Cass MBA Alumni develop a great app for busy Londoners

Lukas Linsbichler and Ash Bhadal met while studying the Executive MBA at Cass Business School in 2011. They both had a very strong drive towards starting their own business and that’s how Drinqsmart was born. After all their hard-work and commitment they will officially launched their initiative on Wednesday, and the event was held at Cass Business School.

Drinqsmart: An App helping busy Londoners to plan their after-work life

Drinqsmart-App

Drinqsmart app

According to Ash and Lukas their idea was strongly influenced by their busy and stressful life while studying for their Masters. They realised that people, especially in London, have hectic routines and also time constraints to their social lives and, very often, their private relationships suffer. Friends and family are overshadowed by work and academic commitments.

They thought that it would be amazing to have a platform that facilitated planning meet ups with friends after work in an easy and fun way. That was when the Drinqsmart app was developed. Drinqsmart’s vision is to “Give time back to smart Londoners”, to allow them to use their time better for activities they genuinely enjoy.

How does Drinqsmart work?

Drinqsmart is an app that allows you:

  • To discover friends and venues near you
  • To connect and invite friends, who are in the mood to meet up for drinks
  • To use a venue chat where you and your friends can get together before you meet and exchange venue ideas.

There are many other benefits to users, as the founders point out: “The benefit is clearly saving time and being able to meet friends more often. In a modern, fast city like London, people move very quickly and private or social life is only a residual after work. The Drinqsmart app gives people the chance to use this time more efficiently by being able to meet friends spontaneously, organise drinks easily and find the best venues. All in the one app to “Get your night started” whenever you like.”

Why is the app unique?

Ash says: “There is no other app available offering the same integrated functionality as Drinqsmart. There are many other apps using use geo-location to check people in and listing venues around you, and other apps allowing you to chat with friends, but all of them are doing it separately. The unique offering of Drinqsmart is to have them all in one platform and allowing users to create an exclusive network of friends around the concept of going out.”

How to get the Drinqsmart app?

The app is only available to iPhone users, at the moment, and you can download it by going to: http://ow.ly/xRTVu Android users will be able to download it after summer 2014.

Finally, Ash and Lukas told us how their MBA helped them to stay focused on their journey: “The MBA gave us the confidence to make educated decisions about our strategy, leveraged our network to hire our CTO and get great contacts for marketing. An amazing fact is that after an MBA you can actually run a company on your own. From formulating marketing plans to accounting, from legal to HR and so on. What we have also learned is it that a good portion of gut feeling and street smartness is needed to manage a start up in the given time. We strongly recommend an MBA to anyone who wants to create their own business; it definitely arms you with all the tools you need to succeed and a great network you can leverage.”

Find out more about Drinqsmart: www.drinqsmart.com

City student helping people to get into the job market

BSc Sociology student, Afshin Moayed, who will graduate in July 2014, co-founded Individuum a recruitment start-up helping graduates to enter the labour market.

Individuum launched in Luxembourg in 2012. Since then, the company witnessed a sharp rise in youth unemployment in Europe and therefore decided to expand to London and Paris to offer their innovative solutions to students and companies.

According to Afshin, what makes his company stand out is that students and graduates can sign up to Individuum and benefit from offers of well-established partner companies in Europe, an innovative way of presenting their CV and skills and also potential opportunities of being head hunted by other recruiters.

Entrepreneurial journey

Besides winning a third prize at CitySpark, the annual business idea competition, Afshin’s team also took part in workshops and enterprise mentoring activities organised by CitySpark and continued to work with their mentor for a while.

Afshin told us that the biggest challenge he and his co-founders faced when starting Individuum wasn’t getting their first customers, it was getting the team right: ‘The challenge was to organize and establish a competitive team and be able to work together while all being in different locations. At that time, one of my partners was in Luxembourg, one in Strasbourg and me here in London. It wasn’t easy, but what made it happen was the dedication of the team.’

With the team settled in the last two years they have successfully established themselves as the major player in graduate recruitment in Luxembourg, and got backing from Xavier Buck, one of the co-founders of MEGA and a successful entrepreneur and investor.

Working in London right now, where the job market is slowly recovering, represents a big opportunity not only for Individuum because of the diversity of its environment and the number of multinational companies opening offices here, but also for graduates who are looking for jobs locally and in Europe.

Afshin is currently running Individuum London’s office from The Hangout, an interactive work environment with great amenities specially created for City students/graduates and entrepreneurs.

Are you looking for jobs and want to learn more about the company? Have a look at Individuum.com.

Journalist alumnus Andrew Marshall wins Pulitzer Prize

City University London alumnus Andrew Marshall has won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. He becomes the first graduate from City’s Journalism Department to win the prestigious prize.

Andrew was recognised with colleague Jason Szep for their series on the oppression of the Muslim Rohingya of Myanmar. Congratulations to Andrew from all of us.

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Staying connected with City has helped Alumna to excel in her field

Jaz Rabadia (BEng Mechanical Engineering 2006, MSc Energy Environment Technology & Economics 2009) talks about how staying connected with the University has helped her to excel in her field, raise her profile and continue her professional development.

