FOUNDERS of University of Edinburgh-supported start-ups, including many that are seeking growth investment, will be given the opportunity to showcase their companies to an audience of investors, business support groups, and fellow entrepreneurs at two key events taking place next month.
Ten early-stage companies from the University’s Venture Builder Incubator (VBI) 3.0 cohort will be invited to pitch at a Showcase on 3 March. This will include four companies looking at innovative forms of cancer research and treatment that are taking part in the VBI through its partnership with Cancer Research Horizons.
Meanwhile, 12 innovative AI-driven companies will also present their businesses at the AI Accelerator Showcase being staged on 22 March. The companies are all currently participating in the University’s six-month AI Accelerator programme where they benefit from access to training and mentoring to enhance founders’ commercial skills and develop their business proposition.
The VBI programme supports PhD students and post doctorates from The University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University and other parts of the UK, helping them build their skills and transform their research into a relevant and viable business proposition. It features 23 early-stage companies which are focused on addressing key societal challenges including the climate emergency, enterprise optimisation, cancer remedies and other health and well-being issues.
Each venture is provided with £2K and supported 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. This year’s cohort, which is once again supported by Barclays Eagle Labs, includes Carbon Glance, a data integration platform that makes it easier for companies and investors to measure exposure to carbon pricing; Morph.ai, a digital pathology company transforming breast cancer diagnostics; and GambitBio, developers of a lateral flow test that detects early-stage cancer.
Laura Bernal, Venture Builder Incubator Programme Manager, said: “The VBI Showcase will provide founders behind early-stage ventures with an ideal platform to present and further develop their innovation into a viable business. It also offers participants a great opportunity to build their commercial contacts and make valuable connections.”
Participants in the AI Accelerator programme, which is supported by Huawei, are founders of innovative, scale-up companies with many focused on using ‘AI for good’ as well as those seeking to address specific health and climate issues. They receive a £9K grant and get access to commercial expertise and collaboration opportunities benefitting from the University of Edinburgh’s position as a world leader in AI research.
Those taking part in the current AI Accelerator include Danu Robotics, developers of a revolutionary robotic waste sorting product; MindTrace, a US-based company which has created a clinical decision support tool that reduces uncertainty associated with neurosurgery; Easy Rice, a company focused on digitalising staple food industries and promoting sustainability for all stakeholders along the food supply chain; and Inicio AI, which has built an affordability tool to help individuals in debt to better manage their finances.
Katy Guthrie, Programme Leader of AI Accelerator said: “The AI Accelerator Showcase will support our 12 AI-driven cohort companies providing them with an opportunity to promote their business to an audience of potential investors and grant funders as well as fellow entrepreneurs. The event is designed to support growth for these innovative, emerging companies and help them maximise their global potential.”
The VBI and AI Accelerator are delivered by the University of Edinburgh’s world-leading Innovation Hub for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, the Bayes Centre, and supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service. It is delivered on behalf of the Data-Driven Innovation Hubs, in contribution to the Data-Driven Entrepreneurship programme