Streetwear marketplace Bump raises $7.5 million

Streetwear marketplace Bump raises $7.5 million

Bump, the online streetwear marketplace that aims to become “the Amazon for Gen Z”, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding.

The funding was led by high profile California-based investors e.ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Y Combinator “and a few close angels”.

Student support

Bump, launched with the support of Edinburgh Innovations’ LAUNCH.ed service for student entrepreneurs, has nearly 2 million registered users, many of them teenagers. Having begun as a “reverse marketplace”, Bump’s mission today is to “help Gen Z shop with their friends online”.

Co-founders Sam Howarth and Jack Ryder, who became friends when they were at school together in Newcastle, created Bump after encountering frustrations when buying and selling streetwear on existing platforms.

Ryder built the app in 2016 after teaching himself to code, and the two worked closely with the online streetwear community to tailor their platform to meet users’ needs.

They were supported by LAUNCH.ed when Howarth was studying Business Management at the University of Edinburgh. The app launched in August 2017.

Bump was a joint winner of the Enterprise Award in EI’s 2017 Inspire Launch Grow awards, and Howarth and Ryder were on the judging panel for the 2018 awards.

Y Combinator accelerator

In March 2018 the Bump founders completed the prestigious Y Combinator accelerator programme in Silicon Valley, whose alumni include AirBnB and Dropbox.

They received three months of intensive support to develop their business before pitching to high-profile investors at the end of the programme. They received backing from investors including Kleiner Perkins, the Menlo Park-based firm that has previously invested in the likes of Google, Amazon and Twitter.

Social shopping

Howarth and Ryder say users prefer Bump over other streetwear marketplaces because of its social features, such as messaging and follower relationships – which make shopping a shared social experience.

“Our mission is to make all commerce social,” writes Ryder in a recent blog. “To do that, we see bump becoming the Amazon for Gen Z where you can shop for anything and you don’t have to do it alone. To get there we’re up for the challenge of turning shopping into a multiplayered experience.”

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University celebrates visionary inventors

University celebrates visionary inventors

Human-like skin for robots, personalised synthetic voices for people who lose theirs through illness, and environmentally friendly sanitary products are among the prize-winning inventions that have been celebrated at the University’s innovation awards.

Inspire Launch Grow, the annual competition for entrepreneurial staff, students and recent graduates, was run and hosted by Edinburgh Innovations in the Playfair Library, Old College.

Awards of up to £5,000 were presented across five categories, judged by established entrepreneurs and business advisers. Finalists had previously pitched their businesses and social enterprises to the judges.

Skin for robots

Zakareya Hussein, a PhD student at the Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Sensing and Measurement, and Product Design masters student Laura Garcia Caberol won the Emerging Innovation Award for Students for their company Touchlab.

They are developing an electronic skin that can be wrapped around any robot to give it a human-like sense of touch, including ‘pain’ when poked with sharp objects.

“It’s a big boost of confidence. We’re really happy to know that people appreciate what we’re doing.”

 

– Laura Carcia Caberol, winner, Emerging Innovation Award for Students.

 

“It validates what we’re doing and the connections at this event are great – it increases our reach. We’ll be using the monetary award to increase our work with the company.”

 

– Zakareya Hussein, winner, Emerging Innovation Award for Students

Replacement voices

Taking the Emerging Innovation Award for Staff were research assistants Alice Smith from Edinburgh Medical School and Lovisa Wihlborg from the School of Informatics, for Speak:Unique.

Their technology creates personalised synthetic replica voices for people with conditions such as motor neurone disease who lose the ability to speak.

From a recording of just 30 minutes of a patient talking, the system is able to turn any text into speech in the person’s own voice, enabling them to have an authentic-sounding voice long after they lose the ability to vocalise themselves.

“It’s great to see your hard work come together, and to see the other activity going on in the University startup and spinout scene. We’re at an exciting moment where we’re ready to launch as a spinout company and reach people we couldn’t reach as a research project. It’s been fantastic to have Edinburgh Innovations’ support to help us navigate the path to commercialisation.”

 

– Alice Smith, winner, Emerging Innovation Award for Staff

Social and Environment Award

The winner of the Social and Environment Award was Alison Wood, a recent graduate of the School of Economics and founder of Lilypads. Her social enterprise began its work in Kenya, addressing a lack of affordable sanitary products that prevents girls from attending school, and has now introduced an environmentally friendly sanitary product to the UK market.

