30 October 2014
Two of Birmingham’s most innovative technology companies – that have both received investment and support from venture capital fund manager Midven – have been awarded the top two places in the prestigious UK round of the Talent Unleashed Awards 2014.
Jude Ower, founder and chief executive of Playmob, which enables companies to raise money for charities by helping them create ‘in-game giving’ in their video games, is the overall UK winner of the national award being declared the ‘one to watch’ for 2015. The prize includes a visit by her to Sir Richard Branson’s Centre for Entrepreneurship in South Africa where she will spend five days learning about business innovation along with fellow winners from the Talent Unleashed Awards programme.
In second place, came Nick Holzherr, chief executive of Whisk – the innovative on-line food app that has already been adopted by some of the UK’s leading national retailers. Nick won £5,000 in recruitment fees from Talent International.
Both businesses – which are based at Birmingham Science Park in Aston – have received investment and support through Midven’s Early Advantage Fund.
Steven Greenall, investment director at Midven, said he was thrilled that two of Midven’s investments had taken the top two places in the awards.
“It’s great news for Playmob, Whisk and Midven,” he said.
“This is not just about financial investment – this is as much about the people as it is finance and technology – and these two winners are well deserving. Both Playmob and Whisk are highly innovative and driven by people passionate about their businesses. Playmob and Whisk are great examples of entrepreneurial spirit and IT know-how benefiting from investment and a willingness to support.”
The Talent Unleashed Awards, run in association with WIRED, celebrates individuals who have used technology in a creative or entrepreneurial way to transform business or the social landscape. Fifteen businesses were identified as the ‘ones to watch’ in 2015. The judging panel included Sir Richard Branson with other tech-leaders.
Jude Ower, the founder of Playmob, said she was absolutely delighted to be judged as the top one to watch.
“This is recognition from a high profile and highly experienced panel of judges – and I’m really pleased too that the top two recipients of the awards have been backed by Midven – which speaks volumes not only for their investment but also for their hands-on support and guidance.”
Nick Holzherr, CEO at Whisk, said this latest award win was further endorsement for the company – and the team behind it.
“It’s great to be picked out from a list of people who have all achieved brilliant things. With further investment into the company, international expansion and new partnerships – it’s a hugely important time for Whisk.com. Since our first public presentation of Whisk.com two years ago to Lord Sugar in the final of The Apprentice, everyone’s been getting behind our platform,” said Nick.
Dr Andrew Muir, a director of Midven and investment director of the Early Advantage Fund – through which both investments were made – said the successes were a real endorsement for Midven’s investment approach.
“Both of these businesses are great examples of entrepreneurship, innovation and partnership. We’re thrilled that they have been recognized in this way.”
Midven is the leading Midlands-based provider of venture capital funding to early-stage and established businesses. The Birmingham-based venture capital firm currently manages five funds representing a total of £74m under management. Midven’s £8m Early Advantage fund provides investment for small, high-growth businesses at start-up and early-stage in the West Midlands. For more information, please visit www.midven.co.uk or follow @Midven on Twitter.
‘Small Actions, Big Impact’
Playmob increases engagement and social impact with gamified actions.
Our core technology allows users to support social causes through digital actions, and keep a track of the good they are doing through real-time transparent tracking and regular updates from the causes supported.
We combine gaming techniques to enable companies to engage their employees and customers to nudge behaviour and reward goal delivery. By weaving in a feel-good factor, not only are we making a significant social impact, engagement and retention is also increased helping a company keep good people, longer.
Whisk.com helps people organise, discover and enjoy great food. Whisk.com gives people the ability to quickly create a shopping list — that can be saved, modified, shared and accessed anywhere on their mobile devices — from any recipe.
Whisk.com now has more than 100 million annual impressions of its ‘Add to Shopping List’ button across leading recipe publisher sites, including Allrecipes, FoodNetwork and The Telegraph. The company is currently partnered with UK online grocery stores Ocado, Tesco, ASDA and Waitrose.
Whisk.com has won a catalogue of industry awards since its launch, including the Cisco British Innovation Gateway award, The Drum’s “One to Watch” honours, The Grocer’s “Top New Talent” award and the PPA Digital “Newcomer of the Year” accolade. For more information, please visit https://whisk.com/.