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March 2013

UCL Advances

Our March meeting was hosted by UCL Advances.

UCL Advances, UCL's centre for entrepreneurship and business interaction, exists to develop new links between UCL and businesses of all kinds and to promote a culture of entrepreneurship and business interaction. UCL Advances works to bring together members of UCL, established businesses, start-ups and investors to drive innovations that will create economic value and benefit society.

Guest Speakers
The Information Technologists Company
John O'Connell -
Information Technologists' Company

Do you need help or inspiration to grow your business, John may be able to provide it? John is a high profile entrepreneur in the UK software industry. Having founded Staffware in the Eighties, he grew the company over the next two decades, to 400 staff in 22 countries. It was the leading Workflow and Business Process Management supplier. John led the successful exit to Tibco for $260 million in 2004. He is now actively involved as an investor, NED and adviser to a range of IT companies. He is also a patron of the Prince's Trust, a Liveryman of the City of London, and an active member of the Entrepreneurship Panel of The Information Technologists Company.
The ITC is the 100th Livery Company. Members are all senior IT professionals who have joined the Company in order to give something back to the IT sector and the wider community. Their mentoring program connects new entrepreneurs - typically founders and senior executives of start-up and early stage IT businesses - with experienced mentors who are members of the ITC. John shared with us many of the lessons he has learnt over the last 30 years in successfully building and exiting his business as well as how the ITC is trying to help build the next generation of successful IT entrepreneurs.

Business Pitches
Vik Pratap - BeeVocalHave you ever wanted to host your own radio show and really interact with your own audience in real time? BeeVocal is a new broadcasting platform that allows anyone to host their own live, interactive talk show online. Think of it as a radio show, except the power is in your hands. Anyone can host a show you don't need to install anything to get going and can create your shows from the comfort of your home, office; anywhere connected to the internet. Audience can really participate - BeeVocal shows typically have audiences of less than 50 people and often less than 10. As the host and the audience talk about what is important specifically to them, it's a much more intimate experience. BeeVocal (www.beevocal.com) provides a low-cost, easy-to-use, web-based solution for interactive broadcasting that can be embedded into existing websites for large scale deployment.
"At BeeVocal, we believe that when people are free to speak their mind, share their passions, and express what they care about in the depths of their hearts, great things can happen. Very simply, we believe in empowering people to speak freely."
BeeVocal - speak freely: Free From Monitoring, Free From Technology and Free From Bureaucracy.

Eventful Stays
Camilla Shaughnessy -
Eventful Stays
Eventful Stays is an online marketing business operating in the premium short stay self-catering rental market. In contrast to the weekly holiday rental or hotel short break market the stays are typically 2 to 5 days in duration with some of the out of town properties capable of accommodating anything up to 20 people.
Eventful Stays is the only company in the short stay self-catering market that specifically targets some hundreds of major events each year in the UK such as the Cheltenham Races, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Henley Regatta and Ascot. It also caters for peoples personal events by providing gorgeous places to stay in which to celebrate a birthday or anniversary or reunite family or friends.
Eventful Stays started on May 2011 and has proved the offering is attractive and yielding good margins. The business is revenue generating and is looking for access to finance to accelerate their growth and market engagement. There is already a strong team in place with extensive experience of: sales and marketing, the travel industry and holiday rental market together with finance and marketing. Over 200k has already been invested by the management to provide proof of concept and to commence early stage trading.

Martin Lucas - PhinkitDo you want to market yourself and need to find an online audience? Do you want to focus on what you have to say, not on who or how many people you know or how much you spend to be seen? Here is the solution: The Phinkit platform is a very different content marketing social network that offers an immediate audience based on shared interests. Phinkit is designed to provide a creative and relaxed environment to get your messages heard and network with people you want to know but probably don't! It's a site where socialising meets business. Phinkit not only delivers powerful capability for striking visuals and video content, but also has the ability to share your messages across multiple social channels.
Lastly, don't just take our word for it, here's what others are saying: "Facebook's cooler, more sophisticated cousin", "A user-friendly and refreshing new social site with a twist", "The focus is on the value of the content rather than on acquiring friends", "Finally, a place to do everything you need!"
Phinkit has a very strong, broad team including an editorial team who possess a combined 750,000 Twitter followers. Phinkit is already launched and just waiting for you to try it, free of charge, to be discovered for what you say.