“The finalists have come up with some amazing ideas and shown the necessary enterprising spirit and energy to take them forward as solid business propositions. It’s always a honour to support our staff and student entrepreneurs.”

 

– Dr George Baxter, CEO, Edinburgh Innovations

The Enterprise Award went to postdoctoral researcher Dr Alireza Abbassi Monjezi, founder of Waterwhelm, a technology that turns wastewater into clean water while simultaneously producing renewable electricity from biogas and an ash product that can be used as a soil improver.

Waterwhelm aims to radically cut the energy currently used to pump clean water and wastewater to and from remote locations in Scotland, and to bring clean water and electricity to off-grid communities in developing economies.

Cancer therapy

Dr Luca Cassetta, Research Fellow in the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, took the Innovation Cup for his company Macomics, which is developing antibody-based cancer therapies that target tumour-associated macrophages.

The awards ceremony was attended by more than 100 guests from the across the University and Edinburgh’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including members of the investment community who regularly support startups and spinouts launched by students and staff.

The event was opened by Edinburgh Innovations CEO Dr George Baxter, and speakers included Professor Charlie Jeffery, Senior Vice-Principal, and award-winning entrepreneur Lauren Crystal.

Lauren, a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, is co-founder of Hassl, a workplace collaborative tool for communications, project management and file storage, and she is co-founder and Managing Director of Your Creative, a creative agency that focuses on human-centred design.

In autumn last year, she was invited to exhibit Hassl at the prestigious Forbes Under 30 Summit in Boston, Massachusetts, and in March this year she won the 2019 Emerging Leader Award at the Telstra Victoria Business Women’s Awards.

 

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Test centre to bring tidal technology on stream

Test centre to bring tidal technology on stream

A £2.4 million engineering research facility will seek to speed the development of materials and structures for tidal energy, transport and other industries.

The FASTBLADE facility will test new materials within full scale structures such as tidal blades, plane components and bridge sections.

It will be built by the University of Edinburgh and commercial partner Babcock International at Rosyth in Fife, as part of a strategic partnership nurtured by Edinburgh Innovations.

World first

FASTBLADE will be the first facility in the world designed to carry out large-scale accelerated testing of tidal blades. Testing will use complex forces that simulate real environments, limiting the risks for product developers.

Engineering researchers will use an efficient hydraulic technology – developed by University spinout company Artemis Intelligent Power – which enables structures to be tested significantly faster and using less energy compared with existing technologies.

The system will recover energy between load cycles, reducing the cost of testing.

“This collaboration is an opportunity to develop a world-class engineering facility to accelerate and support the development of new efficient technologies, and will be a great benefit to the tidal energy sector.”

 

– Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh, Head of School of Engineering

Material development

FASTBLADE’s first clients will include tidal stream developers. Tidal blades made of composite materials need to be designed to withstand high fatigue loads in harsh ocean conditions for up to 20 years.

Pioneering measurement systems will enable developers to learn from test datasets to understand damage accumulation and optimise blade structures through data-driven design.

Facility support

FASTBLADE will help fulfil the University’s commitments as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, which includes targets to help improve digital skills across the whole of the region.

The facility has received £1.4m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and £1m from the University of Edinburgh. Babcock is the principal designer and host of the facility.

FASTBLADE is a key strand of a strategic partnership between Babcock and the University, developed with proactive support from Edinburgh Innovations over the past 18 months.

“For us, this really is a great industrial partnership. Our engineers working alongside the University’s renowned academics has shown what the art of the possible is, in engineering and in working together. Whilst we are still at the early stages of development I know we are creating something that isn’t just a great opportunity for us, it will have real benefit for all the companies using the facility in years to come.”

 

– Neil Young, Technology Director, Babcock

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Boosting Scotland’s international digital collaborations

Boosting Scotland’s international digital collaborations

With support from Edinburgh Innovations, EIT Digital, a European digital innovation and education organisation with a €100 million annual budget, has opened its first UK Satellite office at the University’s Bayes Centre. Funded by Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Funding Council and EIT Digital, and hosted by the Bayes Centre, the new Satellite will contribute to achieving the Scottish Government’s goal to deepen relationships between Scotland and the EU. It also aims to increase innovation and investment in R&D, increase university-industry knowledge exchange, develop skills in Scottish businesses, and promote Scotland’s offer to investors and talent.

“Our vision is for a Scotland where innovation is an intrinsic part of our culture, our society and our economy.   This project will allow academia and businesses to work together to drive innovation.   It also enables Scotland to raise the profile of its digital assets across Europe, helping to attract both inward talent and investment while connecting Scotland’s businesses to experts and potential collaborators.”   – Innovation Minister Ivan McKee, speaking at the opening ceremony.

