eOffice Community: Meet FUNDING XCHANGE

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At eOffice we are thrilled to support and provide a platform for growth to such an inspiring community of startups and entrepreneurs. Ranging in size and professional orientation, our vibrant members are at the core of what makes eOffice a thriving workplace environment for collaboration and interaction.

We decided to pop by the desk of FUNDING XCHANGE and have a quick chat with one of the Founders – Katrin Herring. An SME specialist at Bain & Company, Katrin co-founded the company with Olivier Beau de Lomenie, serial entrepreneur who led the team that built Ocado’s award winning e-commerce platform. Officially launched a couple of weeks ago in June 2015, FUNDING XCHNAGE is en route to bring clarity and simplicity to a process that is notoriously tricky and opaque.

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eOffice: Very simply, what does FUNDING XCHANGE do?

Katrin: FUNDING XCHANGE helps business owners navigate the funding space and take control of funding their business. FUNDING XCHANGE has created the first UK marketplace for businesses to learn about funding options, easily and quickly access a large panel of providers with a single funding request and receive offers that are easy to understand and compare.  

Many SMEs struggle to access bank lending. For example, more than 50% of funding requests by sole traders are declined by banks. To close this gap, 100+ finance providers for SMEs have emerged in the UK. However, most business owners remain unaware of the alternatives to bank loans or overdrafts, have never heard of the new providers, or simply don’t have the time to interact with multiple lenders.

For the first time, business owners can use a ‘comparison site’ that gives them access to quotes – creating the same transparency of funding options and terms that consumers have become accustomed to.

eOffice: How was the idea born – what does your tech start-up disrupt?

Katrin: FUNDING XCHANGE is disrupting the inefficient SME funding space by providing a marketplace for businesses to receive funding offers from the widest possible panel of lenders. FUNDING XCHANGE is 100% unbiased and encourages lenders to bid against each other for the opportunity to work with a business – ensuring that the business is getting a great deal.

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eOffice: Are you funded?

Katrin: FUNDING XCHANGE has completed its initial funding and is currently raising a second EIS funding round.

eOffice: What were you doing before starting?

Katrin: I spent seven years with Bain & Company advising large banks and financial firms. I understands the constraints that make it difficult for banks to provide flexible forms of finance to small businesses and I have witnessed up-close the rapid emergence of innovative lenders who are seeking to step into the gap left by the banks.

My co-founder Olivier built his first bespoke enterprise online app way back in 1995 right after graduating from Stanford University at a time when the interactive web was still in its infancy. 

Since then, he has constantly been developing online solutions for a wide range of businesses, industries and markets. He led the technology team that delivered the award-winning Ocado online supermarket. 

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eOffice: What’s the best thing about where you’re based?

Katrin: We are based in eOffice in the Holborn location – which is rapidly turning into the “New Shoreditch”. We love that many of our partners are within a short walk of our offices. eOffice provides us with a stimulating work environment where you can meet like-minded professionals and startups.

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BrightLane – Our Innovative Partner in Toronto, Canada

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The creative environment and professional services of our eNetwork coworking partner BightLane in Toronto, Canada, is built on the pillars of connection, collaboration and innovation.   The space and services are designed with the single purpose to improve and grow the business of their expanding community of entrepreneurs and startups.

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As a hub for young companies, BrighLane shares the philosophy that offering high-quality, inspiring environment that stimulates interactions and collaboration is the essence of entrepreneurial success. In their own words:

Starting a business means putting everything on the line. It is a lonely road with many surprises. Taking this journey with others, some a little ahead and those who may have stumbled, is the best path of giving your enterprise every chance for success

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BrightLane has a strong focus on their community, which are not treated as clients, but rather as members, who share similar goals and strive for success. The layout of the beautifully decorated centre is strategically designed to increase the possibility of chance encounters. Whether in the community kitchen, in the terrace, or in one of BrightLane’s tailored networking events, members have the chance to socialize and engage in prompt conversations with like-minded entrepreneurs and startups.

