Brex - The first corporate card for startups

Pedro Franceschi (left) and Henrique Dubugras are the cofounders of Brex. 

Pedro Franceschi (left) and Henrique Dubugras are the cofounders of Brex. 

Brex is the new San Fransisco based startup providing corporate credit cards to startups. The startup has raised a total of $57 million in funding from Peter Thiel, Y Combinator and early Facebook investor Yuri Milner. 



Bill Gates has invested millions into these five Silicon Valley startups

Bill Gates is most famous for founding Microsoft; the world's largest software business with partner Paul Allen, but did you know the names of all the other companies he invests into behind the scenes. See our list of the top five below. 



A startup founded in 2016, aiming to detect cancer when it's still curable. The company believes a special type of blood screen could be the cure. Other investors include Jeff Bezoz and Google ventures. They have gathered $1.2 billion in investments to date.


A startup founded in 2010, develops highly-efficient power generators for companies, buildings and microgrids. Their engines use 25% less fuel than traditional powered generators. The company has raised $133 million to date.

A company with over 150 million users in 196 countries publishes online petitions. The company has raised $83 million to date.


A startup founded in 2002 creates products that help electric grid systems work efficiently. Varentec  claims that its devices can help utility operators reduce wasted voltage, manage peak power demands, and avoid overloading circuits. Gates has invested on multiple rounds and now the company has gathered a total of $41.9 million in venture capital.

Impossible Foods

A startup founded in 2011 which produces plant-based "meat." that aims to taste like the real thing. The similar meat flavour comes from an ingredient called heme. The ingredient also allows the meat to bleed like a regular beef burger. The burgers are now available at over 1,400 restaurants across New York, New Jersey, and Illinois. Impossible Foods has raised an estimated $387.5 million to date, with Bill Gates participating in three funding rounds that totalled $208 million from 2013 to 2017. 

If that wasn’t enough Gates has also invested in Memphis Meats, another meat-based company, growing "chicken," "duck," and "beef" from animal cells in a lab. To date the company has made lab-grown chicken strips, lab-grown meatballs, and lab-grown duck. The team expects to start offering its products to the public in 2021. In 2017, Gates was involved in a $17 million Series A funding round. He also invested in a third meat based start up called Beyond Meat in LA, in 2015. The Series E funding round totalled to $17 million.

Octopus Investments launches Fintech Initiative for Startups

Photo Credit:  Davide D'Amico

Photo Credit: Davide D'Amico

The UK based fund management firm is looking to recruit start-ups for its new accelerator programme, with a promise to invest in those that prove successful. 

In an attempt to ‘rebuild the financial services sector’ the 12 week programme will provide mentoring and facilities as well as potential access to Octopus Investments’ distribution channels. The first product to emerge from the programme is a P2P lending platform called ‘Octopus Choice’. Richard Wazacz, head of Octopus Labs, says: “Octopus Labs takes the existing strengths of our business and adds a start-up dimension. The result is a powerful new force that will quickly develop new products and services to form part of the Octopus stable.”



Natural deodorant company succeeds after Shark Tank dismissal

Young entrepreneurs, Jess Edelstein and Sarah Ribner, appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank late last year, presenting their natural deodorant, PiperWai. The duo received scepticism from Mark Cuban and incredulity by Kevin O’Leary but weathered the storm to be awarded by Barbara Corcoran who offered $50,000 investment for a 25% share due to Edelstein and Ribner’s “enthusiasm, dedication and thoroughness”. Competing within a $4 billion industry where 60% of sales are dominated by Procter & Gamble and Unilever Home & Personal Care, PiperWai has a long battle ahead from its development in Edelstein’s Philadelphia kitchen. However, after the episode aired, PiperWais’ sales jumped to $1.8 million; much more than Corcoran’s predicted $20,000 jump. Today, PiperWai has revenue of approximately $3.5 million. Edelstein and Ribner have plans to cut costs by moving production to a large US manufacturer and developing a stick applicator product, as well as drafting up a full range of natural products.


YouCollab founder wins at International Startup Festival

Shaun MacLellan is the founder of YouCollab, a startup that connects content creators on Youtube. Originally unsure about attending the Montreal International Startup Festival, MacLellan is now very glad he went as his startup received $35,000 in funding, as well as an invitation to attend the Next 36; a Toronto-based program that provides networking opportunities and mentorship to young entrepreneurs. At only 18 years of age, MacLellan is hoping that this recognition from top-tier investors of his business model, concepts and ideas will help him build his reputation and company’s credibility. Similar to the popular dating app, Tinder, YouCollab users can connect with one another only when both agree to connect. Connections aim to manifest user collaborations and help to build the audiences of content creators.


