business School was delighted to host Pitch@Palace 8.0 Boot Camp and His Royal Highness The Duke of York, KG on Tuesday 10th October, 2017 at Hult’s historic Ashridge campus in Hertfordshire, U.K.

At this year’s event, 42 entrepreneurs have been selected to attend the Boot Camp. The Duke of York founded Pitch@Palace in 2014 to support entrepreneurs with the amplification and acceleration of their business ideas by connecting them with potential supporters including CEOs, angels, mentors, and key business partners.

Representing the Hult Founders Lab at Pitch@Palace Bootcamp in Ashridge.
Our board members representing the programme at the Hello Tomorrow Summit in Paris, France.

We further went on to send a delegation of our startups from both the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes to the renowned START Summit in St. Gallen, Switzerland.

The START Summit is an international entrepreneurship summit that takes place in St. Gallen every year, bringing together entrepreneurs, VCs, investors, and speakers from all over the world for a couple of days of intense networking, pitching, and brainstorming. It is the leading student-run entrepreneurship conference in Europe and brings together over 2000 participants to foster innovation and entrepreneurship.

Hult Founders Lab delegation led by student board member Taylor Zdruli (second from left) at the START Summit in St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Several Hult students were able to take part in the 2018 summit and greatly enjoyed their experiences. Two of our entrepreneurs, Adriano and Monica Fantino, a brother and sister pair out to start their own company, were part of the Hult delegation.

Snippet of the panelist sessions at START Summit 2018 in St. Gallen, Switzerland.

I was highly impacted by the numerous real opportunities offered during the event to connect with the right people and to got to share my business idea with them. Thanks to the application available during the entire event, I had the opportunity to book a private slot speaking session with a few of investors and was able to receive their trustworthy feedback about my business idea.

—Monica Fantino

You can read their full interview here.

We also hosted a few entrepreneurs and startups like Danielle McDonald (Clarity Architect)EarlyMetrics, and PitchBook. Such events provided our entrepreneurs with diverse perspectives on the startup scene, locally and globally, in touch with various topics such as startup valuations and brand design. We also conducted our very own version of the silicon roundabout tour in London with pitstops at one of the world’s fastest growing co-working spaces, WeWork.

Our undergraduate entrepreneurs getting a tour of the WeWork co-working offices in London.

To inspire our entrepreneurs, we partnered with Europe’s fastest growing digital bank, Revolut, which recently reached unicorn status with a valuation of $1.7 billion. Our partnership allowed Revolut to provide free debit cards to all Hult students at the event and paves way for a mutual and beneficial expansion through our Hult global campus network.

Revolut represented by Ryan Thorpe, EU/UK Business Development Manager
Revolut debit card giveaway to all attendees by London Campus Lead, Alik Jebejian.

We also hosted an Entrepreneurship Client Hackathon presented by Dhiraj Mukherjee (Co-founder of Shazam) and Anthony Daley (Founder of STORRS). In this quick client challenge lasting under 2 weeks, participants were asked to draw up a go-to market plan and an implementation timeline for an upcoming global fashion brand with access to over 1,500 patented fabric designs.

Anthony (founder, STORRS) and Dhiraj (co-founder, Shazam) briefing the startup hackathon challenge to participants at the Hult London postgraduate campus.
One of the participating teams presenting their go-to market strategy and implementation timeline to the hackathon client, Anthony Daley of STORRS.

I thought that the student’s presentations were great and they really brought a lot of new ideas and suggestions to the table. Between all of the presentations they seemed to have everything covered and so they all contributed in their own way to the outcome. They also made me think about a number of things that I had not considered.

—Anthony Daley, Founder of STORRS

Alumni Involvement

We have also worked with the Corporate and Alumni Relations team to include our strong base of alumni entrepreneurs for a better network and mentorship opportunities to take ideas to market.

Amongst other notable startups, Clustermarket—formed by postgraduate alumni Johannes SolzbachNiklas Friedberg and Tobias Wingbergmühle—returned for a speaker session on tips for how current students can manage their academic and startup commitments.

Other notable alumni entrepreneurs included founders of 2ClickSolution and Andrea Knopova (founder, ImpromptMe). We’ve connected with our vast alumni network of graduate entrepreneurs and are now working together to solidify plans for an alumni entrepreneur mentorship programme.

Forging ahead

As we continue to forge ahead, the HFL programme will continue to bring in more professionals from various domains to help add value to our founders’ ventures and to benefit from mutual growth and collaboration.

As part of the next stage of our growth, we intend to launch the programme to Boston, USA. The geographic spread of Hult Business School’s campuses helps creates opportunities beyond borders. Our international student and faculty community of over 123 nationalities represented and 88 languages spoken present unprecedented opportunities for launching and scaling businesses which transcend borders to create a more global, inclusive, and encouraging community of enterprising business leaders.

If you are looking to partner with us at the Hult Founders Lab, — whether you are an accelerator, incubator, investor, mentor, university entrepreneurship society — we would like to hear from you.

Please feel free to reach us at hultfounderslab@hult.edu, and we will respond to you as soon as we can to discuss any opportunities for the upcoming academic year programme schedule.