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Stellup – The LSE Startup for Alumni by Alumni

Since it’s establishment in 2008, LISA has steadily grown as an Alumni network. However, Alumni networks and Associations promoting and maintaining their relationship with their Alma matter , is not as a strong culture in the United Kingdom as it is in the United States.

Guiseppe Belpiede, an LSE graduate of the Department of Management in 2011, realized the weakness in the alumni network and decided to do something about it. He decided to launch Stellup, a mobile app startup that connects alumni around the world to each other. In a Facebook fashion, they started with LSE and are growing their network to Alumni of Universities worldwide.

Charles (ADMIS’07) sat down with Guiseppe and asked him about Stellup

LISA: How did you come up with the idea to start Stellup?

We came up with the idea for Stellup after we graduated from university and experienced first-hand how challenging it can be to make new friends when relocating or travelling a lot. Before we founded Stellup, and in our first jobs after graduation, we lived in over 15 different countries. Whenever we arrived in a new place, we always try to connect with other alumni from LSE, CEMS, Bocconi or people who have worked at the same places as us, but we found that there was no easy way to find the right people to meet.

After we built the alumni networking piece, we realized that university fundraising needs even more help to go to mobile and to adopt an approach more similar to crowdfunding campaigns where supporters are helping towards a specific goal, in a social way and receiving perks however small they might be

LISA: What does Stellup do?

We help universities and high schools bring alumni networking and fundraising to mobile. Networking events, seminars and Public Speaker events are definitely great ways to bring Alumni together, but its mostly advertised through university websites or through social networks. People today look at their mobile phones as their main source of information. Websites and networks need to come to you now, when the “old” alumni networks still expect people to come to them , by visiting their website or their group.

Our app helps alumni and students meet new inspiring people, whether it is to find a local connection when travelling or to grow their professional network.

Similarly we help universities and associations get their communities more engaged on mobile and then let them fundraising for specific campaigns on our app. We see this as an enabler tool for universities to reach their community after they walk off the campus and into their professional lives. 

LISA: So how can Alumni use Stellup?

How many times you moved to a new city for work or holidays and wanted to connect with local people like you? Stellup is now the fastest way to get in touch with other LSE Alumni nearby. It’s a simple app that uses your current location to show you alumni near by, in a “tinder” fashion, where you can propose to connect with alumni from your School network .

Stellup takes your interests into account when connecting you with new people, which could lead to multiple opportunities: a new job, friendship, an interesting talk or precious tips and support. It also gives you the ability to fine tune who you want to connect, instead of going into an alumni network (if there is one) and working your way through people who may or may not have shared interests. It’s also great for shy people who are not as good with crowded rooms which can often be daunting.

By signing up with their Facebook (and soon Linkedin) account, users will be able to connect with and chat other LSE alumni nearby and/or with common interests.

Also, networks are invite-only, so only “genuine” alumni from the same university networks can connect to each other.

LISA: Tell us about the Stellup team, and how is the startup doing

We are a group of 10 core team members spread between San Francisco, London and Belgrade. We’re three founders, one marketing person and the rest are software developers. We got our first seed capital (in total 280k USD) from angels and seed funds in San Francisco, Rome and Mexico City.

We were selected by 2 incubators programs for 2 equity free grants of 40k USD, namely Start-Up Chile and Parallel 18.

LISA: How did your LSE experience influence your career path? Do you still leverage what you learned during your LSE year today?

A lot as through the LSE and my CEMS exchange in Brazil, I learnt Portuguese and then got my first job at Rocket Internet there. I still fully leverage the LSE network when I travel to new cities to meet other alumni and currently with Stellup I am trying to make this even better for LSE alumni. As they say , I actually drink my own Koolaid.

LISA: What do you see as the future of your business? Any major plans you’d like to share?

Our major plans rely around university fundraising since it very much needs to evolve.

