Team Profile: Lemon Punch
By Ben Sewell |

Many of the world’s most successful businesses have worked when the right people come together – often by chance. Facebook, AirBnB and Instagram all started by accident and have rapidly flourished into household names.

This is one of the ways in which Falmouth Launchpad builds its successful graduate start-ups – by putting the right people into the right teams.

James

Lemon Punch is a gaming start-up owned by Johanne Bergill, Ross Everson, James Hellman and Georgia Higgins. They’d all studied at Falmouth University’s games academy, but would never have started a business together had they not applied for the Launchpad programme.

Johanne had previously worked within Launchpad and says: “I learned first-hand what the programme was about, and decided to apply myself.”

Ross knew about Launchpad through friends, but after launching his own game and going through the difficulties of having a business without support, he decided this was exactly the programme he needed to realise his dream of owning and running his own company.

James came to the programme after initially considering either joining a company, doing a masters or setting up on his own, but he says: “The fully funded Masters, links with the industry giants and the stipend made so much sense which is why I finally applied. Plus, I convinced several of my friends to join as well which helped me settle in.”

Georgia

Georgia has a background in maths and physics, and was told about Launchpad by a number of friends.  She says: “I looked into it and thought it would be a great opportunity. I was happy in Cornwall, but wasn’t sure there was a big enough games industry here to reach the market. I was very wrong.”

According to Ross: “Cornwall is becoming a hub for games development in the UK, and much of that is to do with tech companies in the county collaborating and innovating together. There are also numerous networking events, which people can attend in person or remotely.”

With technology allowing companies to meet and work together wherever in the world they’re based, you can see people choosing where they want to live much more carefully than before. Cornwall is very attractive from that point of view, according to the team who certainly see the county’s attraction.

The team agree that they all felt both the stress and challenge of starting a business straightaway and the first few months were a huge learning curve.

This is when all new teams on the Launchpad programme meet with industry partners like the BBC, Amazon or Sony. They are then given three industry challenges, which could be anything from helping a company create new content or establish news ways of interacting with clients.

Johanne

The teams have to then decide which of the challenges they’ll be able to tackle, often by designing a software solution that will have potential to be customised for other similar companies. This gives the team the basis for their business, which they can then build upon. While teams build their businesses to an identified market gap, they also undertake a Masters in Entrepreneurship.

James says: “Balancing the coursework and business is a very difficult process, as you can easily focus too much on one and end up struggling to catch up on the other. Getting over my “imposter syndrome” was and is a difficult ongoing battle as every day presents new challenges that leave me unsure if I can do it, though from working with my team and pushing through I keep managing to overcome these challenges.”

Ross

But they all agree working with Falmouth Launchpad to build their business is an exciting opportunity, especially when many of the previous cohorts have created and manage successful and profitable businesses.

And they all have ambitious plans for the next five years of their business careers. With the backing of the Launchpad coaches, mentors and industry partners, the team plan major things for their 5 year plan:

James: I see us creating a company that works with the community in producing the highest of quality games, ensuring that our customers stay happy, whilst also maintaining great employee health by eliminating crunch culture, and promoting equal opportunities.

Ross: In 5 years I see us creating our 3rd game with a growing thriving company that game developers want to work for.

Johanne: In five years I can see us working on fun and unique projects that spark joy and imagination in our audience. I want us to set an example that a game developer doesn’t have to sacrifice their physical and mental well-being in order to make great products.

Georgia: In five years time I can see our company developing its first debut title with a team of diverse and talented individuals. With which we will set an example of certain AAA studios, by encouraging a culture that puts the health and wellbeing of our employees first.

By Ben Sewell

Uncategorised

Moonshine Studios announce Get Packed – exclusively on Google Stadia, 2020.
By Adrian Ruiz-Langan |

Moonshine Studios, who were formed by the Launchpad programme two years ago, yesterday announced their first title, Get Packed, with their publisher Coatsink, exclusively on Stadia.

Nick Dixon, Head of the Launchpad programme, said, “It is fantastic to see one of our Launchpad companies achieve such success at an early stage. The games industry is an extremely tough one to crack. For a graduate company to enjoy the spotlight of a significant launch platform exclusive at the biggest games trade show on the planet with their debut title is incredible! We are very proud of what they’ve achieved with their unique, funny and engaging first title; we cannot wait to see what future they build for themselves as a Cornish company on the global stage. Launchpad provides an environment in which those who have extraordinary drive, vision, creativity and resilience can flourish. Their success, as with the success of our other Launchpad companies, demonstrates just how well our unique environment and method of incubation works.”

