Elina Lulle

Enterprise success stories

Elina Lulle

What do you study at the University of Exeter?

BSc Information Technology for Business, 2014

What is your business all about?

I have two Businesses, the first is individualising learning for KS2 Maths pupils as well as analysing pupil’s results for teachers. ( www.Ticklo.com)

The second, is creating an ultimate guide to social life, ranking all the best cubs, pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes for students by students. It also looks at smaller hidden gems of where to go at university as well as a great Bucket list to complete before graduation. (www.TheStudentBubble.com)

What is your business’s unique selling point (USP)? What is your main form of advertising? Who are your main competitors?

Ticklo – We tailor our questions for each individual student in real time. We advertise through different school platform as well as direct contact with schools. Main competitors would be Sparx, although we concentrate on KS2 whilst they are doing GCSE level.


The Student Bubble – our USP is that we are run by students for students, not biased. Also have the ultimate guide to your university experience on one site! We are on both Facebook and twitter always sharing student related posts. Also, we have big plans for fresher’s week to boost our awareness nationwide.

Our main competitors? I would say Trip advisor, but they are not student focused and do not have the ‘fun’ elements to their site that we have.

Where did your idea come from? What is the start-up story behind your business?

Ticklo – The co-founder was fed up of finishing work quickly and having nothing else to do, he wanted to be challenged. So we took forward this idea in the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition and we won the World Citizenship category in the National finals, so we decided to push forward ad carry on with it.


The Student Bubble – Plain and simple – freshers week. Where to go at uni was the big question. Which was the best club on a particular night? Which pub was the best rated by students? We had no idea! So we ended up in places we didn’t like and some places with no students at all! So we decided to create the ultimate guide to social life at university. This was not only for freshers but for 2nd and 3rd years too, so that they don’t get bored of the same places over and over again, we are giving them a chance to explore hidden gems at their university!


Juggling your academic studies with your new business as well as still having a social life must be a challenge. How do you accommodate the three and what does an average day, if you have one, look like for you?

I must admit it is very hard to do all three, you normally prioritise and spend more time on 2 out of the 3. Most of my time goes towards the business as well as my society involvement. However, during deadlines I put a lot more work towards my degree.

A normal day for me would be waking up at 8am, heading to campus, and between lectures I would have several types of meetings, whether it be regarding business, societies or group work. I would be busy nonstop until about 7pm (whilst having lunch during one of these meetings.) Then after I would either work on my degree or do an all-nighter for one of my coursework’s, or go out on a society social. It is important to have a good mix of work and social life.


What things helped you learn how to run a new business? Has there been anything or anyone in particular that has helped you along the way?

Doing it – getting hands on and actually telling myself I will do it has been the most help. Through building my own business I have been in contact with many entrepreneurs and mentors who have offered great help and knowledge!


What support have you received from the University?

IGNITE - student entrepreneurs support unit has been a tremendous help in getting to know these entrepreneurs as well as taking us to different networking events and competitions. Furthermore, for my first business we also received grant funding from the university, which really helped!


What do you think has been your key to success so far?

Meeting lots of new entrepreneurs, a network of people is the key to success for any business, that’s how you move forward.


Have you made any mistakes along the way? Is so, what have you learnt from these? And further, if you could go back in time, are there any things that you would change or would do differently?

Yes, everyone makes mistakes, it is part of the learning process. For example, in my first start up, we thought that we could develop the whole platform ourselves, however haven wasted quite a lot of time doing so we came to a realisation that it would not be possible. Furthermore, one of the main mistakes quite a lot of people do is not researching their market and customers thoroughly.


What can we look forward to in terms of your business? Have you got any future plans for it?

The Student Bubble will be the next best place for students to check out where to go at uni, look at hidden gems, check their bucket list as well as interact over a forum. We plan to hit Fresher’s week big and get as many universities on board as possible. Exeter – you are definitely in for a treat, keep updated on our Facebook page and twitter (@theSBubble)!


How about yourself? Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?

In five years I see myself working with different start-up companies, helping them expand a well as learning from their mistakes, then in the next ten years I see myself running my own successful business after a series of failures.


What advice do you have for other University of Exeter students who are looking to start their own business?

Get involved with IGNITE and the entrepreneur society as much as you can, bouncing of ideas from as many different people as you can is the best way forward. Test your business out on a small scale and then gradually make it bigger and bigger. Also read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries – a great book for entrepreneurs starting a business.