Three businesses funded by Virgin StartUp win trip to Detroit

Three entrepreneurs funded by Virgin StartUp have won the opportunity to develop their business growth strategy in the sky with Sir Richard Branson.  This is part of an all expenses paid trip to Detroit where they’ll join Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural flight to the city on June 11th.

The businesses joining the trip are: 

Charlotte Cramer from Tower Hamlets – co-founder of Glow Away.


Glow Away launched in March this year after 24 year-old Charlotte received a £11,300 loan from Virgin StartUp.  It’s the first psychologist-approved solution to fear of the dark. It consists of a bedtime story book and a glow in the dark duvet-set that helps children to overcome their fear of the dark. The company achieved over fifty sales in its first week of trading and continues to go from strength-to strength.

George Edwards, from Canterbury – founder of Gas Sense


Gas Sense launched last year after receiving a £19,000 Virgin StartUp loan and an additional £15,000 from crowdfunding. 19 year-old, George developed the idea for this business when he was still at school. Gas Sense uses a sensor strip that attaches magnetically to the side of a gas bottle and monitors how much gas remains. The information is then transmitted to a screen or smartphone, giving a percentage fill and an estimated time when the gas will run out. Gas Sense has now sold a pilot batch to a multi-national gases company.

Sam Morgan, from Leeds – founder of Paria

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Paria launched in March after 38 year-old entrepreneur Sam secured a £15,000 Virgin StartUp loan His company, Paria, produces urban influenced cycling apparel using up and coming artists and designers. In a short amount of time, the company has already had great success including securing distribution with an independent northern cycling business, sponsored a Transcontinental Racer and linking with local businesses to stage the Tour de Yorkshire show in Leeds.

Other experts joining the trip

Joining the winners on the flight will beTom Wood, Trading Director of Rapha, the sportswear and lifestyle brand and Julie Dean, the Founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company. Who will give advice on expanding a business abroad and dealing with growth as a small businesses.

Once landed they will also meet Rob Love, Chairman of the UK's largest crowdfunding platform, Crowdfunder. Rob will be on hand to give them advice on looking for follow on funding which might be needed to fuel the growth of these startups. 

“These three companies are fantastic examples of British businesses looking to make their mark on a global scale, “ said Richard Branson. “I’m looking forward to working with Charlotte, Sam and George to help develop the next stage of their business plans.  Detroit is a city ripe with start-ups and this is a fantastic opportunity for them to gain great business advice and build her understanding of the US market and how their business could expand there. It’s set to be a great trip!”

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