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Proof of Impact crowned winner of GradVenture 2019 at the University of London’s Senate House


A platform that uses cutting-edge blockchain technology to improve transparency in NGOs won the final of GradVenture, the University of London pitching competition, organised by the Careers Group and its partners, Seven Hills.

Twelve finalists from University of London member institutions pitched their start-ups to a panel of four judges, with Proof of Impact – founded by Riz Nasrullah – taking home the first prize, an £8,000 investment.

Riz wants donors and charities alike to get familiar with blockchain technology, hoping to usher a new era of transparency into the NGO sector. Riz is an LSE alumnus and currently a student at City's Business School, City, University of London.

The judging panel, made up of Renée Elliott, founder of Planet Organic; Simon Calver, Head of Investments at BGF; David Fisayo, Director of Foundervine; and Jess Butcher MBE, Co-Founder of Tick, questioned the competitors’ start-up plans and aspirations.

The runner-up and winner of £2,000 was Shortly, an app that suggests short stories based on how much time you have. Launched by Qasim Munye, a medical student at King’s College London, the app already has tens of thousands of users.

Michael Hayman MBE, Co-Founder of Seven Hills, moderated the evening in front of a full house in the University of London’s Beveridge Hall. Guests also cast votes for their favourite pitch of the evening, with London’s first umbrella rental service, Lonbrella, taking home the ‘People’s Vote’ award and winning a private lunch with BGF Investments.

Dr. Bob Gilworth, Director of the Careers Group, closed the session with tributes to the talent of University of London students and graduates and thanked the many people who have given time to support them through their GradVenture experience.

Prior to the final, the GradVenture series of events also included VentureHack, a training and development day, hosted by Queen Mary, University of London and a competition semi-final, hosted by UCL.

The GradVenture 2019 finalists were:

Lonbrella: Olianna Gonzalez, Wendi Lai, Rodrigo Camino
London’s first umbrella rental service

Freestyle Cuts: Gopal Shah
Hairstylists to your door

ADAM, ‘Anxiety, Depression and Mental Health’: Dr Amna Sadia Sheikh Hussain, Zahrah Madiha Sheikh Hussain, Richard Simon
A student support smartphone app

Little Coffee Company: Lauren Le Franc
Sustainable enterprise for small-holder coffee farmers

Mentat Analytics: Fotis Chatzidakis, Angelos Markou
Smart data analytics and insights

Mentorite Ltd: Giulio Capodimonti, Jimmie Ricci, Daniel Demere
AI-empowered mentoring platform

Motive: Yash Morar, Isaac Jong
Friday nights made simple with AI

Proof of Impact; Riz Nasrullah
Blockchain platform to create radical transparency in NGOs

Shortly: Qasim Munye
An app for reading short stories

Smoke 2 Sparks: Kalvin Saranna
Converting classic car engines to electric

TIFY: Veronica Sule, Bastian Hildebrnd
Machine learning powered consumer analytics

Your Own Hero! Tiffany Walker
Simulation storybook app for autistic children