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Founded by the late Raymond Chang, BrightLane embraces his principal values and legacy in lifelong learning. Recognized for his outstanding business leadership and philanthropy initiatives, Mr Chang’s support and significant investment of personal resources have advanced education and healthcare as well as fostered entrepreneurship. His life-long focus on developing and helping people achieve their dreams and aspirations is reflected in his quote that fully encapsulates his belief:

It’s people that make any successful enterprise.

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In addition to the inspiring work environment, BrightLane also offers a range of customer-centric services and perks in support of their community’s smooth path to success. From brightly lit workspaces, rooftop terrace with BBQ, 11 meeting rooms, wellness room to a range of business workshops and networking events, not to forget craft beer, this all-inclusive package is offered on very flexible terms for the convenience of the startup companies. This coworking space also partners with a range of local and international organizations, which offer exclusive deals and discount on their valuable, high-quality services.

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Inspiring Startups Pitch to AngelsCube at eOffice

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This week brought together yet another inspirational selection of startups, pitching in front of AngelsCube’s screening committee at eOffice. The interesting range of concepts and diverse ideas brought a lot of comprehensive market awareness on the table, with extensive industry research. These exciting entrepreneurs are all aiming to solve a problem and provide consumers and users with a re-invented way of using services and data.

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Viktoria Naumenko, Head of Marketing and PR & Iglika Ghouse, Founder and CEO USPAAH

Viktoria Naumenko, Head of Marketing and PR & Iglika Ghouse, Founder and CEO, USPAAH

USPAAH is your personal spa concierge – a high end, on demand, mobile spa service. Created for busy professionals with hectic lifestyles who live or work in Central London, USPAAH offers a range of experienced professionals, whom you can request at a convenient time and place for you. With just a few taps on your mobile device your selected professional will be with you in under an hour. Fancy a 30-minute relaxing massage or perhaps a last minute manicure? Go to http://www.uspaah.com/ for a high quality experience.

PandaPay

Julian Belvedere, Co-founder PandaPay

Julian Belvedere, Co-founder PandaPay

PandaPay is a fully integrated payment app, which allows you to pay for your meal in restaurants without the hassle of waiting for the bill. Currently working with over 20 restaurants, the simple process requires you to enter your table number, tap on what you had and split what you have shared and simply pay with your preferred method, stored into your account. Reflecting on the needs of the modern, mobile consumer, the PayPanda application has been already awarded Winner in Lean Startup London as well as a finalist in MOBIT. Check it out http://www.pandapayapp.com/

 

Lini

Ekaterina Klink, Founder Lini

Ekaterina Klink, Founder Lini

Lini is a tool, which allows you to perform batch operations on your LinkedIn contacts list. With many new and improved features on the way, Lini collects your connections from LinkedIn and allows you to apply various filters to them, in order to create customized segments. You can filter your contacts in accordance to position, industry and location, giving you a tailored pool of contacts, which you can export and send messages to all of them at once. Have a look at this useful tool http://www.lini.co/

 

Astar Pets

Chris Webster, CEO & Co-founder AstarPets

Chris Webster, CEO & Co-founder AstarPets

Astar Pets is an online directory where you can find everything and anything about your bellowed furry friend. From food, gifts, to stylish dogs and cats accessories, clothes, and services, this luxury online market place offers everyday essentials in a convenient, easy to shop experience. Astar Pets also has a magazine section managed by an experienced editorial team, offering valuable information on the finest expert health, wellbeing, and travel advice for your pet as well as the latest on animal fashion trends. The online shop offers a diversity of brands as well as great selection of services from people and businesses in your area. Simply go to https://www.astarpets.com/ and get inspired with ideas for your furry friends.

