This July, LSE Generate hosted some of its brightest start-up talent and over 150 investors, prospective partners and key stakeholders at its fourth annual Demo Day, a live event showcasing the rising stars of the Generate Accelerator Programme.
The LSE Generate Accelerator Programme (GAP) is a flagship initiative of LSE Generate, the entrepreneurship centre of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Businesses selected for the three-month, intensive programme of training and development must demonstrate the strongest commitment to creating commercially viable businesses which support at least one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
This year’s cohort are solving real-world problems in a range of sectors, including EdTech, Mental Wellbeing, and Food and Beverage:
- Afroricas - Geórgia Barbosa, MSc Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 2023
- Dlyt - Omar Arfan, BSc Management, 2023
- Flare - Daniel Parekh-Hill, BSc Economics, 2018
- Food Mood - Sanskar Dugar, BSc Economics, 2024
- Newgrain - Timothee Issenmann, BSc Management, 2024
- Oatsu - Lauren O’Donnell, BA Geography, 2013; MSc Social Policy and Development, 2014
- Tyred - Lancelot Hoare, Double Degree PKU-LSE International Affairs, 2024
- Pomi & Seeds - Tukiya Mutupa, MSc International Health Policy (Health Economics), 2018
- rolemodel - Victor Morris, Executive MSc International Strategy and Diplomacy, 2021
- Speek Health - Kanu Batra, MSc Management (Executive), 2020
- The Training Marketplace - Peter Evans, PhD Political Philosophy, 1986
Geórgia Barbosa Silva, MSc in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship (2023) and founder of Afroricas, said of the programme and of working towards Demo Day, “The opportunity to introduce my business to LSE and to London's entrepreneurial community has been priceless, and the entire pitching preparation process has reconnected me to my mission as a founder.”
Build-up to Demo Day
Throughout the three-month programme, GAP participants work with experienced experts and mentors from the LSE community and the wider start-up ecosystem.
Each founder is also supported by their own Entrepreneur-in-Residence, who, according to Dr Lisa Portz, Head of Acceleration at LSE Generate, “is almost like an extra team member, someone who has been there and done that, who knows the founder journey and wants to help their team to succeed.”
From Generate’s central London hub in LSE’s Clare Market, teams brainstorm, attend workshops, and participate in team-building retreats in order to refine their growth strategies and accelerate their businesses.
Daniel Parekh-Hill, BSc Economics (2018) and founder of Flare, said, “The access to resources, and the network of experienced partners and workshop facilitators has been invaluable. We set up our sales process, content strategy and marketing funnel, opening up Flare’s distribution and reach in the right areas. GAP gave us that guidance.”
Next steps for the GAP 2023 cohort
LJ Silverman, Head of LSE Generate, commented on the goal of GAP and the GAP Demo Day: “We want to help our founders build a business culture and an expansive but relevant network that will likely last for a company’s lifetime. To support this, we are not only bringing in experts that are on the look-out to identify high-potential investment opportunities, but ones that are there for the long-haul, through the ups and downs, the lot.”
The GAP 2023 start-ups are now looking to the future. Kanupriya Batra, MSc Executive Management (2020) and founder of Speek Health, discusses her next steps: “We are getting fundraising ready, refining our pitch, and looking at our overall strategy.” Lauren O’Donnell, BA Geography (2013), MSc Social Policy and Development (2014) and founder of Oatsu, is also moving ahead: “Sessions with the angel investors and Houghton Street Ventures have been super helpful for us, we are now closing a funding round.”
Four of the teams from this year’s GAP cohort will be joining LSE Generate at the London Demo Day on Thursday 14 September. The London Demo Day is an annual event where some of London’s leading universities – Imperial, King’s College London, LSE and UCL – come together to showcase their best and brightest start-ups.
LSE President and Vice Chancellor, Professor Eric Neumayer, said of the upcoming opportunity: “London Demo Day 2023 presents a genuinely exciting opportunity for LSE. This chance to showcase our top entrepreneurial talent alongside three of London’s top universities emphasises our continued commitment to supporting innovators as they build and scale businesses that contribute to the betterment of society. The LSE start-ups pitching today offer a glimpse at the incredible potential of combining a world-class social sciences education with an entrepreneur’s vision. If universities truly want to help solve some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges, they must prioritise the development of students’ innovative energies. I could not be prouder of the progress LSE has made towards that goal.”