Meet the student CEOs who pitched and won £5k in investment from EY

Neither of them studied a business degree

Oli from Trent and Joe from MMU run UniDosh, an app that enables students to buy and sell services at discounted prices. From working out of a Starbucks a few months ago, the duo have gone from strength to strength, with offices now in both Manchester and London.

The boys recently won The Tab’s Founders 30 campaign in partnership with EY, where they pitched to a panel of judges, securing £5k investment and expert mentorship.

We sat down with them to chat about the app, the future and how they’re investing their winnings.

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How did UniDosh come about?

Joe: When we came to uni, we found that there’s so much stress around having to find part-time work to survive. UniDosh is a marketplace where students can trade work and products at prices they can afford. Students can set their own wages and hours, and all users are verified through their uni email.

For example, if you’re looking for house party supplies, with our app you could get a DJ for £15, speakers for a fiver and someone to clean the house the next day for a tenner. We’ve got students on the app currently selling dog-walking services and even pole dancing classes.

Did either of you know how to start an app-based business? 

Oli: We aren’t really tech-savvy, so we had to outsource the production. My background is in design, so I drafted out the designs and sent them to be made. It’s the same process now.

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Do you have a team working alongside you?

Oli: It’s primarily me and Joe, but we have a team of 45 students on the ground in Manchester helping with flying, postering, and general PR stuff like going around pubs and libraries trying to get sign-ups.

Do you guys make money out of it?

Joe: We’re not taking any profit from the business. Everything we make goes back into it. We’re focused on building up a foundation right now.

Oli: We do, however, make sure everyone involved is paid; every single user on the app has a referral code where they can get paid for bringing downloads. Our student street team are all on a set wage, with incentives like £100 ASOS vouchers. We want our team to feel like a family.

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What was it like pitching to EY at the Founders 30 competition?

Joe: The competition was really fierce so we’re honoured to have come out on top of that. We were really nervous but having each other to bounce off helped. To have recognition from a place like EY is incredible.

What do you plan to do with the investment?

Oli: We’re mainly going to put it into the user experience – we’re adding the ability to buy and sell clothing in January. We want to act as a clothing marketplace for students, more localised than an app like Depop.

We’ve also received mentorship from Charles Taylor, CEO of Debut – a company that connects students with work after graduation. Our businesses compliment each other so it’s great to have him on side.

What are your plans for UniDosh in the next 12 months?

Joe: We have a big January relaunch. We’re going to run a club night to promote our new features and to welcome students back – let them know we’re here and we’re not going anywhere.

As we’re currently based solely in Manchester, we’re also adding something to our website where students can vote for new locations they’d like the app to be available at.

What advice would you have for a student who wanted to start their own app-based business?

Joe: Get someone tech-orientated involved from the start. If you don’t have to outsource development you’ll save yourself a lot of money. 

Oli: It’s not just research into the market group, it’s research into business as a whole. Go out and speak to people who’ve launched an app before.

The Tab’s Founders 30, in partnership with EY, is a competition designed to find the country’s top student entrepreneurs. Click here to find out more.

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