While US institutions are very good and aggressive in fundraising, building what is a huge $37bn fundraising market, they are not on mobile at all yet and that is a huge opportunity for Stellup.

At the same time we want to bring US culture and learnings about fundraising back to Europe and Latin America to grow the markets there and leapfrog straight to mobile.

LISA: So how can we download the App???

Not just download the App, but there is a special code for LSE Alumni to get the best of the App and the LSE Network straight away!

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iSCHANNEL Call for Papers

The iSCHANNEL, now in its eleventh year of publication cordially invites you all to submit papers for the 2016 volume.

iSCHANNEL is a student journal of information systems, based at the Information Systems and Innovation Faculty Group of the LSE Department of Management. As a core subject, our journal focuses on the study of information and communication technologies (ICTs), and on the social implications of technological innovation. Still, research works from other perspectives are welcome, provided that they place the discussion on ICTs at the core of analysis and problematization.

Submissions for the 2016 issue will need to come in the form of research papers, revolving around one or more of the themes inscribed in the intellectual tradition of information systems. Authors are strongly encouraged to present papers where theory, while being clearly outlined, is matched by empirical studies, on which clear implications are predicated.

The deadline for final submission of work is on the 31st of March 2016. Manuscripts should be sent directly to is.channel@lse.ac.uk.

Paper submission guidelines: 

  • Manuscripts have a word limit of 4000 words. This includes title and footnotes, but excludes abstracts (max. 300 words), references and appendices.
  • All manuscripts should be submitted in MS Word format.
  • No material will be considered for publication if it is currently under consideration by another journal or press, or if it has been published or is soon to be published elsewhere.
  • Contributors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce any material in which they do not own copyright.

 

How to submit your paper 

  • Only electronic submissions (via e-mail) will be accepted
  • The subject of the email should be in the following format:

Paper Surname (e.g. PaperName Smith)

  • Email body should include:
    Full Name
    Programme and Department (Alumni provide graduation year as well)
    Title, Keywords, Word count (excl. references)

You can access the past issues here – http://www.lse.ac.uk/management/research/faculty-groups/is-faculty-group/is-channel.aspx

Looking forward to your submissions!

LNETM – February 2016 – Looking forward to see you there!

Join fellow technologists, entrepreneurs, and investors for the September London Enterprise Technology Meetup (LNETM) on Monday 15th February 2016 from 7:00pm – 9:00pm.

February’s LNETM will have a Cyber Security focus and, in collaboration with the global VC firm Accel Partners, we have put together an amazing line-up of speakers, including a panel discussion with:

• Alex Van Someren (Partner at Amadeus Capital)

• Edward Hammond (Security Architecture Executive from Deutsche Bank)

• Elisabetta Zaccaria (Founder of CyberY)

• James Cameron (Investor at Accel Partners, Moderator)

In addition, there will be demo presentations from three highly innovative UK based Cyber Security companies:

• Darktrace uses new technologies to iteratively learn a pattern of life for every network, device and individual user, correlating this information in order to spot subtle deviations that indicate in-progress threats, creating a proactive enterprise immune system.

• Miracl’s open source platform (called Apache Milagro) will enable a distributed trust paradigm to replace commercial certificate authorities ushering in a new, more secure, post-PKI Internet.

• Panaseer provides beautiful, timely, explorable security Intelligence to enable better communication with key stakeholders, based on an extensible “Data lake” platform that collects and combines data from many sources.

There will also be some short talks from various industry professionals, including James Chappell (CTO & Co-Founder of Digital Shadows) and Dexter Casey (Expert Cyber Security Responder)

Sign up today and don’t forget to tell your friends/colleagues

Looking forward to seeing you all soon!

 

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******* LISA Annual Christmas Dinner *******

The LISA Social Committee is pleased to invite you to our annual Christmas Dinner, building on the great successes of the many dinners we have been hosting for the last few years. It will be an evening to catch up with old classmates and meet new ones, enjoy some good food and indulge in a few drinks!

