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.
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.
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.