Saltford student James Courtney launches into the luxury market with app

Published on: 04 Jun 2016

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A young entrepreneur from Saltford is poised to make his award-winning business idea a reality, before he has even left university.

University of Bath student James Courtney, 22, has developed an app that allows customers to earn reward points when they dine out at high-end restaurants in Bristol and Bath, which can then be spent on luxury treats or donated to charity.

The idea for LUX won the university’s business plan competition in April and, as his prize, James, who also won the award in 2015, will soon be travelling to New York and San Francisco to network with university alumni in the States, as well as work with global firms including Facebook, JPMorgan Chase and Eventbrite. James said: “Winning the business plan competition for a second year running is very special, particularly as my business is actually becoming a reality.

“The competition has helped me to develop my idea, provided me with links to investors, and given me the confidence to go forward with the idea.

“I can’t wait for the trip to the States. Experiencing the start-up scene in San Francisco has been a dream for me in the last couple of years and I'm very much looking forward to meeting some inspirational alumni out there."

The third-year business administration student is putting his venture into action, with a number of restaurants already signed up and half of his investment total of £150,000 already secured.

Professor Veronica Hope Hailey, Dean of the School of Management, added: “We’re very proud to count James as one of our students. We’re accustomed to our students spending their placement year at some of the UK’s most prestigious companies and organisations, but to spend the year setting up and running your own business is an impressive undertaking and we wish him every success.”

James has now launched an online crowdfunding campaign, which aims to raise up to £80,000 from new investors.

James said he spotted a gap in the market for a reward scheme for higher spenders at the UK’s “full-service” restaurant market, which has a value of £17.9 billion, he explains.

Working with him on the venture are Bath graduate Josh Maynard, James’ father John Courtney, who has launched and run six companies over the past 35 years, and Richard Godfrey, a former senior architect at Microsoft and founder of local tech company Rocketmakers.

James has ambitious plans for LUX and hopes to see it grow from the South West. He said: “We want to prove the concept in Bristol and Bath, before we scale up and expand into London in 2017.”

The LUX app has launched in the Google and Apple app stores and more information about LUX and James’s crowdfunding campaign is available at ideasquares.com/s/65822e8303

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