University of Essex – Successful Alumni who Founded Startups

If there is someone you would like to add to the list, please email us directly. Please see our shortlist below!




Oliver Sotirios Bourne & Eliot Wood – WYSPR




WYSPR is an app that allows anyone to become an influencer. Their mission is to build a world where anyone can get paid to advertise and sell their data to whom they choose in a clean and ethical manner. By allowing brands to use consumers to post about them on social media directly instead of an influencer, they have created a digital ‘word of mouth as a service’ that we call Friendvertising™.

Through Friendvertising™, they reach an audience of friends and family instead of fans, resulting in a more authentic and genuine relationship between the brand and consumer. This has resulted in achieved engagement rates averaging 150% higher than traditional influencer marketing.

The idea for WYSPR started in 2018 and came after the founders were working on their placement year whilst studying at the University of Essex. After work one day they were scrolling through socials and we noticed that the influencers they were following achieved ludicrously low engagement rates, oftentimes just 1-2% of their audience were engaging with their posts.

Meanwhile, they saw our real friends on their feed often posting about their favourite product or restaurant etc, and were achieving astonishingly higher rates of engagement, often upwards of 15%.

The purpose of WYSPR is to build a more transparent relationship between brands and consumers by allowing for a more direct relationship to be built. Through WYSPR, they have built a circular economy where both parties benefit. Consumers can get paid for advocating for brands they love, and companies can get access to real, authentic influence.

Since the launch in late 2019, they have reached over 1.6 million people for clients, paid out over £16,000 to users for posting, and completed a Pre-Seed round of £450k to grow and expand technical offerings. WYSPR currently operates as an agency but in this next stage of innovation they are developing a SaaS offering that will give brands of all sizes independent access to manage their own Friendvertiser and influencer campaigns creating a true consumer advocacy marketplace.


Anuj Saboo – Healum




Healum is a UK based digital health company with a mission to improve the health outcomes and quality of life for millions of people. Their digital solutions enable health professionals to motivate, support and manage people with long-term conditions, whether that be remotely or in person.

Anuj and Jonathan (alumni of UCL) founded Healum to help people living with long term health conditions to achieve the health outcomes and experiences that they want. They wanted to support people in taking the daily actions that they need to prevent illness, mitigate their risks and manage their existing health conditions in a way that suits them.

Anuj comes from a family of scientists and business professionals. Most of his academic background focused on artificial intelligence and he became increasingly interested in tracking his own health through data insights. His background drove the development of Healum’s vision to support people in understanding their health. Jonathan wanted to help people achieve their potential of improving their health based on his own personal experience. His passion for health tech stemmed from his background in technological solutions working for Google and technology startups.

Healum’s digital health platform utilises behavioural science and AI to provide its users with the best set of choices to manage their health in a way that works for them. The suite of digital products and patient management software has enabled healthcare professionals to deliver personalised care and support more patients to achieve better health outcomes, such as those with Type 2 diabetes. They have recently been published in the Department of International Trade’s Beyond 100 playbook.


If there is someone you would like to add to the list, please email us directly.