WHEN
WHERE
Preem – 118-122 Brick Lane London E1 6RL GB – View Map

          Get your tickets before they run out!!!

BUY TICKET

 

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LISA 3rd Annual Picnic – Hyde Park !

Where: Hyde Park – Near the Serpentine  

When:  Saturday, 29th of August, 2015

2 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Cost:    Free to attend

Things to note: We will be near the Serpentine Lido where there is a coffee shop and toilets (See map) . Contact Prof. Steve or Elena or email (alena_trifonova@yahoo.com) or use the Facebook event!

All alumni and friends and family are welcome! 

If you are in London, please come along to our third annual alumni summer picnic in Hyde Park on Saturday 29th of August at 14:00.

Bring your family and classmates, meet old friends or make new ones. Light snacks will be provided, but please feel free to bring additional snacks to share with other participants. We will provide all paper products (aka, cups, plates, etc) … while quantities last. Please Bring Your Own Alcohol.

Food, fun, games and hopefully sunshine! You can cycle there, bring a football, or anything you like to do on a day in the park!

Click on the Facebook link to RSPV.

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Rain or Shine

Remember, this is London. Rain can turn into a beautiful day within minutes (hopefully!). In case of rain we will meet inside serpentine cafe.

Make sure to wear comfortable clothing and sunscreen!

How to get there

Nearest tube station is Lancaster gate – go through the park in front of the station, walk past the Italian fountains and follow the footpath to the Serpentine.

Old Bank of England Meetup – 13th May 2015

Spring has arrived! Join your fellow alumni on :

Wednesday 13th May 2014

The Old Bank of England Pub

194 Fleet St City of London, EC4A 2LT

7 pm till late

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This will be a good networking opportunity with fellow alumni and meet your classmates. Join us and feel free to bring your friends and classmates along.

See you there!

March (Irish Themed) 2015 LN Enterprise Tech Meetup

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  • Join fellow technologists, entrepreneurs, and investors for an Irish Themed London Enterprise Technology Meetup (LNETM) on Monday 16th March 2015 from 7:00pm – 9:00pm.

    To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland, we will have three great company demo presentations from:

    • Moqom provides a suite of identity and security products, based on competency in mining mobile network data, to provide a high level of certainty when it comes to confirming identity, enhancing the end users experience in areas like payments and frictionless secure logon

    • ServiceFrame provides software/services that enable the institutionalisation of core governance processes including continuous improvement and risk management, to build transparent business relationships and demonstrate service provider alignment with customer objectives

    • Barricade is a self-learning early warning system and recommendation engine that is built to account for the changing landscape of cloud computing and containerization, with focus on allowing organizations to deploy security early in their application development lifecycle and continuously throughout deployment

    Sign up today and don’t forget to tell your friends/colleagues.

    Looking forward to seeing you all soon!

This event is free for Information Systems Alumni. Contact ian@lnetm.com to register for FREE. (The meetup page requires a £5 registration ).

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October Pub Meetup Proves Big Hit

With autumn kicking in and the warm summer we so well enjoyed only a distant memory, the year kicked off with another LISA meetup at the Old Bank of England . As some 40 or so alumni and a current students met for drinks.

Arguably one of the more popular pub meetups in LISA’s young history, the club room wasn’t big enough and we spilled out into the remaining parts of the OBE, as people chatted and enjoyed many beverages, to the later hours of the evening.

A fantastic start for the year and everyone already looking forward to the annual Xmas dinner!

Sadly the photographer couldn’t make it……!

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Online Dating Secrets – PreTinder – The Picture Optimiser App

It’s starting to get cold in London, as we catch the tail of September and the cold is settling in. The midsummer night dreams have gone, and the holiday period lull is coming to an end.  Determined and ready for the second and last run of the year, many will be determined to make the best out of what is left of the year.