Official Announcement Trailer for Get Packed by Moonshine Studios

Marcus Gardner, one of the co-founders of Moonshine Studios, said, “The Launchpad programme opened a gateway into the games industry, allowing me to change my career path towards a great passion of mine. A career in the games industry is notoriously difficult to pursue, especially without any experience, however, this programme allowed me to get my foot in the door. “

If you would like to know more about the Moonshine Studios journey, or how you could join Launchpad, please get in touch.

By Adrian Ruiz-Langan

News

Team Profile: Joining Creativity and Data
By Hayley Moore |

The first minute of the animated short film, Strings, is crammed full of information. You see a healthy neighbourhood, stairs heading into what you imagine must be the cellar, a room of discarded violins, a man in despair trying to repair them, children separated from their families and the shuffling despondency of a concentration camp. It is a story of the holocaust but also of a luthier who collects violins from that period and the stories that go with them. 

The film is inspired by a true story and even though it is only three minutes long, when it is done there is a sense that it was made with a real connection to the anguish, misery and sheer distress of that period.

The director, Erin Morris won Best Short Film at the Miami Jewish Film Festival for her portrayal. This promising start looked like it would set her on a path to films rather than Falmouth. But, after seeing how competitive the industry was during her time in Miami, and realising she would actually rather live in Cornwall, she decided instead to take control of her future, and start her own business. After some research on the direction to take, Erin discovered Launchpad.

Equally impressive and formidable is Erin’s partner at Data Duopoly – Tanuvi Ethunandan. She grew up in Hampshire, studied economics at Cambridge and worked in London as an accountant before deciding she wanted to strike out on her own and have a bit more creative control over her work.

Both Tanuvi and Erin joined Launchpad in September 2018, and like most of the other recruits, they had never met each other before being put into a team together.

Erin Morris, award winning film-maker turned entrepreneur.

This is Launchpad’s USP. It finds people best suited to a task, puts them together and gives them the tools of success. A year later, they have the potential to be a start up, with multi-million pound ideas. Even though it is not the most important part of the course, it also does help that recruits are given a tax-free stipend and free office space for a year after the launch of their start up.

The programme has a selection process that ensures people will be dedicated to the companies they are starting up. It needs to confirm it can trust and therefore invest in the people it is recruiting for these innovative ideas that could shape the future. 

The new cohorts are assigned mentors and coaches to guide them through the process, after which they also get an MA in entrepreneurship. The groups are contacted by industry partners early on and presented with three challenges, of which they need to choose one. Launchpad has previously linked cohorts with companies like Amazon and the BBC.

This is what happened with Data Duopoly. Erin and Tanuvi chose to work with the world-renowned Cornwall charity Eden Project, who came to Launchpad with a number of issues, one of which was crowd control.

Being a busy attraction, Eden finds that visitors can sometimes congregate in certain parts of their biomes or cafe, while other areas, such as the gardens for example, might be empty.  Eden wanted to find a way to make sure sightseers were evenly spaced throughout the attraction so it could be enjoyed better and Erin and Tanuvi have found a way for it to do exactly that.

They presented their idea to Eden, who agreed it would work for them, so Data Duopoly’s innovation is currently in the development stage. But what it does exactly is top secret for the moment.

Still – watch this space – because they are planning to tailor it to other attractions across the sector. This means that if Erin and Tanuvi are right about their business idea, we could all be using it at theatres, museums or theme parks.

Tanuvi Ethunandan, applying her financial and business expertise to Data Duopoly.

Both women couldn’t be any more different; Tanuvi with her background in finance and Erin with her creative roots in animation but it is an amalgamation that works and their enthusiasm for their innovation is infectious.

What is also evident, now they are further down in the route, is they are determined to succeed. They are also learning quickly in their new roles as co-founders of a possible multi-million pound enterprise.

Erin says she is learning much more about her industry and now considers herself a businesswoman, even though she feels it comes more naturally to Tanuvi.

Tanuvi, meanwhile, has found a way to blend her passion for commerce within a creative environment, while also taking herself out of her comfort zone. She is really enjoying working with software engineers and designers and learning more about the process of creating a product that could be the next breakthrough for the attraction sector.

By Hayley Moore

News

Codices named in Creative England CE50
By Ben Sewell |
Creative England CE50 logo
Creative England CE50 logo

We are pleased to announce that Codices have been recognised in the CE50 for 2019 from Creative England.

As Caroline Norbury MBE says, “CE50 highlights some of the exceptional talent that we believe will be central to the UK’s creative economy in the coming years. The people featured in this report are the talented minds at the very forefront of creativity.”

