- MSc International Business graduate wins place at Silicon Valley incubtaor
- Virtual reality app built to help people become better public speakers
- The app had 130,000 downloads in a year and was spotted by investors
- Sophie Thompson now living the start-up dream in San Francisco
Like most people Sophie Thompson hated doing public presentations. She hated them so much that with a friend she developed a virtual reality app to help her get over her fears. Now she is doing speeches in front of billion dollar investors in Silicon Valley on a daily basis.
From a theology degree and daydreaming in sleepy Tanworth-in-Arden to living in the world’s tech capital where venture capitalists prowl the streets looking for the next Uber, Facebook or Google, Sophie is now living the Silicon Valley dream.
“It is another world out here,” says the 23-year-old. “Everybody is so tech focused, everybody has a start-up. You might as well ask ‘what is your start-up?’ rather than the usual introductions.”
Sophie founded her company, called VirtualSpeech, while studying for an MSc International Business at Warwick Business School, with the help of friend Dominic Barnard, who was working on VR at Jaguar Land Rover.
“Both of us hated public speaking,” says Sophie. “Then we realised VR was a really good way of immersing yourself in public speaking and practicing. When you put on your headset it tricks your mind into thinking you are somewhere else, and you are talking in front of a real-life audience.
“I knew when I went to university I would have to do presentations and that would be a nightmare for me, and as an undergraduate I would avoid them. But going to Warwick for my masters gave me that push to do them and do something about my fear.”
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