Undergraduate student Alex Kontos is the founder of Waterfox, a web browser he launched from his bedroom three years ago. It now has more than 3 million users worldwide, with hundreds more coming on board every day.
The second-year Electronic Engineering student represented the University of York as one of three businesses from Yorkshire to pitch at the Pitch@Palace event hosted by the Duke at St. James’s Palace, before going on to receive his award from His Royal Highness at the University of Huddersfield. In all, 10 young entrepreneurs – one representing each of the 10 universities in Yorkshire – received the Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Award
Alex, 19, from London, said: “It was quite a surprise to be awarded the Duke of York award, but it is great to see how hard work has paid off. It is also a great feeling to be able to represent the University of York in such a positive light for such a prestigious award. I could not have done it without the wonderful members of the Careers team who helped instil the confidence I needed to progress as far as I had. I am eternally grateful to them.”
Jessica Noon, from the Careers’ enterprise team at the University of York, co-nominated Alex for the award. She said: “Alex has received ongoing support from the enterprise team in Careers since he first joined the University in his foundation year in 2011.
“He attended the ‘Entrepreneurs’ Boot Camp’ in 2012 as a University of York representative – an annual four-day event organised by the ERDF-funded Graduate Entrepreneurship Project. He has also been awarded £1000 in Proof of Concept funding from Careers and has made full use of the options available such as business support and use of the Student Enterprise Space.”
Alex is now in talks to secure significant investment in Waterfox which will enable him to grow his browser and brand rapidly.
He said: “Waterfox has progressed significantly since I’ve been at York. When I first arrived, it was already gaining popularity and was relatively well known but the Careers team has helped give it that extra push which has benefited me greatly. In fact, the push was so great that I now have investors and companies interested in Waterfox, raring to get involved! The future is bright for Waterfox as the necessary resources to expand and make it a truly successful program are available to me, allowing me to create exactly what I envisioned.”