Conversations we had with the Emerging Technologies Competition judges provided strong validation of our technology
Cambridge Photon Technology’s photon multiplication film (PMF) has the potential to raise the power output of solar photovoltaic modules by as much as 20%. Manufacturers can use PMF without significant changes to their designs or processes, which makes it a simple and cost-effective way of significantly boosting module power.
As well as using the prize money to reward staff, conversations the company had with Emerging Technologies Competition judges provided strong validation of their technology. This continues to give confidence to existing investors and is encouraging new ones.
What are Cambridge Photon Technology’s plans for the future?
Cambridge Photon Technology are working to develop a prototype; building relationships with prospective customers; and will be raising new capital later in 2020 to hire more scientists and speed progress to market.
Emerging Technologies Competition winner (Energy and Environment), 2019
We had numerous conversations with the competition judges and follow up calls with two of the competition partners who have given us advice and put us in touch with contacts in their organisations interested in using our technology
Thermulon Ltd’s novel technology is the first high performance, non-combustible building insulation material to improve energy efficiency and meet changing fire regulations. It combines new techniques to synthesise complex nanoporous insulation materials at scale, offering an alternative to current insulation materials that are either non-combustible but with low thermal performance or high performance and flammable.
Thermulon had numerous conversations with competition judges during the final, most notably with competition partners Croda and Johnson Matthey. These companies have helped Thermulon with patent processes, and put Thermulon in touch with in-house teams who could benefit from the company’s technology. Reddie & Grose, IP lawyers and sponsors of the event provided Thermulon with some advice on their patents too.
Shortly following the Royal Society of Chemistry award, Thermulon were awarded a fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering. Achieving both of these accolades so close together provided a ‘stamp of approval’ for the company, which has given them the confidence to engage with a range of investors and partners.
Winning the £10,000 prize money meant that Thermulon could continue operating while finalising results from lab work they were conducting in Durham.
What are Thermulon’s plans for the future?
Thermulon’s main focus for 2020 is to raise seed investment. They recently took part in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Investment Catalyst, a benefit of being a member of the EnterprisePlus scheme. Successfully acquiring seed funding will help towards securing their own lab space and hiring a full time chemist to continue development of their materials. Thermulon are currently looking to work with lime render partners to carry out initial proof of concept pilot schemes.
Winning the competition and conversations we had with the competition judges validated our technology and build confidence with our investors
Rosa Biotech’s sensing platform mimics the mammalian olfactory system using an array of computationally designed barrel-shaped proteins which produce distinctive colour changes in response to a huge variety of analytes. These arrays create characteristic fingerprints that can be interpreted by machine learning to make commercial and clinical predictions.
The Emerging Technologies Competition final was the first time Rosa Biotech ‘put themselves out there’ having recently spun out of Bristol University. Winning the competition and the conversations they had with the competition judges validated their technology – pleasing for them, and great for building their investors’ confidence.
With help from the prize money, the company has:
used PR to reinforce interest in and excitement about their science
identified new customers and invested in customer development
made plans to expand their company through recruitment
What are Rosa Biotech’s plans for the future?
As well as hiring another scientist, chemist and intern, Rosa Biotech will be starting up and developing a range of projects with partners. They have plans to develop their platform technology, engage with commercial partners and look long-term at new markets including diagnostics, drug discovery flavours and fragrance.
Winning the competition, we were able to build a strong reputation in the UK, Spain and Portugal and establish our technology’s credibility among investors, oncologists and industry partners
RUBYnanomed’s microfluidic device offers a non-invasive and precise snapshot of cancer progression. The RUBYchip isolates all types of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) from unprocessed whole blood, helping doctors to adjust therapy in real time.
Since winning the competition, RUBYnanomed has been building a strong reputation in the UK, Spain and Portugal, and establishing their technology’s credibility among investors, oncologists and industry partners.
With help from the prize money, the company has:
Invested in legal coverage to finalise the licensing agreement with the research center from where the company spun-off, INL.
Hired an interim CEO with broad experience in the field of medical devices and with an extended track record on the diagnostics business.
Started the process for registering their brand and name, and is upgrading their new website.
Attended the MEDICA 2019 Trade Fair and the Lisbon Investors Conference to meet prospective industry partners and investors.
With conversations ongoing with investors and NDAs signed, RUBYnanomed have plans to raise £4 million this year.
What are RUBYnanomed’s plans for the future?
Alongside gathering investment, RUBYnanomed are supporting the EU PERSIST project. They are using grant money from the project to respond to the demand created as a result of their Emerging Technologies Competition winner status. They plan to scale up the production of their chips into the thousands to serve a customer base of oncologists and pharmaceutical companies.
Emerging Technologies Competition winner (Food and Drink), 2019
The prize money enabled us to hire a chemical engineer to help us with scale up of our company
Mimica is a next generation food expiry label or cap that both reduces food waste and improves food safety. The label is low-cost enough to be used on any package across the supply chain, from production to the consumer’s fridge, and provides an accurate, real-time indication of product freshness.
Straight off the back of winning the competition, Mimica were able to close the fundraising on a healthy seed round.
The £10,000 prize money enabled Mimica to the scale up and accelerate their growth with the hiring of a chemical engineer and they also began to develop a vegan gel for their caps to support a shift in consumer behaviours.
What are Mimica’s plans for the future?
Mimica have a busy year ahead. They have partnered with a leading juice based company in the UK and Europe to carry out a pilot trial of their caps, and are exploring opportunities to expand their expiry label and cap use in the dairy and meat sectors.
