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Press Release: OpenGenius secures £1.1M Funding

OpenGenius secures £1.1M of investment

Innovative Welsh firm OpenGenius has secured funding of £1.1m.

With the backing of an equity investment package of £500,000 from the Development Bank of Wales and a further £600,000 from private investors, OpenGenius has its sights on global expansion and stock market flotation.

Cardiff-based OpenGenius, which develops high-tech software for innovators and creative teams, has enjoyed increasing momentum over the past few years.

Task management app, DropTask, has attracted a worldwide customer base, with teams and individuals at Harvard University, Nike, Ralph Lauren, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, among others, all joining its client list. Whilst iMindMap is an all-in-one Mind Mapping and visual thinking tool – the software is used for creative ideation by a large number of varied industries; ranging from education to finance.

In 2017, OpenGenius became the first Welsh company to be selected for the international ‘accelerator’ training and networking programme (ELITE) at the London Stock Exchange. A scheme which has helped them develop their scalable business model as well as building new strategic partnerships, increasing sales and raising awareness of their brand and pioneering products.
The DropTask app brings structure and transparency to every day work by allowing users to assign tasks, display progress, and increase productivity through enhanced collaboration. iMindMap uses brainstorming techniques and an intuitive user interface to facilitate visual and creative thinking; it has been taken up in industries ranging from education to finance.

Owner and founder Chris Griffiths said:

“OpenGenius is excited to gain this investment; it will play a big part in the company’s development over the next year as we continue to expand our international customer base.”

The company’s innovative approach extends beyond its products. Its headquarters lie in Tec Marina, a creative workplace in Penarth. The unit (‘Wales’s answer to Silicon Valley’) was built specifically for OpenGenius to foster an atmosphere of open thinking and entrepreneurship.

“We’re proud to be based in Wales, and firmly believe that DropTask can help people improve their productivity all around the globe. With this investment, we can accelerate the development of DropTask, and be more aggressive in our marketing. We have our sights set on flotation in the very near future, and this investment takes us one step closer.”

Alexander Leigh, a Technology Venture Investments Executive with the Development Bank of Wales who led the transaction said: “This £1.1m investment will provide OpenGenius with the capital it needs to further refine its innovative SAAS platform and accelerate its global expansion plans.

“As lead investor the development bank recognises the importance of the co-investment from sophisticated private investors who bring considerable sector experience to the company.
Chris Griffiths is a respected, Welsh entrepreneur and has built an impressive organisation with an experienced management team which now has the ability to scale up and create additional high calibre jobs at its headquarters in Tec Marina.”

This latest equity investment from the development bank follows a number of recent venture deals focussed on the rapidly expanding software sector within Wales. OpenGenius joins a cohort of the very best Wales based software companies within the Development Bank’s Tech Venture investment portfolio.

This investment was funded by the Wales Business Fund which is part-funded by the ERDF, through the Welsh Government. It was created specifically to support businesses with fewer than 250 employees based in Wales and those willing to move here.

Notes:

The DropTask app is a visual tool that helps teams and individuals manage tasks and projects. It uses a variety of ‘views’ and visual displays to help track the progress of ongoing work, it offers clear visualisation of task ownership and makes timely, in-context team discussion easy without needing to resort to email resulting in flooded inboxes.

iMindMap has successfully digitised mind maps, a technique also known as brainstorming or spider diagrams. The software fosters creativity, allows changes to be easily made and means that multiple teams across the world can share ideas. In a world where innovation is the lifeblood of every prosperous organisation, iMindMap has positioned itself as an indispensable tool.

(Pictured from left to right: Alexander Leigh (Development Bank Wales, Technology Venture Investments Executive), Mark Bate (OpenGenius, CFO), Chris Griffiths (OpenGenius, CEO), Darren Rees (OpenGenius, CTO), Gaile Griffiths (OpenGenius, Operations Director).

What is innovation – and how can your business use it to find success?

Discover Innovation and how to use it for success in your company

What does the word “innovation” mean to your company? Arguably, it is the most important quality a start-up or growing business can have – and that’s exactly why innovation has become something of a buzzword in the world of business.

The problem with buzzwords is that they are generally used without thought or reflection – they become associated with the fluff that companies use to try and sell themselves as progressive and new. But for businesses with genuine values of creativity and change, innovation is the lifeblood that keeps them pushing forward.

