The Innovation Centre is home to several start-up companies.

University hosts two top start-ups

Two businesses located at the University of Exeter Innovation Centre have been named in a national table of Top 20 start-ups of 2011.

Crowdcube and Fantasy Shopper have both been highlighted by a leading website as two of the most exciting new businesses of the year.

Founded by Darren Westlake and Luke Lang, Crowdcube offers UK entrepreneurs an alternative way to access seed or growth capital. They simply write an online pitch and decide the amount of equity they want to give away for the investment, then ordinary people can invest as little as £10 towards the target – empowering a nation of armchair dragons.

Since launching in February 2011 Crowdcube has completed ten successful deals on the site raising over £2 million for UK businesses. The founders of Crowdcube have just used their own platform to raise £300,000 growth capital to expand the business in 2012.

Just two months since launch, Fantasy Shopper surprised even the most experienced industry insiders with its extraordinary success. In November, it was named as the winner of Amazon Web Services’ global Start-up Challenge – beating competition from Silicon Valley and Asia to be proclaimed the most exciting online start-up in the world today.

Fantasy Shopper charmed the illustrious judging panel with its innovative concept of integrating gaming with shopping to create a new social experience.

Using real-world data, social shopaholics can create outfits from clothes and accessories that are in the shops right now – and if they want to buy a garment for real, they can do so with the touch of a button. Within two weeks of launch the platform was hosting an average of 14 fantasy transactions per second.

Luke Lang, co-founder of Crowdcube said "It’s been an incredible few months for us that has exceeded all of our expectations. We were particularly pleased to be the first crowdfunding site to raise £1 million for one business, which is proof that there is now an alternative way to raise business finance in the UK."

Chris Prescott co-founder of Fantasy Shopper added "We always knew we had an amazing concept but the reaction we’ve had since launching in October has surprised even us. We’re really happy that both professionals in the industry and our consumers seem to be equally enthusiastic about the business."

Robin Jackson, Director of the Innovation Centre concludes "These two companies are prime examples of highly innovative, technology based companies which have huge potential both domestically and internationally. This is exactly what the Innovation Centre was built to cater for and nurture. We are really delighted to be able to be supporting them on their business journey."

For more information please visit the Crowdcube website and the Fantasy Shopper website.

Date: 3 January 2012

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