Start-up savvy

  • June 8, 2014
Start-up savvy

Three Gates Cambridge Scholars will share their start-up experiences at an event this week.

Two Gates Cambridge Scholars who have set up social enterprises in the health and education sectors and an Alumnus who advises technology start-ups will share their experiences at an event this week.

The Experience Panel: Start-ups will be held on Tuesday. It aims to provide a forum for those interested or involved with starting up enterprises, non-profits and/or charities to network with one another and learn from each other’s experiences.  The event will consist of a panel discussion with Q&A, as well as break outsessions with the individual panellists.

The speakers are:

Nathan Benaich [2010]. Nathan joined Playfair Capital, a London-based early stage investor in technology start-ups, in 2013. The organisation focuses on consumer and enterprise technology-enabled investments, specifically sourcing and due diligence for new deals. Nathan is particularly interested in data-driven software, enterprise productivity tools, infrastructure-as-a-service, and mobile-first consumer propositions.

He advises on analytics and growth for existing businesses and helps run their subsequent fundraising processes. He has worked on seven new seed deals and three follow-on finance deals at Playfair. covering areas such as big data and e-commerce. He also helps mentor other technology businesses. Prior to Playfair, he did a PhD and MPhil in oncology as a Gates Cambridge and Dr. Herchel Smith Scholar at the University of Cambridge and has published research on technologies that aim to halt the fatal spread of cancer around the body.

Toby Norman [2011]. After being involved in the international development sector for years, Toby founded SimPrints Technologies Ltd. with fellow Gates Cambridge Scholars. The team’s objective is to develop cloud-based identification tools and custom biometric hardware designed specifically for global health applications. This technology allows health workers in developing countries to prove services have been received or access patient medical records anytime, anywhere, improving the delivery of healthcare and even saving lives in some of the toughest environments on the planet. The company incorporated in the UK in January 2014.

Since then they’ve run the gamut of the Cambridge start-up world: from angel investors, lawyers, and accountants to start-up competitions and government seed funds, picking up awards and coverage from the Gates Foundation, UK Technology Strategy Board and World Bank along the way. The team returned mid-May from field testing prototypes in Bangladesh and plans to pilot launch this September with mobile intelligence firm mPower this September. Toby will talk about starting up a company while doing a PhD in Management Studies.

Sarah Mummah [2012]. As a Stanford undergraduate, Sarah founded DreamCatchers to engage the next generation of leaders in building greater social equity.  The California-based non-profit organisation pairs college student tutors and mentors with low-income middle school students to help them to excel in school and form healthy eating habits. DreamCatchers focuses on education and health in tandem to address two of the most fundamental inequities that perpetuate social injustice among generations of disadvantaged communities. From 2008 to 2012, Sarah led DreamCatchers’ growth as Executive Director, engaging a team of university professors to guide its development and evaluation.  

She built a robust team of volunteers that provided over 3,600 student hours of programming each school year and negotiated multi-year, funded partnerships with the Silicon Valley YMCA and Palo Alto Unified School District to ensure her organisation’s long-term sustainability. Sarah and DreamCatchers have been recognised with a Stanford Community Partnership Award, Palo Alto Community Star Award, and US Congress Certificate of Special Recognition.  Currently, Sarah, who is doing a PhD in Public Health and Primary Care, serves as the organisation’s Board President and is focused on scaling DreamCatchers up nationwide to establish partnerships between universities and their local communities across the United States.

*The Panel takes place on Tuesday 10 June from 19-21:00 in the Gates Cambridge Scholars Common Room. Scholars and their guests are welcome.

Picture credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net and renjith krishnan.

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