What if you could change the world with your pants? That was the question posed by Sarah Jordan, Founder of social enterprise, Y.O.U Underwear, to the audience at Pitch at the Pub in Oxford on Wednesday 17th January.
“Pitch @ the Pub is an awareness raising event, for local startups to meet others in Oxford who are interested in startups”, said Leah Thompson, manager of Enterprising Oxford, and organiser of Pitch @ the Pub. “This enables better connectivity across the community and gives opportunities for networking that sometimes are missing here in Oxford”.
Four local start-up’s pitched their business ideas to over 60 guests at the inaugural event hosted by Enterprising Oxford at Oxford Retreat pub.
Y.O.U’s mission is to provide customers with good quality, organic cotton underwear that is ethically sourced. Cotton is the world’s most polluting crop. The production of cotton and the competitive market it creates has contributed to high suicide rates in Indian farmers – 1 every 30 minutes approximately. Each purchase of Y.O.U’s underwear also enables them to tackle a second issue, the lack of access to underwear by millions of people globally. Their buy one, give one model enables them to contribute to Smalls for All charity who collect and distribute underwear to people in Africa.
Yoav Gross showcased Eco-Sync’s multi-award winning heating system which saves a huge amount of energy by intelligently tracking where users are in a building. 33% of all energy consumption comes from heating buildings. Eco-Sync’s innovative radiator valves are retrofitted to detect the Wi-Fi signal from smartphones so they know when there are people in the room. Radiators in vacant rooms automatically decrease heating levels, knowing no-one is there. Current heating systems lead to high levels of waste both in money for building owners and in energy. In Oxford University, for example 70% of the rooms are unoccupied but heated. Eco-Sync reduces end user dissatisfaction and pollution.
The third start-up, Schema, aims to make life easier for students by organising their disparate notes and joining their resources into a single online collaboration platform. A sort of hybrid between Wikipedia and Evernote, the note taking platform enables students to keep a high volume of notes in a structured format and access the notes of other students. Product Designer, Deqian Jia and Technologist, Alexandru Okros, explained how students are able to strengthen their assignments easily by leveraging the resources of other students shared through Schema. This has led to 1000 user sign ups so far, a 10% average weekly growth, and 175k ideas recorded on the platform.
The headache of sports team organisation is removed with Pidge, a software platform that provides team captains with tools to effectively manage their teams. Team captains can spend up to 200 hours a year managing administration, such as finding substitute players and chasing up membership fees. Adnan Al-Khatib, Technology Lead in the company, explained how Pidge also provides a place for teams to easily find available sports facilities. He also shared lessons learned along the way such as the importance of hiring a good quality software developer early on to set up a robust infrastructure. Now team captains can spend more time playing sport than organising it.
Po Yung is a Marketing Consultant at Coo Communications working with SME’s and startups with great ideas to communicate those ideas and vision with creativity and passion.