KeyWorking – Our Impressive Coworking Partner in Miami

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KeyWorking, our eOffice eNetwork coworking partner in Miami, is effectively merging functionality and contemporary design, integrating unique interior features for inspirational work environment. The advantages of this coworking space start from the location, the business services on offer, through to the high quality amenities and the vibrant calendar of community events – a truly comprehensive net of benefits for startups and growing companies.

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In their own words the KeyWorking team shares about the centre and its strategic location:

Few places in the world have evolved as quickly as Miami. What once began as a leisure destination has blossomed as a thriving waterfront city with artistic venues around every corner and entire neighbourhoods devoted to design, Miami is no longer New York’s sleepy sister city, but an innovative force onto its own. KeyWorking is located behind the Marina Blue Building, Miami World Centre is a 25-acre master planned community designed to offer a lively pedestrian experience with distinctive residential, retail, restaurant, entertainment, hospitality and commercial office space district.

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Situated at a core location in Miami downtown, with an impressive view of the bay area, this centre not only provides a stimulating and professional workplace environment, but also premium business address for companies seeking only for a virtual office solution. Depending on the client’s preference the VO packages are designed to offer a number of days of hotdesking usage, offering maximum flexibility and fully-serviced workspace with access to conference and meeting rooms. Comprising both a coworking area as well as enclosed office solution, KeyWorking accommodates entrepreneurs and startups at any stage of their growth.

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With frequent networking events as well as local benefits as part of the membership, KeyWorking provides a comprehensive package of advantages, tailored to the needs of startup companies. The artistic venue offers a stimulation work environment, whether you are having an impromptu meeting at the lounge area, having a video-conference in one of the high-tech meeting rooms or simply relishing the breathtaking views for KeyWorking’s private terrace.

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A sneak peek into KeyWorking’s busy community events calendar:

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Impressive Startups at AngelsCube’s Pitch Day at eOffice Holborn

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Another round of impressive startups, preselected by the screening committee of AngelsCube, gathered for a third week in a row at eOffice Holborn to present their business concepts and growth strategies. AngelsCube focuses on early stage technology companies, positioned at the intersection of angel investing, crowd funding and venture capital, making the most of three different investment models.

From an online DJ management platform to robots for solar panel dust cleaning, these startups provide smart, alternative and interactive solutions in compliance with the next phase of digital transformation of services.

Explore the concepts behind these inspiring companies:

Dubzoo

Nana Parry (left) Co-Founder & CEO Dubzoo

Nana Parry (left) Co-Founder & CEO Dubzoo

Dubzoo is a revolutionary online platform, providing all DJs the essential tools to manage their operations. Users can book online their preferred DJ for any type of event. They can easily skim through the vast catalogue of available DJs, listen to their mixes and watch videos from their gigs.   This multi-functional platform will allow DJ’s to effectively promote themselves and efficiently manage their career, tapping in to the growing in size DJ industry.

Solarbrush

Ridha Azaiz, CEO Solarbrush

Ridha Azaiz, CEO Solarbrush

Solarbrush is a robotic cleaning system for solar panels. Due to deposits such as sand and dust, solar panels lose their efficiency, which requires regular and precise cleaning. Up to 30% of the solar panel energy could be lost due to the build of layers of sand on the panel. To tackle this problem, Solarbrush had designed a wireless, light-weight robot, which walks on solar panels with high inclination of up to 35 degrees, making it one of the easiest and most efficient solution for solar panel cleaning.

Beautimeter

Carina Read, Founder & CEO Beautimeter

Carina Read, Founder & CEO Beautimeter

Beautimeter is a tool offering a solution to many women who lack confidence if a given beauty product is the right one for them. This is caused due to lack of information and product knowledge as well as confusing marketing messages and claims. Beautimeter offers a solution to this problem by building a set of digital tools to help customers find the information they need to make a beauty purchase decisions. These interactive tools act as a “smart adviser” and can be used both online and whilst in store, at any stage during the purchase journey.

