WarwickTECH: July 2021 Update
WarwickTECH is a student-led angel fund backing founders from Warwick University.
Welcome to WarwickTECH's July newsletter! Every month, we will be sharing our top tech stories — including the most exciting things going on in tech, startups, and innovation at Warwick and beyond.
Curated and edited by Cyrus Ma
What’s happening with our portfolio startups?
This month we are featuring Customuse, one of our portfolio startups targeting the virtual apparel design space. As e-commerce transitions from the traditional 2D to 3D space, the demand for virtual apparel design tools has only increased. In response to the gap in market capabilities, Customuse offers a drag-and-drop interface that enables creators to make skins and augmented reality designs using their unique templates. Currently, their product is optimized for popular platforms such as Snapchat, Shopify, and Roblox, with more being added with each passing day.
Theme of the month: West Midlands
Home to the University of Warwick, the West Midlands is also known for being one of the UK’s fastest growing tech centres, and houses startup unicorns such as Gymshark. Raising over £300m in tech funding in 2020, the West Midlands benefits from its historically strong base in manufacturing, 5G innovation hubs and the wide pool of talent it attracts across the UK. The growth of this area is certainly one to watch in the coming years.
A startup competition organized by SuperTECH is currently offering 6 businesses in the West Midlands a total of £1.2m to fund their software development from development to launch. Named “SuperTECH seeds”, this competition aims towards promoting the integration of technology within everyday business activities. The deadline is the 19th of July - if you currently are involved with a startup, or are interested in pitching out one of your ideas, make sure to give this opportunity a try!
Transport for West Midlands has recently partnered with Vivacity Labs, a London AI scaleup, to harness 5G networks present in the region to resolve traffic congestion issues. A network of 5G sensors will be utilized for their low latency speeds to deliver swift updates to authorities, which would enable them to identify jams quickly and resolve them more efficiently. These sensors will also collect environmental and weather data to assist Transport for West Midlands in reducing its emissions, and even vehicle travel data to support the evaluation of Future Transport Zone initiatives, furthering the digital transformation of the region.
What is a West Midlands feature without some reference to its startups? This uktech news article provides an overview of the startup environment in the West Midlands by presenting 10 startups which went through successful funding rounds the past year, such as Gymshark and Clarilis. Covering startups with total funding levels ranging from £100k to £240m, it provides a short, interesting read for those interested in how startups are disrupting the markets from the West Midlands.
What did we learn this month ?
This article is a review of Amazon Unbound - a book which covers the success of one of the world’s most successful startups turned large company by analysing different aspects of the company’s growth and operations. From this analysis comes lessons as well - Linda Z condenses the book into 5 short principles through 5 analogies that is applicable to any startup. We found it interesting for how accurately it represents the startup space, so if you’d like to consider some new views, make sure to click on this 5 minute read!
We don’t often cover the VC side of the story - often, the startup which drives the innovation gets the spotlight. Yet, VCs play an important role in the startup landscape, as they essentially decide which startups move on to the next level through their choice of fund injections. This article demonstrates what VCs look for in startups, as separated into three parts: the bases, the good content, and the red flags. Whether you are a startup founder seeking to get funding, or just someone who intends to understand the startup ecosystem, this 5 minute read is a must-have.
12 Universities have collaborated to launch a 10 year impact fund to support up and coming ventures. Developed by Social Investment Scotland, the organizing body Impact 12 has gained support from the nation’s largest universities, such as Oxbridge, Warwick, Birmingham, etc. This organization will provide both equity and debt funding to startup founders, in hopes of accelerating the growth of the UK startup environment by targeting those studying at University.