Sept 2017 – What to avoid when launching your app

The lean start-up methodology is to develop quickly, iterate quicker, and learn at the speed of light. It’s very rare to get things right first time, which is why you need to be quick to change and learn – most importantly don’t make the same mistakes. Some startups don’t have the luxury of continuous development, because of depletion of runway, and so never crack it and fail. So here’s some of my advice, from Hollabox’s developments to make sure you get some key things right first time for your app.

Make the value immediately accessible

We were guilty of making the first version of our product land on a profile page for the user. The thinking was that it immediately personalised the experience. However we soon learnt the hard way, and that is with apps, you have around 10 seconds to convince someone your app is worth keeping. How do you do that? Show them the value immediately. Ideally the value will of been effectively communicated in the marketing, but those who followed through to download need to see and feel the value for themselves. Whatever the value in your service, make it super easy to understand the quickest thing the user accesses.

Don’t assume you’ve got a good Product – Market fit

When in startup mode, it can be easy to become obsessed that what you’re doing is right. I mean, you’ve made all the plans, gone over it all in your head and it sounds exactly like something the world needs? This is a common mistake that, particularly for introverts, is hard to overcome. This is because it involves stepping out of your own mindspace and communicating with others. Of course, when we create, we’re innovating and that has to come from one person or persons, but don’t just assume you’ve cracked it.

Even experts in their field will seek validation for theories or work they put forward, and at the earliest of stages, you’re thinking shouldn’t be any different. What you risk is spending time and effort bringing a product to the market that you find out no one really needs, despite all the evidence you’ve done internally pointing to the contrary. Be prepared to work with your market along your development journey and listen to them to find the solution that they want, not what you think they want. This will increase the likelihood of your final product being relevant and sticky and so able to achieve growth.

Make sharing really easy.

The key to most apps’ success is how quickly you can make it go viral. Now there’s no secret formula for this, and if I’d cracked it, I’d be selling it for billions, not blogging about it. There are some simple things you can do however to aid that process and get a strong viral coefficient. It starts with making any sharing functionality you have very easy to access and accessible when the user would want to share it.

Leveraging any users network is powerful, so integrating with a user’s network on Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp for example are great tools and if placed appropriately will be used. What you’re looking to achieve is hammering home the value of your proposition, for the user to go… wow! I need to show someone this.

It’s at that exact point, your integrations or sharing mechanisms need to be there to help the user quickly and easily share that value. This is the creme de la crem of marketing for your start-up because it’s recommendations from trusted sources. You’ve not sold anything and your value is doing the talking. Get this right and you’re laughing.

Be aware of the unforeseen

So wrapping up this blog is a point that does a circle back to my opening comments. Building lean and validating as you go is key because I can’t stress it enough… there WILL be problems and new pieces of feedback that you wouldn’t of even thought of.

Keeping a lean mentality and process will help you deal with the unexpected, so you’re efficiently positioned to react appropriately.  This is the most proactive you can be in this situation and in all honesty, I wish my team and I had this mentality when we started. But that’s the power of hindsight and fortunately it’s not too late for us, so it’s exactly how we’ve been working for the past year.

This post originally appeared on

AB3-175x175Adam Beveridge is the Co-Founder of Hollabox. He is BA (hons) Business & Enterprise Graduate from Bournemouth University. and a passionate tech and media lover. You can find him either in the office, a restaurant or the cinema!

Hollabox is supported by Virgin StartUp and is part of the Empact Growth Studio which supports it with its development, growth and sustainability. Find out more here


14/10/2018 Review: Bournemouth Super Connect Pitch Day

As part of the BOMO Festival , Empact Ventures and Hays plc delivered a Corporate-Investor Pitch Day at the Bournemouth University Executive Business Centre sponsored by the Dorset LEP , Mazars , Agile Automations , Gridizen , Linkilaw, and C6(n) .

The purpose of the event was to super connect the best emerging tech startups and scale-ups from around the world with key decision-makers from corporates and SMEs interested in discussing and negotiating pilots, contracts and/or partnerships.

It was also attended by a blended set of funding providers including tech focused angel investors, investment platforms, venture capitalists, grant support, startup loan support and crowdfunding platforms interested providing access to funding.

