Young entrepreneurs get ‘bit’ between their teeth

Alex Malkin and Dale Green University entrepreneurs Dale Green (left) and Alex Malkin - photo courtesy of Simon Dewhirst

Thu, 21 Jul 2016 10:44:00 BST

Bithive Innovative social media platform Bithive is just the business for Huddersfield entrepreneurs Alex and Dale

‌TWO University of Huddersfield students who met at special enterprise sessions for ambitious entrepreneurs have teamed up to create an innovative social media platform that they believe will have a global impact by revolutionising the way communities work.

It is named Bithive, and creators‌‌ have now launched it as a new business venture.  They are seeking investment to enable them to employ staff to accelerate the development process, which involves coding a website and mobile app.  The aim is to go live next year.

The platform allows groups of people to create online communities about their common interests, for a limitless range of topics such as video games, movies, music, celebrities, hobbies, tourism or even physical communities, such as villages or schools.

“There isn’t really a platform at the minute that focuses just on communities on the internet,” said Alex, who has now graduated with First Class Honours from his architecture degree course at the University.  He is CEO of the newly-launched company.

“Facebook does have ‘groups’, but it’s not its main feature and there are a lot of problems, such as the fact that Facebook forces people to use their real names,” he added.

Dale said: “The Facebook experience is centred around individual users.  Bithive is all about the community”.

Bithive Both Alex and Dale – who is in the final year of his computer games programming course – describe themselves as “proud nerds” who have been immersed in computers, coding and website development since their early teens.

‌Dale – in charge of technical development at Bithive – already has a company named Greeny Games and Alex’s activities have included creating an online video game journal called LambdaGeneration.  When that started to receive a million hits a month, the seeds of the Bithive concept were sown, when he realised there was a gap in the cyber market for a dedicated, user-friendly platform that would make it easy to set up communities where people could share ideas, gossip and information about any subject that enthused them.

Alex and Dale met while attending the Enterprise Team Event Series – talks for those interested in self-employment, freelancing and business start-up that are  part of the programme offered by the Enterprise Team, at The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Centre, which operates from the University of Huddersfield.

Dale was on the Enterprise Placement Year built into his degrees course, while Alex, as a graduate, was taking up the opportunity of free support and advice available to former students for up to five years after graduation.

The two were introduced by Business Adviser Catherine McGrath, and when Alex started to describe the Bithive concept, Dale soon saw the possibilities.

Now, as they seek investors, they have received a boost by winning £1,000 at a pitching session that was part of an Investment Readiness Programme hosted by West Yorkshire Society of Chartered Accountants.  One of the organisers was Paul Greetham, also an Enterprise Team Business Adviser at the University.

The Bithive duo recently moved into a dedicated office in the Media Centre in Huddersfield, where they are both working on Bithive full-time.  They aim to secure an investment by the end of the year that will enable them to build a strong team to develop, launch and maintain the platform.  But even when success comes their way, Alex, Huddersfield-born, and Dale, from Bradford, are determined to remain locally based.

“We want to start a Silicon Valley in Huddersfield,” said Alex.

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