Versus Games

Tim Webber (left), Creative & Strategic Director Versus Games and Adrian Faulkner, Director 40 Partners

Tim Webber (left), Creative & Strategic Director Versus Games and Adrian Faulkner, Director 40 Partners

Versus Games is a new kind of prediction platform to produce games that tap into areas of high interest. In their first five game releases the company will cover reality shows like Strictly Come Dancing, Premier League Football and the Oscars. The games are a cross between fantasy football and QuizUp – the award winning trivia game and fan community. Versus Games offers a modern twist to fantasy and traditional prediction games allowing social interaction and peer-to-peer play with tangible rewards.

BeInspired Fitness

Niall Smith (left), Founder& Director & Brian Smith (right) Director BeInspired Fitness

Niall Smith (left), Founder& Director & Brian Smith (right) Director BeInspired Fitness

Describing themselves as the Match.com of the personal training and fitness industry, BeInspired Fitness is a startup offering a great social networking platform, which will help you find personal trainers, nutritionists and psychotherapists within your local area. Currently available only for Londoners, you can simply type your postcode, preferred date and search through their extensive list of professionals close to you.

Stay tunes for more inspiring startup stories from the coming up AngelsCube pitch days.

 

Impressive Line Up of Startups at AngelsCube Pitch Day at eOffice Holborn

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What an exciting first round of pitching! eOffice Holborn was the pitching venue of AngelsCube first of series of screening rounds with preselected startups looking for the next stage in their business growth and expansion.

AngelsCube is an innovative investment platform focused on early stage-technology companies. AngelsCube is positioned at the intersection of angel investing, crowd funding and venture capital, making the most of these different investment models. Pier Paolo Mucelli, Founder eOffice, is a founder member of AngelsCube and is part of the screening committee, which would determine the four companies which go to the next level.

Lets have a glance at some of the exciting prospects who pitched at the first week of AngelsCube’s screening:

 

Asteria Cleaners

Asteria Cleaners CEO Anna Bondarenko

Anna Bondarenko, CEO Asteria Cleaners

Asteria Cleaners is an on-demand service providing a delivery dry-cleaning and laundry services for busy Londoners. Through their website and mobile application customers are able to seamlessly use and pay for a garment care service seved days a week from early in the morning until late in the evening

 

EdgeFolio

Rowen Pillay, COO EdgeFolio with Helene Guillaume from AngelsCube Screening Committee

Rowen Pillay, COO EdgeFolio with Helene Guillaume from AngelsCube Screening Committee

EdgeFolio is an innovative platform connecting allocators and Hedge Funds. The platform provide a mechanism for Hedge Funds to scalably & compliantly raise capital. Documents are tracked and monitored to gauge prospect engagement. They will receive in-bound leads, and be able to continuously evaluate the effectiveness of their outreach.

 

Range Moi

Cedric Naintré, Business Development & Paris Ops, Range Moi

Cedric Naintré, Business Development & Paris Ops, Range Moi

Currently operational only in France, Range Moi is w=expanding into the UK allowing clients to store items outside their home without leaving home. Customers need to simply order the size of box they would need and Range Moi will pick up the boxesand bring them back anytime the client requires within the next 48h.

 

Ma Ville

Thomas Anselmino, Founder Ma Ville

Thomas Anselmino, Founder Ma Ville

Ma Ville is an app for curates art, theatre and cultural events in London. On the app you can find anything from art and music education classes to art sales and marketplaces, live streaming of concerts and operas as well as tailored cultural news. Once it takes over London, a worldwide expansion is in the way.

 

Wearisma

Jenny Tsai, Founder Wearisma

Jenny Tsai, Founder Wearisma

Wearisma is a mobile blogging and shopping platform that enables a community of influencers and shoppers to share their looks across social networks, tagged with fashion and beauty purchases. The benefits of the platform is building personal brands, gain exposure in return for audience, free samples, as well as campaign opportunities. For shoppers the platform will offer browsing inspiration and as the option to “shop the look”.

