16 August 2013
From idea to thriving business
In 2010, having left her job as a barrister, Dupsy Abiola was embarking on a new venture in the form of Intern Avenue, a mutually beneficial platform to better connect companies looking to hire interns and recent graduates looking for internship opportunities. Her own experience of the inefficiencies of law firms hiring interns as well as her younger sister’s own struggle to find employment, following university, had been the inspiration behind Intern Avenue, and she was now in a position to turn her ideas into actions.
While Dupsy had a clear vision of what she wanted her website to achieve, she wasn’t able to provide developers with the level of technical knowledge required to fully launch the site nor to feel confidence that the development work done was solid. This is when Dupsy turned to SMILE and UCL Advances, who was able to match her with Chris Mullaley, senior developer and development team leader, who is also a UCL graduate in Biophysics. As Intern Avenue went through the initial phases of development, Chris was an invaluable source of information, and was able to give his thoughts and opinions on new ideas, as well as providing the much needed technical knowledge to get the project off the ground.
Working with Chris enabled Dupsy to successfully launch her website in its beta version in 2011 to a very warm reception, gaining interest from an array of sources including student unions, universities and corporations. Intern Avenue was coming together as a viable service, and the site began to gain traction. Development continued on the site and investment was secured to fund a larger team to take the business forward.
With Intern Avenue growing beyond its initial stages, Chris was in a position to look at other mentoring opportunities for innovative SMEs still in the position where he initially found Intern Avenue. He has shown keen interest in working with other companies registered with SMILE and will no doubt be a fantastic mentor for other start-ups seeking technical expertise.
“I will not forget the support and help that I have received from SMILE. We have only just begun – there are many very exciting things to come!” Dupsy Abiola, Founder, Intern Avenue.
In the spring of 2012, Dupsy walked into the Dragon’s Den and made an impressive pitch leading two dragons to make her an offer. Inern Avenue’s future certainly looks bright and promising.