Sustainable tech start-up targets investment

29 September 2022

A prize-winning start-up that aims to revolutionise recycling and wage war on waste is targeting investment following its launch this year.

Nutume, a free exchange and sharing app that makes it quick and easy to recycle and reuse within communities, is the brainchild of Joshua Shephard and Killoran Wills.

The app came into being after the pair were teamed together in a challenge set for students at the University of Warwick and University College Birmingham in 2021.

The NatWest x Warwick Sustainability Hackathon asked students to come up with creative, sustainable solutions relevant to students at the university.

Joshua and Killoran’s nutume won the competition and momentum has grown ever since, with the start-up winning a place on NatWest’s Accelerator programme as part of the prize package and marketing expert Deborah Hale recently joining the team.

Joshua said: “The idea came to me because of my own university experience. A lot of first-time students are, at this very moment, gathering up all the equipment they need for life in halls, from pans to microwaves and kettles and a lot of it will be left behind at the end of the year, destined for landfill.

“Then there’s things like textbooks, Halloween costumes that are worn once, sports equipment and even cars left behind on campus. All of it could be reused.

“The nutume app means everyone can easily make a difference by rejecting new stuff and repurposing the old, while building a thoughtful, sustainable and resourceful community.”

The nutume app is currently in development and will be free to use, creating revenue by offering targeted space for advertisers. Once launched in a university setting, the team plan to expand it into other sectors, with the start-up now hoping to secure additional funding to take the business to the next level of growth.

As they look to grow, the team are receiving business mentorship as part of the NatWest Accelerator programme, run in partnership with the University of Warwick.

Support on offer as part of the programme includes one-to-one coaching on topics including pitching and leadership development.

The scheme also introduces the entrepreneurs to a network of local businesses and mentors and provides free use of NatWest’s modern office space.

Killoran said: “The support we’ve had from NatWest through the Accelerator programme has been really fantastic.

“It can be daunting to start a new business, but the programme brings a sense of community and access to invaluable mentorship, advice and support that otherwise might be hard to come by.”

Deborah Lewis, regional ecosystem manager at NatWest, said: “The bank’s Accelerator programme is designed to help entrepreneurs have the best possible start to their business career, from offering practical support with running their business and providing a network for guidance and advice.

“I’m really excited to see what the next steps are for nutume and wish Killoran and Josh every success with their venture.”

The University of Warwick Accelerator hub is part of a network of hubs run by NatWest to support start-ups and small businesses.

The network is one of the largest of its kind across the UK and over the past four years, the programme has supported more than 3,500 individuals and businesses, helping them achieve an average turnover of £301,521 and to raise £198m in total investments.

The nutume team have also been supported by Birmingham Enterprise Community, Keele University, Bseen, Beinspired, Techforearth, Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and digital company husssl.

Pictured: From left -  Joshua Shephard of nutume with Adam Walters, NatWest Enterprise acceleration manager

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