With the meaning a little hazy, it’s about time we think about what innovation actually is. By its very nature, innovation is hard to pin down. It can’t be defined as one single thing, and it doesn’t manifest itself in one single way.

Innovation is energy, openness, creativity, enthusiasm, spark, transformation, movement, resilience, creativity, optimism and so much more. To try and summarise it succinctly, innovation is that restless kind of creativity that looks at the way things are done and asks why?

Incorporating innovation into a company doesn’t happen overnight; it requires persistence and a company-wide culture adjustment. But it is possible. So here are 3 ways your company can become more innovative:

rethink mistakes and failure for innovative recovery

Rethink how you tackle mistakes & failure

Everyone makes mistakes – but few make as many as successful people and businesses. In a now famous tale, while on his journey to inventing the light bulb, Thomas Edison said:

“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

This attitude perfectly encapsulates the most productive attitude we can have towards failure – but it is one that many companies find scary to adopt. When you have so many systems put in place to avoid mistakes, you may actually hinder progress

Accepting failure doesn’t mean being sloppy or making the same mistakes again; it is about learning from mistakes so you can get better and – like Thomas Edison – find the way that will work.

improve company culture by letting all voices and ideas be heard

Let all voices be heard

As a general rule, companies are structured in a hierarchical fashion with different levels of seniority within each department – but that structure shouldn’t mean that those lower down aren’t heard.

Creating an environment where every employee feels comfortable and encouraged to share their ideas means you’ll get the very most out of each member of staff. Sometimes it takes a fresh or different perspective to see what needs to change for the better of the whole team.

Instilling this kind of attitude contributes to a company culture where everyone feels acknowledged is an essential element of a positive, hard-working company. Hosting monthly meetings or idea roundups where everyone feels comfortable contributing is one way to start to introduce this inclusiveness within your own company.

ensure you have vision and ambition to make the most of your innovative company

Have vision and ambition

Your company is on a journey – it can’t get to where to it’s going if you don’t have a destination in mind. Every company success story starts as just an idea. The difference between those who make it, and those who don’t, is the energy that’s put in to actually reaching that end goal.  

Everyone has dreams, but to actually achieve them they should be specific. Rather than talking to your employees about wishy-washy ideas of success, tell them exactly what you’d like to achieve. Encourage creative, disruptive thinking within the company – with the ultimate goal of making the company’s vision a reality.

Having the ambition and confidence to aim high is crucial. As mentioned earlier, you can’t let the fear of failure stop you from trying. Weave these values into the foundation of your company and you may be surprised by how far you’ll go.

Discover the innovation process by making real changes to your company culture & strategy – so that you can grow, improve and uncover the best version of your business.

OpenGenius launch new child-friendly Mind Mapping app for iPad, iMindMap Kids

We’re so excited to announce that our highly anticipated Mind Mapping app for children, iMindMap Kids, is out now! Available now on the iPad App Store, iMindMap Kids is a fun and unique Mind Mapping tool, aimed specifically towards children in early school education.

iMindMap Kids welcomes children into the creative world of Mind Mapping, with a child-friendly and colourful design. Features within the app include branch art, draw tool, fun sound effects, snapshot camera, image gallery and a free-hand wiggle branch.

Here’s what CEO of OpenGenius, Chris Griffiths, had to say about the launch of iMindMap Kids: ‘Children are naturally creative, and this app allows them to use this creativity to support their learning and development. We’ve worked hard to make iMindMap Kids a fun place for kids to spend time exploring their own ideas, in school or at home. Children have no limitations to their creativity, something that we adults lose overtime. Give them the right tools and let’s see what they can teach us. I can’t wait to see the awesome Mind Maps that they create with the app!’

Mind Mapping has been proven to develop literacy, creativity and problem-solving skills in children. Stemming from our original tool, iMindMap, iMindMap Kids introduces children of the digital age to Mind Mapping in an easily accessible, fun and engaging app.

iMindMap Kids has already been tried and tested on Key Stage 2 children in a primary school, and the response was awesome from both teachers and students. Hannah Abbott, a year 6 teacher said: ‘My class love to use iMindMap Kids. Mind Mapping is a fantastic way for the children to organise their own thoughts and ideas independently.’

