Jun 2012 15

A Coventry University entrepreneur, who has created technology to detect weapons, drugs or explosives at airports and other high risk environments, has won £15k cash and consultancy in CoventryElevator’s inaugural KickStart competition.
Nicholas Tan’s company TeraWandaims to be the leading manufacturer and supplier of handheld Terahertz screening devices – allowing security personnel to easily and consistently locate weapons, drugs or explosives at airports, seaports and a range of other high-risk environments.

Marketing chief for Coventry University Entrepreneurs (CUE), Tan believes he can steer his technology to commercialisation in a year or so thanks to the development capital and IP expertise earned in the inaugural KickStart competition run by Coventry UK-based startup network, CoventryElevator.com He is working on accelerating a miniaturised version of the device.

Young Coventry University entrepreneurs dominated the latter stages of the competition, which was backed with £10k cash from globally renowned product innovation hothouse Coventry Consultants and PEM Technology, the technology arm of local accountancy practice PEM – plus £5k’ worth of IP input from patent and TM attorney Mathys & Squire.

Since CoventryElevator launched the competition with its own arrival on the scene last November, entries have poured in from as far afield as India and Africa. More than 50 global entrants made the shortlist.

Tan explained: “Terahertz radiation can be used to identify illicit drugs and explosive substances, which give specific colour signatures when irradiated.

“In addition, this radiation can pass through soft materials like clothing and paper and, unlike X-rays, is harmless to humans. As such, handheld terahertz scanners can fill a void in the $130 billion global airport security equipment market by allowing security personnel to easily identify and locate drugs or explosives hidden under clothes or in luggage without invasive methods or sniffer dogs which are potentially unreliable.

“TeraWand’s scanners can also find a secondary market in postal facilities for mail screening.”

Runner up was VocalIQ, headed up by Blaise Thompson, who is supported by Coventry University’s celebrated ‘Dontrepreneur,’ Steve Young.

VocalIQ aims to become the leading provider of of voice interfaces for computer systems. By using novel statistical models of dialogue, VocalIQ can dramatically improve the performance of voice-based systems.

Founded in March 2010, the company has developed its technology along with a prototype system allowing small businesses to provide 24-hour phone bookings. The company’s algorithms explicitly model the uncertainty caused by speech recognition errors. Automated call centres, mobile applications and in-car navigation are three application areas.

Third placed was Sean Cheng’s venture, Heliomobil – a solar energy startup developing low-cost, out of the box heliostats for residential and small scale utility solar power markets.

Heliomobil is providing affordable and easy-to-use supplemental technologies for residential solar energy collection systems that reduce initial investment costs, increase energy savings and promote global solar energy adoption.

CoventryElevator CEO, Richard Kirkby, presided over the presentation ceremony at Coventry Consultants. He was joined by Coventry Consultants CEO, Brian Moon; Chris Walklett from PEM Technology and Alan MacDougall of Mathys & Squire – plus representatives of 20 shortlisted companies.

Kirkby said: “CoventryElevator only launched a little over six months ago but the buy-in from the startup community globally has been very encouraging. The same goes for entry to the inaugural KickStart; having three high profile technology players as sponsors clearly helped but KickStart from day one struck a chord with startups covering a diverse and exciting array of technologies.

“We sincerely hope that the entrepreneurs that were not successful on this occasion go on to prove us wrong because there are no losers when one sees such widespread and passionate commitment to innovation.”

Jun 2012 14

The winners of the CUE Business Creation Competition 2012 are:
Technology start up of the year - Cam Battery
CamBattery develops a novel battery technology based on lithium and sulfur, the combination of these two elements can yield the highest energy density of any rechargeable batteries. Our technology is based on a continuous roll-to-roll process for carbon nanotube-sulfur composite production. CamBattery products will enable the advancement of consumer electronics and electrical vehicles, which are being hold back by the amount of energy stored in the batteries available in the market.

Life Science Start up of the year -Desktop Genetics
Desktop Genetics is building a robot capable of performing automated DNA synthesis. The SynthBot has been specifically designed to run the time consuming, repetitive reactions needed to synthesise DNA, thereby preventing costly mistakes and allowing users to focus on the experiments that really matter.
SynthBots communicate with each other and computers over a network, sending and receiving DNA data like a fax machine, so that collaborators will always have the latest version of your DNA. SynthBots allow users to translate their designs into physical reality the same day, enabling rapid proof-of-concept, more comprehensive drug searches, and more time making breakthroughs.

General Innovation Start up of the year - Coventry Interactive Video Solutions
Coventry Interactive Video Solutions aims to become the leading player in the global online advertising market by making clickable video technology available to general public.
Our goal is in 2 years to provide a disruptive monetisation solution for users of generic video sharing sites such as Youtube, Vimeo, Metacafe. Each user will be able to attach meta data in the form of textual information or hyperlink to an object of interest in any uploaded video.

Social Enterprise Start up of the year - Wedu
Local leadership is critical for local development. Wedu has developed a sustainable business model to provide education financing options and mentorship for underprivileged university students with high leadership potential in Least Developed Countries (LDCs), especially girls. We want to initiate a positive cycle of developing local leadership talent by identifying students committed to working on local issues, helping them to complete university and giving them access to a global network of mentors. We use social collateral to incentivise students to return to serve their communities, mentor future leaders and repay the financing into our revolving fund to serve more students.

Software Start up of the year and Angel Prize -Student Reading lists:
studentreadinglists.com makes compiling, validating and sharing course resources between educators, administrators and students a seamless and cost-effective process. The web tool delivers a fully integrated solution at a price that clearly outperforms alternative offerings.
By offering an integrated web solution for university staff, reading lists can be managed and students can access their course material in all media forms from a central location. Through the aggregation of students’ atomised demand for course media, studentreadinglists.com enables buyers and sellers the opportunity to benefit from group purchasing.

First step Forward prize -Drop Tech:
Drop-Tech provides an automated system for continuous screening of multiple samples for both absorbance and fluorescence assays. This system saves time, samples and reagents and provides quantitative data in assay volumes of around 50 nano-litres. The Drop-Tech system provides the miniaturisation of nano-litre liquid handling robots with the detection and analysis of multi-mode plate readers. This easy-to-use screening system will be used for validation and characterisation of hits, by providing the ability to screen multiple parameters in a combinatorial fashion.

First Step Forward Prize -Old Bond:

Old Bond is a start-up company introducing in the UK the world’s first spinning animated pictures and video on bicycle wheels, a breakthrough in outdoor advertising. Offering environmentally friendly advertising, we use a unique hi-tech system, Video Pro, to transfer advertising video-clips, images and logos from a computer onto the wheels. The new technology transforms a bike into a work of art and opens up unique opportunities for advertising. Our bikes with videos and images on the wheels have been a true sensation on the streets mesmerizing crowds and delivering advertising message.

Young entrepreneur of the year
Nils Frers
Steven Marsh

Angel Prize: Student Reading Lists

Congratulations everyone!