Exeter win three of seven Student Enterprise Awards

Published on: 30 June 2014

Award winning team Tickbox with Ben Bradshaw MP and VIP guest Phil Cameron. Image courtesy of Exeter Students’ Guild

University of Exeter students picked up three of the seven awards up for grabs at the SETSquared Student Enterprise Awards – which celebrate the entrepreneurship and business skills of students from the five SETSquared Universities.

Walking away with trophies were TickBox  – a website that allows you to see which election candidates are most closely aligned to your own values and Instabear - a platform that provides real-time printed images that are shared on social media using a specified hashtag.

Tickbox were recognised as the best student start-up and also won the coveted people’s choice award – which was voted for on the evening. TickBox Founder Matt Morley was delighted with the result. He said: “After a successful year it is really great to have been recognised by the University and SETSquared. This kind of support is essential for young entrepreneurs.

“It was great to win the people’s choice award because it shows that TickBox really could change people’s attitudes to voting by helping them compare election candidates online.”

The TickBox website was launched shortly before May’s European Elections and much like a car insurance comparison website lets users answer a few simple questions then gives them results showing the political parties that are the closest match.

The aim of TickBox is to change attitudes to voting by making it unusual if you don’t vote rather than if you do. Matt explained: “We want to make voting and comparing candidates and parties as simple as booking a holiday. Voting is one of those things that impacts huge amounts of your life - these people make decisions about you.”

The Independent’s politics website ran a story about TickBox in the run up to the election which sent users of the service soaring. Writing on the TickBox blog shortly after the awards ceremony TickBox Head of Marketing Alex Scott-Malden said: “Sometimes it takes a nudge from the outside to look up and realise what you have done.”

Exeter graduate start-up Instabear also picked up an award winning the best graduate start-up prize.
Using their own specially developed platform, Instabear allows event guests to share photos on social-media while simultaneously displaying them on big screens. Instabear can then add custom event branding and print the picture for people to take away. The unique service means guests leave with customised photos and the clients get huge viral reach.

The fledgling company has delivered major events contracts for Jaguar, Land Rover, Ford, Jack Wills and other brands - including the launch of the F-Type Coupe and the JLR Auto Show in Los Angeles which led to more than 3,500 photos printed and a viral reach of more than eight million people.

Tom Frew from Instabear said: “It’s been a really exciting journey over the last year taking Instabear from a small idea to working with awesome brands across the globe.”

Instabear launched in February 2013 providing next day photo printing services from social-media sites such as Twitter and Instagram. The service initially allowed users select photos from their social media account, have them printed in a range of styles and delivered to their door the following day.

SETSquared is a partnership between the Universities of Exeter, Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey. It has just been named the second best University business incubator in the world.

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