So, what’re you waiting for?

Introduce your child to the wonderful world of Mind Mapping today. Click below to download the iMindMap Kids iPad app now for just £1.99. 

 

OpenGenius team members run Cardiff Half Marathon for charity

They’ve done it! Yesterday, on Sunday 1st October, OpenGenius team members from the Tec Marina running club completed the Cardiff Half Marathon. The running club is made up various members from companies at the Tec Marina office space, including OpenGenius.

The Cardiff Half Marathon, first held in 2003, smashed its own records this year with a total of 25,000 runners taking part in the annual event.

All 12 runners completed the 13.1 mile course around the city, with the fastest member of the team finishing in a fantastic 1 hour and 46 minutes.

The Tec Marina team’s chosen charity for the the event was Tŷ Hafan, one of the leading UK children’s palliative care charities based throughout Wales, and raised an impressive £2,000 in result of their fundraising efforts.

We’d like to say a huge well done to our fantastic colleagues who took part, a superb job done by all. We already can’t wait for next year’s event. 

Digital Festival 2017 roundup

OpenGenius had an important part to play in this year’s Digital Festival, held at Tramshed in Cardiff, on 18th and 19th September. The two-day event showcased the very best of the tech scene in Wales along with centre stage presentations, panels, pitching opportunities and interactive workshops.

During the course of the event, we set up camp at the ‘Nucleus Expo Zone’. The Nucleus Zone was packed with start-up companies exhibiting their finest technical products to the public.

We also had the chance to present in front of a live audience, on the Showcase Stage, along with the rest of this year’s Digital Dozen. Our very own Marketing and Communications Executive, Frankie Birch, presented in front of the Digital Festival’s audience and talked about OpenGenius’ story so far and our exciting plans for the future.

As part of the festival, on Monday 18th, we held our own event at our headquarters, Tec Marina, where the GoCompare boat set sail down the River Taff for delegates to hear more about the opportunities that the London Stock Exchange provides.

Once docked at Tec Marina, attendees were treated to a one-off talk by serial entrepreneur and OpenGenius CEO, Chris Griffiths. Chris was live-streamed from the London Stock Exchange offices into Tec Marina. He provided insight into how OpenGenius became the first ever Welsh business to join their ELITE accelerator programme.

Offering guidance to early-stage companies looking to take their businesses to the next level, the talk aimed to inspire early stage entrepreneurs to not give up at the first hurdle. Griffiths talk ended with his favourite quote: “‘Winners fail more times than losers ever try”.

While aboard the GoCompare boat, delegates also took part in a workshop with Emma Titmus, Business Development Manager at the London Stock Exchange. Emma spoke to attendees about accessing finance for growth, and the acceleration that ambitious companies can gain when they join a programme like ELITE.

We were honoured to have been given the opportunity to be a part of Digital Festival 2017. We’d like to say a huge thank you to Innovation Point for putting on such a superb event, we already can’t wait for next year.

Join us at Tec Marina during Digital 2017 to hear our CEO talk live from LSE

 

On September 18th-19th, we’ll be attending Wales’ biggest digital event ‘Digital 2017’. The event will be hosted by Innovation Point, and held at The Tramshed, Cardiff. During the Digital Festival we’ll be joining hundreds of digital innovators, entrepreneurs and investors, to discuss and showcase the very best of the tech scene in Wales.

As part of Digital, we’ll be hosting our own event at our OpenGenius headquarters, Tec Marina. The GoCompare boat will be collecting delegates from Tramshed on Monday 18th September at 3:30pm. From there, it will set sail down the River Taff for Tec Marina, Penarth. At Tec Marina, our CEO, Chris Griffiths, will be talking live from the London Stock Exchange. Chris will share insight into how OpenGenius became the first ever Welsh company to join the London Stock Exchange’s ELITE accelerator programme, and how he sees this impacting the future of Wales.

