Lancaster graduates win European enterprise competition

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Two graduates from Lancaster University who founded their own technology firm have beaten more than 130 entrants to win a £10,000 competition run by PepsiCo.

Mitch Vidler, who graduated in Management and Entrepreneurship, and Stephen Darlington who has a degree in Computer Science, are now working with some of PepsiCo’s leading brands in the UK, including Walker’s and Pepsi, and are also in talks with four ‘Fortune 500’ companies who, together, own 600 brands worldwide.

Their company, SDMV Ltd., owns Slingshot, a web-based application which enables users to add products to their existing online retailers’ shopping baskets from third party locations, such as brand websites, Facebook pages or mobile devices.

“We only graduated from university last year, so it’s hard to imagine that the technology we created in our university halls will now be used by a global, leading company like PepsiCo,” said Vidler. “Our long term aim is to help as many people shop as possible and this includes on an international level. We have been working very hard for the last few months on tools to help brands to implement Slingshot into their existing systems.”

“We are continually developing the whole application to push towards our never ending goal of making the world an easier place through simplicity,” Vidler continued.

Slingshot was set up with the help of LUSU Involve, which supports students with business ideas. Joe Buglass, Enterprise and Employability Manager of LUSU Involve said: “It’s been a pleasure working with (Mitch) and his business partner. They have worked extremely hard on Slingshot and it’s nice to see them reap the rewards. It’s also fantastic for LUSU which really encourages enterprise amongst both staff and students.”

PepsiCo’s Global Director of Digital and Social Media, Bonin Bough, enthused that the technology platforms from Slingshot and the other nine winners will change consumer behaviour over the next year.

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