MEET THE FOUNDERS OF OUR FUTURE
Leading business club Home Grown announces the inspiring winners of its Green Shoots programme, which is awarding membership and business support packages worth over £100,000 to 5 new founders of companies that aim to make a positive impact
In Partnership with SFC Capital, haysmacintyre, Positive Luxury, LGT Vestra, Seven Legal,
The Vibrant Company, Phase2Growth and Dent Global
London, 2 March 2021: “Now is the time to turn uncertainty into a competitive advantage. The more disruption and the more challenge, the better.” John Stapleton. From refillable deodorants to holistic healthcare for people living with cancer, the inspiring winners of Green Shoots, a new initiative launched by Home Grown, the private members club for entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors, were revealed in a special award ceremony last night. The virtual event was hosted by serial entrepreneur and connector, Oli Barrett, and Joost de Kruiff, General Manager of Home Grown Club, with guest speakers including entrepreneurial heavy weights John Stapleton, best known for founding New Covent Garden Soup Co, as well as Home House founder and former BBC Dragon, Richard Farleigh. The finalists, winners and guests were joined by the Green Shoots judges Stephen Page, founder of SCF Capital, Diana Verde Nieto, founder of Positive Luxury, Daniel Priestley, founder of Dent Global, Sarah Matthew, founder of The Vibrant Company and Charles Tuke, UK CFO and Head of Business Development for Fairford Holdings.
Home Grown’s Green Shoots initiative was born out of the COVID-19 crisis, recognizing industry professionals whose careers have been affected by the impact of the pandemic and who have decided to make their dream of starting their own business a reality. The innovative business ideas of all five winners aim to make a positive impact on people and planet. Home Grown acknowledges the importance of the environment and people wellbeing as one of the most pressing issues of our time, therefore one of the application criteria for the programme was for the start-ups to support one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The five successful entrepreneurs will receive full membership and access to the club and community of Home Grown for a period of 6 months, mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs and investors, and take part in a programme of comprehensive workshops with Home Grown partners in the realms of Legal, Accounting, Marketing, HR and Supply chain. The selected individuals will be able to participate in all Home Grown member events in order to learn and grow their businesses and can enjoy a £2,000 allocation of budget for food and beverages, meeting rooms and bedroom spend in the club. The winners will also have access to exclusive networking opportunities within Home Grown’s global network of visionary entrepreneurs, industry experts and business leaders, including the opportunity to pitch to investors.
The inspiring new entrepreneurs that were crowned as the winners last night are Matt Kennedy, founder of refillable personal care products company fussy, Mandeep Soor and Benjamin Norsworthy, co-founders of sustainable fashion tech business Bendi, Kelly McCabe and Morgan Fitzsimons, co-founders of health tech company Perci Health, Florian Richter, founder of agricultural robots company Muddy Machines, and Charlotte Melia, founder of children educational platform Vesta.
The mission of Fussy, founded by Matt Kennedy, is to vanish single used plastic from personal care products. Fussy’s first products are refillable deodorants which have a reusable case and come with compostable refills made of natural ingredients. An odour-eating probiotic and five different scents ensure a fresh smell that lasts for over 24 hours without costing the planet. “By refilling, rather than throwing away your deodorant, you’ll save the planet from at least 2.5kg of single-use plastic.” Matt was delighted to be selected as a winner. “We look forward to developing our professional network at Home Grown, and to hopefully recruiting some more armpits to join the fussy mission.”
Mandeep Soor and Benjamin Norsworthy are the co-founders of Sustainable Fashion Tech business Bendi, which helps consumers measure, manage and mitigate their impacts for a sustainable future. Bendi’s proof of concept focuses on baby and toddler clothing with millennial parents as the target market. “Think of us as the ‘Strava’ of sustainability. Our first step towards this for fashion is by providing consumers with clear and comparable sustainability information as part of product descriptions while they shop for clothes online. We think that the support as a part of the 2021 Green Shoots cohort will be extremely beneficial to us at this early stage. Help and advice on our pre-seed raise, linking in with industry experts and accessing mentoring on things like legal and marketing will make a huge difference to us in order to push Bendi to the next level.”
Kelly McCabe and Morgan Fitzsimons are the co-founders of Perci Health, a telemedicine platform to provide personalised holistic healthcare for people living with cancer. “Perci Health is a single destination for tailored answers and access to high-quality cancer professionals, supporting cancer patients to make the best decisions about their health and wellbeing.” Kelly commented further, “The Green Shoots initiative was recommended to us by one of our investors. We had been looking for the right membership for a while, so it was the perfect timing.”
Florian Richter is the founder of Muddy Machines, which help farms overcome increasingly severe labour shortages by building robots that automate labour-intensive fieldwork. The business will pilot with Asparagus this summer. “Our battery powered field robots open up renewable power source options and use the latest in machine learning to detect, monitors and harvest crop.” Florian added, “Everybody I’ve met from Home Grown and the Green Shoots programme has been very supportive and smart. I am very much looking forward to more interactions.”
Charlotte Melia is the founder of Vesta, a B2B2C, SaaS platform, specialising in safe, educational and active classes for children. Vesta is aiming to lead the active screen time revolution for children and solve the mental and physical health crisis facing young people in the UK and around the world. “Excessive passive screen time, that which is sedentary, is linked to many mental, physical and holistic problems, especially in children. By contrast, active screen time, that which requires the participant to physically engage in the activities presented can be as beneficial as partaking in that activity live. Think of Vesta as a mix of Peloton and CBBC for children. Our Vesta cast of professional actors, all graduates of luxury event company Dazzle & Fizz, deliver content in children’s fitness, games, craft and early years.” Charlotte was delighted to be chosen as a winner. “The workshops and networking opportunities at Home Grown are particularly exciting, as is the peer-to-peer support from joining the Green Shoots cohort. ‘Your network is your net-worth’, so the contacts that the Green Shoots programme will offer will be invaluable.”
A special commendation including a Home Grown membership was given to Simon Allocca, the founder of RareCan. RareCan is a platform through which people with rarer forms of cancer will be able to share their data with researchers to speed up discovery of new diagnostics and treatments. “Having spent over 30 years in banking, it is quite daunting to start this entrepreneurial journey, so Home Grown is perfect to give me exposure to this new world I have never come across before. Other than using the club as a focal point for meetings and to work at, it will be great to meet and network with fellow members and get as much help and support as I can for someone with no experience of running a start up.”
Andrew Richardson, Managing Director of Home House and Home Grown, commented “Congratulations to the five inspiring winners, who we are excited to welcome to our community of experienced entrepreneurs, sophisticated investors and trusted industry experts. I know from my own experience of starting a new business just how important it is to have trusted advisors that can help turn the initial idea into reality. With the incredible business knowledge and experience of our fantastic partners, I have no doubt that the support the new founders will receive is invaluable. I hope they will find our community not only rich in expertise and business support, but also in new friendships that will last a lifetime”.