 

Two Sigmas

Michael Birdsall, Founder & CEO Two Sigmas

Michael Birdsall, Founder & CEO Two Sigmas

Two Sigmas is an online tutoring platform connecting professional academics and tutors with students. For the moment the business biggest market is China with a large demand of Chinese students for English language teachers. Two Sigmas matches these students with UK tutors for online English classes. Their other focus is a range of online classes at secondary and university level aimed at students from Pakistan.

We are excited to welcome the second round of aspiring startup companies preselected from AngelsCube next week.

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FARO AVENIDA – Our Partner in Faro, Portugal

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As the southernmost city in Continental Portugal, Faro benefits from almost all year round sunshine and warm temperatures. The city is the capital of the Algrave region, known for its stunning coastline. Who wouldn’t want to live and work there?

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This is where our partner FARO AVENIDA comes in place. With high-quality facilities, inspiring interior, personable team and exciting community of startups, entrepreneurs and growing companies, FARO AVENIDA provides the ultimate workplace solution for locals as well as foreign residents.

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The premium address of this coworking space is in popular demand with Virtual Office clients, who have the option to also use the facilities as a touch down base or in case they have business meetings.

FARO AVENIDA also benefits from fully equipped meeting rooms as well as training rooms, which can be used for different types of networking events as well as workshops and seminars. There is a stylish kitchen and lounge area as well as reception desk and 24H access.

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The centre also uses myOffice – a Virtual Office application, pioneer at a worldwide level. The application is the perfect solution for professionals and companies which do not need a permanent office, but demand a strong corporate image with the support of a secretariat team, which guarantees a multilingual telephone answering, correspondence treatment, fax and messages transmission.

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Ngoji – Our High-End eNetwork Partner in Fortaleza, Brazil

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Satisfy our customers with high quality services anticipating their expectations.

This is the motto of our stylish coworking partner in Fortaleza, Brazil. Their dedication to high-quality service and commitment to always excel customers’ expectations is also reflected in the all testimonial by their current members, confirming that they truly live up to their high-set standards.

The Ngoji centre captivated me because of its friendly staff, pleasant facilities, discreet and professional environment, which is essential for a my lawyer practice. In fact, the customer service performance is one of the secrets for client satisfaction. Besides all, Ngoji´s coworking space saves me time, which is very costly to me since I manage several projects all around Brazil.  Haroldo Guimarães, Lawyer

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With impressive interior and high-end furnishing, Ngoji adopts the concept of a “business hotel” – offering flexible personalized plans to businesses, fully adapting to their needs and professional requirements. Their premium address in Fortaleza is desired and highly beneficial for any startup requiring a Virtual Office. In addition to office space, high-tech equipped meeting and conference rooms, as well as kitchen with all amenities, Ngoji also offers a whole range of business support services in tune with the needs of every small to medium size enterprise. From secretary, consulting to logistics services, clients are offered different solutions to support their operations so they can focus on the core of their business. Members will pay only for what they use, getting rid of the large costs of maintaining a fixed physical space.

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The name of the business centre – Ngoji, is strategically chosen to reflect the philosophy of the company and their practice. Ngoji means “connection link” and exactly represents their goal to connect a diverse and multicultural range of professionals in order to establish stern business relationship to further grow and expand each business practice.

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Through our eOffice eNetwork partnership all Ngoji members benefit from access to over 200 high-quality business office centres worldwide, to further support their international expansion.

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‘Startupland’ – the new, insightful book following the story of our partner Zendesk

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Startup stories are inspiring! How does an idea transform and flourish to a billion dollar business with headquarters in San Francisco? ‘Startupland’, the new, insightful book by Mikkel Svane, Co-founder Zendesk, unveils exactly that. Following the story of three Danes with an idea and in their own words – “boring” startup, this must –read, pours honesty and humour from every page, following the birth and growth of Zendesk, currently valued at billions of dollars.