Emerging Technologies Competition winner (Food and Drink), 2019
The awareness and recognition we gained through winning the competition has helped us gain traction with potential partners and suppliers
Majico’s hyper-local water kiosks harness nanomaterials to create water purifying, storing and dispensing systems that are small-scale, low-power and affordable. These kiosks will be used by water vendors in Tanzania, allowing them to produce clean water to sell in their own communities.
Majico have developed a beta version of their kiosks with help from their prize money, and will be travelling to Tanzania to test their new prototype.
The awareness and recognition gained through winning the competition has also helped the company to gain traction with more potential partners and supporters.
What are Majico’s plans for the future?
Following their testing trip in East Africa, Majico will be looking to raise venture capital investment. They will then explore other markets and sectors that can benefit from their technology, currently carrying out human-centered design work combining prototyping with community engagement. Majico are working towards local partnerships for roll-out.
To have the recognition from the Royal Society of Chemistry… was really fantastic. [Its] reputation and how people view and admire it – it's got a lot of integrity.
Hexigone manufactures high performance corrosion inhibitors which make coatings ‘chemically intelligent’, offering a safer, smarter and up to ten times more effective alternative to protect metal assets.
Winning the competition proved to be a great conversation starter across a range of now engaged partners, attracting attention from Angels, VCs, commercial partners and more. The prize money also came at an opportune time for Hexigone as it meant they were able to file for patent protection for the discovery of a new application.
Through the Royal Society of Chemistry’s EnterprisePlus scheme, the company recently took part in the Investment Catalyst, where they pitched to more than 90 angel investors. The funding raised will go towards expanding the commercial side of the business ensuring their already 40 plus partners have the support they need.
What are Hexigone Inhibitor's plans for the future?
With continued demand from existing and new customers, Hexigone plans to expand their team in 2020 with representatives stationed across several regions.
Winning the Emerging Technologies Competition and recognition from The Scientist and R&D 100 we saw a significant increase in enquiries from both existing and potential new customers
Mass photometry enables accurate mass measurement of single molecules in minutes. The low sample amount required, and the ability to measure molecules in solution, in their native state, without the need for labels, opens up new possibilities for bioanalytics and research into biomolecular functions.
As well as winning the Emerging Technologies Competition, Refeyn were recognised with the Scientist Top 10 Innovation Award and R&D 100 award in the last quarter of 2019. As a result the company saw a significant increase in enquiries – both from their existing customers, and from potential new customers from industry, a change from their traditional customer base in academia. By the end of 2019, Refeyn doubled in size from 15 employees to > 30. Refeyn were able to support this quick expansion with their prize money and additional business generated by the awards, using it for professional development to ensure maintenance of company culture, values and strategy during growth.
What are Refeyn’s plans for the future?
Refeyn has engaged with a number of pharmaceutical companies and small-medium biotech companies, who are using their analytical instruments and sharing feedback to guide next development steps. After seeing a greater increase in interest from industry partners, Refeyn are considering fundraising to continue the scale up of their business.
2018-2013 winners case studies
Aqdot entered the competition to gain exclusive access to the competition’s partner companies, enabling them to carry out essential market research with multinationals from a wide range of fields.
Since winning in 2013 they have received over £15 m in equity and grant funding investment, doubled their number of employees and launched products to market.
Immaterial, a spin out of the University of Cambridge, have developed a breakthrough technology which enables the widescale use of a novel class of materials. The competition prize money and other funding meant Immaterial have been able to scale up and expand since winning in 2015.
AquAffirm have developed innovative tests and software for measuring, mapping and monitoring contaminants in drinking water. One year on from winning the competition in 2018 AquAffirm have been able to conduct significant research and testing of their prototype.
Oxford Biotrans is helping transform the flavour and fragrance market with a novel way of producing high-value compounds using enzyme technology. Its first product on the market is nootkatone – which has the flavour and scent of grapefruit.
Since winning in 2018 they already have a product on the market
Green Lizard Technologies Ltd have developed a novel, vitamin-based technology for the purification of vegetable oils. The technology reduces various impurities and eliminates carcinogenic compounds such as 3-MCPD. The vitamin can be regenerated and reused in further oil purification and contributes to significant reductions in process intensity and provides safety and security for consumers.
Green Lizard Technologies is currently developing methods which work with a wide range of oils to meeting growing global demand.
SweetGen Ltd has created the first abiotic fuel cell capable of breaking down organic molecules when presented with complex mixtures such as waste water and has developed a new family of catalysts that enable faster, lower-cost and less energy-intensive water treatment procedures.
Read what they have been up to since winning in 2016
Biogelx entered the Emerging Technologies Competition knowing that a major market opportunity was to sell their products to big-pharma companies and wanted the chance to be mentored by someone relevant to the industry they were trying to attract.
With the help of GSK, Biogelx have successfully marketed their technology, opened an office in the US, and raised £650,000 of equity investment. Read more
Catalytic Technologies Ltd
Catalytic Technologies Ltd saw entering the competition as an ideal opportunity to raise their profile with potential customers, suppliers and collaborators, and to increase their credibility in the markets they wanted to enter.
Two years on, the company are now performing commercial trails across the globe. Read more
University of Oxford
When Professor Kylie Vincent’s research group entered the Emerging Technologies Competition, their technology had been proven to work on a small scale in the laboratory but they needed expertise to take their idea to the next level.
After GSK supported their funding bid, the group secured a £2.9m grant to take their technology towards market. Read more
Get in touch
If you would like more information on the competition or help with your application, please contact Emily Vipond