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London universities showcase top entrepreneurial talent at Demo Day

Imperial’s (@imperialcollege) most promising student innovators pitched to an audience of investors and business leaders at London Demo Day.

Imperial’s Enterprise Lab joined forces with UCL’s Hatchery and King’s20 Accelerator to present some of their most innovative student-founded startups to a group of international angel investors and alumni from the three universities.

Fifteen of the top startups from the three universities pitched for investor interest at the second ever Demo Day, which was hosted virtually by UCL. The startups spanned healthcare technologies, fintech, social impact businesses and a range of other industries.

Find out more about the Imperial startups showcased:

Intelligent bill management

ApTap are developing intelligent bill and subscription management tools for banking customers. According to the team, British consumers waste millions of pounds every year overpaying on their bills and subscriptions – this may be because they struggle to understand what they’re regularly paying for, or know which deals are best suited for them.

ApTap would allow customers to cancel, compare, switch or sign up to services with a few taps, embedded into their partners’ apps, such as banking apps. The team is made up of Imperial graduates Will Billingsley, Isa Ibrahim and Nadal Sarkytbayev.

Planet-positive textiles

The fashion industry accounts for around 10% of global carbon emissions and nearly 20% of wastewater. SaltyCo is a material science company aiming to create ‘planet positive’ textiles by harnessing regenerative agriculture. They do this by actively healing damaged ecosystems through their innovative material supply chain.

A plant-based fibrefill

Their first product, BioPuff, is a plant-based fibrefill for use as an alternative to goose-down or synthetic fills. Not only is it warm, lightweight and naturally water-repellent, but BioPuff is also biodegradable, carbon negative and cruelty-free.

SaltyCo is made up of graduates Julian Ellis-Brown, Nelly Taheri, Antonia Jara Contreras and Finlay Duncan.

Emotionally intelligent headphones

According to team Kouo, mental health is often confused with mental illness, making it difficult to effectively address it – yet everyone has mental health and the team say it defines how we interact with the world.

Kouo is developing headphones to help users identify, follow and understand their emotions. The headphones’ embedded biometric sensors measure neural activity through electrical fields, in combination with several other biomarkers, to indicate the wearer’s emotion. These signals then feed into into Kouo’s emotional recognition platform to analyse emotions on a second-by-second basis.

Kouo was founded by graduates Shaan Bassi, Keidi Kapllani and Hud Syafiq.

Streamlining patient recruitment

Neucruit, founded by graduate Livia Ng, uses deep tech to build digital patient recruitment strategies, using artificial intelligence to reduce patient recruitment timelines for clinical trials by more than 90%. Their technology aggregates real-time data to facilitate planning and recruitment in clinical trials.

The team say that a large percentage of clinical trials are delayed each year, with delays in participant recruitment having detrimental effects on clinical development timelines. Neucruit uses AI to decentralise clinical trial recruitment.

Next-generation injury prevention

Scaled, founded by graduate Natalie Kerres, is a material innovation company developing custom-fit, nature inspired and flexible wearables to prevent injuries. Their materials, made for sports protection, medical rehabilitation, industrial work safety and defence applications, maximises physical projection while providing full mobility until the moment of an accident.

Scaled's wearable to prevent injuries

Scaled’s algorithm designs data-driven, customised and responsive scale structures, according to the user’s specifications. This then produces a series of custom fit, interlocking protective scales for controlled motion limitation. The wearables are designed to limit motion beyond a specific angle to prevent overextension of joint injuries.

“Enterpreneurial talent”

Ben Mumby-Croft, Director of Imperial Enterprise Lab said: “We are delighted to be participating in our second London Demo Day. It’s an incredibly important platform for us and it enables us to showcase some of the amazing entrepreneurial talent coming up through the Imperial Ecosystem. For us it’s a fantastic opportunity to make new connections and for our teams to raise investment.”

The Demo Day’s keynote speech came from UCL alumnus David Abrahamovitch, co-founder and CEO of Grind hospitality chain.

To see the pitch decks for all 15 startups from the demo day visit the London Demo Day 21 showcase.

Demo Day success

Four Imperial teams from the 2019 London Demo Day have gone on to raise funds and launch products. Pluvo now have billboards on the streets of London taking pollution and viruses from the air. Jelly Drops built their factory and produced over a million hydrating sweets for people with dementia by November 2020.

Planera launched the world’s only certified flushable sanitary pads, and with a huge waiting list are securing a seed round so they can produce at scale. Fungi Alert have launched products like the SporSenZ sensor, which facilitates in-the-field soil-health mapping. The sensors provide growers with the location of disease pressure and the microbial community within their farms.

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