Iced cocktails start-up LIC wins £5,000 RBS EnterprisingU competition

Pet food delivery service PetShopBowl and online student tabloid The Tab take second and third in university business plan contest

Alcoholic popsicles start-up LIC – short for Love Iced Cocktails – tonight took first prize in the RBS EnterprisingU competition along with £25,000 prize money.

Judges of the university business plan awards plumped for the company founded by ex-Diageo employees Noah Geeves and Harry Stimpson (pictured above, centre), who plan to plough their winnings into further scientific research.

Having partnered with Nottingham University, LIC’s research has been working on a unique formula for freezing alcohol without the extensive use of stabilisers, while not losing potency – something the pair claim has not been achieved by competitors.

Stimpson said: “We’re absolutely ecstatic. The competition this year was incredibly diverse and talented.

“The £25,000 prize money will be spent on marketing and filing a patent for our formulation. We hope you will all follow us on this exciting journey and look forward to seeing you at our launches!”

Run in conjunction with student and graduate-focused venture capital firm Find Invest Grow (FIG), the RBS EnterprisingU panel awarded pet food subscription service PetShopBowl.co.uk second place and the £10,000 runners-up cheque.

Claiming the distinction of being the UK’s first pet food subscription service, the five-person company started by ex-Lehman Brothers employee Adam Taylor and marketing specialist Lexi Tamasan (pictured above, left) is on target to hit £2.5m turnover this year.

The pair said they are targeting revenues of £6m by 2015, principally by undercutting chief rival Pets at Home which has a heavy focus on offline outlets, as well as offering specialist products not stocked in supermarkets.

PetShopBowl’s strategy has already seen more than 40,000 customers buy from its range of approximately 12,000 products in a pet supplies market said to be worth £3bn in the UK alone.

Student media network The Tab, took third prize and received £5,000 from a panel including entrepreneurs Charles Tyrwhitt’s Nick Wheeler, Karen Hanton, who set up Toptable.co.uk before selling it for $55m, Spinning Hat’s Damon Bonser, as well as Coutts’ Dylan Williams and RBS small business chairman Peter Ibbetson.

Started by Cambridge University students Jack Rivlin and George Marangos-Gilks (pictured above, right), tab.co.uk has a pool of more than 600 student writers throughout the UK contributing to a publication generating 500,000 unique users per month.

Rivlin and Marangos-Gilks’ said the business is set to generate revenues of £150,000 next year – a steep rise from just under £20,000 sales this year – and outlined plans to launch in the US as well as to develop a journalism scholarship for The Tab’s contributors. To date, six of the title’s original team have been snapped up by national newspapers.

The competition attracted more than 2,000 entries from students and graduates of the past five years, with four other companies – Bio-bean, GradTouch, My Next Tattoo and Project Policy – making up the seven-strong shortlist.

Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts’ chairman Nick Wheeler said the competition had unearthed some “real stars of the future”.

He added:”Nothing beats the sense of achievement when years of hard work, passion, perseverance, fun (and stress!) finally ‘morph’ into a successful business.”

Managing director of FIG, Mark Hanington, said: “We were overwhelmed by the standard of entries this year and it was very difficult to select just seven ideas for the final.

“We were looking to uncover businesses that make investors sit up and take notice, businesses with high-growth potential and businesses with the ability to generate significant returns.”

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