My new favourite invention…

We’ve seen an evolution of the ‘alarm clock’ in the last decade. The most popular are the gradual wake-up light alarm clocks, which slowly illuminates in the morning to wake up the body in a natural way that imitates the sun rising. Health claims would suggest it’s a much better way for your mind and body to start the day. And now, with smart lightbulbs… it’s even possible for your room to wake you up from an alarm set on your phone (without any additional alarm clock in your room).

Sound as a morning sense is out, and in come the other four bodily senses. But besides light, a young french inventor also came up with a genius way to wake people up…. with croissants and coffee (well the SMELL of them that is). Even crazier – you can wake up to the smell of money!

Sensorwake: is the Olfactory Alarm Clock. 

With little capsules of smell, it reminds me of the Nespresso design. I am so tempted to try this out for pure fun and enjoyment, but it does come with a $100 price tag. Still – I love the idea and can’t wait to see how they grow as a business !

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‘Mentor A Female Entrepreneur’

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The program continues with our second event tonight – focused on decision making in business environments. But as an art project, we also took all pictures of all the women and asked them ‘what’s the best decision you’ve made so far?” Generally, the answers fell into three buckets:

  1. I’m happy I moved to London/the UK.
  2. I’m happy I pursued a career  that I’m passionate about even though it was different from my university  degree/previous job.
  3. Deciding to get married/have a family

For me, I wrote: Investing time in learning other languages

Why? Because I now realise the power and cultural awareness that comes with being able to speak to people in their native language rather than always relying on English. The Bulgarian language is fundamental to my identity and my ability to connect with friends and family back home. Meanwhile, French was a great push into a language that I chose to learn for my own curiosity and passion.

Couple interesting articles discussed at the event:

TableCrowd Business Dinners

What is Tablecrowd you ask? It’s a start-up founded by Kate Jackson in London that creates networking events around London based on specific topics. Watch the video for more information from Kate herself:

I’ve known Kate for over a year now and was delighted when she asked me to be a part of the  company. I’m now at the 3-month mark of being a dinner host for the company! And I’ve met everyone from Angel Investors to SEO experts to someone starting a company for hosiery subscriptions! If you live in London and enjoy sharing conversation over good food, check out the upcoming dinner:

https://www.tablecrowd.com 

#MeetandEat

RECTEE.com

While doing my Google SquaredOnline Program – I came up with an idea for a new digital disruptive business. My product is RECTEE – from merging the words Receipt and Guarantee. A place to digitally store important receipts and guarantees (for washing machines, etc.). It provides each user with a digital, searchable, and trackable database of their purchase and household product guarantees, so they don’t have to keep track of and physically store paper receipts and manuals in the house.

The main target audience is digital-first millennials that are taking on finances and housing responsibilities for the first time. My assumption is that this audience is dissatisfied with clutter and paper trails. Thus, the market opportunity is to digitise a service that has typically been only paper-based and to combine different paper trails for the end user.

The Consumer-Centric Planning:

Consumer Wants – comfort, convenience, and digital-first experiences

Consumer Fears – clutter, having to pay for repairs, wasting time to search for manuals/appliance model numbers/etc.

Consumer Needs – a way to hold manufacturing companies to their product guarantees and centralise all their main receipts/warranties

The Lean Start-up

So I recently read The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries.

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To caveat the ‘fail faster, learn faster’ mentality though – individuals should only start companies if they truly believe these businesses can create value for consumers and profitability for investors. Although there is a lot of seed money and angel investors at the moment looking to take advantage of the thriving start-up scene and promise of ‘unicorns’, I would remind people that most new businesses still fail or grow to a marginal level – therefore not returning on the initial investment.  ‘Doing A Start-up’ seems to have become an ambition or goal with the same emphasis and occurrence as ‘running a marathon’ or ‘living/studying in a foreign country’. However, owning your own business is not a tick-box off necessary millennial life experiences. It’s a lifestyle, career choice, and full commitment. So yes, Build, Measure, and Learn faster. But also be persistent, committed, and faithful to your start-up. If you plan on giving up easily, it wasn’t a business worth starting in the first place.

Eric also has a blog: http://www.startuplessonslearned.com 

 

MAFE…

… stands for ‘Mentor A Female Entrepreneur’. It’s a program that pairs managers and directors in our media agency with women who have founded a start-up. My inspiration for our opening session was Sheryl Sandberg:

“Presenting leadership as a list of carefully defined qualities (like strategic, analytical and performance-oriented) no longer holds. Instead, true leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed… Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.”

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Our mission statement builds off this idea of leadership and raw conversation:

Create a prolonged authentic conversation between two women that are similar enough to relate, but different enough to inspire each other and fill knowledge gaps.

Open Innovation + Digital Catapult

I recently met some people form Digital Catapult UK. I was blown away by their core value of ‘open innovation’. The ‘openness’ comes comes with inherent risks and benefits that both sides must understand, but it is designed to encourage ‘serendipitous innovation’. In a world of patents and trademarks, they believe: “You can benefit from ideas that you do not own.”

He had a beautiful quote that I think describes what innovation teams within large organisations should do:

“We are here to start movements that will grow on their own. We are here to create self-sustained ripples.”

ABOUT Digital Catapult: a not-for-profit organization with a trading division. They have been tasked with a target of growing the British Economy. They started from scratch 18 months ago and are primarily funded by Government, but their goal is to have a third of their income come from the industry to balance out their dependency on any one body.

  • Industry needs to “bring challenges to them”
  • Connected to 2,500 innovators (new name for start-ups and entrepreneurs)
  • Digital Catapult run about 1-event per day and their target is innovators
  • They can also doo proof of concept/product prototyping
  • They are located in the R&D quarter (King’s Cross)

Their Innovation Focus is on how companies get value from their data (including secondary/tertiary value from data) in these four areas: 

  1. Personal data (Banking, browsing)
  2. Closed corporate data (banks, new value)
  3. Licensed data (Creative content, IP)
  4. Machine generated data (IOT)

You should check them out and their work in the UK innovation space!