Personalised medicines pioneer Dr Darrin Disley has put his own cash behind two Cambridge UK student entrepreneurs who he said would “walk through walls” to commercialise their technology.Dr Disley, CEO of Horizon Discovery, funded Cambridge University Entrepreneurs’ Carpe Diem Young Entrepreneur Prize – a highlight of CUE’s 2012 £5k competition.
The two Carpe Diem Young Entrepreneurs of 2012 are Steven Marsh and Nils Frers.
Marsh founded Collide – also winner of the inaugural Silicon Valley Comes2UK Cambridge Appathon. Collide creates new ways for friends to meet and interact; it is social, local and real-life, he says.
Collide is a free mobile application which alerts you when your friends are nearby and suggests local places where you can hang out and grab a coffee or a bite to eat and also gives users money-off vouchers for their favourite social spots.
Frers’ venture – studentreadinglists.com – was also named Software Start up of the year and Angel Prize winner.
According to the judges, studentreadinglists.com makes compiling, validating and sharing course resources between educators, administrators and students a seamless and cost-effective process. The web tool delivers a fully integrated solution at a price that outperforms alternative offerings.
By offering an integrated web solution for university staff, reading lists can be managed and students can access their course material in all media forms from a central location. Through the aggregation of students’ atomised demand for course media, studentreadinglists.com enables buyers and sellers to benefit from group purchasing.
Dr Disley said: “These two are exactly the kind of people I am happy to put my own money behind. They are thoughtful, passionate and would walk through walls to ensure their businesses – and thus my investment – was successful. Carpe Diem is very happy to award £2,500 to Steven and Nils to help them on their own journey on the path less travelled.”
The Carpe Diem Young Entrepreneur awards are intended to recognise the talents of individuals who have innovative and translatable ideas and have demonstrated good planning skills and a commitment to deliver their business regardless of sacrifices along the way.
The judges decided to award two runner-up prizes of £500 to Chase Feiger and Artisiom Stavenka. The judges felt both had excellent and translatable ideas that with suitable funding and mentorship could yield successful businesses.
The angels panel said it was a very difficult decision to make for the Angel Prize. In the end they decided to give it to studentreadinglists.com.
CamBattery was named Technology Startup of the Year. The venture has developed a novel battery technology based on lithium and sulphur – the combination of these two elements can yield the highest energy density of any rechargeable batteries.
Its technology is based on a continuous roll-to-roll process for carbon nanotube-sulphur composite production. CamBattery says its products will enable the advancement of consumer electronics and electrical vehicles, which are being hold back by the insufficient amount of energy stored in the batteries available in the market.
Desktop Genetics, which has been featured in Business Weekly previously, won the Life Science Startup of the Year title. It is building a robot capable of performing automated DNA synthesis.
The SynthBot has been specifically designed to run the time consuming, repetitive reactions needed to synthesise DNA, thereby preventing costly mistakes and allowing users to focus on the experiments that really matter.
SynthBots communicate with each other and computers over a network, sending and receiving DNA data like a fax machine so that collaborators will always have the latest version of your DNA. SynthBots allow users to translate their designs into physical reality the same day, enabling rapid proof-of-concept, more comprehensive drug searches, and more time making breakthroughs.
Cambridge Interactive Video Solutions was named General Innovation Startup of the Year: It aims to become the leading player in the global online advertising market by making clickable video technology available to the general public.
Its goal is in two years to provide a disruptive monetisation solution for users of generic video sharing sites such as Youtube, Vimeo, Metacafe. Each user will be able to attach meta data in the form of textual information or hyperlink to an object of interest in any uploaded video.
Wedu won the Social Enterprise Startup of the Year accolade. Its rationale is that local leadership is critical for local development. Wedu has developed a sustainable business model to provide education financing options and mentorship for underprivileged university students with high leadership potential in Least Developed Countries (LDCs), especially girls.
The enterprise seeks to initiate a positive cycle of developing local leadership talent by identifying students committed to working on local issues, helping them to complete university and giving them access to a global network of mentors.
Wedu uses social collateral to incentivise students to return to serve their communities, mentor future leaders and repay the financing into a revolving fund to serve more students.
CUE co-president Jun Chen said that because of the “very high standard” of this year’s competition the judges decided to award two ‘First step Forward prizes’ to encourage the entrepreneurs involved to fight to take their ventures to the next stage. The winners were Drop-Tech and Old Bond.
Drop-Tech provides an automated system for continuous screening of multiple samples for both absorbance and fluorescence assays. This system saves time, samples and reagents and provides quantitative data in assay volumes of around 50 nano-litres.
The Drop-Tech system provides the miniaturisation of nano-litre liquid handling robots with the detection and analysis of multi-mode plate readers. The screening system will be used for validation and characterisation of hits, by providing the ability to screen multiple parameters in a combinatorial fashion.
Old Bond is a start-up company introducing in the UK the world’s first spinning animated pictures and video on bicycle wheels – a breakthrough in outdoor advertising.
Offering environmentally friendly advertising, it uses a hi-tech system, Video Pro, to transfer advertising video-clips, images and logos from a computer onto the wheels. The technology transforms a bike into a work of art and opens up unique opportunities for advertising, according to the company.
As bikes are at the heart of the venture it is apt to quote a spokes-person. “Our bikes with videos and images on the wheels have been a true sensation on the streets mesmerizing crowds and delivering advertising message,” she said.