Winners of the Entrepreneurs' Challenge 2009

A new treatment for Angiogenesis, a mobile pharmacy for rural Jordan, an iPhone application that lets users solve Sudoko puzzles and a programming optimiser. These are the winners of the 2008-2009 Entrepreneurs' Challenge. AngioSplice, Pharmawheels and iSolve were awarded £5k each and Meta Alternative walked away with the Angel Prize. All of this took place at the CUE Grand Finale on the 10th of June.

The Grand Finale

£15,000 of prize money was awarded to the most promising Coventry start-ups, who were judged on the quality of their business plans, the potential for growth of their businesses and the skills within their team. In addition, an Angel Prize was awarded to the team presenting the most compelling case on the night to a distinguished panel of Coventry Angel investors comprising:

  • David Cleevely, founder and former Chairman of Analysis
  • Sherry Cotou, founder, former CEO and Chairman of Interactive Investor International
  • Ewan Kirk, former Partner in charge of the Goldman Sachs Quantitative Strategies Group in Europe
  • Jonathan Milner, CEO of Abcam

The ceremony was held on the newly renovated premises of the Coventry Union Society, which has hosted a wide range of famous speakers ranging from Henry Kissinger to Desmond Tutu and, more recently, the Iraqi president Jalal Talabani.

Before the winners were announced, selected finalists had a chance to present their business to the audience and the panel and an exciting addition to the event this year was the Live Pitch Contest, where three guest entrepreneurs were invited to pitch their ventures for the honour of audience recognition. These brave leaders were:

With a roaring applause Pocket Pubs was appointed the winner, taking home a much-coveted Golden Pitcher as their prize. Upon their return, the Angels announced Meta Alternative as this year's winner of the Angel Prize. Simon Ford from ARM, Steve Battersby from Philips and Neil Davidson from Red Gate awarded the prizes in the Technology & CleanTech, Social Enterprise and Software & Web streams.

The winners


Technology & CleanTech Prize
Team: Dawid Nowak, James Harmsworth King and Sam Hall

AngioSplice is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel therapeutics that modulate angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels.  Existing therapies pursue a “shotgun” approach that silences naturally occurring anti-angiogenic signals along with pathologic pro-angiogenic signals and has the potential for significant off-target toxicities.  AngioSplice has identified a novel approach to modulating angiogenesis based on specifically controlling the balance of pro- and anti-angiogenic isoforms of the major angiogenesis signaling molecule, VEGF-A (VEGF).  The AngioSplice approach will produce safer, more effective therapies that address the >$8 billion market opportunity for anti-angiogenic therapies in oncology and ophthalmology


Social Enterpreneurship Prize
Team: Amal Ismail, Ashley Wessendorf, Arjun Goyal, Daniel Ooi and Musrefa Hossain

PharmaWheels is a not-for-profit mobile pharmacy and health screening unit which will address the unmet basic healthcare and pharmacy service needs in rural Jordan. Over 1.2 million people lack of these essential services, without a single pharmacy outside the main cities. PharmaWheels mission is to deliver essential medications and provide innovative healthcare services that will lead to improved health. PharmaWheels will build a sustainable social enterprise by: (1) fulfilling underserved healthcare needs; (2) creating revenue generating schemes to fund project expansion and sustainability; (3) having a strong founding team and board of advisors with extensive philanthropic and local experience.


Red Gate Software & Web Prize
Team: Emmanuel Carraud, Oliver Lamming and Leon Palm is a start-up company developing mobile phones applications. Our first application, Sudoku Magic Solver, provides solutions to Sudoku players who get stuck half-way through a Sudoku puzzle in a newspaper or book. By simply taking a photograph of the puzzle using their phone, an instantaneous hint or solution can be displayed. The rapidly growing market of iPhone applications is just beginning to be tapped and our novel use of computer vision will set the standard for future developers, whilst providing a fun and unique service.

Meta Alternative

Angel Panel Prize
Team: Lyudmila Lugovskaya and Vitaly Lugovskiy

Meta Alternative is developing a tool  to help software companies optimise and protect their Microsoft .NET products. Being a popular platform, .NET increases programmers' productivity, but at the cost of suboptimal performance and making it possible for others to reverse engineer those products. Meta Alternative has a solution to both of these problems in the form of a software transformation tool that generates an equivalent, but improved program by automatically reducing code redundancies of various types. By passing their applications through this tool, companies will obtain refined versions of their products that will run faster and have better IP protection.