University of York: Former York students awarded £250k in investment to develop fitness app

A fledgling business founded by University of York alumni has raised £250,000 through crowdfunding to develop their fitness app.

The Myles Challenges app offers virtual fitness challenges to help organisations with wellbeing, teambuilding, and fundraising. Over 17,000 people have signed up for the platform so far.

The fledgling business was supported by the University’s Enterprise team who provided advice and funding for the business.

Co-founder Toby Cannon, an alumnus of the University of York who graduated with a Computer Science degree in 2019, said: “The support at York is fantastic for businesses at lots of different stages. The Enterprise Team has made introductions to investors for us who have then gone on to invest in the round and make introductions to other investors and colleagues.

“We’ve also had some fantastic external resources signposted to us that we weren’t aware of, such as accelerators and help with pitching.”

Funding

The business is one of several supported by the University in recent years. In 2020, the University launched a new investment fund, Venture One, which offers funding to help businesses build their product or service to then demonstrate to investors.

Application rounds are held twice a year, and with a board of experts and advisors from a wide range of enterprising alumni, the programme has helped companies working in a range of industries from rail to skincare.

Toby added: “The Venture One funding was the first funding we received for Myles. Having the University as the first official investor in the business increased our credibility with other investors and the money allowed us to capitalise on the demand we were already seeing.”

“We’re growing the team too. We took on a fantastic software developer at the start of this year, which is really helping us to release features faster and we’ll be growing into the areas of sales and marketing over the coming months.

“The very worst that can happen is you get some clarity, feedback, and experience pitching your idea. The financial investment and vote of confidence in you as an entrepreneur adds a real boost to your confidence, and therefore your business.”

Fast-growing business

In 2021, Myles Challenges co-founder Michael McCreadie was also supported by the University’s Enterprise team with a £10,000 grant for his storage company Kit Keeper.

His business provides storage and shipping solutions for university students, with partnerships set up with York and other universities across the UK.

Kit Keeper has recently been awarded a further £50,000 grant by government agency InnovateUK to develop an AI platform to optimise their order processing system for environmental impact and cost.

Michael said: “We’re a fast-growing business and it’s great to keep our ties with the University after going through the York Enterprise process for so many years.”

Comments are closed.