Somerset SOUP Winner Catch Up


Last September, Somerset Enterprise Centre’s hosted their first SOUP event in Taunton. It was a brilliant event, and saw three highly credible start-up businesses fight it out for a chance of winning an investment package worth over £1,000. The lucky winner was Somerton based Elaine Owen, with her company Timepix.

Seven months on, we caught up with Elaine close to her home at the Courtyard Café, to find out how the business was getting on and how life had changed since Somerset SOUP.

For those who may not know, can you summarise your business Timepix in a nutshell?

Timepix is a website and app that helps you explore historical photographs of places and people through present day (or 1890s) maps of Britain. Images are presented from a number of collections capturing street scenes, landscapes, and portraits, from the earliest days of photography until 50 years ago.

These fascinating images provide a new resource for genealogy and historical studies, and inspiration for creative projects. Via the website or app you can browse, download and share the watermarked images for free or buy them for personal/business use.

And how did Timepix begin?

Timepix began as part of a Geovation Challenge at Ordnance Survey. My team were passionate about using the power of a digital and spatial framework to release historical images from terrestrial archives, and silo websites, to where the community would find them.

Timepix was the winning entry and was provided with the resources to take the concept to the next stage. This included joining the community at Ordnance Survey’s Geovation Hub in London whose developers have made Timepix a reality. Slowly but surely, Timepix has grown and developed and got to where it is today.

The Somerset SOUP event was over six months ago – what have you been doing since we last saw you?

Since Somerset SOUP last September we have developed the app and website substantially by primarily building our image library.

We also launched Timepix officially in March in Manchester, which was brilliant!  We had lots of media interest, Granada and the BBC came along and the website even crashed. It was even better than we had hoped.

I have also taken on another director, outsourced the web development work and semi –retired from my full time roll at Ordnance Survey – The business hasn’t stopped!

 

 

How did the prize money help your business?

The prize money was invaluable. Although it wasn’t a ‘life changing’ amount of money, it went straight into the business bank account and allowed me to allocate funds for developing the business. We primarily spent the money on data and image preparation in the lead up to the business launch.

Where the other prizes just as valuable?

Yes they definitely were. I’ve made good use of the Xero Cloud Accounting Software from Albert Goodman and I’ve just activated my Somerset Chamber of Commerce Membership, which I’m really looking forward to taking advantage of.

I met TDA advisor Alan Smith, but have not needed to see him again yet. It’s so reassuring knowing that there is easily accessible business support available at the end of a phone or email, ready for when I need it.

Our next SOUP event is in September; would you recommend the experience to other new and start-up businesses? 

I would definitely recommend Somerset SOUP. The process was straightforward, enjoyable and a really good opportunity. TDA and Somerset Enterprise Centres were

How easy was applying for Somerset SOUP?

The online form is really straightforward and didn’t take me long at all. In fact, I applied really last minute, and in a bit of a rush, but luckily I managed to apply on time.

Can you offer any advice for 2018 applicants?

I would definitely recommend rehearsing as much as possible! Initially, it feels a bit silly going over and over it in your front room but practice definitely makes perfect. I would also advise to give yourself plenty of extra time; I left a 20 second buffer so I wouldn’t go over and to keep it nice and simple. There’s a temptation to make the presentation part all singing and dancing, but I definitely think that, on the day, a simple presentation is best.

What’s next for you and Timepix?

Summer 2018 looks to be an exciting time for the business. There’s still lots of work to be done, developing the site and app, expanding and maintaining our image library and growing our business model. We’re hoping to develop partnerships with other companies and we are also considering applying for some Angel Investment By the time SOUP 2018 comes around, Timepix could be in a very different place – watch this space!

Elaine is keen to come along to support our next SOUP event at the Red Brick Building in Glastonbury in September, so make sure you say hello if you see her there.

To apply for Somerset SOUP just fill out our short application form here