How Bath company Lanyrd was born after food poisoning honeymoon
A company which began as a result of food poisoning has secured $1.4 million investment.
Lanyrd was started by University of Bath computer science graduates Natalie Downe and Simon Willison in 2010 on their honeymoon in Morocco.
Having fallen ill with food poisoning during Ramadan, when meals can be difficult to get during daytime, the couple decided to hire an apartment with a kitchen and cook for themselves.
While ill, the pair came up with the idea for Lanyrd, an online social conference directory that helps users keep tabs on people and events related to conferences they are attending.
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Lanyrd is available as a website and as a smartphone app, and allows users to find conferences, see which conferences their friends are attending, meet others who are attending, and share materials and conversation.
The couple launched the programme to their friends within four days from their apartment in Casablanca, and went public less than two weeks later.
Despite a rather unusual beginning, the pair secured funding from startup accelerator Y Combinator and spent three months attending the accelerator's start-up school in Mountain View, California, where the couple were able to develop it further and secure funding from investors in the Silicon Valley.
Natalie said: "We have come such a long way from our time as undergraduate students at the University of Bath. We both studied computer science which gave us the core skills to develop the app and start a business.
"The way we started Lanyrd wasn't conventional, but that just shows that there is no correct way to go into business. It's having the right idea and then the passion to execute it that really counts.
"The investment we received and our time at Y Combinator has been a huge vote of confidence in our product and capabilities, and has allowed us to hire a really good team.
"We're now working on updates and innovations to Lanyrd, and are exploring different opportunities for revenue generation from the product."