From student to startup

As part of the ongoing series of contributed blogs from Seedcamp’s 20 finalists, we hear today from Henry Mori at TagMore, a company that developed a visual tagging technology for mobile phones. Henry started off the week as an Imperial College student, and finished as a co-founder of TagMore. Not bad for a week’s work…

My name is Henry Mori, a final year Biology with Management student at Imperial College London. I am currently the External Communications Officer for Imperial Entrepreneurs, a student-run society founded by Sumon Sadhu in 2006, which now has of over 400 members.

I was only invited to Seedcamp Week on Sunday the 2nd September, with the event starting the next day – my original briefing was to attend and to help with the organisation of the event where possible, but to also make acquaintances with people that I would be in contact with in the next year, through my position at Imperial Entrepreneurs. Following the short notice of my involvement, I was unsure what to expect, having never heard of Seedcamp previously, or really been a part of such an event before.

So, I started Monday the 3rd September with an open but largely naive mind. The event was, by its very nature, contact intensive – I am used to networking events and meeting with Venture Capitalists, having done related work for my father’s business in Silicon Valley this year, but what struck me immediately about the Seedcamp environment was the palpable vigour and excitement displayed by every single Seedcamp finalist. The atmosphere was alive with discussion and rapid-fire outspoken thoughts. This positivity was infectious as well, seeing that by the fourth day of the event, I had already jumped both feet in and become co-founder of Tagmore!

I befriended Alberto and Daniel from TagMore following time spent in their mentorship sessions and offering input where asked. Fortunately, I was already aware of the technology behind the product, being that it is widely used in Japan – a country close to my heart since I am half Japanese. I was very excited by the prospect of bringing this technology and more importantly, usability, to the UK. I got on really well with my teammates and it was not long before I was asked to join the venture…12 hours before we had to give a ten minute business pitch in front of 30+ judges!

That night was one of little sleep – we worked in my apartment from 10pm to 6am the following morning, in the process coming up with a de novo marketing strategy and revenue model at 4am! Needless to say, we completed the proposal, practised once and slept for 1.5 hours before presenting the next morning…

Although we did not receive seed funding at the event itself, Seedcamp 2007 for me will always be remembered as a great accomplishment – an embodiment of what European entrepreneurship should be, and a tribute to what events such as Seedcamp set out to achieve. I had gone from being student to actually joining a startup in the space of 4 days and am now motivated more than ever to continue work with my great team to build a successful business.

The experience itself was immeasurably rewarding, both in terms of the teams’ rapid development and knowledge imparted by the mentors. I would encourage any like-minded individuals to participate in future events in whatever capacity possible, since it will open boundless opportunities.

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