Europe’s strategic challenges

With an annual budget of €100 million to drive Europe’s digital transformation, EIT Digital invests to accelerate the market uptake of research-based digital technologies focusing on Europe’s strategic, societal challenges: Digital Industry, Digital Finance, Digital Cities, Digital Wellbeing and Digital Tech. EIT Digital Chief Executive Officer Willem Jonker told an audience of around 100 at the Satellite opening that the challenge was to create a “digital single market” in connecting technology, educational institutions and finance.

Welcoming EIT Digital to his new home in the recently opened Bayes Centre, Senior Vice-Principal Professor Charlie Jeffery said it was right that the first Satellite should be in Scotland and in Edinburgh in particular.

“You’ll be right next door to the country’s leading grouping of Informatics experts and you’ll share space with other Scotland-wide organisations driving innovation, such as Data Lab, also based in Bayes, and Interface, just across the road, the Wayra startup accelerator programme and many more that are part of a thriving innovation ecosystem.”   – Senior Vice-Principal Charlie Jeffery

First in UK

EIT Digital is one of eight Innovation Communities of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. It has 10 Co-Location Centres across Europe, including one in London, and the Scottish satellite is the first to be opened in the UK. The EIT Digital Academy breeds entrepreneurial digital talent focused on innovation through a blended Education Strategy that includes a Master School, Doctoral School and Professional School. The Edinburgh Satellite intends to host a new Doctoral Training Centre, with a focus on Fintech, and Cyber Security via a new programme supported by the Scottish Government’s Cyber Resilience Unit and ScotlandIS, plus other areas of national strategic importance.

Doctoral students

The doctoral students will be supported by universities across Scotland, with the first expected to start at the University of Edinburgh later in 2019. In anticipation of EIT Digital’s launch in Scotland there has been increased interest in the EIT Digital annual funding round, and it is expected that the Satellite office will stimulate growth in the quantity and quality of collaborative research projects. All projects funded by EIT Digital must be collaborations between at least two countries and must involve an industrial partner. The University of Edinburgh has been a member of EIT Digital for the six years it has had a presence in the UK, and the relationship has grown and deepened throughout that time. Edinburgh Innovations funds the University’s membership of EIT Digital and is meeting the costs of the office space in the Bayes Centre, which will host three full-time EIT Digital staff. EI has also helped throughout with relationship management, such as connecting with industrial partners for the Doctoral Training Centre and negotiations between the University and other stakeholders.

Related links

EIT Digital  Business Insider

Project to bring clean water to billions wins Converge KickStart Challenge

Project to bring clean water to billions wins Converge KickStart Challenge

EI client Dr Ali Abbassi Monjezi, whose Waterwhelm startup aims to bring clean water to billions of people, has won the 2019 Converge KickStart Challenge.

The former Research Associate at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering picked up the £10,000 award for early-stage projects with the potential to become high-growth businesses. The KickStart Challenge is one of four awards making up Converge Challenge, the Scotland-wide entrepreneurial programme for staff, students and recent graduates of Scottish Universities and Research Institutes.

Fresh water from waste

Dr Monjezi’s concept is to commercialise an innovative self-powered technology to produce fresh water from waste water while simultaneously generating electricity.

According to UNICEF, 2.5 billion people worldwide lack access to clean water, a number that is expected to continue to grow.

Dr Monjezi has been working for several years on a solution to this problem, and his project was deemed the most innovative and impactful proposition by the Converge KickStart judges.

Dr Monjezi beat the strong competition from a variety of high potential projects whose quality was said by Converge to be the highest recorded for this category.

The runner-up, winning £5,000, was Saskia Goeres from Designed for Life, a collaboration between the Glasgow School of Art and the University of Glasgow. Her first product, Sofa for Life, is a portable, washable and easily repaired sofa. Designed for life’s line of products aims to dramatically reduce landfill waste caused by low value furniture.

Speaking at the KickStart Awards, Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo, Director of Converge, said: “I heartily congratulate both Dr Monjezi from the University of Edinburgh and Ms Goeres from the Glasgow School of Art on their achievements today and look forward to hearing how they will flourish in the months ahead.”

The 2019 Converge KickStart event was held at the Open Experience, at RBS’s Gogarburn headquarters. RBS sponsored the Converge KickStart Challenge.

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Converge KickStart Challenge