Virgin Foodpreneur

Our Top News Roundup: Virgin Foodpreneur 2017 Winner, The 5 Startups Joining John Lewis Retail Tech Accelerator & The Startup Helping People Find Their Perfect Housemate.

Our weekly news roundup of what’s happening in the business world from this year’s winner of the Virgin Foodpreneur to the startup helping people find their ‘Ideal Flatmate’. 

Virgin Foodpreneur 2017 Finalist – The Snaffling Pig Co

Virgin Foodpreneur

Founders of the Snaffling Pig Co, Nick Coleman and Andrew Allen, have won this year’s Virgin Foodpreneur competition as the ‘next big thing on the UK’s food and drink’ startup scene.

The announcement came during an exclusive pitching event in London, which saw four finalists, including the winning team, pitch to a team of industry experts – Levi Roots of Reggae Reggae Sauce, author and entrepreneur Alice Living, Paul Lindley of Ella’s Kitchen, and Jim Cregan, founder of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee.

Nick Coleman and Andrew Allen won a six weeks retail space in Intu Lakeside, named as the ‘retail centre with the highest footfall in the UK’.

Co-founder Coleman said: “We love Virgin and the representation that comes with the Virgin Startup brand, and so to win it has been a mighty honour – we feel humbled.

“It’s an amazing way to celebrate our success, and our team have been watching it live on Facebook. Now it’s all about using this prize as a springboard as we move forward to Christmas – exciting things to come.”

The 5 Startups Chosen By John Lewis For This Year’s ‘JLAB’ Retail Tech Accelerator

John Lewis

The 12 month accelerator programme, now in its fourth year, aims to help startups shape the retail experience of the future.

Picked out of 300 applicants, these five startups will be joining this year’s John Lewis Partnership’s retail tech accelerator – JLAB:

Mucho – a smart grocery shopping app helping to create personalised recipes with made-to-order ingredients;

Exaactly – a knowledgeable addressing system allowing users to mark anywhere in the world for an accurate delivery.

WeFiFo – connects home chefs and supper club hosts with people hunting for unique eating experiences.

Journifi – gives shoppers a tailored in store based on their online behaviour.

BB1 – a data analytic business helping retailers shape their services with customer behaviour data.

Ideal Flatmate – The Startup Helping People Find Their Ideal Housemate

Ideal Flatmate Founders - Robert Imonikhe and Tom Gatzen

Ideal Flatmate – the UK’s first algorithm based flatmate matchmaker – has closed its seed funding round, taking total investment into the platform up to £500k.

Founders of Ideal Flatmate Tom Gatzen and Rob Imonikhe discovered the idea after years of becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of options for finding flatmates, through current listing websites.

The platform, designed in collaboration with Cambridge professors, is based on an algorithm similar to that of dating websites. It pairs up the most compatible flatmates using a simple 20-question survey based on their personalities, instead of just location and budget.

The additional funding will help Ideal Flatmate recruit more talent, boost its user’s numbers and further develop the site’s algorithm.

Lead investors in the round include Steve Leach, founder of Bigmouthmedia and Chairman of Fetch Media and David Pollock, founder of Greene & Co.

Since launching six months ago, the site has reached an average of 25,000 monthly users, more than 15,000 people have registered as a flathunter and over 2,000 properties have been listed – with registrations set to hit 150,000 by the end of 2018.

Gatzen said, “The range of investors who are backing us in this round is incredibly exciting and gives us a huge amount of confidence. To have surpassed our initial target is also a big plus and means we can accelerate our growth plans. I can’t wait to continue to improve the site and take our idea out to a far wider audience.”

“For us, it’s always been about personalities, not just properties,” said Imonikhe. “The latest round of developments will enhance the user experience considerably. We’re enormously encouraged by the reception we received from the investor community and now are focused on delivering on our targets.”