The University of Southampton
Engineering and the Environment

Aeronautics student flying high after securing £135,000 investment for social media business

Published: 
31 March 2017
Sharif Alvis

Student entrepreneur Sharif Alvis has praised the “unique entrepreneurial culture” at the University of Southampton after securing £135,000 investment for a business venture he has developed alongside his studies.

Sharif has co-founded the Proofer social media management platform during his Masters degree with support from the University’s Future Worlds incubator and its vast network of business mentors. Having matured the startup idea alongside social media guru Oshi Okomilo over the first two years of his Aeronautics and Astronautics course, he is now taking a year out to build and launch the platform with the backing of seven investors accessed through Future Worlds.

Sharif said: “When I first approached Future Worlds a year ago, I was seeking £10,000 of investment at a campus-based pitching competition. Their tutoring and advice has made me aim higher and secure over ten times this sum – it is incredible to think how far the business has come. I feel really privileged to be part of a unique entrepreneurial culture that is growing at the University of Southampton.

“Businesses need a complete content creation, scheduling and proofing software package to make the most of social media in a cost and time effective way. It’s really exciting to now be able to enter this market with Proofer thanks to the expert mentoring and investment I’ve accessed through Future Worlds.”

Future Worlds is championing the innovative commercial opportunities being developed by researchers and students by providing exclusive access to events, support, and mentors with a global network of contacts. Over 20 University startups and spinouts have benefited from the initiative’s unique entrepreneurial ecosystem in its first full year, with Sharif coming to the incubator’s attention when he entered last spring’s Dragons’ Den inspired pitching event.

Dr Reuben Wilcock, Director of Future Worlds, said: “I’ve been really impressed by Sharif’s determination and persistence these past months as he’s gone from a promising business idea to securing a six figure investment from our growing mentor network. He is a tremendous role model for University innovators and an inspiring case study of how Future Worlds is helping our entrepreneurs change the world with their ideas.”

Proofer – formerly known as TweetProof – lets users plan content and collaborate with freelance writers in an effective manner. For a single monthly fee, SMEs can address all of their social media requirements without hiring a single person. 

Sharif is currently hiring developers and marketing experts to build the platform and has recently launched Proofer Beta.

He will be guided along the next steps of his business journey by a board of industry experts. Proofer’s investors, many of whom serve as mentors for the Future Worlds incubator, include serial digital entrepreneur Andrew Doe, technology investor Russell Champion, tech advisor and angel investor Craig Martin, RPD International’s Managing Director Pierre-Edouard Harant, Accenture’s Strategy Managing Director Xavier Veillard and start-up investor Caroline Arrou-Vignod.

Andrew Doe, Lead Investor and Chairman of the Board, said: “Sharif has already developed and road-tested a great MVP in a large and fast growing global market. As social media increasingly becomes an essential business tool for all size of business, I look forward to working with Sharif and the other Future Worlds mentors and investors to continue to enhance the product and ramp up the marketing.”

For more information on Proofer, visit the startup’s Future Worlds Discover profile or its website at proofer.io.

 

 

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