Max Beech and Tom Phipps with their team at 3DS Exeter.
App developed by Exeter graduate could transform how we network
An app developed by an Exeter graduate has recently launched on both the Apple and Android app stores. When meeting someone in person, Intro transforms how we network by seamlessly converting that physical relationship into a digital one.
Max Beech came up with the idea for his business with his friend, Tom Phipps, during his first year as an undergraduate studying Computer Science. He had an idea for a relationship building platform that didn’t depend on tediously searching social media or exchanging business cards, but instead connected people via a free-to-use app, using innovative wireless contact technology to rapidly exchange contact details and social media links.
Despite having the idea, things didn’t really develop until Max had the opportunity to take part in Three Day Start-up (3DS) held in Exeter during October 2017. 3DS is a 72-hour learning-by-doing campus workshop that teaches entrepreneurial skills to university students in an extreme hands-on environment. It draws on the strengths of each of the five universities in the SETsquared partnership: Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey.
Max explained: “There was such a great reaction to the idea of Intro at 3DS. The event was formed of a very intensive programme which allowed the team the unique opportunity to rapidly advance the business idea whilst growing our entrepreneurial skills.”
Mentor feedback from the event encouraged Max and his team to seek market research prior to making any further decisions about the app. The growth of the project even spurred Max to change the focus of his dissertation project.
Max commented: “Without the support of the event, hands-on, street-to-street market research wasn’t something that we would have ever realistically carried out. However, as it turned out, it was crucial to the development of the app. It also made such sense, that I changed the focus of my dissertation to work on the business.”
Max pitched for grant funding at both Exeter and Southampton and was successful in receiving backing from both universities. This support enabled him to build his app and to seek early validation.
Thanks to additional feedback, Max further developed Intro and rebuilt the app enabling additional functionality. The business has recently secured an investment of more than £30,000.
A year on since Max took part in 3DS, Max is still thankful for the experience, believing it to be a key reason for the success of the business. He said: “I have no doubt that it wouldn’t have happened, if it hadn’t have been for the experience of 3DS.”
Max has some words of support for others considering entrepreneurial pursuits. His top two tips are: “Don’t hold back, no matter how big, small or outlandish your idea is, just go for it. There is nothing to lose in having a go and there’s a huge amount of support out there. Secondly, share your ideas. People aren’t out there to poach your ideas, they want to help, so don’t be shy and share away. You never know where things might go.”
For more information on Intro, go to the company website or download the app.
For information about Three Day Startup which is taking place in Surrey on 19-21 October visit the 3DS website.
Date: 9 October 2018