University of Exeter – 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!




Lucy O’Connor – Lucy Alice Rose


lucy alice rose


After leaving The University of Exeter in 2017, Lucy travelled for a year around South America and then moved to London to work in marketing at HubbleHQ.

It was during the pandemic that Lucy decided to take the plunge and start her own freelance business.

Whilst on furlough, Lucy volunteered with a number of social enterprises and sustainable startups. She loved helping these positive impact companies spread their message via their digital marketing.

So when Lucy was made redundant, she decided to turn this into a business and started Lucy Alice Rose. Lucy now offers content strategy, social media strategy and copywriting services to sustainable and ethical startups.

Lucy has also taken to the digital nomad lifestyle and is currently running her business from Porto. And sharing how others can do the same via her social media channels.


Enactus Exter – Oyana


enactus exeter


In 2019, Enactus Exeter visited Kwa Murugi to better understand the community and the challenges within it. Alongside NGO Doxa and the locals, the team attempted to find a solution to help address the most urgent needs. Oyana was founded as an impact-driven social enterprise which produces handmade and natural soap.

The team wanted to empower women from the Kwa Murugi community close to Nakuru in Kenya. They help to provide them with the skills and resources that are required to gain financial independence and better support their families and their community.

The products created by the team provide the users with the opportunity to have an impact, whilst simultaneously taking the best care of their skin. All of the profits are then reinvested into the project and the community.

Currently, Enactus Exeter are organising paid training for the women in the community of Kwa Murugi. In the coming months, once the women learn all the skills needed, they will be able to generate income regularly, helping them to increase their confidence levels. The team are also working on interventions which will help the women to enhance their entrepreneurial skills deemed crucial for the enterprise to be run entirely by the local Kenyans.


Max Harrington & Michael Shawley – Just Surf


just surf


JustSurf was founded by Exeter graduate Max Harrington and Michael Shawley. The innovative startup specialises in partnering with local holiday accommodation providers across all parts of Cornwall. This means that holidaymakers can pre-book surfboards and wetsuits to be delivered direct to the accommodation in time for their arrival.

In addition to this, the duo also offer surfing lessons and have equipment available for all age ranges and abilities to ensure that they are never limiting their client base. The customer will be able to choose which equipment they would like and a convenient time for it to be delivered, and then retrieved at the end of their stay. Prices are competitive with the area being a major hotspot for surfers, and the equipment can be changed if it isn’t quite right for the customer.

The duo’s startup also offers free waxing on all the boards used, meaning that it isn’t the customers’ responsibility after it has been in use. The process was designed to be convenient and is aimed at customers who know exactly what they want to hire, meaning they will not have to spend time queuing in surf shops.


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




Daisy Anderson – ROOBARB’s


daisy anderson roobarbs


A wonky carrot, a cauliflower too large, a bashed banana are all destined for the bin because they typically don’t meet current consumer standards. In 2021, ROOBARB’S changed that generating awareness about the detrimental impact of food waste through the love of locally sourced tasty vegan food. Whether that’s using up a broccoli stalk, charring some wrinkly peppers or making croutons out of stale bread, every little bit makes a difference.

After completing a Masters in Sustainable Development at the University of Exeter in 2020, Daisy used her knowledge, care for the environment, passion for food and home-cooking to establish ROOBARB’S, a plant-based catering company that ‘gives surplus a purpose’. ROOBARB’S ethos is to showcase up and down the country the best of what we have, waste less, educate more and have a big impact on the planet. When food is thrown away (especially in the black bin), it’s not only the end product that goes to waste, but all the time, money and resources used to make it. With a third of all food going to waste each year, food waste is one of the leading causes of global warming, yet it’s an area that each one of us can play a part in changing.

Through her determination and passion, Daisy has grown ROOBARB’S from a stall selling cold soups at the local market to catering for 120+ people at private catering events and hosting supper clubs with a difference. In less than a year, ROOBARB’S has become a thriving catering company with the planet and flavour at its heart.


James Tetlow – Zama Digital


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Zama Digital was founded by University of Exeter graduate, James Tetlow. James completed a degree in Mechanical Engineering, titling his dissertation “Investigating a Machine Learning Decision support tool for a Manufacturing SME”. Whilst he was undertaking this project, he realised that if businesses did not fully understand machine learning they may not be maximising their utilisation. This appeared to be a common problem, so James founded his own company, Zama Digital.

The company aims to discover the right tools to help individual businesses within the manufacturing industry add value, saving the founder both time and money.

The initial package offered by Zama Digital gives companies an indication as to whether their machines are running to full capacity or not. The business does this through providing the customer with a real-time dashboard and the opportunity to completely customise charts and tables. This can help businesses to better understand their factory through the use of data.


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