Sanitiser Reimagined in the Hands of an Old Blue Entrepreneur

Monday 23 November 2020

When University College London went into lockdown in his first year due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 Pandemic, Old Blue Charles Robinson (MaB, GrE 12-19) founded a revolutionary start-up from his dorm room. Read here how Charles, with some determination and innovation (and a little help from the Old Blue Network) turned an unfortunate situation into an opportunity and launched his business gelcard.

From inception to implementation.

The start-up’s aim was to solve a vital and immediate issue: people’s relationship with hand sanitisers. In just six months, the business gelcard has collaborated with some of London’s finest restaurants such as The Wolseley, supplied FTSE 250 brands, and become genuinely innovative in its field.

Charles’ start-up offers a hand sanitiser that people want to use, making cleaning your hands simple and fast. The gelcards themselves are 1/3 of the size of a credit card, so they are easy to carry around throughout the day. They also utilise award-winning ‘snap’ technology, for ease of use.

In such a short space of time, Charles’ start-up remodelled, rebranded, rethought and reinvented hand sanitiser, bringing gelcard to the European premium restaurant scene – a sector notorious for its conservative and traditional nature – and has had instant success with the most respected restaurants in London. With hand sanitisation at the forefront of people’s visits to eating out in the current climate, these quality restaurants have started placing a gelcard at each place sitting, making hand cleaning a staple of the dining table for quick and easy sanitisation.

On the first day of gelcard’s public announcement, 20,000 gelcards were ordered, and the business has recently collaborated with the renowned Corbin & King restaurant brand, providing them with custom branded versions. Charles is now looking to expand into further industries such as retailers, cafes, gyms and more.

The Old Blue Network

Charles was one of the first day pupils at Christ’s Hospital and represented the First XI Football Squad, before achieving A*, D2, D2 in Economics, History and Philosophy in his final A Level exams. A recipient of Theology and Philosophy Prize and Academic Buttons Holder, Charles was awarded a place at University College London to pursue his philosophical interests. However, faced with the constant interruptions to his study, Charles has taken leave from UCL to focus on his company.

Running a company at such a young age, Charles attributes his confidence, understanding of economics, and general willingness to challenge the status-quo to his time at CH. He says, “CH’s devotion to rational argument in the arts and social sciences, where each person – teacher or student – are treated as intellectual equals and are judged solely by the cogency of their argument helped foster my attitude on the importance of ideas – ultimately creating a belief that I was capable of things independent of my age”.

Charles has found the Old Blue network to be a great help in creating his start-up. He says, “The Old Blue network has certainly been instrumental to the speed with which we have moved. I counted that I spoke to over 50 different Old Blues in the first month of running the business. I now regularly receive brand support from an ex-Google marketing manager, an ex-COO of a major hospitality business, legal advice from an ex-FIFA trademark attorney, growth strategy from a CEO of a major hand cleaning business, amongst many others and they are all Old Blues. That puts you in a totally unique position having just turned twenty. And whilst I did have to manifest this myself, I was superbly enabled by CHOBA.”

“I was also fortunate to receive the mentorship of a top level executive from an internationally recognised business, to whom I was first introduced when he spoke at CH in my Grecians year. I happened to remember that talk very well, and reached out to him a year or so later, which has since provided a world of different opportunities.”

“A co-founder and CEO of one of our major collaborators, Corbin & King, is also an Old Blue. The relation here is better described as a delightful coincidence, but it’s still a great testament to the extraordinary breadth of the Old Blue network.”

Try the product

On the 27th November (Black Friday) the innovative gelcard will become available for the public to purchase. You can find gelcard on the Old Blue Business Directory at Charles has provided a special Black Friday discount for all Old Blues who wish to purchase the gelcard product – visit  to find out more.

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