WATCH: WareHAUS wins Geovation Challenge

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Alice Cruickshank

A proptech startup which wants to create modular homes for key workers has been awarded first prize at Ordnance Survey’s Geovation Challenge.

Surrey-based WareHAUS was awarded £50,000 to develop its idea of assembling pod-type homes inside empty industrial warehouses, designed for those who cannot afford to rent in towns. The units are to be made from environmentally friendly materials and aimed at key workers such as nurses, police or teachers.

WareHAUS was created by Philip Webb and Simon Poyser, with budding young entrepreneurs Rory Oakley and George Pegden.

Webb and Poyser have been working together in the public sector for the last three years at WareHAUS parent company VelocityRDT, which delivers Internet of Things technology for the NHS. Oakley and Pegden, both aged 19, have been working with VelocityRDT for the last nine months, and were invited to join the WareHAUS project alongside completing SET Squared Entrepreneurship Courses with the company.

Simon Poyser said: “We’re dumbstruck to have won. We came along to partake and enjoy the Geovation challenge and grow ideas in the team. To win is unbelievable.

“We want to repurpose redundant buildings with easy to construct, modular houses that go within them. We’re going to use the prize money to put a proof of concept site together to turn this into a viable, standalone business.”

The Geovation Challenge prize winners were announced as part of Ordnance Survey’s first ever ‘greener, smarter communities’ conference, which explored how communities can move away from a “take, make and waste” economy, to one that makes best use of natural and man-made assets, and uses waste as a resource instead.

Designer Wayne Hemingway was the keynote speaker at the event, which was held at the Royal Geographical Society in London last Friday.

Ten shortlisted startups teams spent two days prior to the conference working with experts in different fields to refine and sharpen their ideas as they pitched for a share of an £185,000 venture capital fund.

Other winners included Portable Ecosystems, which will create transportable self-contained ecosystems to instantly transform a site into a green space, and OFFiGO, a website and app designed to connect small businesses with shoppers. Both were awarded £20,000.

Since 2009, Geovation has supported over 50 startups to develop, launch and scale their ventures, helping them to create over 90 jobs and raise £12.7m in additional venture funding. The organisation has run 10 open challenges and now has its own location-based data hub operating in Clerkenwell, London.

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