Its organiser Bournemouth-based Kosta Mavroulakis (Founder and CEO, Empact Ventures) believes that “Bournemouth has the potential to become an established tech cluster in the next decade beyond its strong digital roots and it is for this reason we are working from here to showcase its pockets of excellence and super connect it to the wider global tech ecosystem to create new business opportunities for all involved”.

Finn Morgan, Business Engagement and Dorset Gateway Manager for the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership joined throughout the day and said that “Dorset LEP’s role is to promote and drive local economic growth and prosperity across Dorset. Working with partners to develop opportunities which support innovative and ambitious businesses to succeed is of vital importance to us and the businesses we represent. It was therefore a great opportunity to hear from and engage with a range of businesses, who are based locally – as well as those from outside of the Dorset business ecosystem – about their plans for business growth.”

One of the the day’s most impressive startups was the AI-powered RetailTech startup Shoppar who joined from London and explained how it was putting customer data into physical retail stores across the UK to help them better understand their shoppers. It is currently working with clients including Sky and Hugo Boss. The technology uses computer vision and WI-FI analytics to understand various data points and help to deliver usable metrics to improve campaign delivery and convert sales opportunities.

Peter Ward its Co-Founder and CEO added that it was a great event put together by Empact Ventures and Hays with “a range of impressive startups, support business specialists and investors in attendance, creating a well rounded event that made very good use of a day out the office.”

Throughout the day the tech startups pitched including the current team leading Hollabox, a tech startup providing a video-led discovery platform founded by BU graduates Adam Beveridge, Arun Thangavel and Joshua D’Acres-Hylton which has received a six figure investment from the likes of JustEat and the founder of Tossed UK. It also saw Bournemouth-based tech entrepreneur Jon Masters who pitched from YouGo.World to introduce his team’s augmented reality solution solution to connect with people from around the world for business, events and tours. He was followed by another Bournemouth-based tech entrepreneur Dr Jan Walter Schroeder who is the Co-Founder and CEO of Sensovo , an award-winning supplier of wearable technology with integrated tactile actuators used for navigation and other applications

Other startups who pitched included PropTech startup Gridizen from London who introduced their end-to-end Property Management solution connecting Landlords and Tenants on a single platform, while Agile Automations from Manchester pitched their Robotics Process Automation service for financial institutions. EHAB from London, a blockchain based platform for sustainable urban development pitched and Outi Pietilanaho from Vimma who joined remotely from Finland to introduce her team’s unique take on AI-powered programmatic influencer marketing. This was followed by cyber startup CybrQ who remotely pitched from Switzerland about its Cyber Exposure Score that empowers SMEs to take informed decisions using their range of cyber security tools.

The afternoon session later kicked off by London-based UGenie who showed their private digital engagement platform for communities with memberships and former Bournemouth resident Pete Beckett who introduced IoT Invent which builds IoT hardware products and delivers associated consultancy services. Next, Scott Druck from Coventry presented iLeader , a game changer in staff and productivity management through workflows for any process enabled by AI. Sierra presented its take on creating the Uber for tutoring to help students find personalised support by outstanding tutors and CLiKD , an award-winning dating app focusing on people fed up with the swipe culture and want to find someone on their wavelength.

As super connectors, the Empact Ventures team were able to connect people based on mutual need by collecting their business interests, needs and challenges upon registration. This enabled them to recommend and make many introductions on the day which created a real vibe amongst attendees wanting to collaborate. It also helped to address the problem that people usually face when they go to traditional business events where they do not know who to talk to about what and who has a need, challenge or interest in their business, and Empact Ventures continues to facilitate introductions by email up to a few weeks after its events.

Overall the event was a success with many outcomes achieved for the startups and scale-ups that pitched, the sponsors, partners and attendees who gave up their day away from the office. It was attended by local corporates like Hays, local SMEs like Intelligent Environments and C6(n), local startups like Digital Smart Solutions and scale-ups like Cudo Ventures, tech investors like Unique Block Group and agencies like Weissman, Human and Dots Creative.

