Experiencing Entrepreneur First at The Palace

vivIn December 2013 The Duke invited 30 entrepreneurs to Buckingham Palace for a ‘speed mentoring session’. Vivian Chan, Co-Founder & CEO of Sparrho, tells us about the experience.

Sparrho (www.sparrho.com) is an intelligent recommendation platform for science. It helps users keep a bird’s eye view in their areas of interest by discovery rather than by search (by presenting news that the reader is likely to be interested in, rather than making the reader search for it). The site aggregates and recommends tailored information by employing proprietary machine learning algorithms. It was built out of a problem I personally experienced during my PhD studies.

I had the pleasure of meeting The Duke of York at an event hosted at Buckingham Palace last December. I was one of the 30 budding entrepreneurs from the Entrepreneur First programme (www.entrepreneurfirst.org.uk) that was invited to a ‘speed mentoring’ session, where we got the speak to The Duke about our various startups. When we spoke one‐on-one with The Duke, he immediately saw the value that we provide and was very proactive in suggesting useful introductions. Since then, he has introduced us to the Executive Directors of three well-respected scientific organisations. These introductions have definitely opened up doors for us as a young startup and we are now in the process of integrating content provided by these organisations on Sparrho (following great discussions from each). We, as a startup have grown rapidly because of it, and this growth has allowed us to disseminate innovations to a wider audience and help content providers increase discoverability.

The ability to reach the right person within an organisation in a short period of time is never easy, but we’re very glad to be seeing The Duke of York play an active role in fostering connections and introductions for young startups. We would love to meet other businesses and charities in The Duke of York’s network one day, and potentially help other young entrepreneurs in the future – to create a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Vivian Chan, Co-Founder & CEO of Sparrho



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