TasterLab has been announced as the winner of the Innotech Startup competition! The winner was announced at the Innotech summit on Friday 13 April after five finalists pitched to a Grand Jury at the Summit and TasterLab was chosen as the winner.
The Start Up Competition was organised as part of the InnoTech Summit as a competition for entrepreneurs in the technology industries. It offered a fantastic opportunity for startups to get their business idea in front of prestigious hi-tech venture capitalists, professors, and innovators and pitch for investment.
Ben Chappell, Managing Director of TasterLab tells us more about his startup:
When did you launch?
I launched the current version of the site in November 2011 – but I’d been building the business and testing the concept through a prototype for 18 months prior.
What stage is your business at?
We’re still a startup but getting some really positive traction and growing quite rapidly now. We’re building the team and hiring at the moment.
How did you come up with the idea? Where did your inspiration come from?
I was walking down my local high street and someone gave me a flier for a free salsa lesson. I was working in advertising at the time and it struck me as a really inefficient way to market a business as it was so un-targeted and presented in quite an intrusive and apologetic way – but at the same time they were offering something of value. I realised that a lot of small, service businesses market themselves in a similar way and there was a space to bring them all together and make it very efficient and highly targeted by using digital and flipping the process from distributing to the customer to the customer requesting a voucher themselves. It was also a great opportunity to build a strong brand to help inspire people to try new things and discover what they love doing.
What challenges do you face as a startup?
The general lack of resource and cash in a startup are the biggest challenges. But it forces you to be creative and stay lean, so it’s a necessary starting point!
What problems does your product solve for businesses? What does it offer to consumers?
It’s becoming harder for merchants to reach their target audience due to increased competition, a consumer controlled media environment and an increased reliance on consumer to consumer recommendations. Additionally, merchants have to run classes and events regardless if under capacity. TasterLab turns any spare capacity (i.e the spare seat in a Spanish lesson) into a new business tool by encouraging consumer trial by distributing it as a taster – this encourages customers to take the first step, generating WoM and helps inspire others to try the service.
For customers, TasterLab makes it as easy as possible to try new things and discover what they love. It does this by offering the lowest prices to try something as well as expert guides and consumer feedback.
What did you hope to get out of the startup competition? How did you hear about it?
I did a guest lecture at Hult International Business School and was told about the event and competition as a result. I saw it as a great opportunity to get some exposure in front of well connected investors and other entrepreneurs.