Tim Edwards, founder of Codices, said, “We work very hard to be the trailblazers in our field and it is a great honour to be recognised by Creative England as one of the Top 50 in the country. It’s a very exciting time for us and we have a number of new projects coming to fruition that we can’t wait to share. ”  

Nick Dixon, Head of Launchpad, said, “We are delighted with all that Codices have achieved and this is a great endorsement of the company’s passion and highly innovative streaming technology. It is also an endorsement of Launchpad’s ability to foster great entrepreneurial talent and provide an environment and methodology for that talent to thrive and grow.”

To find out more, do get in touch with launchpad@falmouth.ac.uk, or call 01326 213789.

By Ben Sewell

News

QuizKit Launches in South Korea
By Feyaza Khan |

 9th May, 2019, Goyang, South Korea: 

Codices Interactive has launched their interactive game show app QuizKit in South Korea, during the massive PlayX4 gaming event. QuizKit will run on South Korea’s official Twitch channel for a live gameshow on the main stage and to a massive audience of between 10,000 and 14,000 players

Game shows have been a popular part of culture since the first shows were broadcast in the 1930s – as television has evolved, so too have game shows, to remain relevant to a modern audience. Now, broadcast media has been revolutionised by streaming services such as Amazon’s Twitch platform, boasting over 2.9 million record concurrent viewers in 2018. QuizKit is the interactive solution for game shows to be relevant for this enormous modern audience. 

QuizKit was launched in English in 2018, and gives Twitch streamers and viewers the ability to participate in interactive, player driven quiz shows.

Speaking on the growth of QuizKit, Codices CEO Tim Edwards said: “Since we launched our beta version, last October, we’ve had a million unique playerstaking part in the game shows using our app. We also have just over 400 monthly active broadcasters using Quiz Kit.” 

QuizKit is now being translated into South Korean after being spotted by South Korean delegates, who saw that QuizKit would be the perfect partner for PlayX4 and the trend setting region of Korea. Viewers of the event will be able to participate even more directly with the event thanks to QuizKit, bringing them closer to their favourite gaming celebrities and personalities. The event is attended by global giants such as Google, Amazon and NCSOFT

Tim Edwards has said of the launch: “We’re super excited to be launching I South Korea especially as it’s one of gaming’s biggest markets. It is also one of Twitch’s fastest growing markets. This is the start of a number of products we will offer to streamers around the world.”

PlayX4 is a huge celebration of gaming in South Korea, spanning across all media such as board games and card games, as well as global phenomenon video game franchises such as Overwatch and League of Legends. Viewers will be able to watch the broadcast on South Korea’s official Twitch channel starting on 3AM GMT 9th May, available for anyone with internet access to view at www.twitch.tv/TwithSK

By Feyaza Khan

News

In depth: building game-shows for the crowd
By Adrian Ruiz-Langan |

In 1982, Allan Gibb and John Ritchie wrote that entrepreneurs were ‘born not made’. It was not a unique idea at the time, in fact, it seems to have been widely accepted by a number of researchers they quote from the 70s. Researchers used the premise that because start-ups were so original and their creators so individual, with unique character traits that set them apart from everyone else on the planet, they were beyond analysis.

These opinions are now almost laughable when we see all types of people, starting all types of businesses, some failing and starting again many, many times. The Launchpad programme is proof that anyone can be taught to manage a financially successful start-up, as long as they are willing to put in the hours.

However, what is clear,  is that start-ups that succeed have three things in common. Firstly, and this is where the researchers from the 70s were right, start-ups do need to be original. They need to find a niche and fill that gap.

Secondly, they need to have a plan, yes they must be creative and enjoy the process and work hard – but to do all that, they need an idea of how the business will move forward and what it will look like.

And finally, and arguably most importantly, they need cash flow. All the greatest ideas in the world need breathing space and in an entrepreneurial context, this means money, so that the directors can focus on honing their idea, finding investment and figuring out what works for them.

These three things are exactly what students on the Launchpad programme are taught. Quite a few of them on the year-long courses may have already tried starting a business or had an idea for a while, that they have struggled to get off the ground.

Tim Edwards, founder of Codices

Tim Edwards is one of those, he’s now the only member of his Launchpad team running his startup, Codices: “I come from a mixed background, I got a computing degree and also worked in the games industry.”

But Tim had started his own business in the past, and according to him, while it made a profit, it did not see the success that he’s seen from Codices, since graduating from the Launchpad programme.

He says: “I came to Launchpad because I wanted to work on something new. I had already had my own business, but that was really hard without support and investment and then I found Launchpad, which was a good fit for me.”

Tim’s business is a forward-thinking interaction platform – the company wants to make it easy for people to interact with game-shows, something that can be made possible with tools like Amazon’s Twitch.

