Proof of Impact crowned winner of GradVenture 2019 at the University of London’s Senate House

A platform that uses cutting-edge blockchain technology to improve transparency in NGOs last night won the University of London and Seven Hills’ pitching competition, GradVenture.

Twelve finalists from the University of London pitched their start-ups to a panel of four judges, with Proof of Impact – founded by LSE alumnus and Cass Business School student Riz Nasrullah – taking home the first prize, an £8,000 investment.

Riz wants donors and charities alike to get familiar with blockchain technology, hoping to usher a new era of transparency into the NGO sector.

The judging panel, made up of Renée Elliott, founder of Planet Organic; Simon Calver, head of investments at BGF; David Fisayo, director of Foundervine; and Jess Butcher MBE, co-founder of Tick, questioned the competitors’ start-up plans and aspirations.

The runner-up – and winner of £2,000 – was Shortly, an app that suggests short stories based on how much time you have. Launched by medical student Qasim Munye, the app has tens of thousands of users.

Michael Hayman moderated the evening in front of a full house in the University of London’s Beveridge Hall. Guests also cast votes for their favourite pitch of the evening, with London’s first umbrella rental service, Lonbrella, taking home the ‘crowd pleaser’ award and winning a private lunch with BGF Investments.

A full list of finalists is below:

LonbrellaOlianna Gonzalez, Wendi Lai, Rodrigo Camino

London’s first umbrella rental service


Freestyle CutsGopal Shah

Hairstylists to your door


ADAM, ‘Anxiety, Depression and Mental Health’Dr Amna Sadia Sheikh Hussain, Zahrah Madiha Sheikh Hussain, Richard Simon

A student support smartphone app


Little Coffee CompanyLauren Le Franc

Sustainable enterprise for small-holder coffee farmers


Mentat AnalyticsFotis Chatzidakis, Angelos Markou

Smart data analytics and insights


Mentorite LtdGiulio Capodimonti, Jimmie Ricci, Daniel Demere

AI-empowered mentoring platform


MotiveYash Morar, Isaac Jong

Friday nights made simple with AI


Proof of ImpactRiz Nasrullah

Blockchain platform to create radical transparency in NGOs


ShortlyQasim Munye

An app for reading short stories


Smoke 2 Sparks; Kalvin Saranna

Converting classic car engines to electric


TIFYVeronica Sule, Bastian Hildebrnd

Machine learning powered consumer analytics


Your Own Hero!; Tiffany Walker

Simulation storybook app for autistic children

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