Technologies: Research integration
Sector: Software development
Partner: LJMU (Liverpool Business School)
Housemates is a mobile app developed by 19-year-old Lydia Jones, a Liverpool-based serial tech entrepreneur who was recently named as one of Business Cloud’s ‘35 under 35’, which recognises young tech talent. Housemates allows students to host, find and attend events around their halls such as movie nights, games nights and general get-togethers.
Already available on the App Store, Housemates uses GPS technology to guide its users to events they are attending. The aim is to help students, especially international students, make the most of their time at university through shared experiences.
Lydia was exploring funding options to bring her product to market and was keen to learn how market research could help to secure investment.
Having initially explored other funding options for support to get the concept into development, Lydia came up against a number of barriers, despite having a viable business model and technology. She was subsequently referred to Activate by Liverpool Vision.
After being accepted onto the Activate programme, Lydia enlisted the expertise of Liverpool Business School and the Faculty of Engineering and Technology via the Computer Science department to strengthen her research and create a business plan that would be able to scale with the company.
Liverpool Business School examined the student demographic across the three Liverpool Universities – LJMU, the University of Liverpool and Edge Hill – and, through primary and second research, was able to identify the behaviours of students within the city and better understand the Housemates audience.
Using innovative data-mining techniques, the team was able to gather real-time information on its target market, which could be used for investment pitching and the commercialisation of the product.
Liverpool Business School assisted Lydia in examining the feasibility of the app across the student population in the Liverpool City Region. According to Lydia, the support has given her a better idea of how much potential the market has to offer and how the startup can disrupt key areas.
Following the collaboration with Activate, Lydia now has a deep understanding of the market with a clear product roadmap to scale and intends to explore the possibilities of expanding to universities across the country.
With areas of development to improve the user experience having been identified, Housemates underwent software updates to be ready for the new cohort of students arriving in September 2018. These included flat verification, geolocation and group chats to help students communicate.
Lydia Jones, Founder of Housemates said: “I would recommend the Activate programme as it allows people to get deeper insights into the potential of their businesses and also makes people aware of risks.”
“The support from Activate has provided me with a much better idea of how much potential the market has to offer and a clear product roadmap to scale. Housemates is now in a position to strengthen our offering as a stable tech company and have the key findings to know where we want to go and how we will get there.”