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Venture Out case study: Alex Daly

Friday, October 28, 2016

Venture Out case study: Alex Daly

An MBA graduate's experience of the ideas competition

While studying for his MBA at Alliance Manchester Business School, Alex Daly recognised an opportunity to connect budding entrepreneurs with investors through an app that would make the process of identifying and securing investment convenient for both parties.

Inspired by the digital speed dating trend, Alex submitted his ‘Tinder for Entrepreneurs’ idea to Venture Out – the University of Manchester’s signature student ideas competition. Led by Manchester Enterprise Centre, Venture Out is open to any student studying across the University of Manchester and awards up to £500 to the best idea in four categories.

Alex’s idea was to build a platform that would allow entrepreneurs to upload a 30-second pitch to a website that would be viewed by potential angel or early-stage investors looking for the next ‘big idea’. On viewing a video, investors would be able to ‘swipe left’ if they were not interested in investing, or right if they were. Interested investors would also be able to get in touch with the entrepreneur to take the next steps towards financing the idea.

“Video is such an intuitive medium,” explains Alex. “It gives you a much better idea of the person behind the idea and the passion they have for it. This platform means that investors do not need to read through hundreds of business plans before they decided where to spend their money. 

“I recognised that in these situations trust is half the battle. An entrepreneur might have a great idea, but they are essentially looking to build a lasting business relationship. Therefore, for the investor, knowing who you are investing in is a key component of such an important, and often life-changing, decision.”

While not every idea would receive a ‘swipe right’, the idea would allow entrepreneurs to prepare for marketing themselves for early investment based on the appetite for their idea, and would provide them with an opportunity to refine their idea based on expert feedback.

Despite scooping the prize for best idea in the Digital category, 34-year-old Alex decided not to pursue his idea further on completion of his MBA.  He now works in the Corporate Strategy team at Jaguar Land Rover and believes that entering the Venture Out completion has helped him to better understand how to formulate a well thought-out idea.

He explains: “I absolutely loved the Venture Out experience. Going through the process of developing the idea, testing it with a relevant audience and gaining expert feedback from Manchester Enterprise Centre was invaluable.”

Venture Out is the University of Manchester’s signature student ideas competition, run by the Manchester Enterprise Centre. Entries for 2016 close on 7 November, and the finals will be held on Tuesday 6 December in University Place (ground floor). 

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