Cambridge’s brightest student entrepreneurs are having their feet thrust to the flames in a Dragon’s Den-style pitch to international angel investors.Cambridge University Entrepreneurs has added the feature to its 2012 CUE Grand Finale event in the UK next month.
Sherry Coutu – one of the world’s best-connected entrepreneurs – Red Gate Software co-founder and co-CEO Neil Davidson, who also chairs Cambridge Network; Tony Purnell, who founded telemetry world leader Pi Research; serial life science investor Dr Andy Richards; and Paul Anson, who co-founded Inca Digital and serves on tech company boards, play the role of ‘dragons.’
Into the den venture 21 teams that have made the CUE £40k Entrepreneur Challenge. Those not turned to toast or too badly singed will also hope to pick up thousands of pounds in the CUE competition.
CUE’s Nicholas Tan said the June 14 finale at the West Road Concert Hall concludes “possibly the most successful business creation competition we have ever held.”
He said: “Grand Finale 2012 showcases the most outstanding business ideas in the areas of hi-tech, biotech, software and social enterprise and awards worth over £40,000 in cash and prizes will be handed out to the winners.”
There will also be a keynote speech by Eben Upton, founder and trustee of Raspberry Pi, as well as poster and networking sessions.
The event runs from 6pm to 9.30pm and interested guests should register at cuegrandfinale2012.eventbrite.com
The diversity of contenders is again stunning – ranging from autonomous underwater vehicles to aids for prosthetic surgery.
Here’s the rundown of finalists, in no particular order:-
Cambridge Biocompatibility – developing new biocompatible coatings for all forms of orthopaedic and prosthetic surgery to increase product lifetime by at least a factor of five. Seeking £100k VC funding and expects a company valuation of £60 million.
Ultra AD – Innovation for public advertising content.
Drop-Tech – provides an automated system for continuous screening of multiple samples for both absorbance and fluorescence assays.
Collide – Winner of the Silicon Valley Comes2UK Cambridge Appathon, Collide creates new ways for friends to meet and interact via a free mobile app.
Studentreadinglists.com – Web tool that makes compiling, validating and sharing course resources between educators, administrators and students a seamless and cost-effective process.
Oxbridge Connect - low-cost solution to tutoring which enables school students to connect with Oxbridge students over Skype.
Old Bond – Startup introducing ‘world-first’ spinning animated pictures and video on bicycle wheels – a breakthrough in outdoor advertising.
CamBattery – developing a novel battery technology based on lithium and sulphur, a combination that can yield the highest energy density of any rechargable batteries. CamBattery products will enable the advancement of consumer electronics and electrical vehicles.
Wedu – developed a sustainable business model to provide education financing options and mentorship for underprivileged university students with high leadership potential in least developed countries, especially girls.
LabTool – a customisable online social networking site that enables researchers, clinicians, industrial professionals and funding bodies to connect to develop, pitch and fund collaborative projects.
Cambridge Hydronautics – building autonomous underwater vehicles able to efficiently inspect underwater structures.
IV Prev – a novel device to prevent catheter-associated bloodstream infections.
CliniCom – Integrated software system that has the potential to revolutionise the multi-billion dollar medical informatics market by addressing technological gaps in medical management.
Heliomobil – applies concentrated solar concepts used in utility-scale farming down to household scale for use in residential markets.
AIG Network – provides academia, industry and government with a web based software platform to work on socially relevant projects.
Cambridge Interactive Video Solutions – aims to become the leading player in the global online advertising market by making clickable video technology available to general public.
EdiVise.com – online social education network that connects international applicants from overseas territories with highly qualified peers from top institutions around the world who have experienced the admissions and hiring process.
Istno Ltd – proposes a new system of verifying CVs, aiming to make the graduate recruitment process in the UK clearer, more transparent and more just for honest applicants.
Self-Cervix – a device similar to a standard tampon, Self-Cervix allows women to take their own cervical cell sample and post it off for analysis.
GreenTUTOR – e-learning platform that offers video conferencing and collaboration technologies designed to connect those who love to learn with those who love to teach.
Desktop Genetics – building a robot capable of performing automated DNA synthesis. SynthBots communicate with each other and computers over a network, sending and receiving DNA data like a fax machine so collaborators will always have the latest version of a person’s DNA.
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Sherry Coutu