Accelerating ideas and business growth through Cass and City’s unique offerings

Executive MBA alumnus, New Venture Creation participant and Launch Lab member Dan Gill explains his business’s journey from idea to investors.

Cass Business School alumnus Daniel Gill has taken his business from idea to reality, using the skills and knowledge he learned in both the New Venture Creation elective and at the City Launch Lab along the way.

Mr Gill’s company, Augnet, will hold its first investor meeting in late May 2019, where people who have invested more than £1.2 million in the venture will gather for the first official demonstration of its world-first technology.

Augnet is a platform that attaches a piece of code to SMS messages, allowing the sender to verify and audit the message’s delivery – an important technological innovation in the application to person (A2P) industry that generates around $70-billion USD per annum.

“The SMS industry is growing, not because of the amount of messages people are sending to each other but because of the volume of apps – banks, couriers, restaurants and so on – that are sending these messages,” Mr Gill said.

“But one of the big historic legacy problems with the industry is that when you send an SMS it’s impossible to verify whether that SMS has been delivered because the network doesn’t support the ability to say whether it’s a success or failure.

“So that makes us the first company in the world that can prove and audit that a message was in fact delivered.”

Creating a company

Mr Gill, a former telecoms executive at Skype said he, amongst others at the organisation were acutely aware of the problem the SMS industry was facing, but were at pains to find a solution.

Then, while studying an Executive MBA, he left his long-held position at the company in March 2018 and began exploring the gap in the market.

“A big part of the MBA for me was exploring this idea, it was my dissertation,” he said.

“And a lot of my cohort were involved in discussing ideas and concepts and then practicing pitching and so on.”

Aurore Hochard, Head of Entrepreneurship Programmes at Cass Business School, said Mr Gill entered the New Venture Creation elective in June, only months before completing his EMBA, knowing he was on to something.

“When students start the New Venture Creation elective they start by pitching their idea without any guidance,” Ms Hochard said.

“Then, over the course of the four days they learn how to edit their pitch deck and their business plan.

“Being an entrepreneur is not just about having passion and doing it, it’s also about having a plan and to have a plan you need to understand the things to do or not to do.”

Acceleration and community

After completing the EMBA Mr Gill successfully applied to base Augnet at City Launch Lab, a business incubator for City’s student and graduate entrepreneurs.

Mr Gill said there were many benefits to studying a Cass EMBA, signing up to the New Venture Creation elective and getting involved with City, University of London’s Launch Lab but by far the greatest for him and his company was the exposure.

“What I appreciated probably more than anything throughout the Cass programme is having such a wide range of exposure, not just to other people in my cohort but introductions made to other businesses and other students on other courses,” he said.

“You learn through experience and some of that is direct but a lot of it is through the experience of others and through storytelling.

Find out more about the New Venture Creation Programme, studying an Executive MBA at Cass or City, University of London’s Launch Lab.

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