As entries open for the 2017 Innovation Showcase Competition at Venturefest Manchester, BQ catches up with last year's top three to see how their businesses have changed.
Third in 2016: VST Enterprises
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VST Enterprises have developed VCode− a next generation symbol technology which can be read by scanning, to make the lives of users more efficient.
With 2.2 quintillion secure variations, VCode allows any form of data transfer (including media content, payments and identification documents) instantaneously and on the move, working to help eliminate fraud and counterfeiting worldwide.
Louis-James Davis, VST Enterprises CEO, brought us up to speed on some huge achievements they’ve made since the Innovation Showcase.
“We’ve done two fundraising rounds; one which valued us at £30m, and one at £220m – that gave us a massive boost.
“We’ve started working in New York, and Reno, and we’ve gone on a Trade Mission with the Prime Minister to India – we’ve opened up two offices in India, one in Africa as well, and we’re looking at setting up a new company that can trade with Russia.”
And they’ve chosen a route to growth which doesn’t just mean direct selling: “We’ve got eight new subsidiary companies which are joint ventures with market leaders in different industries.
They struck a deal with Dewhirst, who represent 80 clothing brands, to get VCodes into their apparel. They use the VCode for supply chain management and traceability, and to prove to consumers that their products are genuine.
Louis added: “We’re working on a state-issued ID card in India which would give us over a billion users.
“My aim is to get other Governments around the world involved – China, Russia and Latin America.”
For them, their involvement in Venturefest led directly to new business opportunities. “The Innovation Showcase gave us speaking opportunities, and introduced us to lots of Manchester-centric businesses like MIDAS.
“I’d tell businesses to take every opportunity that they can get, so I’d recommend they get into it – it’s quite renowned in Manchester.”