Martin Pardey the Business Director of the Bournemouth office at Hays plc who co-designed the event pointed out how the Tech Nations report 2018 showed there was a challenge associated with accessing talent. He said “ Hays are incredibly proud to have again partnered on the Empact corporate pitch day. We are engaging with more smaller tech companies than ever through our Digital Technology business and this event gives us a unique opportunity to engage with the next generation of technology companies. We value the opportunity to provide our insight and advice on technology skills and recruitment and further strengthen relationships with our current clients by introducing them to relevant start-up organisations. The event in Bournemouth was superb, with a good range of tech businesses pitching including companies with IoT, apps, cyber and data products and services. It was a pleasure to be involved again and I look forward to partnering with Empact on future pitch days”.

Lara Brennan, Senior Manager at Mazars added that “it was an absolute pleasure to sponsor the Bournemouth Pitch Day and have the opportunity to talk to start-ups and scale-ups about their accounting and tax challenges. It was great to connect with like minded entrepreneurs and discuss their business plans and innovations. We are very much looking forward to the next Pitch Day.”

Martin Keelagher, CEO of Agile Automations who was a sponsor and also pitched as a scale-up added that as

“Agile Automations embarks on it’s national sponsorship of Empact Ventures scale up and investment roadshow, we look forward to forming new partnerships and building long-standing relationships, from a diverse and varied amount of sectors”.

Moving forward the national startup initiative will continue to Corporate-Investor Pitch Days below:

  • 14th November 2018 – London
  • 23rd January 2019 – Cambridge
  • 5th March 2019 – Bristol
  • 2nd May 2019 – LeedsIf you a Corporate, SME or funding provider who would like to join any of the panels, please register your interest here and if you are a tech startup or scale-up interested in pitching please fill in your expression of interest here .For more information about Empact Ventures visit or if you have any questions, please contact Raphael Weninger, Head of Ventures at Empact Ventures on
ByRoland Mortimer

August 2017 – Search begins for UK’s top emerging entrepreneurs

The search has begun to uncover the UK’s most up-and-coming entrepreneurial stars, placing the spotlight firmly on the individuals who are making their mark in the business world.

Entrepreneurs from across the UK are set to descend on Newcastle for the BQ Entrepreneur Festival powered by Atom bank at the Boiler Shop on 21 November 2017.

The emerging entrepreneur awards, which are part of the festival, are open to all emerging entrepreneurs who can demonstrate their tenacity, creativity, innovation and determination to scale.

The festival will also include a new Outstanding Entrepreneur Award – designed to recognise established entrepreneurs that have achieved exceptional success or have contributed materially to the success of others over a sustained period.

The overall ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award will be presented by Atom bank, the lead sponsor of the event. Craig Iley, managing director of business banking at Atom, said: “This is about entrepreneurs receiving the support and recognition they deserve for challenging norms, taking risks and ultimately powering our economy as they develop into SMEs. This year’s festival will be truly innovative, reflecting and celebrating entrepreneurial spirit.”

Bryan Hoare, commercial director at BQ, said: “BQ is all about celebrating and inspiring entrepreneurship and we would be delighted to have you join us for the inaugural BQ National Entrepreneur Festival 2017.

“The National Entrepreneur Festival aims to profile and encourage our next generation of entrepreneurs and the search now begins once again to identify some of the UK’s leading emerging talent as part of the BQ Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

“We are seeking nominations across the UK and we’d like to hear from anyone who believes they have the entrepreneurial character to succeed in business. If you believe you have what it takes then BQ would ask you to self-nominate or ask someone to nominate you.

“We look forward to showcasing as many entries as possible at the festival and providing the selected shortlisted finalists with ongoing PR and support as we continue to follow their stories across BQ.”

To nominate, find out more or book your ticket, click here.


May 2017 – Qapitol’s Co-Founder Mohan Panguluri becomes Fellow of Centre for Entrepreneurs in U.K

Qapitol QA is delighted to announce that our Co-Founder and Managing Director, Mohan Panguluri has been invited to become Fellow of Centre for Entrepreneurs, a respected thinktank in the United Kingdom.

The Centre for Entrepreneurs think tank promotes the role of entrepreneurs in creating economic growth and social well-being. It is home to national enterprise campaign, StartUp Britain which it took ownership over from its original founders and re-launched in Downing Street and Buckingham Palace with the Prime Minister and HRH Duke of York. The annual summer bus tours have mobilised over 800 entrepreneurs and experts to give free business advice to over 10,000 aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs in more than 60 towns and cities across Britain.

