It has been a great privilege to be Vice-Provost (Enterprise) at UCL and inevitably as I pack my bags to make the long trip from Gordon Street to the Wellcome Trust on Euston Road, I have been reflecting on the last five years. So much has changed and so much has been achieved by UCL.
UCL student’s bid to end paper receipts backed by Clinton Global Initiative
18 April 2013
They’re a daily annoyance – stuffing wallets and cluttering drawers and desks all over the country. Yet one UCL student is hoping to consign the paper receipt to history – and has had the backing of the Clinton Global Initiative to do so.
Will Hines – a final year Bachelor's student in Computer Science at UCL – came up with the idea when talking with friends and he scribbled it down, ironically, on two receipts lying to hand. Reseed aims to eliminate them across university campuses and in the wider community, through substituting paper for e-receipts. Participating retailers donate a percentage of the saved printing costs to a tree-planting charity.
“Paper receipts use huge quantities of water, trees, oil and heat to produce, yet are a complete nuisance to everyone I know. For most purchases, a paper receipt is completely unnecessary – if I’m buying a cup of coffee, I don’t need two pieces of paper as proof,” says Will.
“For larger purchases, too, a digital receipt is easier to file – and find – if something goes wrong. The technology has been proven, with retailers such as Apple adopting the technology. With the prevalence of smartphones, widespread adoption is the logical next-step.”
As part of his launch of Reseed, Will recently attended a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University in Washington University, and made a Commitment to Action – a unique feature of membership of CGIU membership – to ensure his initiative addresses social or environmental challenges on campus and beyond. He also published an article in the Huffington Post, after being selected by Chelsea Clinton as a commitment of personal interest.
It isn’t the first time Will has ventured into the business world – he has previously built experience through launching Near, an events discovery service, with UCL graduate Matthias Link.
“Near has evolved massively – allowing you to discover local events in your networks, drawing from Facebook, Meetup, and other sources.”, Will says.
With Near developing, and emboldened with a round of seed investment, Will travelled to Croatia last summer take part in Seedcamp, and has entered several other business plan competitions with his idea, including LeWeb, QPrize and the UKTI Pitching Den, from which he won a booth at Las Vegas’ CES conference. However, he is now focusing his efforts on Reseed alongside fellow UCL History undergraduate, Rachel Clemo.
“This is just the first step for Reseed”, says Will. “We are looking at working to convert UCL outlets to e-receipts, and from there, expanding to London, the UK, and beyond.”