He says he felt more empowered to try new things and to think big once he joined the programme: “On Launchpad from day one, it’s about how to create a multi-million pound business, which really shifts the focus from small business thinking.”

And Tim is already thinking big. Within a few years,  he plans to create his own digital podium, instead of piggybacking on others: “There are a few people who have already started doing interactive game-shows that the audience really want to engage with.”

Like the other groups on Launchpad, Tim started working on business idea, after being given three challenges with his co-directors. The key difference to him between Codices and his previous business, is the backing he’s had.

He believes there is almost no opportunity to fail: “It’s great that we have this support,” he says, “we started in May last year when we were put into a team and given three challenges. We had to take about three or four months to do due diligence on each one to decide on our final idea and then nine months to develop a platform.”

Codices allows users to actually interact with a gameshow – that might include asking questions, suggesting things that could happen or just stating an opinion – almost like a next-level Periscope.

Despite being motivated and believing in his idea, Tim was apprehensive of success in his business. He says: “I am quite ambitious, but I didn’t think we would do this well in the first few months.”

Since his graduation from Launchpad, he has been working with Twitch – and has been out to LA twice in the past year – to see how they could make the platform more accessible to people. 

He says: “We have funding and investors now, which means we have money to look at new ideas and innovations in the business.”

He sounds stunned by his own success, when he says: “We haven’t done any marketing or anything around our product but already we have 100 people using it and twenty eight thousand people playing.”

In fact, it’s so successful, Codices are trying to grow the team and really need someone to look after their users. “We would really like someone to look after the community that we’re creating, which should also help our business in the long-term.”

The company is also trying to raise seed investment, and it seems like the task has been made a bit easier with backers like Twitch. Tim sounds like he truly believes he would not have had this success, had he not had the support of the Launchpad programme. He says, it’s given him the confidence to grow his business, without the financial and other worries he might have had – indeed, did have – with a business he started on his own.

It’s a confidence that’s allowing him to be bold for the company’s future prospects:  I see this idea as the next big thing for interactivity and in five years, I see us making our own content from our own platform.”

But is he ready for that? He thinks so: “It’s been so busy since I left Launchpad, and I guess I feel prepared enough. There is a lot of work involved in creating and managing your own business. But, for us, because we have big investors that believe in us, we have a lot of validation for what we are doing, it’s how we judge our success. “


By Adrian Ruiz-Langan

News

In depth: driving agricultural efficiency with data
By Ben Sewell |

Working the soil, rearing cattle and dairy cows have always carried their share of uncertainty. Recently, farms in the UK have found they’ve had to diversify in a variety of ways, with farm shops, craft areas and even tourism just to keep afloat.

According to gov.uk about half of farms in the country get an average of £10,000 extra revenue with diversified activity.

And it seems that recently, farmers in Britain have truly been bearing the brunt of market uncertainty due to overseas imports, climate change and Brexit.

According to a Food and Farming Futures essay, agriculture accounts for 4.6 percent of global GDP and 27 percent of employment. Add to this the fact that farming production volumes have increased by 76 percent in the last 30 years, and farming must be acknowledged as an important worldwide resource and employer.

Because of this, it’s of real concern that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believes some countries could halve their crop yields in the next 35 years.

Climate Change is the world’s biggest worry and one of the key principles of the Paris Agreement [1] is to promote food production while adapting to the current effects of the weather.

But, what if there was a way to assess a farm’s yield? What if there was a tool to track – in real-time – every aspect of a farming business, bypassing the weather and climate change effects making the business hyper-efficient and also boosting productivity?

This is exactly the technology that has been created by Glas Data, right here in Cornwall with the help of Launchpad.

Rob Sanders, co-founder of Glas Data

Rob Sanders is the CEO, and coming from a farming background, he’s extremely passionate about the role his software plays in creating sustainable farms.

Rob says being brought up in agriculture, he ‘had a look at the market and saw that while there were a lot of agriculture platforms, none of them were sharing any of their data. So we decided to find a solution to that.”

So, it’s clear that while there is a vast amount of information available to farmers, a lot of it is insignificant unless seen in context, which is where Glas Data comes in.

The tool they’ve created works using each farm’s individual data, and then assessing it against real-time inputs from every agricultural information source.

Colin Phillipson, co-founder of Glas Data

Farmers can eventually use the Glas Data software to monitor every single aspect of their business – from the water, to the soil, to the chemicals to the weather.

This would mean making farming a more effective business, and not so reliant on outside factors.