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In an interview for BA Business Life magazine, Svane talks about the initial dysfunctional processes of work with co-founders Alexander Aghassipour and Morten Primdahl.

We were bootstrapping it and living in a lot of uncertainty. It wasn’t like a lot of these well-planned startups in Silicon Valley. For us it was really all or nothing. But it was a very pure and innocent and beautiful period of our lives in many ways. I have quite a romantic memory of that time.  Mikkel Svane for Business Life.

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Filled with advises, experiences and personal lessons learned along the way, the book is an important read for any budding entrepreneur. One of Svane’s most important remarks towards any emerging startup is to carefully choose the place where they embark on this new stage in life. Building a company in a place that supports and inspires you as well as embraces startups is one of the most important decisions in the initial stage of growth. Being humble and relatable as well as caring about your customers and employees is also on his top three lessons learned throughout his exciting journey growing Zendesk to an established worldwide brand.

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Relocated in San Francisco, Svane feels like living the dream, enjoying all the perks that California has to offer – professionally and personally.

An insightful read, ‘Startupland’ unlocks the secret of success, hungered by every entrepreneur with an idea and strive to make it big.

‘Startupland’ is published by Wiley.

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Virtusize – meet the startup reshaping online retailing

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As a hub for amazing startups, at the forefront of innovation and technology, here at eOffice we cherish the vast diversity of novel ideas and businesses. We are pleased to be witnessing their growth and at the same time offer entrepreneurs an environment and support to flourish and expand.

Every startup has a unique story, from that moment when the light bulb switches on with an idea, through the sleepless nights of hard work. Overcoming challenges and celebrating every achieved milestone is what makes their stories an inspiration to every young entrepreneur willing to make his idea a reality.

Taking us through their startup journey is Carlotta Frisk – Head of UK for Virtusize. A recent member of eOffice, Virtusize is a young, exciting company from Sweden, already taking the ecommerce world by storm. Here is what Carlotta shared with us.

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What is Virtusize?

Virtusize is a tool that helps online retailers to visually illustrate the size and fit of clothing and we guarantee to help shoppers buy clothes with the perfect fit.

How was the idea about Virtusize born?

Virtusize started off with a group of Swedish friends who shared a passion for digital solutions and the world of fashion. When e-commerce took off, they were thrilled to have the world of fashion at their fingertips. All of a sudden they could buy brands from outside of Sweden. However, there was one major problem: they could not buy clothes that fit properly.

It seemed they had to return over half of the items that they bought, as they were either the wrong size or the fit was not in line with their expectations. They figured that they weren’t the only people with the same problem. Meanwhile, they were all frequent shoppers at eBay, where most sellers provided detailed measurements of their clothes. The addition of a garment size’s dimensions enabled them to compare these measurements to a piece of clothing that they already owned. After all, using their own clothes seemed like a logical and natural reference point. 

They started to wonder: what if they used the same concept but made it visual by overlaying garment silhouettes on screen? So they started working with some of the fashion world’s best pattern makers and online retail stores on the idea.

In autumn 2011, Virtusize was born and the accuracy of the solution was immediately trusted by online retailers such as ASOS, Acne Studios and Monsoon. Virtusize grew its business rapidly with international offices in Tokyo, New York, and sales offices in Germany and the UK.

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How would you describe your team in three words? 

Committed, Fun, Passionate

What are the biggest challenges you face as a startup company?

There are many ideas and new technologies coming all the time so a big challenge is to really make sure you are on top of things and run fast. Our vision is to be the world’s leading standard for illustrating fit but we have a challenging audience and we have to make sure we listen to them and create a product they love.

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What advise would you give to other startups trying to make it?

Have fun and listen to your users and believe in what you do.

Why did you choose to work from eOffice? 

Location and great connections was a key to choose an office. eOffice could offer great central location and a good network for us to get started in the UK.

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