Exist Insight ISSUE 04

Fantasy Shopper success

  • Fantasy Shopper success image 1

Added: 08 March 2012

Robert McIlwraith, Chair of ExIST (Exeter Initiative for Science and Technology) a sub-group of Exeter Chamber of Commerce looks at Fantasy Shopper, one of Exeter’s youngest Science and Technology focussed businesses is based at the Innovation Centre in Exeter and was the recent winner of the prestigious Amazon Global Start-up Challenge.

Fantasy Shopper was founded in October 2011 by ex Exeter University student Chris Prescott and business partner Daniel Noz.

Dubbed one of Europe’s hottest start ups, Fantasy Shopper is an online game which allows shoppers to spend fantasy money to ‘buy’ their dream outfits and wardrobes. Players can then share these wardrobes with friends and discuss them.

While for the players it is fantasy, for retailers this provides an incredible source of real-time market research as players not only show what is in demand, but give qualitative feedback in their interactions with other players. The fact that players can go on to buy their Fantasy Shopper creations is the icing on the cake!

Fantasy Shopper has won numerous awards including being the first non US company to win the Amazon Global Start Up challenge as well as the Born Global South West Business of the Year. The company has recently secured $3.3 million investment from Accel and the NEA, sophisticated global technology investors who back, amongst others, Groupon, Facebook and Spotify.

Customers are spending an average of 28 minutes on the site per visit, the offer is clearly captivating and the numbers using the site are growing daily.

With such success, Fantasy Shopper is already assembling a crack team of twenty of the world’s leading technology engineers and designers in order to continue to develop and grow.

Chris Prescott was recently quoted in this paper saying, \"We want to keep the software engineering in Exeter if we can, or we will have to move out to Silicon Valley or New York. We\'ve got a lot of support from local business and the University and everyone is really eager for us to stay. We\'re in discussions about how we can create an environment where it justifies us staying.”

Speaking with a colleague Dr Robin Jackson of the Innovation Centre, who sits on the ExIST steering group, he said “Fantasy Shopper never ceases to amaze us. In little over a year they have gone from an unknown to one of Europe’s, if not the world’s, most exciting new technology start ups.”

What is clear is that this business is an asset to and currently committed to the City, though they are receiving offers from other countries. It is testimony to the ambition of the company that Fantasy Shopper sees Exeter as the place to grow and develop the business. With ambitious, exciting companies such as this being developed in the South West we have a Silicon sector is emerging. Add into the balance the arguably under-acknowledged number of digital specialists already working locally in organisations such as the Met Office, Thompson Reuters, First DataBank, the Landmark Group and the University, and it poses the question: could Exeter be the next Silicon City?

Visit www.existexeter.co.uk or www.exeterchamber.co.uk for more information

More news

  1. The Exeter Initiative for Science and Technology seeks new Chairperson

    The Exeter Initiative for Science and Technology seeks new Chairperson

    A business person with the skills, experience, and passion to help position Exeter as the region’s centre for science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) is being sought to become the new chairperson of the Exeter Initiative for Science and Technology (ExIST).

    Read article

  2. TEDxExeter’s first Salon to explore cutting edge technology

    TEDxExeter’s first Salon to explore cutting edge technology

    Leading researchers from Google and Amazon will be sharing the latest developments in artificial intelligence at the first TEDxExeter Salon.

    Read article

  3. Exeter City Council backs city’s digital and tech communities

    Exeter City Council backs city’s digital and tech communities

    Exeter is fast becoming known for its thriving technology and digital sectors and Exeter City Council has taken further steps to uphold this, pledging its support to Digital Exeter and Tech Exeter CIC.

    Read article

  4. THE INVENTOR PRIZE (ENTRIES OPEN)

    THE INVENTOR PRIZE (ENTRIES OPEN)

    The Inventor Prize has been launched as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

    Read article

  5. Exeter Science Park seeks new board members

    Exeter Science Park seeks new board members

    Two business people with a passion for science, technology and innovation are being sought to drive forward ambitious plans for the future of Exeter Science Park in key roles as non-executive directors.

    Read article

  6. Securious expands at Exeter Science Park Centre as South West investment in cyber security increases

    Securious expands at Exeter Science Park Centre as South West investment in cyber security increases

    Cyber security compliance company Securious has relocated into larger office space at Exeter Science Park Centre to accommodate its growing workforce.

    Read article

  7. Exeter software company aims to disrupt holiday home rentals industry

    Exeter software company aims to disrupt holiday home rentals industry

    A disruptive software company which aims to revolutionise the holiday homes rentals industry is the latest fast-growth, high tech firm to move into Exeter Science Park Centre.

    Read article

  8. TEDxExeter first Salon to explore cutting edge technology

    TEDxExeter first Salon to explore cutting edge technology

    Leading researchers from Google and Amazon will be sharing the latest developments in artificial intelligence at the first TEDxExeterSalon.

    Read article

  9. Big Bang Science Celebration Returns to Campus

    Big Bang Science Celebration Returns to Campus

    The Big Bang Fair South West returned to the University of Exeter for an explosive celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths on Wednesday 21 June.

    Read article

For older news articles please click here to view our news archive.