UCL Innovation and Enterprise



16 August 2013

Providing high quality synchronised swimming performances

Who are Aquabatix?

Aquabatix are an event company providing high quality synchronised swimming performances. The company was founded in 2004 by Katie Fried and Adele Carlsen who both competed internationally since the age of 11. As well as being duet partners, Katie’s experience in event management and Adele’s talent of choreography make them the perfect business partners.


Throughout their swimming careers they have performed in an array of events including modelling for Alexander McQueen and appearing on television. Through this experience they found their business niche of entertaining through this fantastic sport.

When Katie and Adele met with their mentor Cecilia Kragsterman through the UCL Advances SMILE programme, they were seeking to make their business more commercial and sustainable as well as working out how best to utilise each other’s strengths.

How did UCL help?

SMILE mentor, Cecilia’s 20 years experience in the services sector as a Senior Executive and Non Executive Director and her business background with mentoring experience meant she was the perfect sounding board to help Katie and Adele reach their key objectives.

Cecilia identified that Aquabatix needed help with their strategy including how to use their limited resources to maximise sales and how to improve their marketing approach. After reaching the semi-finals on Britain’s Got Talent in 2011, they needed to leverage the national coverage.

When Katie and Adele met it was crunch time as they were questioning if they should continue and if they could afford both salaries. “The mentor challenged us to think about ways to make things work – different ways of approaching work. The commercial focus was the culmination of a 6 month plan. We stuck to the plan religiously, delivered salaries and paid back any loans. The plan looked at how we worked together, where we were making money and where was the profit. This then became our focus for getting more of this type of work – even though it took us out of our comfort zone! We also cut unnecessary costs.”

“ Turnover has been higher in the last 5 months than the previous 18 months”

What were the results?

Both Katie and Adele were trying to find their feet with working together in the most effective way – the shared commercial experience and how to work in partnership was crucial to the business. Cecilia’s advice and support helped bring structure to the future plans of Aquabatix.

The discussions between them and their mentor made them stronger and gave them more confidence and conviction. Aquabatix have also seen an increase in turnover which has been more in the last 5 months than the previous 18 months.

They are now setting their future objectives including having a physical presence overseas, in Dubai for example.