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Success and investment for graduate’s app following chance meeting at Cardiff event

A budding entrepreneur and Cardiff-based tech business owner have found industry success with a new tech start-up following a chance meeting at a networking event in Wales’ capital.

Start-up company Ordoo is the brainchild of entrepreneur and university graduate, Tom Dewhurst, who came up with the concept whilst waiting for more than 15 minutes to place an order in a coffee shop queue. After identifying that the future of food and drink ordering was through advanced online payment, Tom began developing Ordoo; an app which allows people to pre-order and pay from their favourite cafes and coffee shops whilst ‘on the go’ before collecting their order from the venue at a later time.

Tom, Founder of Ordoo, said: “It occurred to me that if customers could place a food or drink order ahead of time before you got to the venue then this would allow them to skip the queue and save time. After conducting market research into the idea, I soon realised that no other business was offering this kind of technology to consumers and independent food and drink sites alike and so I decided to do something about it myself.”

As well as providing consumers with a digital gateway to order and pay in advance, and by doing so earn loyalty rewards, Ordoo is also a digital enabler for local independent businesses. The business model provides smaller independent venues access to the same technology that large corporates use at an affordable cost. By modernising their services through digital pre-payments at no up-front cost, local businesses are also able to streamline their services during their busiest periods which will ultimately allow them to take more orders and increase profit margins.

Last year, Tom attended collaboration and investment event Venturefest Wales at Cardiff’s SWALEC stadium to showcase his start-up idea to potential investors and network with fellow entrepreneurs and business leaders in a bid to gain valuable knowledge and form meaningful relationships. It was there that he crossed paths with Cardiff-based investor and CEO of software company LexAble, Neil Cottrell.

Neil was instantly impressed by Tom’s entrepreneurial attitude and innovative business idea and following an informal chat after the networking event, the businessmen established a mentor relationship. Initially, the mentor relationship consisted of regular phone calls, with Neil able to offer Tom advice having experienced similar opportunities and challenges during the growth stages of his business. However, more recently, Neil has taken the decision to join a string of other investors in backing Ordoo financially, as the Bath based app goes from strength to strength with plans to expand into more cities including Cardiff and London.

Neil, CEO of software company LexAble and partner of Ordoo, said: “I went to Venturefest Wales to meet enthusiastic entrepreneurs and see if any opportunities could come of it. I benefited hugely from a business mentor when I was in the early stages of my company and so it’s great to be in a position where I can become a mentor to Tom and hopefully give something back.

“Earlier this year Tom started to explore the possibility of seeking financial investment in Ordoo and I thought this was the perfect time for me to get involved in the company financially. Being a part of Ordoo at such an exciting time for the business has provided me with a new and inspiring project to focus on and while I hope I’ve been able to offer Tom useful advice, I have also learnt a great deal from his innovative approach to business.”

This year, Venturefest Wales will focus on breaking through the common business barriers that Welsh business leaders and entrepreneurs have identified are holding them back, as well as bringing together investors with academics, entrepreneurs and innovators to continue to create meaningful business partnerships.

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Setting the Scene

Chair of Venturefest Wales, Ashley Cooper gives an overview of what you can expect from our 2016 event

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Venturefest is a UK national initiative founded by Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), and Innovate UK working in association with local partners. Venturefest events bring together ideas, investment and expertise to accelerate transfer of innovation and technology into business growth.

In 2016 there are 11 Venturefest events set to take place across the UK, with Venturefest Wales taking place at Cardiff’s SWALEC Stadium on 28 September. We’re anticipating more than 1000 delegates from across a broad spectrum of Welsh business.

In 2015 Wales embarked on an international initiative under the umbrella of the MIT regional entrepreneurship acceleration program (REAP.) This program sees a team of senior Welsh representatives from across the ecosystem work together to grow innovation-driven enterprises within Wales.  The program focuses on bringing together five key elements of the ecosystem:

  • Government
  • Universities
  • Business
  • Funding / Risk Capital
  • Entrepreneurs

This program aligns completely with the objectives of Venturefest in bringing together all of the key elements to facilitate business growth.

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Venturefest Wales aims to bring together senior representation from each of the above five elements and to facilitate an interactive discussion among those key elements and to provide business founders, owners, managers, and executives with additional tools and information to grow their businesses.