Secure your place for free today to avoid disappointment. Book now

You can catch some of our OpenGenius team in The Tramshed across the two days of Digital 17. We’ll be joined by the rest of the Digital Dozen finalists at the Nucleus Startup Zone. Here we’ll be discussing what we’ve been working on, and sharing our plans for the upcoming months. Plus, on Monday 18th, we’ll be revealing some exciting plans that we’ve been working on and sharing these as part of the Digital Dozen showcase pitches – a session not to be missed! Tweet us and let us know if you’re attending: @OpenGenius #ImGoingtoDigital

To view the full agenda of the nation’s biggest Digital festival, click here.

OpenGenius CEO, Chris Griffiths, sheds light on his journey to ELITE

 

OpenGenius CEO, Chris Griffiths, at the London Stock Exchange.

Back in April, we announced that we were the first Welsh company to join the London Stock Exchanges ELITE accelerator programme. Since then, things have been moving forward pretty quickly.

OpenGenius, CEO, Chris Griffiths, has been travelling back and forth to London for his regular cohort meetings with the ELITE group. The OpenGenius story has been presented at the top of the UK’s tallest building, the Shard, a 95-story skyscraper looking over the sights of London. Chris has had the opportunity to work with key mentors, industry experts and investors who’ve been providing him with the guidance he needs to take OpenGenius to the next level.

With the hopes of floating on the AIM market in fewer than 18 months, it’s an exciting time for all of us here at OpenGenius. Eager to hear more about our plans during and after ELITE? Follow the link below to hear Chris Griffiths lift the lid on the next chapter in the OpenGenius story:

https://uk.elite-growth.com/en/companies/opengenius

OpenGenius announced as one of Innovation Point’s 2017 Digital Dozen

We are pleased to announce that OpenGenius has been made one of 2017’s Digital Dozen finalists, and has won a place on this year’s accelerator programme. The programme is made up of ambitious Welsh tech start-ups and scale-ups making waves within the digital sector. Launched by Welsh Government’s Innovation Point, the Digital Dozen programme aims to amplify the diverse range of tech services and products that Wales has to offer.

Our CEO and Founder, Chris Griffiths, commented on OpenGenius’ appointment to the programme: ‘We feel very lucky to have been accepted onto the programme among some outstanding entrepreneurs. The next few months are shaping up to be really exciting for us at OpenGenius, and we’re really looking forward to working with a range of experienced mentors during the Digital Dozen programme’.

Innovation Point has great ambitions to make Wales the second biggest digital economy outside of London. Over six months, the Digital Dozen programme will connect its finalists with investors and mentors in the aim to boost growth and strengthen Wales’ status as a global digital player.

We’re so excited to have been given the opportunity to be a part of 2017’s Digital Dozen and are looking forward to the exciting and fast-paced months ahead!

To learn more about the Digital Dozen, click here.

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As finalists of the Digital Dozen,  we have also been invited to be attend Wales’ biggest digital event ‘Digital 17’. The event, hosted by Innovation Point, is taking place in The Tramshed, Cardiff, this September 18-19. At Digital 17 we’ll be joining hundreds of digital innovators, investors and entrepreneurs, to discuss and showcase all things tech in Wales. If you’re attending the event, pop on over to the ‘Start-up Zone’ to meet the OpenGenius team and hear all about what we’ve been busy working on. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed with what we have in store, and we can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

You can register your attendance here.

Stay on top of all our latest news by following us on Twitter @OpenGeniusltd and signing up to our OpenGenius newsletter here.

OpenGenius joins London Stock Exchange’s Elite UK

OpenGenius, the creators of iMindMap and DropTask, achieved a Welsh first this week when we joined the London Stock Exchange’s Elite UK. The Elite UK community includes over 520 businesses, from across 26 countries and 36 sectors, so we’re thrilled to be the first Welsh firm on this special accelerator programme. OpenGenius has already seen excellent growth globally, and we can’t wait to drive that forward with ELITE. We’re so excited to see what the future holds for us – watch this space!

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3 easy ways to stimulate creativity when you’re feeling uninspired

It may seem that only the likes of Stephen Hawking, Arianna Huffington and Richard Branson ever generate ground-breaking ideas, and that they go through some secret, complicated process to produce them. Well first of all, you don’t have to be a millionaire CEO to be a creative genius. And secondly, there are simple, everyday techniques you can perform to tap into your creative powers and draw out your own brilliant ideas. These techniques are designed to allow your mind to wander. This means that you will come up with ideas without working your brain too hard. So let’s take a look at them…

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