Bristol graduate and former New Enterprise Competition winner tells us about his new venture Medincle Ltd...
"Two years ago I started a business called Medincle Ltd with one of my peers, Richard Purcell. We aimed to develop a piece of software to assist students with the challenge of medical spelling. Since winning £900 from the NEC, we have 4000 students at Bristol and Cardiff universities using the software and we are receiving fantastic feedback from students and staff."
The naive native spell checkers in word processors such as Microsoft Word fail to recognise medical terms and drug names, causing everything to be underlined as incorrect, and making proof reading impossible. As an international student myself, and Rich being dyslexic, we initially thought this was a problem unique to these two subgroups of the medical school. However after surveying Bristol medical students (702 responses) we found 96% of our peers shared this problem and felt a software solution would be hugely beneficial both in student life and later in their careers.
We therefore set out and created a small widget of software that augments the inbuilt spell checkers of most word processors to enable accurate medical proofing. The software contains 70,000 medical terms, including all the drugs within the British National Formulary, and we distribute the software on an institutional basis.
New Enterprise Competition
Rich and I entered the New Enterprise Competition in March 2014 when we heard about it through one of our medical school's administrators. We presented our business plan to the Basecamp and RED team, and through NEC we were fortunate enough to be awarded a grant of £900. It felt fantastic to receive this affirmation of our idea, and it was a huge boost in inspiring us to run with the enterprise. The grant money enabled us to cover admissions to two medical education conferences that allowed us to market our software to our target audience and ultimately gave invaluable exposure. Receiving the grant has also provided useful legitimacy when we have approached others about the business.
After winning the NEC grant, we were also put in touch with Lloyds' mentoring service for start up businesses by RED. By applying for this support, we met Duncan Webster, a fantastic mentor who has since served as an invaluable source of advice and contacts for growing our business.
Today we have 4000 students at Bristol and Cardiff universities using the software and we are receiving fantastic feedback from students and staff. Since launching we have received numerous requests for the software from students across the UK, and over the next several months we are hoping to rapidly expand to other universities. Over the past year we have also won and been nominated for multiple prizes, including the Shell LiveWire Grand Ideas Award (Winner), SETsquared Best Student Start-Up (Runner-Up), the JASME Medical Education Innovation Grant (Runner-Up), and the NACUE Varsity Pitch (Semi-Finalist).
The entire experience has been a thrilling chance to turn an idea that addressed a personal problem into a viable business. Along the way we have learned countless things we would never have come across in our medical studies, and we have been able to work with talented people from all manner of professional backgrounds. To anyone considering starting their own business, we would highly recommend it for the exciting experience that it is.
NEC Round 3 is open until 1st May with £30,000 prize money and support packages up for grabs. Don’t miss this opportunity - talk to Basecamp for advice!