Image courtesy of Imagine Cup.
Colinked have developed their business with help from SETsquared and Exeter Students Guild.
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» University of Exeter Students' Guild
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Students' app success goes from strength to strength
A team of University of Exeter students have achieved international success and an offer of investment from a ‘Dragon’ following a 48 hour mobile app building contest organised by SETsquared and the University of Exeter Students' Guild.
The competition saw University of Exeter students, Jonathan Neumann Massey, Rob Parker, Edward Noël and Alex Bochenski, create an app called SoundSYNK which connects mobiles and boosts the volume of your music.
The foursome, who have formed the company Colinked went on to win the Microsoft Imagine Cup with SoundSYNK landing them a $50,000 prize.
Colinked Co-Founder Edward said the team attribute the inspiration for SoundSYNK to an ‘amazing weekend’.
He explained: “Ideas are easy to come up with, everyone has them everyday, for us the importance was bringing together our team and the friendships we have made.”
“During the 48-hour contest we didn't feel much pressure, we were there to have a lot of fun and learn. It was an amazing weekend where the environment helped our creativity."
Before their recent success the team turned down an offer of investment from ex-Dragon’s Den investor Doug Richards at a meeting organised by Ignite, the Students' Guild Entrepreneur Support Unit.
Edward revealed: “Doug Richards is an extremely successful entrepreneur who has given us some great advice.
“His offer is open all summer, but after winning the Imagine Cup we don't think it will suit us.”
The students were able to turn their idea into an award winning profitable business after receiving support from support from the SETsquared partnership - a collaboration between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey, who support the commercialism of research and intellectual property.
After winning one of the preliminary rounds of the Imagine Cup Colinked visited Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for business training and contact building. Closer to home, they received mentoring and support regarding investor-readiness at Exeter Innovation Centre. This mentoring and support helped the team secure a £10,000 business loan from Creative England.
Edward said the support received from SETsquared was 'priceless' and helped them develop individually and as a business.
“The knowledge our team gained was outstanding and really put us ahead in the start-up world," he said.
After all their success Colinked are still working hard. Edward said the team are 'aiming to get one million users within the first year on iOS'.
The team are are also working on a photo sharing app plus developing a playlist that takes songs from a number of phones and creates a mini cloud so the songs stream from multiple devices.
Colinked’s initial SoundSYNK app will incorporate a mixture of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to enable more users to connect to the network.
Edward explained: “This allows us to go to an unlimited number of users. It will use Bluetooth if there is less than a certain number of users but if that amount is reached a mixture of both will be used.”
In addition to running and developing Colinked all four members of the team are about to enter the final year of their degrees at the University of Exeter.
Edward finished: “Balancing these priorities is extremely difficult, but worth every second.”