In 2016 Venturefest Wales is focused on providing valuable content across each element of the business growth journey – from idea to start-up, to the early stage growth, to SME, to large corporate. At each stage of the business growth cycle there are specific challenges or barriers that any business routinely will face. The event will focus on addressing those challenges and giving our audience real quality input to help break through those barriers.

The key barriers that Venturefest Wales 2016 will address are; recruitment, people and team development, planning and forecasting, marketing and the use of social media, sales and business development, and the topic of innovation and intrapreneurship within an organisation – creating an entrepreneurial culture within a large corporate business.

Barrier-busting presentations will be delivered by industry experts, and a number of keynote presentations will be delivered by organisations and individuals who have experience in breaking through their own specific challenges.

Our Turn Lights On (TLO) stage will be a platform for business owners and entrepreneurs to tell their personal stories of challenges that they have had to overcome in building their businesses.

At each stage of a business cycle there comes a specific requirement to access funding to enable growth. While in some cases funding may be organically generated, often some level of external funding is essential. The ideal source and structure of funding can vary widely depending on the specific stage of growth for a particular business

Venturefest Wales will address different aspects of funding, including seed investment, and the key elements of initial capital-raising to start a business, growth funding for second stage growth, and Series A significant funding to move an entity into a major corporate player on a global scale.

Alongside the packed speaker schedule, Venturefest Wales will host a number of fringe events such as the Innovation Summit and a networking event for the Big Ideas Role Model network.

Venturefest Wales 2016 really will feature something for everyone. The content and quality of speakers is exceptional and the level of information and quality of networking opportunities on offer more than justify spending a full day with us in September.

Watch out for further information over the coming weeks as we reveal more key speakers and further details of the agenda.

BLOODHOUND 1 _pic credit Stefan Marjoram(2)

Venturefest returns to Wales for its third year with world record breaking speaker

Venturefest Wales is back for a third year, bringing investment and collaboration opportunities to Cardiff’s SWALEC Stadium on 28 September 2016 in a bid to support business growth and inspire innovation in Wales.  The unique environment at Venturefest blends businesses of all sizes and individuals from a wide range of sectors together, with a view to connecting delegates with like-minded visionaries to share knowledge, ideas and networks.

In a first, this year’s event will focus on breaking through barriers, helping you find solutions to overcome the obstacles that are holding your business back. We’ve conducted market research to help us understand what businesspeople across Wales view as their main barriers to growth and success. Our free event will tackle issues surrounding the six key themes identified including: sales and business development, planning and forecasting, people development, marketing, recruitment, and technology and will have a major focus on funding for those innovative ideas and entrepreneurial businesses.

Richard Noble OBE is confirmed to speak at Venturefest Wales 2016

The first wave of event speakers have now been announced, and the line-up includes Richard Noble OBE, the renowned entrepreneur who held the land speed record for 14 years between 1983 and 1997 with Thrust2 and Thrust SSC, the first ever supersonic record breaker. Amid the low-risk culture of today’s world, Noble specialises in developing high risk ventures and will explore the business benefits of original and unconventional thinking.

 

He will speak alongside Bloodhound SSC design team member Dr Ben Evans, a Senior Lecturer in Aerospace Engineering at Swansea University’s College of Engineering. The Mach 1.4 Bloodhound SSC project is the latest in a long line of land speed record cars now being run through more than 3600 schools in the UK in a bid to show youngsters how science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM subjects) can lead to exciting and rewarding careers.

Paul Mason, the Interim Director of Emerging and Enabling Technologies at Innovate UK, will speak about tackling the technology barriers that Welsh businesses currently face. Innovate UK is a programme that seeks to identify, and invest in, technologies and capabilities that will lead to the products, processes and services of tomorrow that have the potential to create billion-pound industries

With a major focus on funding, the event will also host three expert panels consisting of people and organisations who are actually funding business growth at the various stages of Seed Investment; Second Stage Growth and Series A. There will also be a funding forum where a business and its investor will tell their funding story and give pointers to those in a similar situation.

Visitors will also get the chance to view and test the products and services at the cutting-edge of Wales’ business scene, discovering some of the best people and investment opportunities the region has to offer.

So, what are you waiting for? Register now