Entrepreneurial pair win UEL E-Factor competition with wedding video business
UEL psychology graduate Alex Wilding and business partner Paul Hulligan impress panel of judges at Canary Wharf
Planning a wedding or recently engaged? Capturing your special day on video is set to become cheaper and faster thanks to two east London entrepreneurs.
University of East London (UEL) psychology graduate Alex Wilding (left) and his business partner, Paul Hulligan (right), impressed judges and audience members alike when they pitched their innovative wedding video business at last night’s E-Factor competition in Canary Wharf – a Dragon’s Den-style competition for start-up companies.
Competing against four other finalists, the pair won a first prize of £6,000 for their business, vidiCREW, which allows newly married couples to enjoy a unique wedding video by creatively combining the mobile phone recordings of wedding guests on the day.
Alex, 32, from Bethnal Green, said, “Paul and I were always being asked to film friends’ weddings and we noticed that all the guests would have their phones out to film and take photos.
“So we started doing wedding videos but also using mobile phones, and people enjoyed it. It got us thinking how we could turn it into a business. We just needed a way to get people to send us their clips to capture all those wedding day moments.
“After some brainstorming, we asked a friend to make us an app. Guests just download the app and film the day on their phones as they normally would - the bride walking down the aisle, throwing the bouquet, first dances, cutting the cake and so on.
“Then they upload their clips via the app direct to us. We get all the clips and then edit them together to make a unique, beautifully crafted video for the couple to enjoy and remember their day.”
The pair, who also run a not-for-profit documentary network in London, said the cost of making one of their videos was considerably more affordable than market competitors and also much quicker, with the aim of completing the edited video within days of the wedding.
Their cash prize will go towards developing the app and website, marketing and employing a team of video editors to support the anticipated demand.
Now in its 12th year, the annual E-Factor competition is open to current and former UEL students and has been the launch-pad for scores of start-up companies. All five finalists are given a year of free work space in UEL’s Knowledge Dock – a business and innovation centre at the University’s Docklands campus.
Alex and Paul fought off strong competition to win the top prize, with Brian Nguru taking second place to earn a prize of £2,000 for his BSP Academy, which delivers fitness sessions for young people.
Third place, and a prize of £1,000, went to Chanise Thompson for her ‘Mama’s Original’ Caribbean sauces while runners-up prizes of £500 went to Cody Mayer for his app-based health care agency, Lavantas, and sisters Natalie and Tania Creary for their property management company, Kose Homes.
Professor John Joughin, the UEL Vice-Chancellor (pictured centre), praised the standard of entries for this year’s competition, which was judged by a panel of business experts.
He said, “The E-Factor competition is one of the highlights of the UEL calendar and is a wonderful celebration of the entrepreneurship and creativity of our students and graduates.
“The overall quality of this year’s final was extremely impressive, and I congratulate vidiCREW on their success and our Enterprise team for organising the competition so professionally.”