Updated: 15/12/16 : 06:17:38
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Sligo SME lands UK university contract

A small Irish start-up has signed a contract with The University of Manchester to develop a wellbeing mobile application for the institution’s 40,000 students and 10,000 staff members.

StudyBundles, which is headquartered at IT Sligo’s Innovation Centre, also has an office in Manchester, less than a mile from the University’s Oxford Road campus.

The innovative new software will utilise the latest native app technologies, building on the success of StudyBundles’ established CampusConnect product, which is already helping boost student enrolments for a number of leading Irish universities.

The company has also just signed a new contract to provide the CampusConnect app at Limerick IT and recently renewed its deals with the University of Limerick, Maynooth University and Letterkenny IT. StudyBundles is currently in talks with several other UK and Irish institutions on providing them with CampusConnect.

Two of the company founders — Declan Sweeney and John O’Hagan — spent several years living in Manchester and London before returning home to the West of Ireland to set up StudyBundles.

Declan and the third co-founder, Daniel Hinkley, were both lecturers before setting up the business and are “also former students at the University of Manchester. Daniel runs the company’s Manchester office.

The bespoke wellbeing app, developed for the University of Manchester, is an extension of StudyBundles’ CampusConnect app.

User Preferences

With advanced personalisation features, push notifications and geolocation functionality, the app will serve individual users with information tailored to them.

Details of wellbeing events and activities on campus and in and around the local area will be delivered according to user preferences, alongside real-time information about what is happening close by.

The University of Manchester is the largest single-site university in the UK and has the biggest student community of around 40,000 students and has 10,000 staff.

Declan Sweeney, StudyBundles CEO and co-founder said, “The University of Manchester is one of the most prestigious in the UK and this project is something we are really pleased to be involved in. This is major validation for us as a young business and an opportunity to build on the success of our core product, CampusConnect. The fact that Dan (Hinkley) and I are Manchester graduates makes this all the more pleasing and we’re excited to get started.”  

 Paul Govey, Head of Student Communications and Marketing at The University of Manchester, said,  “After discussions with a number of potential providers, StudyBundles were chosen for this project as they demonstrated an instant understanding of how we wanted to work together on this development with student and staff needs at the heart of the project.

“Their individual backgrounds in Higher Education, both as Manchester graduates and lecturers in the sector ensured they really understood the objectives first rather than pushing a particular technical path. Their work with the University of Limerick ably demonstrated that they then would follow this with effective innovative solutions.”

'Exciting Challenge'

Operations Director and co-founder Daniel Hinkley said, “The advanced personalisation means the app will be relevant to each student and staff member; providing the right information, to the right person, at the right time.

“Our CampusConnect product has been helping universities engage with prospective students and turn offers into enrolments.  Engaging current students and staff in their own wellbeing is something slightly different and we’re delighted The University of Manchester has seen the value we can add. It’s an exciting challenge and an opportunity to extend CampusConnect into a campus-wide communication tool.”  

StudyBundles, an Enterprise Ireland client, was founded in 2015 by lecturers Declan Sweeney, Daniel Hinkley and motion graphic designer John O’Hagan. The team was working as lecturers in London and Manchester when they came up with the idea for the business.