The University of Southampton
Engineering and the Environment

Engineering students secure £150,000 by impressing investors in a Dragons’ Den-style pitching showcase

Published: 8 June 2018
Cluttr Pitch

Entrepreneurial students from Engineering came away with life-changing investments to take their business startup ideas to the next level at an event hosted by the University of Southampton’s Future Worlds incubator. They successfully pitched in front of four angel investors and a packed audience at the Students’ Union in the nail-biting final.

First year Aeronautics and Astronautics student Connell McLaughlin was pledged £100,000 by four of the Dragons – with a surprise last minute offer by phone. 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.

“Transport operators don't have enough meaningful data which makes it difficult to solve costly problems like damage from potholes, part wear, and little information on passenger journeys,” Connell explains. “Route Reports’ combination of Internet of Things hardware and an industry-leading online platform powered by machine learning, means that we have the comprehensive data solution for transport companies worldwide.”

Connell's pitch

“Transport operators don't have enough meaningful data which makes it difficult to solve costly problems like damage from potholes, part wear, and little information on passenger journeys,” Connell explains. “Route Reports’ combination of Internet of Things hardware and an industry-leading online platform powered by machine learning, means that we have the comprehensive data solution for transport companies worldwide.”

John Bickerton, Head of Innovation and Engineering at Reading Buses, adds: "Connell's work is amongst the most innovative we've seen in the bus industry and we're pleased to be involved. His ideas are agile and he's able to quickly realise them as prototypes, meaning he's covered several generations of evolution while our conventional suppliers are still developing concepts.”

Connell impresses the Dragons

Aerospace Engineering student Boateng Opoku-Yeboah and Mechanical Engineering student Landon Vago-Hughes with Computer Science graduate Tunde Alao secured £50,000 for their Cluttr app, an all-in-one private social network and household solution that promises to help build harmony in shared homes.

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 student entrepreneurs from six student startups that had been selected ahead of dozens of entries for the final of the Future Worlds competition.

Dr Reuben Wilcock, Future Worlds Director, says “The student entrepreneurs really impressed the investors 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 them as they continue their entrepreneurial journeys alongside their studies and strive to impact society with their innovations.”

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