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University of Exeter graduate startups to pitch at prestigious investment showcase

University of Exeter graduate startups to pitch at prestigious investment showcase

Two high-achieving graduate startups from the University of Exeter will be showcasing their ventures and pitching for investor support at SETsquared’s GradInvest 2021 Finals taking place on 26 May 2021.

QWERTY Beer Box, founded by Quinn Leatherbarrow-Stokes, and Zama Digital, founded by James Tetlow, will be part of an exciting line-up of 13 start-ups, all founded by recent graduates, pitching for support to move their business to the next level. For some that will be seed investment, for others, it will be about finding the right grant funding, expertise, mentorship or accelerator programme to ignite their growth.

Recent graduate Quinn Leatherbarrow-Stokes launched QWERTY Beer Box over lockdown to help struggling independent craft breweries. QWERTY Beer Box provides regionally focused independent craft beer experiences. They curate regional ‘best of’ collections, such as their ‘Best of Devon’ and ‘Best of the Cotswolds’ hampers, which bring together beers from their favourite local breweries and then champion them nationally. These selections are available on their website as well as to try through their online beer tasting sessions.

Quinn was awarded grant funding last year by the Exeter Student Startup team to grow and develop the business – funding that came through the support of Santander Universities UK. Quinn is now taking part in SETsquared Exeter’s Business Foundations Programme, a structured support programme focussing on founder ambition and business longevity enabling organisations to create resilient foundations, grow and thrive.

Reflecting on his startup journey Quinn explained: “SETsquared and the Exeter Student Startup team’s support has been remarkable. Both have allowed QWERTY Beer Box to position itself effectively for growth and then provided crucial support to assist us in reaching our goals. With the help that these guys are providing it is truly exciting to be a South West startup at this time!”

Mechanical engineering graduate James Tetlow was inspired to create Zama Digital following his year in industry, where he noticed a gap in the market for a new kind of machine monitoring solution for SME manufacturers. Zama Digital provides manufacturers with real-time insights from manufacturing equipment, using data to improve the efficiency and profitability of their operations.

James recently completed the Exeter Student Startups Incubator programme, which provided skills development masterclasses and 1-1 mentoring from the Startup Team. James was recently awarded a Startup Grant of £3500 to fund the next steps of developing his business.

He also stood out against an impressive line-up of engineering students and graduates at the University of Exeter Engineers in Business competition earlier this year, where his pitch secured him the top prize of £1500. James was further recognised in the top 50 Young People Making Manufacturing Smarter by The Manufacturer.

Remarking on the upcoming event and growth of the business to date James explained: "I am really pleased to be one of two Exeter graduates presenting at the GradInvest showcase and I am looking forward to sharing the work of Zama Digital. It will be a brilliant platform to demonstrate where we are currently and how we plan to grow in the future. I hope to make some great connections from the event. The SETsquared team have been amazing in providing professional advice and support which has really helped me drive the business forwards.”

GradInvest is taking place online on 26 May at 9.00am. All those interested in supporting startups in any capacity from offering mentoring services or providing investment opportunities are encouraged to attend.

If you are an investor and wish to offer your expertise to the graduate businesses at this event, or if you would like to support our representatives from the University of Exeter, register here to attend GradInvest.

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