You don’t have to wear a suit to be big in business. Philip Kasumu, founder of health app Lyle, tells us how Essex Business School changed his outlook.


New perspective
Before he started his BA Accounting and Management Philip believed a career in business meant one thing. “I thought I’d end up in a suit working in London.” However, his entrepreneurial spark was kindled by the Essex Business School. “It’s where I discovered who I am. The modules I studied challenged me and made me look at business – and the world – a lot differently.”

Another source of inspiration was the Students’ Union Entrepreneurial Society. Philip recalls an event with the CEO of coffee shop chain Paddy and Scott’s. “He shared with us how he struggled in school and had many failed businesses until this coffee idea. The moral of his story was to never give up. That has stuck with me to this day.”

A passion for business and health
Whilst at Essex, Philip joined the gym. “In between studying very hard for my degree (honest!) I would train at the gym every day.” He noticed that weight-loss apps were typically targeted at women, while health programmes for men usually centred on getting ripped and crash dieting. Philip wanted to create something that would help men lose weight in a fun and sustainable way. “I funnelled my passion for health and wellness and business into what would become Lyle.”

Working with an engineer, a dietician and a designer, Philip launched Lyle, an iPhone app that helps men lose weight. Lyle is an AI assistant that acts like a personal trainer, advising users on goals, devising tailored meal plans – and even shopping for the right ingredients to save users time!

Made in Manhattan – via Essex Philip’s work on Lyle has taken him across the Atlantic and now he’s based in New York. But he has fond memories of university life. “Essex is where I met some of my closest friends. It’s where I made the transition from an overly excited teenager to ‘grown-up’. It’s where I developed discipline through my training and studying.” Keen to share the secrets of success, Philip also now hosts Startup Handmedowns, a podcast where he interviews the brains behind the most dynamic new businesses.

If you’re interested in launching your own business whilst studying at Essex, take a look at our award-winning crowdfunding platform Click, which has funded around 200 student projects