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Catching the wave: OCC joins £850,000 Mocean Energy investment

Catching the wave: OCC joins £850,000 Mocean Energy investment

Old College Capital has joined an £850,000 investment in EI client Mocean Energy to accelerate the commercialisation of its wave-power technology.

The Edinburgh startup has raised £612,000 in equity seed funding plus £250,000 from Innovate UK to advance the design of its Blue Star wave machine and drive its adoption in the subsea oil and gas sector.

Equity investment unlocks grant

Mocean Energy’s funding round was led by business angel syndicate Equity Gap and includes investment by Old College Capital, the University of Edinburgh’s in-house venture investment fund managed by EI, and the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.

The equity funding unlocks a further £250,000 from Innovate UK.

Low-carbon power

The company aims to produce a commercially available wave machine that can deliver low-carbon power for “tie-backs” – satellite wellheads connected to a main platform – and fleets of autonomous underwater vehicles.

“This is a really exciting company with real potential in the renewable energy sector.


“Mocean Energy’s work is strongly aligned with the University’s Climate Strategy, and we’re delighted to be investing in this technology.”


– Andrea Young, Fund Manager, Old College Capital.

EI’s startup support

Mocean Energy was co-founded in 2013 by Edinburgh PhD graduates Cameron McNatt and Chris Retzler, and was supported by EI’s student service when McNatt was studying for his PhD in Energy Systems.

McNatt and Retzler have built a 12-strong expert team adopting numerical modelling coupled with AI-optimisation to design their state-of-the-art wave machine.

“Blue Star has been created from first principles to operate autonomously in remote locations and deliver green energy for a range of applications – including scientific ocean monitoring, aquaculture, oil and gas, and delivering energy to remote communities.


“We are currently working with firms in the Scottish supply chain to build and deliver our first prototype, which will commence testing at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney next year.”


– Cameron McNatt, Managing Director, Mocean Energy.

Sea trials

In 2019 Mocean Energy was awarded £3.3 million by Wave Energy Scotland to develop its technology for sea trials in Orkney. The device is currently being completed at AJS Fabrication at Cowdenbeath in Fife.

Earlier this year Mocean Energy announced a pilot project with the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC), oil major Chrysaor and subsea specialists EC-OG and Modus to study the potential to use its Blue Star prototype to power a subsea battery and a remote underwater vehicle.

The new Innovate UK grant will enable the company to advance its engineering design, including a new power take off, moorings and umbilical, and will deliver additional grant support to our project partners Newcastle University’s Electrical Power Research Group and Rosyth-based electronics-specialists Supply Design.

“The equity funding is a tremendous boost and underscores our ambition to deliver a commercial product.


“As well as supporting our technology development pathway, this will allow us to create two new full-time posts which will bring an increased focus on finding the right kind of industry partners to drive our commercialisation goals.


“Crucially, it also brings on board three new non-executive board members who bring a wealth of experience to help us deliver our vision.”


– Cameron McNatt.

Related links

Mocean Energy

EI services for students

EI services for staff

University of Edinburgh Climate Strategy

MIT superstar Robert Langer calls for commercialisation culture

MIT superstar Robert Langer calls for commercialisation culture

Dr Robert Langer, “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine”, made the case for a commercialisation culture for the benefit of society during a webinar hosted by Edinburgh Innovations.

During his talk to an online audience of hundreds at the University of Edinburgh, Dr Langer outlined his impressive career history challenging ideas and commercialising research, as well as his exceptional contributions to the fields of medicine, biotechnology and haircare.

Dr Langer charted his early struggles, his exceptional tenacity and his reliance on “passionate students”, “patient investors” and “great business-people” as well as key individuals who helped him along the path to success.

Biomedical innovations

That path now includes 1,400 issued and pending patents, 40 companies and significant scientific breakthroughs in medicine. One of his companies, Moderna, is now at the heart of progress towards creating a Covid-19 vaccine.

In 2004, Parade Magazine selected Dr Langer as one of six “Heroes whose research may save your life”.

“One of the keys to making these companies successful is having students and post-docs involved, because they have so much passion.


