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UCL Advances
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November 2012

Simmons & Simmons

Our November meeting was hosted by Simmons & Simmons, a leading international law firm.

Guest SpeakerGrantTree
Paulina Sygulska - GrantTreeFree Money for Your Business!
Would you like to know how to get hold of Free Money from the government? If so, this session was for you, to learn how you can enjoy free Money. Historically the UK has lagged behind other countries when it comes to advancements in technology and science. Consequently the Government has introduced a number of attractive financial support mechanisms to address this and encourage technological and scientific innovation within UK based SMEs. These include an improved R&D tax credit scheme, Smart grants from the TSB, EIS, and recently introduced SEIS and Patent Box tax incentives. GrantTrees focus is to help SMEs access these with the least possible risk and time investment.
Having studied at UCL, Paulina went on to drive sales and marketing efforts for a number of tech and social media companies, A keen networker in start-up circles, she co-founded DreamStake.net, an support network for creative entrepreneurs, now helping over 4,000 members. Paulina recognised a need for reliable and efficient fundraising support within startups and established GrantTree.
As is always the case with government legislation, the way to access it is complex, changes from year to year, and is full of caveats and tricks. Paulina will go through some of the intricacies of these great sources of Free Money and how to access them.

Business Pitches
Open Energy Market
Charlie Lass -
The Open Energy Market
Were you aware that there is a massive 50bn commercial energy market, the majority of which uses brokers to find the best deal, with quite high fees and no transparency that you are getting the best energy price. It also uses slow, admin heavy process.
However there is now a new kid on the block: Open Energy Market: Revolutionising commercial energy procurement. This has been created by Charlie Lass and Chris Maclean, who together combine in depth knowledge of the energy trading markets with Centrica and EnergyQuote as well as building entrepreneurial companies that leverage technology to fully automate antiquated processes and disrupt established markets.
This new company will build and deliver an automated online trading & management platform with transparent trading fees and visible costs. This service will provide: significant cost savings; fast and efficient trading; open tender to suppliers / products; BI reporting on historical usage; data trend analysis and forecasting services; building blocks for energy efficiency projects and a free to use portfolio manager.

Brainstorm Digital
Danny Bermant -
Brainstorm Digital
How do you engage with social media? Do you use it to generate new business, or is it just there for creating brand awareness?
Danny and Brainstorm Digital advise their clients on how to use it to generate B2B sales. When used properly, it can replace the role of telemarketing to: qualify leads, get introduced to new contacts and convert cold leads into warm leads. Traditionally a telemarketer spends a day generating 3 or 4 appointments, often poorly qualified, resulting in few sales.
Dannys training and consultancy focuses on how to use existing social networks to get in front of new clients, thereby bypassing the need for cold calls. Leads are warmer, sales costs reduced, time to convert a lead is reduced, and ROI increased. Brainstorm Digital work with medium to large enterprises who currently employ sales reps & telemarketers looking to increase ROI, professional services firms to improve networking skills of senior staff & fundraisers in the third sector who need to get in front of key donors.
Danny generates most of the business through speaking engagements and through networking. He also delivers most of the training and consultancy assignments. He is keen to gain access to funds to employ marketing staff to market his brand as well as produce video based content and publications that can be downloaded.

Siddharth Ceekala - Feests Feests, a free smartphone app, helps you to select your favourite meals, no-matter whether you're in the mood to dine out, get a takeaway or cook your own meal from choice of recipes. As your appetite changes day by day, so does the tailored selection chosen by feests; just feed the app with your preferences to begin a mouth-watering journey!
Features recipes from well-known Chefs' latest cookbooks with an option to buy the entire list of recipes. Additionally the ingredients can be ordered through a direct interface to local supermarkets. From High end, Mid-Market though to Economy - feests caters for all budgets; all in one convenient app that replaces many.
Feests has moved quickly over the last year: from idea creation, validation with initial market research, and team formation. The business development phases were identified early on, seed funding raised and a prototype produced. Product development started and a market ready product is nearing completion. Partnership & content negotiations were initiated and a major publishing company has expressed interest in a partnership deal. Fund raising activity is in progress to round off the product and initiate launch.