With online dating now becoming mainstream, for many of us in big cities, turning to the web to find love, friendship and companionship has become a no-brainer. Working the startup circuit, be it through the London Enterprise Tech Meetup, or through other various mediums such as The Golden Network and other bit.ly(s)  and pieces , I’ve attended many an event just a walk down from my office on FinTech Square. FinTech Square being the cluster on Finsbury Square where many of the financial data companies (and Oracle now) have taken residence.

Nevertheless, the more interesting things I’ve heard in and around Silicon Roundabout, are probably the ones I’ve eavesdropped on in small coffee shops such as my favorite haunt Paper and Cup . The last one I overheard was about a new company trying to crack the Pre-Online Dating space, a well known issue of everyone who has tried online dating knows that the space is fickle, and is more of a jungle than a promised land.

The Online Dating Landscape:

OkCupid, the online dating site with a “gradual” online dating business model, i.e. There is no subscription fee and users can use the site to browse and contact each other for free, recently published their research that they have been experimenting on users by randomising their matching algorithm to “fudge” the percentage matches of incompatible people with each other. This was in response to Facebook recent admission that they also experimented on their users.

So they would show a fake 90% match when according to their traditional matching algorithm, which uses information listed on your profile, questions you’ve answered and preferences to match people, it would be 30% match. They reached the astonishing revelation that people just look at the picture.The percentage match did little to affect whether people contact each other or not. I won’t delve into their findings (and admission that they have no idea what they are doing) you can read them here. However…

It’s just about the picture? Shock and awe. Panic, mayhem.

Little do people know, that OkCupid, is a site actually owned by match.com – a behemoth in the online dating space, which uses a subscription based model. i.e. you have to subscribe to the site to be able to use it to contact people. They don’t admit that people only look at the picture because that would be an assassination of their business model, making all matching sites just about the same – so why pay for subscribing?

Tinder: Next Generation Dating

One must notice the parallels. Facebook has turned into a photosharing mechanism and entertainment link-sharing medium. To my admission of Mark Zuckerber’s good insight is his purchase of Instagram. Preposterous to acquire a 40 people company for $1 Billion, yet now dwarfed by WhatsApp acquisition. Snapchat continues to resist, however, what became obvious is that it’s all about the picture. Tinder, the defacto dating app of the moment, did acknolwedge that it is indeed all about the picture, and has taken away all the clutter. Swipe in either direction based on what you see. Simple, easy. As it’s become incredibly popular in big cities, using it’s location based mechanism, which thrives on densely populated cities such New York and Los Angeles, who have more women ratios to men according to Trulia’s map.  Rumor has it that you now can go on a “Tinder” holiday where you are “taken” to locations with high density of the opposite sex. (Apparently Merseyside is the place to be in England for men.)  They say humans instinctively identify with facial structures to figure out compatibility. You can even try it for yourself here. You can also read Joe Navarro’s FBI Guide to Speed Reading people through body language.

PreTinder – the PreDating app

Finally, to my eavesdropping at a cafe in Shoreditch. Apparently there is a new application called Hinge where you can meet people through friends. I am not quite sure that is the right path because I have been told by some swimming friends that they do not wish for their friends to be recommended to them by a dating app. So given that Tinder has proved the conjecture that it truly is all about the picture, it is very important that you choose the right picture that would maximize your chances.  Not only should you have tigers and koalas caressing pauses, but you should also show a picture that brings your best features into light (literally).  So the way I understood the PreTinder app works is you upload a picture and release it to the online community. It’s currently in beta phase where it’s just available to women (a tried and tested technique based on social networks that are predominantly used by women , with other successful apps such LuLu the app that allows women to rate men) the PreTinder app also mimics the Facebook like functionality by allowing your friends to rate your picture. No contact or matching happens.  So, screen the picture, then put the highest rated one on your actual dating profile and wait for love to come waltzing in…..

I can’t stop but think that this is just HotOrNot all over again. Which proves that ideas in Technology are just recycled, and mostly cyclical (and synical).