Start-Up Games

The Start-Up Games winners outside Number 10

Versarien, and MediaDevil crowned winners of the Start-Up Games

More than 120 high-potential start-ups from around the world convened in London this week to participate in the Start-Up Games, competing for the chance to be recognised as an international start-up champion. This morning, three companies emerged as winners: Gloucestershire, UK -based Versarien swept to first place; Porto, Portugal-based nabbed second; and London, UK-based MediaDevil took third.

Announced by the Prime Minister in January and organised by UK Trade & Investment’s (UKTI’s) Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO) in partnership with StartUp Britain and main sponsor Kraft, the Start-Up Games saw 270 bright entrepreneurs from 120 start-ups being put through their paces during intense training and competition. The participants represented more than a dozen countries including Australia, Brazil, India, Italy, Russia, Spain and the US; competition was tight but there could be only one champion.

Neill Ricketts, co-founder of gold-medal winning Versarien, an advanced materials company, said:“Being recognised by our peers and the judges has given us such a boost; it’s real validation that we have a good idea. We didn’t know what we were letting ourselves in for but it was a superb event and gave us the chance to meet and network with companies from around the world, and to have conversations with companies like Google, which we simply wouldn’t have been able to do without the Games.”

In addition to the medal winners, 16 additional companies were recognised as particularly strong competitors: The Avaverse, 001 Marketing, Actus Performance Management System, Intellixente, The Giving Card, Uvuu.Me, In Your Face Productions, Babelverse, BeefJack, Hedgehogg,, Ci-Co (Clock-in-Clock-out), Tyze Personal Networks, CogniCor, Fabsie and Lutebox., a soon-to-be-launched site for students who need some ‘pocket money’ and for individuals, businesses and charities who need one off/short term assistance,  also collected a medal.

The winners visited Number 10 Downing Street earlier today where they received their awards from Lily Cole, GREAT campaign ambassador, model and founder of start-up, and Jonathan Luff, advisor to the Prime Minister. The GREAT campaign aims to showcase British excellence around the world, and to attract the world’s best innovators, investors, and entrepreneurs to do business in Britain.

“There is a fantastic energy in Britain at the moment, and an increasingly connected start-up environment,” said Oli Barrett, co-founder of StartUp Britain. “We are seeing more people than ever starting out on their own, and it’s fantastic to be able to play a role in helping British companies to go global, and in welcoming overseas founders to Britain. It is also encouraging to be reminded that, as a country, we are producing exciting companies and passionate founders with the potential to make a difference on a global scale.”

During the competition, which kicked-off at Team GB house on Wednesday, participants traded “stakes” in each other’s companies, with each company being valued at the beginning of the Games at £1 million with 100 shares. Total valuation at the end of the Games was a key factor in deciding the winner. Additionally, the three overall winners were those who – in the opinion of the independent judges – had not only gained the support of their peers in the game, but showed potential for growth and expansion and had a strong team capable of executing their plan.

Afonso Santos, founder of silver-medal winning, a company that is shaking up the outdoor advertising sector, said: “This was an awesome experience and exceeded all my expectations. It was a big risk and investment to come here from Portugal, but for the first time in my life, I saw effective networking where everyone had to talk to everyone in the room. I’ve come away with investors as my friends and a mentor. I’m now going to be saving up to relocate and expand my business to London as a result of the Games.”

“One of the greatest benefits of the Games was as talking to experts, getting invaluable feedback from them and hearing about their experiences,” said Callum Bush, founder and MD of bronze-medal winning MediaDevil, a company that sells screen protectors for mobile devices. “The fact that I was forced to talk to other companies and people in a very ambitious way throughout the Games was a fantastic challenge.”

Ben Southworth, Deputy CEO of the Tech City Investment Organisation, said“It has been a real honour to be around such an inspiring and diverse group of start-ups and entrepreneurs this week. We hope everyone leaves the Games feeling more confident in their ability to create and grow a great businesses – whether that’s in London or further afield.”

Other Press

TCIO (Mentions Fabsie as a Kraft Award Winner)


Financial Times

OpenIDEO Winner!

I’m second from the right. Thanks to Cansu for the illustration.

“From the podium, we heard inspiring comments from leaders in entrepreneurship. A few highlights include Eze Vidra of Google Campus London challenging the notion that start-ups are riskier than corporate jobs and Israeli angel investor Yossi Vardi encouraging would-be entrepreneurs to just get on with it (and more controversially, challenging the politicians to take off their jackets and ties and relate to the entrepreneurs). Just before lunch, Tom presented an overview of the OpenIDEO challenge and the winners received their awards from MEP Marku Markkula. Here are the winners in the European Parliament hemicircle:”

Full write up by Amy Bonsall 

From L-R: Amy Bonsall, James McBennett, Tom Hulme, Haiyan Zhang, Karina McElroy, Priyanka Kodikal, Louise Wilson, Cansu Akarsu, Bogdan Ceobano (EC), Stefan Ritter, Charlene Lam, James Moyer. Missing: Sanyu Karani

University of Cambridge – CfEL

I participated in the IGNITE programme at Judge Business School in Cambridge. Talks were given from many excellent speakers such as Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer, who explained his mission from day one was to brew the finest ever Indian beer and make it into a global beer brand.

Lectures were given in Law, Business Models, Finance, Teams, Marketing and Investment Pitching. One to one mentors were assigned of which Jane Garret who runs Global Compositionin Western Australia ran our group.

From Website:

“Ignite has been attracting projects from the high technology sector for a number of years, influencing the development of numerous start-ups and spin-outs. The programme provides access to one of the most successful technology clusters in the world. The “Cambridge Phenomenon” is a term used to describe the rapid and successful growth of science-based industry in and around the city, which has established a reputation as one of the most successful technology business clusters in the world and earned it the nickname “Silicon Fen”.

Many of the businesses have connections to the University of Cambridge, with innovations deriving from research conducted in University laboratories. The innovators based both at the University of Cambridge and in the wider, local community have developed over 1,600 firms which employ more than 30,000 people. The collaboration between academia and the private sector continues to influence the growth and prosperity of the Cambridge Phenomenon.”

Here are some photos from the week below.

Judge Business School where Fabsie spent a week learning some startup essentials.

Our accommodation for the week was at St. Catherine’s College whose symbol is the wheel seen above the gate.

This Cambridge cow seemed to like the stool.

When in Cambridge, one has to go punting on the River Cam. Our stool is viewing Mathematical bridge of Queen’s College designed by William Etheridge in 1749 and designed in wood. We can imagine a future challenge to make a downloadable Fabsie bridge across the River Cam.

Discussion with Alison McDougall-Weil and Govert Dijkstra.

In class with mentor Jane Garrett, delegates Stephen Shepard, Mireia Mercado and facilitator Jessie Bwanali.

Drinks at Queen’s College.