Four startups from Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator‘s (Oracle SCA) first-ever cohort pitched to a room full of senior leaders and influencers in tech, top UK investors and entrepreneurs in Bristol yesterday.
The accelerator, which launched in Bristol’s tech hub Engine Shed in early 2017, took five high-tech startups out of hundreds of applicants, gave them access to Oracle’s worldwide customer base and advanced cloud technology and helped them grow their ideas and tech and take their business to the next level.
“We have been very fortunate with the support of our mentors and partners and the demo day allowed us to give back”
Amongst the leaders at the event, Asher Craig (pictured right) Bristol’s deputy mayor welcomed the audience – touching on some of the successes, and the challenges, faced by the South West tech cluster. She commended the organisations working hard to tackle the lack of diversity in tech and asked the audience to: “Join us in building a stronger, more inclusive, economy”.
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She was followed by Nik Adhia, the senior director of open innovation at Oracle, and Marina Traversari, Oracle SCA’s programme manager who blew the audience away with their vision for the future of startups.
Marina also shared some of the highlight experiences of the first cohort of Bristol-based startups – which included attendance at Oracle Open World, a surprise fireside chat with Larry Ellison – co-founder, executive chairman and chief technology officer of Oracle Corporation, Oracle’s Love Retail event, Mobile World Congress and the Ritz networking breakfast to name a few.
Marina (pictured left) tells us: “We decided to run the local demo day as we wanted to celebrate in our local ecosystem the successes that the startups have achieved. It was also an opportunity to thank our supporters both internally at Oracle, and externally. We have been very fortunate with the support of our mentors and partners and the demo day allowed us to give back.
“We were also lucky to be joined by some very senior people from Oracle as well as UK investors, so the startups benefitted from the chance to further promote their solutions with the potential not only for new revenue and partnerships but also the possibility of investment.”
As well as a series of inspiring speakers and pitches, attendees were treated to an evening of networking and demos from the startups – which ranged from educational VR to machine learning that helps us travel more efficiently – so we caught up with them all on the night to find out more.
Interactive Scientific (iSci) was the first startup to the stage, to speak about their next generation interactive educational tools that allow its users to explore big scientific concepts.
“We won’t let anyone get left behind in science learning”
Since joining the accelerator, iSci’s has developed its Nano Simbox product – that allows its users to interact with the invisible scientific world – to the point that it’s now being trialled in 30 secondary schools across the UK reaching 12,500 students so far.
iSci were able to use the Oracle SCA demo day as a platform to unveil the latest version of Nano Simbox – a cloud-based, multi-person VR scientific simulation – which had people interacting live with a virtual science experiment from multiple locations across the world.
Making the invisible, visible: a live demo of Nano Simbox with iSci’s CTO Phill Tew
and Andy Mulvenna, a local entrepreneur and member of the Oracle SCA advisory panel
The company has also started approaching pharmaceutical companies to demonstrate how their tech could help them with the deeper learning aspects of drug research.
Becky Sage, the startup’s CEO said in her pitch: “Because people can’t ‘see’ science, they become easily discouraged because they can’t build the right mental model. This starts young and continues into adulthood. But we won’t let anyone get left behind in science learning”.
Next up was Trail, a smart daily checklist for hospitality, retail, leisure and operations management. Having worked in hospitality enterprise for 15 years, Joe Cripps Trail’s co-founder was tired of seeing hospitality businesses fail to grow and scale because they were being swamped with paperwork and inefficient processes.
“We’re looking to transform the service sector for effortless operations”
Joe told the audience: “We developed the smart checklist to lead people through the day”. He gave the example of a domestic cleaning business where one person managing multiple staff across multiple homes was able to use the platform to keep track of the progress of each member of staff through a cleaning checklist.
As the idea progressed, Trail has developed the platform to also begin collecting critical data including quality (such as coffee freshness in a cafe) and legal data (such as food temperature in a restaurant) for example. Joe concluded: “We’re looking to transform the service sector for effortless operations.”
iGeolise – creators of an intelligent platform, Time Travel Mapping, followed up with its impressive journey from idea to fully-fledged product.
Introducing this revolutionary new way of travelling, Charlie Davies iGeolise’s co-founder showed the audience how Time Travel Mapping works by allowing its users to search for locations based on travel time rather than distance. So, should someone be looking for a new home that’s 30 minutes from their office, they could search the locations that would enable them to get there in the allotted time by car, public transport or bike in a matter of seconds.
Check out our live demo with Peter Lilley, iGeolise’s fellow co-founder, on how it all works in the video below:
The result of the platform is a series of insightful clusters on a map that allows its users to explore their cities in a whole new, and more efficient, way. One of the hopes for the iGeolise team is that it will be used to reduce traffic pollution in cities by re-routing people by public transport during peak times.
Finally, the audience heard from Duel – the startup that’s created a way to automate customer advocacy marketing – leveraging the power of customer recommendations as a tool for growth.
Paul Archer, Duel’s co-founder wooed the audience with his tales of record-breaking worldwide travel by taxi – the inspiration behind the business – where he discovered just how much impact others’ testimonials were.
“Customer advocacy increases conversion rates by 25%”
With some twists and turns along the way, he landed on the world of e-commerce, building the Duel platform which encourages companies to turn away from trying to compete on price by allowing them to create an emotional connection between their customers and their brand.
Get an idea of how it works by checking out a live demo of the product, featuring TechSPARK editor Alice Whale’s comfy black jeans, in the video below:
The app works by rewarding customers for providing image testimonials for their products – so with a pair of jeans, customers can get a view of what the product looks like and feels like on a ‘real’ person.
Paul told the audience: “Customer advocacy increases conversion rates by 25%. It’s the future of marketing, and we want every brand to have their own advocacy strategy”.
So with the Oracle SCA’s first cohort steaming ahead with their brilliant startups, the accelerator is on the hunt for its second cohort of lucky entrepreneurs to take part and applications for its second round are now open.
To find out more about Oracle SCA and how to apply to be part of its next cohort, head to the Oracle SCA website. You can also stay tuned to future updates by following them on Twitter here: @OracleSCA.
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