Start Up Loans funds what the banks won’t

Photo Credit:  Number 10

Photo Credit: Number 10

Chief Executive of Start Up Loans, Tim Sawyer says that amid the economic uncertainty around the UK’s vote to leave the EU, banks may be more reluctant than ever to lend to new small businesses. There are more entrepreneurs in the UK than ever before, with majority of them employing only one individual (the founder). Start Up Loans has lent more than £220 million in government-backed personal loans to 38,000 businesses since it started in 2012, lending to “who would not get credit elsewhere”. With a 6% interest rate, loans are capped at £25,000 per person in the business, up to £75,000 in total. From a dog grooming parlour that is now a national franchise to a brewery in Salford that is run by seven brothers, Start Up Loans’ clients are diverse and no matter what your background or lack of credit score, they are only interested in supporting concepts with good potential for success. 


2016 Startup Nations Summit in Cork, Ireland

Photo Credit:  Penn State

Photo Credit: Penn State

Earlier this year, Cork won the bid to host the 2016 Startup Nations Summit in November, 2016. Over a three day period, the summit will bring together policy makers, influencers and leaders from over 80 countries in the startup arena who are “interested in understanding and sharing international best practice in helping high impact entrepreneurs start and scale new enterprises”. As part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week taking place in 180 countries in November, the 2016 Startup Nations Summit in Cork is part of an effort by GEN Global to support high-growth entrepreneurship in Ireland and Europe.


Maine entrepreneurs produce unique eyewear range

John Turner and Daniel Dougherty founded Traps Eyewear after Turner was inspired by the weathered wood of a washed up, old-school lobster trap. With Turner’s acquired knowledge after designing a small line of T-shirts and duffel bags, combined with Dougherty’s connections to the New York fashion industry, the duo put in $30,000 each, bought 250 handmade wooden traps and began making prototypes of the Wayfarer-style sunglasses. Traps Eyewear started selling last August and is now looking to expand into other forms of high-end retail, including wood and brass cuff links. 


Upcoming event: Post-Brexit Europreneurs discussion

On Thursday 14th July, 2016, in London from 18:30 - 21:00 PM, Snowball, ICE and WeWork will be hosting a 90 minute ‘hot house’ discussion on how the UK can remain a “vibrant, productive and compassionate community” while continuing a positive relationship with Europe after Brexit. The Europreneurs event invites all entrepreneurs to attend and participate in discussions related to politics, immigration, justice, trade, finance and security. Notes from the event will be turned into a manifesto that will help EU negotiators and policymakers.


4 reasons entrepreneurs should exercise

  1. Improve your brain power. Just 20 minutes of physical activity increases blood flow into your brain, stimulating your grey matter to think better. Aerobic exercises are thought to cause an increase in cognitive functions in men and women.
  2. Network with prospective clients. Training with prospective clients, team members or business associates can be a great way to strengthen relations.
  3. Reduce stress. The endorphins released while exercising are also believed to relax the body and calm the mind. By destressing yourself, you are able to think clearer and make more rational decisions.
  4. Deal with the control-freak tendencies. Many entrepreneurs admit to struggling with control-freak tendencies, and exercise can help eliminate that.

Online retail entrepreneur turns $500 into $2m

Photo Credit:  Luke and Kate Bosman

Photo Credit: Luke and Kate Bosman

Founded in 2014 by New York-based entrepreneur, Kelechi Anyadiegwu, Zuvaa is an online retailer selling African-inspired clothing to consumers around the world. With a void in the fashion industry for modern, African designs and prints, Anyadiegwu saw an opportunity to combine her heritage, passion and tech expertise to create a tool for artisans worldwide to access a global market. With $500 to invest two years ago, Zuvaa sales stats reveal that the business is set to make approximately $2 million at the end of 2016. Her business success has also landed Anyadiegwu on the Forbes 30 Under 30 List. 


Upcoming event: Opportunity Knocks

Opportunity Knocks, co-hosted by NatWest, Entrepreneurial Spark, KPMG and Leeds City Council, will be held on Thursday 14th July at Leeds Town Hall where bosses of some of the UK’s most successful startups will share their business secrets. Attendees will receive advice and insight from speakers such as Robert Powls, Cloud Nine’s Chairman, and James Brown of Beer52. The event will involve inspirational speeches, a live pitching competition, discussions among a panel of experts, and opportunities to attend a range of case study led seminars focusing on topics such as crowdfunding, pitching, intellectual property and growth finance. 


