Three budding geolocation start-ups can get their ideas off the ground after winning a complete new business start-up package from Ordnance Survey and TechHub in the recent Developer Challenge. With ideas including flooding, local advertising and iBeacons, the Downstreams, Locappy and Tindre teams have all won membership at one of the country's innovative TechHub centres and a full mentorship programme for twelve months.
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In an exciting day drawing the Developer Challenge to a close, seven finalists were invited to pitch their business ideas for a geo-app or a geo-location product to a panel of four judges. Finalists had just five minutes to present their innovative, profitable or cost saving ideas, all using Ordnance Survey data at the core.
Judge Peter ter Haar, Director of Products and Innovation at Ordnance Survey said, “We wanted to engage more with developers at Ordnance Survey, to support new businesses and help unlock the potential of accurate and highly-detailed geographic information. The pitches ranged from health to flooding to location-based news streams and we were so impressed with the breadth of ideas and passion of the pitchers on the day, that we’re offering our developer support and expertise to all of the finalists.”
The Downstreams team are spread across the country and will be able to take full advantage of TechHub’s flex membership including workspace, training and events at their communities for tech entrepreneurs and start-ups in London, Swansea and Manchester. The team presenting on the day, Ant Parsons, Paula Nickson and Simon Redding, described an innovative service to connect communities along rivers. The Downstreams service will help people to identify, incubate and crowd-fund flood prevention and environmental improvements on river systems. The team plan to use a range of Ordnance Survey products, including OS MasterMap Networks – Water Layer to make flooding and water quality impacts on downstream communities explicit, explaining to these communities the value of collaborative investment in their river.
Lead judge, Gary Gale, geo-technologist and geographer said, “It was a tough task for the finalists, pitching in a pressured environment and needing an idea that would meet the four judges’ different criteria. I was looking for technology that could transform and ideas with a good business model for the future, while the others were looking for commercial viability and considering how their mentorship could help the ideas to develop.”
Locappy’s winning idea was presented by Sebastian Lyall from London. His idea is to connect small, local businesses with their local customer base via effective digital marketing. Locappy is available via multiple channels as well as the Locappy app. Ordnance Survey data can help the Locappy team to effectively define and cluster neighbourhoods across London, and eventually wider, so that customer and businesses can choose the areas relevant to them to advertise in or receive information on.
Judge Claudia Arney - Independent Non-Executive Director, TelecityGroup and Chair of The Public Data Group said, “It’s important that budding entrepreneurs and developers can access the fantastic array of data available to them, but it’s equally important that they can receive the support they need to make the most of that data and discover how it can best support their ideas and help bring them to fruition.”
London and Brighton-based Jakub Tomanik’s winning idea was Tindre – helping iBeacons to catch fire. Aimed at mobile app developers and iBeacon integrators/owners, it is a service that enhances situational and location awareness of mobile apps which work with Bluetooth beacons (iBeacons) and a platform for iBeacons owners to manage them and connect with developers. Tindre will use OS MasterMap dataset as a foundation for the backend solution.
Elizabeth Varley TechHub CEO and co-founder and judge on the day, said, “It is vital we bring together tech start-ups with large data organisations like Ordnance Survey, as they can offer so much to each other. TechHub works with corporate partners to help them tap into start-up innovation culture and emerging trends and work together with emerging companies to develop products of the future. TechHub provides technology start-ups with a place to work, meet, collaborate, network, learn and have fun.”
The three Developer Challenge winners have been awarded a year’s flex membership of TechHub. The fully tailored mentorship programme utilises both Ordnance Survey and TechHub, opening up a wealth of opportunities for the winners, including legal advice, sales and marketing support, product expertise and advice on future funding options. The winners will receive regular access to technical guidance, support and advice from Ordnance Survey on how to unlock the full potential of their wide range of datasets.
Pictured, L-R: Ant Parsons; Jakub Tomanik; Paula Nickson; Sebastian Lyall; and Simon Redding.