The Vita Student Start-up Blog: Ideation

Alexandra Greenhalgh
07.02.20 – 03 Mins Read

Lessons from our resident Vita Student entrepreneurs

The Vita Startup Blog Series is brought to you by Vita Student entrepreneurs Tom Phipps & Max Beech,  the co-founders of Intro – a mobile app designed to completely change the way contact details are exchanged. Exchanging your number and socials has never been easier with Intro’s all-in-one solution. Download here:

Max and Tom co-founded Intro in 2017 whilst still studying at the University of Southampton and living in Vita Student Portswood, taking it from an idea on paper, to an app which is now used all over the world with it gaining new users every single day. At it’s heart, it is an app made by students, for students. It’s for this reason that they’ll be providing a crash course in how to start your own business from scratch, starting today! 

We’re super excited to be kicking off Vita Student’s Startup Blog Series! Over the coming weeks and months, we will be providing a crash course in how you can go about starting your own business, starting today – even whilst at university. We’ll be talking through our experiences in founding our startup, Intro, sharing all the highs and the lows involved with creating a new business, as well as providing a load of shortcuts to help increase your chances of success, by covering the lessons we’ve learnt over the past 4 years.

So you’ve considered starting your own business or a side-hustle whilst at university? Great!

There is no better time to start and explore the world of startups and entrepreneurialism. At university you have the time, an abundance of resources at your fingertips, as well as a massive support network of friends and academics who can help you take your very first steps. More importantly there is little risk involved as you can still leave university with a degree and get a job if things don’t workout. So give it a go!

If anything, you’ll gain a load of experience which few others will ever have – making you even more competitive in the traditional careers market – and, who knows, you might end up starting something which means you’ll never have to “work” again!

But where do you start – where does the idea come from?

For many, ideas often come from their own personal experiences and things which they encounter in everyday life – it might be related to a passion or it might come from something in which you have a particular expertise. But the best way to begin is by looking for problems.

The secret to startup success is by creating something which people want, and often this comes as a result of solving a problem which is faced by many and providing a solution to this. At the end of the day, for a business to be successful, they must be able to monetise it in some way, and this means that at some stage someone has to pay for what you have created. Whilst it may be tempting to chase an idea which you think will make lots of money, a business will only be successful if it can convince customers to part with their money and to do this you will need a compelling reason for them to do so. As a result, it is vital to understand what problem you are solving!

For Intro, the initial idea came about through facing the problem of having to manually input people’s contact details into our phones every time we met someone new, and how that was really inconvenient and time consuming when you were meeting a load of new people; for example at a party or when starting university. We then wanted to see if it was something which others found inconvenient and so spent a couple of months getting other people’s perspectives and understanding the “pains” which they faced. From the feedback we received, it was clear that people disliked having to manually search across numerous social media sites or having to swap phones to add each other’s numbers, and so our idea formulated around solving these issues.

In the next blog, we’ll be covering how you can start tailoring a solution around the problem and making sure that there is a good Problem-Solution Fit – a key part of the “Formation” stage.

In the meantime, just get started! Here’s a list of great resources which can help with the ideation stage. Not only do they provide inspiration for starting your own business at university (motivation is important!) but also act as a useful guide in generating your idea:

  • The Intro Pain Point Canvas:

  • Why you should start your own business at university:

  • Why customer pain is your most important resource

  • What are the best ways to think of ideas for a startup

As always for more information for Intro or any questions, feel free to visit or email me at


Co-Founder of Intro