Twenty innovative start-ups have been selected for a University of Edinburgh incubator programme aimed at developing and commercialising academic entrepreneurship.
The Venture Builder Incubator 2.0, part of the Data-Driven Entrepreneur Programme, is supported by Edinburgh Innovations and delivered by the Bayes Centre on behalf of the University’s five Data-Driven Innovation Hubs.
Cancer Research UK partnership
The start-ups selected for the incubator include eight companies operating projects in the field of cancer. This follows a new partnership, announced in September, between the University of Edinburgh and Cancer Research UK to support PhD students and research staff in developing and accelerating commercialisation of ideas aimed at combating cancer.
The cancer-focused ventures include NanoTara, which is exploring a method for early cancer diagnosis using magnetic nanorobots; 10zyme, a start-up devising a simple method of detecting cancers through urine or saliva samples; and ForceBiology, developer of a versatile, more accurate and cost-effective high throughput drug-screening platform for cancer.
Drinks, wellbeing and subsea robots
This year’s programme also includes start-ups in a range of other sectors including Quas, make of a healthy, plant-based non-alcoholic drink. Also selected are Zoforia Technologies, developer of an online wellbeing platform for children; Amitabha, an efficient and accurate AI-driven conveyancing solution; and Robocean, which is developing a subsea robot that can plant seagrass 30 times faster and significantly cheaper than other methods.
Other participating ventures are: Amytis Labs, Cexal, EVA Biosystems, FastMedCare, Flimology, Insilico, Janus, Onboard.ID, Outfit of Tomorrow, Oxford Onco-Therapeutics, Sentinal4D, Therapev, and Whimsylabs.
Research students and staff
The Venture Builder Incubator is designed to help fledgling entrepreneurs build their skills and take their businesses to the next level. The start-ups in this year’s cohort were chosen after an application process which includes PhD students and post-doctorates from the University of Edinburgh or Heriot-Watt University, as well as research staff focused on cancer-related projects from across the UK.
Each venture is provided with £2,000 and business support through a series of workshops, networking events, mentoring, peer-to-peer learnings and access to the University of Edinburgh’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and its data expertise.
The Venture Builder Incubator, funded through the Data-Driven Innovation programme of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, forms part of the ambitious Data-Driven Entrepreneurship Beacon Programme at the University of Edinburgh to support post-Covid recovery.
The delivery of the programme is supported by Edinburgh-based strategic design consultancy Nile, Scale Space and edventure, a pan-European university venture builder and accelerator, launched in 2020 by three Edinburgh students.
The Incubator has also formed a partnership with FinTech Scotland to leverage its network to support entrepreneurs.
Charlotte Waugh, Enterprise and Innovation Programme Lead at Edinburgh Innovations, said:
We are delighted to welcome some of the most promising entrepreneurial students in Edinburgh along with leading academic researchers from other parts of the UK to participate in Venture Builder Incubator 2.0. The programme features 20 companies that have been engaged in academic research to address some of the world’s major challenges including the climate emergency, health and wellbeing, children’s mental health, and financial security.
We look forward to supporting these ventures, helping commercialise their ideas to transform them into world-leading businesses. This programme further builds on our ambition to establish Edinburgh as the Data Capital of Europe.
Laura Bernal, Venture Builder Incubator Programme Manager, said:
We’re delighted to welcome all our new cohorts including the eight start-up companies recruited in partnership with Cancer Research UK (CRUK), with ideas to transform the way we treat cancer. These companies are focused on developing early diagnosis tools and less invasive testing to enable better and quicker treatments and improved outcomes for cancer patients.
Photo shows the Data-Driven Entrepreneurship team, with Charlotte Waugh centre and Laura Bernal centre left.