She said: “City University has been such an integral part of my career and the six years I spent there were six of my best. I feel indebted to the university as I am sure many others do. I would encourage more alumni to reach out and offer their insights and experience to current students to ensure we have a pipeline of future professionals ready for what the world will have to offer”.

Read full article…

The Tab, online newspaper founded by City Alumnus, sponsors new journalism bursary

City University London is delighted to announce a new bursary for prospective MA Newspaper Journalism orMA Interactive Journalism students. The bursary, sponsored by The Tab, an online newspaper for university students, will be offered over 3 years.

The Tab was founded by City alumnus Jack Rivlin (MA Newspaper Journalism 2012) and Cambridge University alumnus George Marangos-Gilks.

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Memorial Prize named after Optometry Alumna

Rita Watts

Rita Watts

Rita Watts (Ophthalmic Optics, 1961), who sadly passed away last year, very generously left an unrestricted gift in her Will for the Division of Optometry and Visual Science at City University London.

The Division will use her gift to fund an annual prize for the next 10 years, called the Rita Watts Memorial Prize, which will be awarded to an undergraduate Optometry student with the highest first year marks.

Abdulqadir Karimjee, the first student to receive this prize, is a second year Optometry student who is interested in pursuing a career in optics or visual optics. About receiving this prize he says:

“First and foremost I would like to thank Rita Watts for her generosity and for giving students just like myself the opportunity of being recognised for their academic success. City University London is a university that supports you, pushes you to do your very best and recognises its students as individuals rather than just a name on a list. I am grateful for alumni like Rita who share this vision as this prize has truly made a difference to my student experience at City.”

Professor Chris Hull, Head of the Division, also comments on the Prize:

“It’s a great honour that the late Mrs Watts chose to recognise her alma mater with such a generous gift. Studying optometry at City clearly left a mark in her affections. Her legacy has given us a chance to recognise and reward academic excellence for those we hope will become leaders of the profession in the future. Congratulations to Abdulqadir on becoming the first recipient of this prize; we shall watch your career with great interest.”

If you are interested in discussing a gift in your Will and how it can best be used to support our students, please contact Jennifer Palmer on 020 7040 5559 or at Jennifer.Palmer.1@city.ac.uk.

Cass Alumnus and Founder of Humble Grape Launches Crowd-Funding Campaign

James Dawson (MBA 2004) is a multi-faceted entrepreneur with an International background. After studying Economics and Psychology in South Africa he did an MBA at Cass and then went on to work as an MD in the financial sector with roles in Paris, New York and London.

In 2009 he started Humble Grape, a profitable wine merchant and events company, which already has an existing private and corporate client-base in London, along with an extensive portfolio of 130+ unique wines, directly imported from boutique, family-owned, vineyards.

James Dawson

James Dawson, Humble Grape Founder

James explains why he decided to become an entrepreneur: “Creating something from nothing, breathing life into it and then nurturing its growth is one of the most exciting things I could possibly imagine.  Being the master of your own destiny and being able to do what is best for the business makes me excited to face each new day.”

Business Expansion Campaign

Humble Grape has decided to expand onto the high street with a wine bar and retail shop in Shoreditch, and James’ team is raising awareness about a crowd funding campaign launched recently.

James explains the objective of the campaign: “The main point of the campaign is to give people the opportunity to take part in the Wine-Tech revolution which aims at disrupting a 500 year old business, something that has already started a few years ago in the U.S. and that will gradually happen to London in the next 5 years. We believe that technology together with a fun educational approach can really simplify the way people connect with the world of wine.

Equity crowd-funding is a fantastic opportunity for startups to expand with the help of everyone, from investors to the community. The equity offered is 15% on the entire Humble Grape brand and anyone can invest from as little as £10. By supporting us, you also support all the sustainable little vineyards we import the wine from, raising awareness of high-quality handcrafted products and healthy drinking.”

They are also organising a crowd-funding free party on Thursday 27 March, and it is open to everyone interested. Jeff Lynn, CEO of Seedrs, will be the guest speaker.

To learn more about the Humble Grape, please visit their website: http://www.humblegrape.co.uk/

Dr Christiana Dymiotis-Wellington Memorial Fund

Dr Christiana Dymiotis-Wellington was a Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering, Admissions Tutor for the Civil Engineering undergraduate course and Course Director of the MSc in Civil Engineering Structures. She died aged 38 in March 2012 after a long fight against cancer and the Dr Christiana Dymiotis-Wellington Memorial Fund was set up in her memory.

Christiana packed an immense amount of teaching, research and administration into her eight and a half years at City University London. She was a dedicated academic and brought a special enthusiasm and understanding to her teaching and interactions with students ensuring that they had the best possible experience during their studies.

The variety of roles that Christiana took on whilst a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences meant that she came into contact with colleagues from across the School.  Your contribution to the fund will be used to support undergraduate and postgraduate students in Civil Engineering.

You can visit the Christiana Dymiotis-Wellington memoriam page here where you can donate to the fund in her memory.