The Centre has led a public debate on how to make Britain more entrepreneurial over the past three years. From championing migrant entrepreneurs and advocating support for ex-offender entrepreneurs, to uncovering how entrepreneurs are reviving declined seaside towns and shattering negative stereotypes affecting women entrepreneurs – among many other topics.

Mohan will be joining the CFE Founders, a fellowship of successful entrepreneurs who share its vision of an entrepreneurial Britain. The Club is curated by the Centre for Entrepreneurs to provide the insight and financial support to help the think tank deliver its mission – defending entrepreneurs and promoting the economic and social value of entrepreneurship.

He will be joining others in supporting the CFE with notable fellows including Lord Leigh, Caroline Theobald CBE, Dale Murray (award-winning angel investor), Duane Jackson (Founder, KashFlow), Joel Blake OBE, Lara Morgan (serial entrepreneur) and many more as seen here (

Welcoming Mohan to the Centre for Entrepreneurs Founders Club, its Director Matt Smith added:

“We are delighted to welcome Mohan as a Fellow of the Centre for Entrepreneurs and his international experience in setting up Qapitol QA as migrant entrepreneur and recently expanding it into the UK will provide valuable insights to our research and campaigns”

Commenting on the announcement he said:

“I am honoured to be invited to become a fellow of the Centre for Entrepreneurs, a prestigious think tank that produces some excellent research on areas close to my heart like migrant entrepreneurship. I look forward to being part of this unique community of entrepreneurs striving to create an Entrepreneurial Britain”

With Mohan’s support, the Centre for Entrepreneurs will be able to continue to identifying the cultural, technical and policy barriers holding back entrepreneurship and tackle them through high-impact research and campaigns.

It will help the think tank to deliver its mission to defend entrepreneurs and promote the economic and social value of entrepreneurship.

This recognition is another positive step for Mohan and the Qapitol QA team which expanded its operations from Bengaluru in India to Milton Keynes and Bournemouth in the United Kingdom.

To read more about the Centre for Entrepreneurs, its research reports and campaigns, visit and to learn about and how it can support your startup visit


April 2017 – Empact Ventures Selected as Delivery Partner for UK Expansion

Empact Ventures is delighted to announce that one of India’s leading quality assurance testing firms Qapitol QA has selected us to be their new Delivery Partner for their UK expansion in 2017.

Qapitol QA are quality assurance experts aiming to accelerate the product quality of startups which aims to become the best QA partner for tech startups to build and ship scalable and secure products faster.

Based in Bangaluru, India, the team is made up of highly experienced team of 40 product experts, quality assurance testers and developers with vast experience building, shipping and testing. Their new UK office is based in Milton Keynes and they will be working very closely with Empact Ventures based in Bournemouth over the coming year.

Qapitol QA has supported 85+ tech startups around the world including India, UK and the USA including the likes of the World Economic Forum and Santander. They were also recently awarded the accolade of ‘Winner of Best Contribution to Quality in the Mobile World’ by The AQuA Quality Awards.

Empact Ventures helps the world’s leading entrepreneurial organisations and emerging tech startups create economic and/or social impact for their ventures through highly connected networks and collaborative partnerships at a local to international level.

It was founded by award-winning enterprise champion, Kosta Mavroulakis in 2016 to address the growing needs of entrepreneurial organisations and high growth potential tech startups. He also holds the roles of Campaign Manager of StartUp Britain and UK Program Manager of Seven LaunchPad where he supports startups across the UK.

Commenting on the partnership, Empact Ventures’ Founder & CEO, Kosta Mavroulakis said:

“We are delighted to have been chosen as the delivery partner for Qapitol QA to help bring their support to tech startups across the UK to help them ship scalable, high performing and secure products with an independent testing team working with their in-house development team.”

Mohan Panguluri, Co-Founder & Director of Qapitol QA also added:

“We were looking for a DNA match in our partnership and we found that Empact Ventures and Kosta Mavroulakis share the same passion that we have – to see more startups succeed. We are excited about the prospects that this partnerships brings forth and are well positioned to address the QA challenges for Tech Startups in UK and Europe”

For more information about Qapitol QA, visit and if you are a UK startup interested in working with them, please contact