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Students hope to impress Richard Branson with start-up pitch

Two Exeter students are appealing for support to get their travel app pitch into the next round in a national competition.

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As the voting deadline for the 2016 Virgin #VOOM competition draws near, two Exeter students are appealing for support to get their travel app pitch into the next round.

The UK’s “biggest and most valuable pitch competition,” #VOOM invites new and growing start-ups to pitch themselves to Richard Branson in the hope of winning a share of £1 million plus exclusive business opportunities.

One of the entries in this year’s competition is Kompas – an online travel guide founded in 2014 by Exeter students Tom Charman and Olivia Higgs. Guiding users “through the world’s urban jungles,” the app promises tailored tips and suggestions for those arriving in new cities.

Charman and Higgs began work on Kompas while studying abroad in Munich. The venture was formerly called Hidden Planet – launching with the Hidden Munich blog which has since amassed over 17,000 Instagram followers.

After expanding the blog into cities across the world – including Exeter – Charman and Higgs teamed up with designer Kurt Henderson to develop plans for the Kompas app.

Currently in the BETA launch stage, it’s hoped Kompas App will be ready for the public by August. But success in #VOOM would prove a huge help, the team admits.

Only 80 pitches will go through to the next stage of the competition – and with Kompas currently just in the running, the team are now appealing to Exeter students to help their pitch get through to the next round.

“Since getting a feel for things in Exeter it’s clear there’s demand for what we’re doing here too,” Charman told Exeposé.

“It’s our goal to make it as easy as possible for people to find the hidden gems in cities worldwide,” he explained. “We need support from Exeter students to bring this business to life, and to make life easier for students travelling this summer.”

Voting for round one closes at midnight on Monday 23 April. The shortlist will then be announced on Wednesday, ahead of a 29-hour livestreamed “Pitchathon” in London on 1-2 June.

See the team’s #VOOM profile and cast your vote here.

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