“Also it’s involving very patient investors who understand that medical areas are not quite like the internet but if you hang in there, you can create really great products that can change the world.


“And having really great business people involved is crucial.”


– Dr Robert Langer.

Unrivalled record

Dr Langer is one of 11 Institute Professors at MIT. Being an Institute Professor is the highest honour that can be awarded to a faculty member. He has received more than 220 major awards including the Charles Stark Draper Prize, considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for engineers, and two United States National Medals: in Science and in Technology and Innovation.

He has written more than 1,500 articles and is the most cited engineer in history, with an h-index of 280 and more than 324,000 citations according to Google Scholar.

The Langer Lab at MIT, the biggest biomedical engineering lab in the world, works at the interface of biotechnology and materials science, with a focus on the development of polymers to deliver drugs continuously at controlled rates and for prolonged periods.

Dr Langer’s patents have been licensed or sublicensed to more than 400 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology and medical device companies.

“Many of our staff and students are asking themselves how they can make a positive difference to society.


“Dr Langer is a true inspiration and shows us, through his own struggles, how a collaboration culture makes the difference in enabling game-changing innovations to reach the world.


“It’s clear that a culture of collaboration, an innovation ecosystem, is vital to making ground-breaking ideas a reality.”


– Dr George Baxter, CEO of Edinburgh Innovations.


Related links

Dr Robert Langer (MIT) 

The Langer Lab

EI services for staff

Six Edinburgh Innovations businesses ‘Unlocking Ambition’

Six Edinburgh Innovations businesses ‘Unlocking Ambition’

Six exceptional young entrepreneurs supported by Edinburgh Innovations have gained entrance to the prestigious Unlocking Ambition programme.

Alison Wood of Dream Pads Ltd, Ishani Malhotra of Carcinotech Ltd, Hamish Geddes of Lenz Ltd, Zaki Hussein of Touchlab Ltd, Ali Monjezi of Waterwhelm Ltd and Alex McVey of OGI Bio Ltd are among 40 business founders on the Scottish Government-supported programme.

Sustainability credentials

All six University of Edinburgh innovators secured places in part due to their environmentally friendly focus as well as their companies’ ability to meet the economic challenges Scotland faces as a result of Covid 19.

For example Dream Pads, created by Alison Wood, produces tailored and environmentally friendly sanitary products for women, which also help girls in Kenya stay in education.

Touchlab, the brainchild of Zaki Hussein, is developing an electronic skin to give robots a human-like sense of touch and recently won the £100,000 Higgs EDGE award for science, technology and engineering businesses.

Brand mentors

The new entrants to the programme will be able to learn from the experiences of highly accomplished brand leaders and explore new avenues for their products. Previous contributors include high-level professionals from LinkedIn, Apple and Netflix as well as successful GlobalScots.

The admission to this opportunity also includes a £25,000 development grant plus business advice, mentoring and in-kind support.

Due to Covid-19 the programme will be delivered entirely virtually, meaning that no one will be excluded from this opportunity.

Previous alumni from the course have an impressive track record for the new entrants to live up to – the organisers state that entrepreneurs participating in the first Unlocking Ambition programme have together raised over £10m in business investment, created 146 jobs and generated £3.2m in new turnover as a direct result of participation.

“Massive congratulations to all the entrepreneurs on this course who truly deserve this opportunity to build further on their success.


“Growing the innovation ecosystem in this way, providing tangible support for entrepreneurs and innovators, is vital for Scotland’s economic future.


“The admission of six of our clients to this programme highlights the sheer breadth of talent and expertise that is available to us at Edinburgh Innovations.”


Dr George Baxter, CEO, Edinburgh Innovations.

Related links

EI services for staff

EI services for students

Unlocking Ambition


Edinburgh startup secures UK space funds to support students

Edinburgh startup secures UK space funds to support students

Earth Blox has been awarded a share of £1.3m from the UK Space Agency

University of Edinburgh start-up Earth Blox has been awarded a share of £1.3m from the UK Space Agency, to support students and help them navigate the disruption to their education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This financial support is the latest accolade for Dr Genevieve Patenaude, who recently won the prestigious Converge Challenge and an Edge award for Earth Blox.

