Founders Programme Autumn 2020: Meet The Cohort

We whittled 318 applications down to an 8-strong group (among them a fiction writer, a debater and a former rap producer, no less). And now the Autumn 2020 Founders Programme cohort -- Moy, Pooja, Dupe, Gina, Emma, Andre, Cameron and Alicia -- are over half way through our 5-session series.

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They kicked off the Programme with a Customer Development workshop, before a Lean Canvas session the following week.

This Monday they got the lowdown on Growth Marketing. And at the start of next week, they've got their Fundraising workshop to get them prepped to give inspiring pitches to the investment team.

For now, read on to discover what exciting startup ideas the 8 founders are working on and, of course, to find out what their secret talents are.

Introducing: Founders Programme 4th Edition

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Moy Hoque

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Who's Moy Hoque in 1 sentence?
A proud Londoner and early-stage startup operator that loves the hustle.

What are you working on? Why are you excited about it?
I'm working on a product that makes it easier for consumers to save on everyday shopping, online and instore.

I'm super excited about this space because consumers are currently using inefficient processes and tools to search for discounts online, which often leads to disappointing results.

What kind of company are you hoping to build?
One that is always determined to help consumers save on spending, without the friction.

What's your secret talent?
I used to create parody rap music using text-to-speech software. (That's genuinely a secret only a few people knew about!)


Pooja Dewan

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Who's Pooja Dewan in 1 sentence?
Investment banker with an interest in social care.

What are you working on? Why are you excited about it?
I’m working on two ideas.

1.- A solution to provide funding for elderly care (to bridge the gap between getting expensive high-quality care up front when you might not necessarily have the funds at the time).

2.- An online marketplace for commercial real estate.

What kind of company are you hoping to build?
A company that sells a unique solution to the customer. A lean business where everyone has a purpose. Culture-wise, a business that is outcome-orientated but still collaborative.

What's your secret talent?
Multitasking.


Dupe Burgess

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Who's Dupe Burgess in 1 sentence?

A medical doctor, former management consultant and mother of two, with ambitions to build a venture-backed, globally scaled business that has real impact.

What are you working on? Why are you excited about it?

I’m working on a healthtech platform that will use data and connection to revolutionise the way that women access, consume and interrelate to their health.

This is an exciting area because there's still a vast gender health gap and lots can be done to improve the healthcare experience for women and make it more equitable.

What kind of company are you hoping to build?

I hope to build a company founded on integrity, diversity and collaboration, that solves a real problem and that is fun to be part of!

What's your secret talent?

Staying calm and composed under pressure.


Gina

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Who's Gina in 1 sentence?

I’m a non-technical founder with a legal background and a passion for entrepreneurship that began at age 11.

Despite a lack of technical training I’ve taught myself to build digital products and websites. I’m passionate about using no-code tools to build startups without a developer and minimum resources.

I’m the founder of Black Girl Startups, a community for black female startups. I’m also a certified #IamRemarkable trainer, which is a Google initiative empowering women and other underrepresented groups to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond.

What are you working on? Why are you excited about it?

Code Free Labs is my latest startup. Our mission is to create a startup studio and ed tech platform that helps non-technical founders build and launch their MVPs.

Having launched several startups I’ve experienced first-hand the problems non-technical founders, especially underrepresented groups, face breaking into the tech world, mainly due to a lack of technical skills. Either you can’t afford a developer or can’t secure a technical co-founder. So it feels like you’re stuck with your ideas in your head.

I want to help non-tech founders build their ideas by making tech accessible to everyone.

What kind of company are you hoping to build?

A company that focuses on making tech and startups accessible to everyone, especially underrepresented groups such as black female founders.

One of the reasons (there are lots of other reasons too) there aren’t more black founders is many of them are non-technical. Many don’t want to learn to code and without tech skills they feel like they can’t get their ideas out there. We want to equip them with the tools and confidence to build their ideas.

What's your secret talent?

I have a knack for making complex subjects simple.


Emma Wallington

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Who's Emma Wallington in 1 sentence?

A mum to two amazing girls, fuelled by coffee, totally addicted to Peloton, with an ambition to create a globally-scaled business that has a massive positive impact on the lives of others.

What are you working on? Why are you excited about it?

I'm developing Snowball - a children's savings platform designed for parents and family members to make investing for children simpler, more engaging and more collaborative.

I'm excited to build this company having experienced first-hand just how inefficient, intimidating and uninspiring investing on behalf of my children is - and I have a passion for stock-market investing!

Snowball will engage both parents and the children with infotaining updates to ensure that when the child comes of age, they enter the world with a sound knowledge of how basic finances and investments work - this should be a mandatory life skill.

Through collaborative saving we can dramatically increase the size of our children’s savings pots, whilst also cutting down on unnecessary, disposable gifts that damage our planet.

What kind of company are you hoping to build?

I’m building a company that will improve the life chances of children, through financial education and a savings pot to give them a good start to their adult life.

I believe that capital, not governments, will solve some of our biggest global challenges.

The more people that invest in businesses doing good things and positively changing the world (all of our investments will be fully ESG aligned), the better result for us all.

What's your secret talent?

Juggling multiple tasks whilst keeping my cool!


Andre Chagwedera

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Who's Andre Chagwedera in 1 sentence?

Martial arts enthusiast, crypto investor, amateur fiction writer, with a professional background in healthcare and consulting. I'm interested in improving the world and solving big problems through decentralised applications.

What are you working on? Why are you excited about it?

A decentralised, open-source platform to accelerate the drug discovery process. The archaic nature of the pharmaceutical industry has resulted in a protectionist, inefficient and risk-averse market which largely does not serve the wider population.

For example, less than 10% of global health research is devoted to conditions that account for 90% of preventable worldwide deaths. We need to shift from centralised authorities to distributive networks.

The key to resolving this is through broadening the distribution of research, liquidity and decision-making, and underpinning this with financial incentives that drive valuable outputs.

What kind of company are you hoping to build?

One that solves big challenges, that is fun and rewarding to be a part of.

What's your secret talent?

I like to write fiction! I'm currently working on a few short stories and a longer piece.


Cameron Jenkinson

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Who's Cameron Jenkinson in 1 sentence?

I'm an entrepreneur, software engineer and I like to create things from source.

What are you working on? Why are you excited about it?

I'm working in the Age-tech space on a companionship and assistance service for seniors living at home alone. I get to solve a problem that’s incredibly challenging for families and one that I experience myself. It’s helping me to raise my standards in how I best serve those closest to me.

What kind of company are you hoping to build?

My aim is to create a new category in senior home companionship and assistance which will move away from the current model which is often expensive, inefficient and unreliable.

Additionally, I want to build a company founded on honesty, integrity, precision and authenticity: a representation of how it intends to serve the people who use it and those that build it.

What's your secret talent?

My mentor network and personal practices.

The fantastic people I've built relationships with and learnt from has armed me with a tool belt of personal practices to stay aligned, focused and present for the challenges of bringing new projects into the world.


Alicia Norton

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Who's Alicia Norton in 1 sentence?
I'm an ex-social media consultancy owner passionate about products that solve real human problems. If I wasn't an entrepreneur, I'd probably go back to Uni to study Clinical Psychology.

What are you working on? Why are you excited about it?

I'm excited about working on a problem close to my heart - trying to figure out how to bring more support to people going through complex chronic conditions (such as M.E, Fibromyalgia, Endometriosis amongst too many others).

What kind of company are you hoping to build?
One that solves a real problem for many people with an inclusive and diverse internal culture.

What's your secret talent?
Skim reading and debating.


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