From Alacrity Foundation Newport UK: RECOVAR's Story

Published on
February 2, 2022
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RECOVAR was born out of The Alacrity Foundation Newport UK, a 15-month entrepreneurship course that provides graduates with the skills and knowledge required to run a profitable technology startup. The team first met in Alacrity and have since come a long way, so we wanted to write up our journey as we believe the most critical thing in a startup is its team.

As always, feel free to get in touch if you'd like to find out more or connect with the founding team if you have any questions.

Alacrity Foundation UK: History and The Programme

In the past decades, some of the world's most valuable companies were founded by recent university graduates (or dropouts!) - Airbnb, Facebook, Microsoft and WhatsApp. Graduates can come at fresh, innovative angles to industries that many professionals cannot due to their years of approaching problems in a certain way. This was identified and built around by the Alacrity model developers, Professor Simon Gibson CBE & Owen Matthews (with the support of Sir Terry Matthews) in 2013.

The Alacrity Foundation Newport UK Logo
The Alacrity Foundation Newport UK Logo

Since 2013, The Alacrity Foundation Newport UK has been supported by Wesley Clover (Sir Terry Matthews' private investment fund), the Welsh Government and The Waterloo Foundation. They are dedicated to developing graduates to start their own UK-based technology companies.

From a recent graduate's perspective, four key aspects make the Alacrity Foundation's programme so unique and beneficial.

Expert Mentors

Throughout the programme, graduates get sessions with expert mentors across many fields, including UI/UX, software development, product management, sales and marketing. These mentors have been there and done it. Exposure to such experience passes some of the problems found in university, where students learn the theory but rarely actually apply it.

These mentors allow graduates to absorb a wealth of knowledge and experience that can be used in their businesses. The network of Alacrity mentors is pervasive, meaning graduates meet with professionals they otherwise wouldn't encounter this early in their careers. For example, how many graduates get to pitch their business to CEOs and CTOs of multi-million-pound companies? This experience provides the ideal stimulus to iterate and test an early idea rapidly.

Stipend

Entrepreneurship is hard. Starting a business can be a risky leap of faith, especially for those with no savings or a safety net to fall back on. Alacrity pays all graduates a monthly stipend to ensure we work full-time on our business for the duration of the 15-month programme. This stipend makes it easier to make mistakes on our journey without worrying about paying rent. Making mistakes is an essential step towards improvement and learning.

Funding

At the end of the 15-month programme, Alacrity gives companies access to investor readiness initiatives, the opportunity to bootstrap if feasible and the option to raise funding from Wesley Clover. Funding provides companies with the capital to extend their runway to either become profitable or fuel their growth. With no "traditional" VC funds being located with Wales (source), having this option is highly beneficial for those unable to raise from VCs or angels elsewhere in the UK.

Demand-Based Approach

The Alacrity Foundation's model is based upon Bill Aulet's Disciplined Entrepreneurship, a structured, rigorous approach to building a lean startup. Demand is core to Alacrity. By partnering each company with industry veterans, the ideal environment is created to identify industry problems and create commercially viable software solutions.

By working with industry, RECOVAR mapped out processes across multiple companies, identified key pain points and developed a software solution to fulfil proven demand. This feedback creates a fantastic platform for growth and has enabled us to build software with several USPs (unique selling propositions) that taps into telecommunications and asset recovery industry areas. We are also increasingly exploring the ITAD (IT asset disposal) market as well as the wider waste management industry.

The programme puts the businesses in a solid position to succeed, providing an excellent opportunity for their partner companies. Startups, by nature, are small - meaning they have flexibility and agility that larger competitors cannot match. Getting in early with a startup means you can benefit from their growth, influence the direction of the product to receive superior value before competitors and help mould the next generation of entrepreneurs in the UK.

The Team

At RECOVAR, we believe the right team is essential for building a successful company. Without the right team, when times get tough, you will either grind to a halt or lose sight of the direction you're heading. Below is a brief introduction to each of the founding members of the RECOVAR Team. We are all available by LinkedIn to discuss any aspects of our product.

Henry Purchase - Commercial Director

Before RECOVAR, Henry graduated with a First Class Honours BEng in Civil Engineering from The University of Bath and has various experience working with startups and large corporates. While at university, Henry completed a placement at AECOM, a Fortune 200 engineering consultancy within the transportation infrastructure team. Alongside this, he co-scaled a marketing agency to 5-figures in monthly revenue.

Feel free to connect with Henry on LinkedIn to find out more.

Louis Tomos Evans - Product Director

Before RECOVAR, Louis achieved a First Class Honours BEng in Mechanical Engineering and an MSc in Computational Neuroscience, Cognition and AI at The University of Nottingham. Louis' interest in Machine Learning and Computer Vision compliments his natural ability for product development and UX. Louis is one of the core reasons our product looks so good.

Feel free to connect with Louis on LinkedIn to find out more.

Matthew Gould - Technical Director

Before RECOVAR, Matthew achieved a First Class Honours in MComp and BSc in Computer Sciences from The University of South Wales. Matt is an experienced programmer and entrepreneur, having completed Alacrity's 2020-21 programme with Alacrity fintech startup, Finative. Furthermore, his experience using multiple different programming languages gives Matthew the technical ability to adapt to the challenges we have faced throughout our product development.

Feel free to connect with Matt on LinkedIn to find out more.

RECOVAR's Vision

The world has an E-waste problem - In 2019, only 17.4 per cent of e-waste was officially documented as formally collected and recycled (E-Waste Monitor). The UK is one of the globes worst culprits. In 2019, the UK generated 23.9kg of e-waste per person - the 2nd highest per capita globally (E-Waste Monitor). Much of this e-waste was exported illegally despite having significant scrap value. In fact, E-waste is estimated to be costing the UK an estimated £370m in lost raw materials such as copper and gold (Business Green).

Things don't have to be this way and can be solved by the circular economy, where e-waste is either reused, recycled, repurposed or resold. We believe we can significantly impact the world's e-waste problem by increasing the amount that enters the circular economy. This is done by digitising the end-of-life supply chain, providing an exact audit trail from inspection to recovery - ensuring nothing goes to waste.

Telecommunications, in particular, has significant room for improvement. Telecommunications systems we still use today were installed over 30 years ago, making it very hard for telecommunications service providers to understand and update their inventories, which form the basis of the decisions they make. RECOVAR solves this problem by digitising the inspection and recovery of telecommunications equipment - our first step in tackling this colossal e-waste problem.

What's Next for RECOVAR

RECOVAR's product is now ready for telecommunications and IT asset recovery companies to streamline and generate more profitable customer returns. Later this year, we will also be launching our "external inspection" application, allowing asset recovery companies to give their customers a white-labelled mobile app to inspect inventories that automatically get approved and marked for recovery. No more fragmented excel and paper-based processes - digitise your recovery today.

To find out more, feel free to book a demo to see the full capabilities of our software.

A big thank you to all of the mentors from The Alacrity Foundation Newport UK who made this all possible.

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