5 ways to ease information overload

  1. Have a collection tool. Find an app or tool that you can access from your various devices, and use it to jot down notes, ideas, to-dos or reminders. Documenting everything allows you to revisit and examine it later and lowers the risk of costly data loss.
  2. Get organised. Create a folder system that allows you to itemise these notes, ideas and reminders. An organised structure will enable a more efficient and effective working environment.
  3. Filter the information you’re exposed to. Not everything you're told is good or beneficial to you. Don’t let junk mail drown your inbox. Get rid of it and unsubscribe to newsletters or sources that you aren’t using.
  4. Stay focused. Only give time to people, brands and information that benefit you and your business right in that moment. Having future plans is great but you need to be focusing on the here and now, and what your business needs from you today.
  5. Clean up after yourself. Don’t let your repository of information get too cluttered. Every now and then, go through it and clean out old articles or notes that you no longer need. 

Founder of WorldRemit named London’s Entrepreneur of the Year

Photo Credit:  WorldRemit Comms

Photo Credit: WorldRemit Comms

Dr Ismail Ahmed is the CEO and founder of WorldRemit, an online money transfer business, who claimed the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 award last week for the London & South region. Ahmed was branded by the judging panel as “an impressive entrepreneur who is disrupting his sector”. While attending university in London, Ahmed was sending money back to his family in Africa when he discovered how difficult and expensive it was to send modest amounts of money. In 2010, Ahmed founded WorldRemit which is now available to senders in 50 countries and offers transfers to more than 150 destinations worldwide.  Other regional winners included Acturis, Blippar, Crowdcube, Dealogic,, hVIVO, PROPERCORN, and more.


A Californian beer entrepreneur takes on big brands

Photo Credit:  ViniCultural Tours

Photo Credit: ViniCultural Tours

Founded in 2013 from a garage in California, Brendon Sindell co-founded House Beer, a brand of lager that was designed to take on the Anheuser Busch-InBevs and Heinekens of the world. According to Beer Marketer’s, Chris Shepard, the lager business makes up the biggest portion of the beer industry and is dominated by larger corporations who have smothered craft brewers for centuries. Only recently, craft beer has increased in popularity to account for more than 10% of the overall market. Currently only available in California and New York, House only makes one kind of beer, a premium crafted lager that is “not too sweet … or too hoppy”, says Sindell. The next step for house involves Chicago and Austin as the startup’s main strategy is to target metropolitan areas in their quest to disrupt the $300 billion industry. 


18 year old entrepreneur wins prestigious award

Photo Credit:  DIUS Corporate

Photo Credit: DIUS Corporate

18 year old, Jaime Gamble from Amersham and Wycombe College has been awarded the title of National Entrepreneur of the Year by the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy. Jaime’s startup is Panda Skateboards, a manufacturing business that makes skateboards out of bamboo. Using bamboo for its strength, durability, lightweight and sustainable qualities, Jaime started the business after spotting a gap in the market. Total prize money for the award was £5,000 which will go towards purchasing a laser engraving machine for the handmade skateboards.  


Introducing Christian Miele

Currently the Vice President of; Christian Miele has spent his entire career working with startups. From and to co-founding and leading the international expansion and business development of, Miele has a wealth of knowledge and valuable advice. With a B.A. in International Business from Cologne Business School, Miele is a Member of the Board of Executives of the German Startup Association, an international speaker on LeWeb or Global Entrepreneurship Congress, and is frequently referred to as an expert on entrepreneurship by international media. Miele’s go-to apps include Spotify, Blinkist and Uber. Investing in circa 130 firms, each one is special and motivates Miele to do more and be better. Inspired by every single entrepreneur on the planet that takes responsibility, Miele’s advice to others is to stay humble. 


London CEO talks relocating after Brexit

Josh March is the CEO of London-based, customer service software provider, Conversocial, and has spoken to Business Insider about relocating his business to another city in Europe after the UK Referendum. As the consequences from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union takes shape, several startups and business owners are contemplating a move, many concerned about their ability to hire foreign employees. Since its foundation in 2009, Conversocial has raised £16 million in funding and relies heavily on engineers that are from various countries across Europe. "Easy access to European engineering talent was a powerful engine for growth that may now be removed," says March. "We're monitoring what impact this has on our hiring over the next 1-2 quarters.” If there is too much disruption to recruitment processes, March is considering moving his headquarters to Ireland or Germany. "It doesn't change our current commitment to London, but could change our growth plans significantly."