Dr Patenaude, Senior Lecturer at the School of Geosciences, has been working with and supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service, since January 2019.

The ‘Earth Blox for Education’ project

Earth Blox makes planetary-scale data analysis easy, and enables insights into the world and how it’s changing.

The ‘Earth Blox for Education’ project, led by Professor Iain Woodhouse, at the University of Edinburgh and Dr. Patenaude at Earth Blox, is backed by the UK Space Agency and will support students taking Earth Observation courses –  our next generation of climate change specialists, weather forecasters and digital pioneers.

Earth Blox will use its application to help remotely train the next group of Earth Observation (EO) specialists during the crisis while universities are unable to run computing classes in person. The application will support students at four participating universities: Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh and the Open University, providing remote access to vast quantities of satellite data.

Over time the product will also be exportable, increasing the uptake of Earth Observation and remote sensing in other parts of the world.

Dr Genevieve Patenaude said:

“I am thrilled to receive this support from the UK Space Agency and to be part of such a timely and important project.

“Helping students continue their education despite the restrictions and unpredictability of the Covid pandemic will be extremely rewarding.”

Dr George Baxter, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Innovations said:

 “This is another well deserved accolade for Genevieve and Earth Blox.

“Earth Blox is a fantastic example of the kind of real world solutions Edinburgh Innovations facilitates.

“The depth of the talent and intellectual resource in Edinburgh is breath-taking and we are extremely proud of the part we play in making these exciting ideas a reality.”

The projects – set to receive £1.3m of funding – have been selected as part of a joint initiative between the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency (ESA) which has already provided one round of funding in July, worth £1.1 million, to companies developing space based solutions for issues created by COVID-19.

Initial funding went to three initiatives, including a drones company delivering test kits in Scotland and a project that uses space data to support vulnerable people through a mobile application.

Related Links

Earth Blox

EI services for students

UK Space Agency 

Scottish EDGE

Top prize among Scottish EDGE wins for EI clients

Top prize among Scottish EDGE wins for EI clients

Edinburgh Innovations client Touchlab has taken the top prize at Scottish EDGE, and five fellow EI clients took home a large share of the £1 million awarded in the competition.

Touchlab, which is developing an electronic skin to give robots a human-like sense of touch, for use in space and hazardous environments, won the £100,000 Higgs EDGE award for science, technology and engineering businesses.

Touchlab was founded by Dr Zakareya Hussein when he was a PhD student at the Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Sensing and Measurement, and Laura Garcia Caberol when she was a Product Design masters student.

IBioIC winner

Another big winner on the night, ŌGI Bio, founded by University of Edinburgh staff Dr Teuta Pilizota and Dr Alex McVey, took the inaugural IBioIC award of £45,000. Their biotech startup’s retrofittable, modular devices aim to change the way microbes are grown and managed.

Dr Genevieve Patenaude, Senior Lecturer at the School of Geosciences, won a £30,000 award for Earth Blox, which promises easy access to earth observation data. Last month Dr Patenaude won the top prize in the Converge competition, a rare double win in the same season of these two prestigious Scotland-wide competitions.

Student startups

Among the Young EDGE winners, BioLiberty, a startup founded by students Rowan Armstrong and Ross O’Hanlon to develop a glove for sufferers of hand weakness, was awarded £15,000.

Crover, which is developing the first robotic probe to monitor grains within silos, won £10,000 in the Young EDGE competition. Founder Lorenzo Conti recently reached the final stages of the internationally renowned Startup Battlefield competition.

In the Wildcard category of the EDGE awards, Bright Page Technologies took home £10,000. Founded by student client Howard Moshtael, Bright Page is innovating in the digital reading experience, with text that responds to eye movement, enabling much faster reading and with applications in the visual aid sector.

EI alumni

The University of Edinburg winners at Scottish EDGE 16 have all been supported throughout their entrepreneurial journeys by EI’s Enterprise Services team, and several have secured previous grants, awards and places on accelerator programmes with EI’s help. All three student winners are recent alumni of EI’s Summer Startup Accelerator programme.