The technology doesn’t just work with crop yields and weather patterns. For example at a dairy farm, farmers would be able to predict if their cows have mastitis, which would negatively alter the quality of their milk. At any given time, it’s thought that 1-2 percent of cows have mastitis, which can severely affect a dairy.

Using the Glas Data analysis tool, farmers would be able to check the quality of the milk from each cow. If it’s found that a cow is at risk of mastitis, it can be treated before that cow is milked again, bringing the level of mastitis down and making a more efficient dairy farm.

According to Rob: “The farmers who are currently using our systems are really willing to engage and see a difference.”

Of course, like every company, there are teething issues; one of which is understandably farmers being afraid to try the technology.

But Rob says: “The way the agricultural sector is going, the smaller farms that don’t incorporate technology are not likely to succeed in their business. “

A comment that is echoed by HSBC’s Climate Change Strategist, Ashim Paun, who believes farming with technology is the only way to protect agricultural businesses.

According to Rob: “Cornwall is a surprisingly good example of modern faming in the UK. The county has a small amount of large farms and agricultural businesses that are using technology to grow their business”

Another tricky issue for the company is data-sharing, which the software ultimately relies on. While government sources are very accessible – if not always up-to-date – there are some companies that don’t always want to share their data. This makes it difficult to give a wholesome picture at the moment, but Glas Data hopes to use its stakeholders like major supermarkets as leverage. They might be able to put pressure on companies that don’t want to share their data, which would make information more freely accessible and help the efficiency of the country’s farming.

And how is doing this with Launchpad different to starting this business on your own?

‘There’s a lot more support than if we had started our business alone,” says Rob, “And the support we’ve received has been very valuable. It allows us breathing space to work out the business,” says Rob.

“Launchpad enabled us to go out there and try different things until we settled on agriculture. They also paid for two contract developers”

Now, the system has been through beta testing and is also in use in small measures, as the company has pulled in its first contract.

The way it works with Launchpad is each person gets put into a team of four, who you’ll start your business with. Each team gets given three ideas, which they do research and analyse to decide the one best suited to the team. This idea then gets pursued and finally turned into a business.

Like all businesses, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Rob says: “We identified that none of the ideas worked for us and decided we wanted to go into agriculture.  I already had some knowledge of the sector and just saw an opportunity. Launchpad helped us validate our idea.”

The group were well prepared.  “We did our research, created a business plan, presented it to Launchpad,” says Rob. “They looked at it, and saw that it was financially viable and helped us turn it into a reality.”

He says that being part of a very promising start-up is ‘really exciting’, but there is quite a bit of work that goes into it. 

“You have to put a lot of time and effort in. and of course, the monetary benefits come a long way into the future, but if you’re willing to work hard, then I think it’s worth it.”

It also seems like working with Launchpad and by proxy, significant stakeholders and investors gives Glas Data both the assurance and confidence to break effortlessly into the agricultural sector.

With this patronage, it’s no wonder Rob believes: “Success to us looks very like a multi- million pound turnover with an international presence.”


[1] The Paris Agreement is made up of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, which are the climate change action plans that most countries have created to show their priorities and procedures.

By Ben Sewell

News

ENGIE UK Innovation Showcase
By Jo Banks |

Jo Banks, our Business Development Manager, represented us at the ENGIE UK Innovation Showcase last week in Birmingham, judging ‘Big Pitch’, eventually selecting Net2Grind. It was a truly collaborative approach to innovation – working internally and externally to progress the company’s vision and strategy and to promote different innovations within the energy sector.

Take a look at the event video here:

By Jo Banks

Events we are attending

Glas Data featured by IG online trading and investments (video)
By Ben Sewell |

Glas Data, one of the five teams Launchpad is incubating this year, has been featured by IG, a “world-leading online trading and investments provider”.

To see the video, head over to the IG website.

If you want to build a start-up the way that Rob and Colin have, then take a look at the Launchpad programme and apply today to start this September.

By Ben Sewell

Investment News

Hertzian featured as Trailblazing AI Company by UK Government
By Ben Sewell |

Today the government recognised Hertzian as a leading light of the British AI industry in their announcement of a £1bn deal to put the nation at the front of the industry. The deal includes more than £300m of newly allocated government funding for AI research.

Hertzian were incorporated in 2015, one of the companies out of the Launchpad programme. The main programme is now underway, with five more companies in formation, and 15 new teams planned for September 2018 start.

Find out more about the deal: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tech-sector-backs-british-ai-industry-with-multi-million-pound-investment–2#provider_moreover

Find out more about Hertzian: http://www.hertzian.co.uk/

Find out how to become a founder of a Launchpad company: https://falmouthlaunchpad.co.uk/become-a-founder/

By Ben Sewell

Investment News