• Industry mobile expert, Paul Swaddle was part of the team who fed back on the business plan of runner-up, Vana Koutsomitis, in the final of the popular BBC One TV programme
London, 21st December 2015 – Paul Swaddle, CEO ofPocket App, the UK’s largest independent app developer, was part of the guest judging team in last night’s final of the BBC’s hugely popular series, The Apprentice. Paul was part of a panel of industry experts who last night at London’s City Hall, put forward questions and critique on finalist, Vana Koutsomitis’ idea for a new mobile dating app. Vana unfortunately lost out to her competing Apprentice finalist, Joseph Valente and his idea for a plumbing business which also had an app element to it.
Rounding off its eleventh series, The Apprentice follows 18 budding businessmen and women across the course of 12 weeks, as they undergo a series of gruelling challenges that test their commercial and business skills, all under the watchful eye of global business magnate, Lord Alan Sugar. With the number of candidates gradually narrowed down each week, all face the daunting possibility of being “fired” based on their performance. The overall winner receives a significant investment of £250,000 in their own business plan and has the opportunity to become Lord Sugar’s new business partner.
Lord Sugar is often joined in the final stages of The Apprentice by various industry experts who provide valuable insight to enable Lord Sugar to accurately judge the candidates’ business ideas. An expert with a long career in mobile, Paul Swaddle has helped brands such as Kellogg’s, Barclays and Loaded magazine develop first-rate mobile strategies. A widely respected businessman, Paul co-founded Pocket App in 2011 and has led the business to great success as CEO. Off the back of this reputation, Paul was headhunted to be part of this year’s ‘industry expert’ team as an app specialist who grilled finalist Vana Koutsomitis on her ‘gamified’ dating app.
Following the team’s close scrutiny of her concept and business plan, Vana was named runner-up of this year’s Apprentice. Her app, ‘Date Play,’ matches users with mystery partners and encourages them to play online games together. As two users play together, they are gradually allowed details of the person they have been matched with. Paul recognised the potential behind this idea, as it combines two of the biggest current trends in the mobile development space today – online dating and the gamification of daily activities. Facing tough competition, Vana was narrowly beaten by her fellow finalist, 25 year-old Joseph Valente, owner of a plumbing and heating business, who claimed the winner’s title.
In the wake of the announcement, Paul commented, “Making it to the final of The Apprentice is no mean feat, and Vana should be extremely proud of what she has achieved. She has a great business idea and performed very well under considerable pressure in last night’s final, and throughout the series as a whole in fact. It was a real privilege to be involved in the show and I thought Vana’s idea was a great concept but the £250K investment from Lord Sugar was not enough to develop the app fully and turn it into a commercialised product to take too market. In my experience another round of funding is normally required. In fact, we help a lot of app entrepreneurs, not only develop their concept but also raise the money they need to take the app to market, and I am certainly keen to work with Vana to do this if she wants to progress her idea and am already in talks with her about how we might support her.”
Paul is no stranger to judging business pitches, having recently sat on the judging panel of a ‘Best Startup’ contest at Apps World, in which he heard business pitches from 15 new startup companies before naming helpfulpeeps, a new social media network, as the winner. Paul also regularly offers thought leadership on the mobile and app development industry, having appeared previously on BBC News, BBC Radio and Sky News to provide expert comment on trending issues. He writes regular articles and often speaks at leading mobile industry events such as Enterprise Apps World and the GoMobile Congress.
To learn more about Pocket App, and particularly its exciting crowdfunding initiative as the business expands its products, services and team, visit www.pocketapp.co.uk