Scottish EDGE is funded by the Hunter Foundation, the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and private donors. The total value of grant and loan funding secured by Scottish EDGE since 2013 is £17m, and EDGE has distributed almost £15m in grants and loans across 436 awards.

Related links

Scottish EDGE

EI services for students

EI services for staff



Earth Blox



Bright Page Tech



Edinburgh entrepreneurs dominate prestigious Converge awards

Edinburgh entrepreneurs dominate prestigious Converge awards

An Edinburgh researcher and a recent graduate have taken top prizes in Converge, the prestigious entrepreneurial programme for Scottish Universities and Research Institutes.

Dr Genevieve Patenaude, Senior Lecturer at the School of Geosciences, won the awards’ biggest prize, the Converge Challenge, for her startup, Earth Blox.

Elena Höge, recent graduate in Design and Digital Media at Edinburgh College of Art, took the second-biggest prize of the 2020 competition, the Creative Challenge, with her startup Yaldi Games.

Both winners are Edinburgh Innovations clients, bringing to 16 the tally of EI clients who have won awards over the 10 years since Converge launched, including three main Converge Challenge winners.

Satellite data access

Earth Blox aims to provide access to planetary-scale satellite intelligence without the need for specialist software or expertise. Applications include the better understanding of the global impact of deforestation and large-scale disasters, and the teaching of Earth-observation skills without the need for coding or lab software.

Users of Earth Blox, which is cloud based, include the UN Environment Programme as well as numerous universities wishing to conduct planetary-scale analyses with ease.

As the winner of the main Converge Challenge, Dr Patenaude receives £50,000 in funding and £21,000 in in-kind business support.

First Minister address

This year’s Converge final was hosted from Doha, Qatar, by Scottish journalist and broadcaster Halla Mohieddeen, with a keynote address by Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

“Winning the Converge Challenge will allow us to fast track our vision of democratising planetary scale satellite intelligence, so it becomes accessible to a whole suite of organisations dealing with humanitarian and disaster relief, and to universities for online Earth-observation learning.”


– Dr Genevieve Patenaude, winner, Converge Challenge 2020.

EI support

Dr Patenaude has been an EI client since January 2019, receiving guidance from its business advisers and a Virtual Board, and support with several successful funding applications.

She gained a Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship in May 2019, which funded her to develop her venture and was hosted by Edinburgh Innovations.

“Edinburgh Innovations has been wonderfully helpful in creating connections, making introductions to the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Scotland, generating awareness of funding routes for bringing innovative ideas to market, and providing countless opportunities for learning from experts in entrepreneurship.”


– Dr Genevieve Patenaude.

Educational game

Elena Höge.

Höge’s startup, Yaldi Games, aims to become a leading educational game developer with social and cultural impact, with a mission to create meaningful entertainment. Its first title, Wholesome, will inspire interest in nature and teach skills such as foraging and healthy cooking.

By winning the Creative Challenge, Ms Höge receives £20,000 in funding and £21,000 as in-kind support.

Höge recently completed Edinburgh Innovations’ 12-week Startup Summer Accelerator programme.

“Yaldi’s mission is to create meaningful entertainment that merges fun and learning.


“The funding and business support from Converge couldn’t have come at a better time, as we are currently building a fully featured prototype and starting to look for a publisher to bring it to market.”


– Elena Höge, Founder, Yaldi Games.

Third top-prize winner

The 2020 awards were the 10th since Converge Challenge’s launch, and in those 10 years clients of EI and its predecessor organisations have taken the top prize three times, previous winners being Photon Force 2015 in and Carbogenics in 2018.

In total, across the awards’ main Converge Challenge and its Impact, Creative and Kickstart categories, the University has had 16 winners and multiple runners-up over the past decade.

“Congratulations to Genevieve and Elena, Edinburgh’s latest worthy Converge winners.


“We’re proud to help our inspiring staff, student and recent graduates turn their ideas and entrepreneurism into products and services with real-world impact.”


– Dr George Baxter, CEO, Edinburgh Innovations.

Related links


Earth Blox

Yaldi Games

EI services for staff

EI services for students