For the fourth consecutive year, Imperial’s White City Incubator has been shortlisted for a prestigious regional business award.
After another successful year while facing challenging circumstances, the Incubator has been recognised for its pivotal role in enabling and supporting entrepreneurs in the deep technology sectors including cleantech, healthtech and robotics.
It has been shortlisted in the ‘Incubator/Accelerator/Coworking Space of the Year.’ as part of West London Business Awards 2022.
This year’s shortlisting includes the value added by the recently-opened Scale Space and the in-person and online services provided by the Imperial College Advanced Hackspace. It reflects both the achievements of the companies housed in the Incubator, as well as the coordinating team who support and deliver the activities.
Five years of pioneering success
Established in 2016, as the first operating collaboration space at Imperial’s White City Campus, the Incubator has been instrumental in facilitating partnerships and connections between businesses, researchers and emerging ventures, supporting entrepreneurs and startups on their journey all the way through to achieving Series A-funded status
One of the first companies to have been based in the Incubator was Polymateria, whose biodegradable plastic polymer technology recently hit the world stage through their ‘Cups for COP’ initiative, backed by HRH Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.
Their participation at the event came shortly after they had announced a $100m deal with Formosa Plastics, one of the world’s leading plastic manufacturers, who will be able to significantly reduce the amount of packaging waste by using Polymateria’s novel solution in their products.
Another of the early companies to be housed at the Incubator, GammaDelta Therapeutics, have also had huge success, recently announcing an multi-million pound deal to develop their technology with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited.
Backing startups from the Imperial community
While GammaDelta and Polymateria are startups whose origins were outside of the Imperial College London community, huge success has been supported from some of the Imperial-founded companies that have successfully taken up residence in the Incubator.
FreshCheck Ltd., founded by PhD students Alex Bond, Robert Peach and John Simpson, originally worked on their technology as part of their studies before realising there was a commercial proposition to the early-stage research. With the support of programmes across the College, led by the Enterprise Division, they secured lab space in the Incubator back in 2017.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, they pivoted their technology to find novel testing methods to ensure the hygiene of surfaces and premises, and in addition to scientific success have also secured investment through the Imperial College Innovation Fund and external investors to develop their business, graduating to the I-HUB co-working space after completing their three years in the Incubator.
Founded by Professors Nigel Brandon and Anthony Kucernak, and Dr Vladimir Yufit, RFC Power have developed novel technology for hydrogen fuel cells and energy storage. The initial concept was developed by the founders off the back of their world-leading engineering and chemistry researchers, building on long-term projects and their experience working on other startups.
This month, they secured backing from another Imperial-founded company, Ceres Power – the UK’s most valuable cleantech business – which will take the technology that they have been working on in the Incubator to the next stage, ensuring they are ready to support businesses around the world during the hydrogen fuel revolution that is set to power the next generation.
Former WEInnovate winners Puraffinity (previously CustoMem) are another company that has benefited first from Imperial’s range of Enterprise Division services, and latterly from being based on the White City Campus.
The startup, founded in 2015, have been Incubator residents since 2018, securing regular funding for their business from a range of streams and investors before announcing that they’ll be moving to Scale Space, continuing their connection to the College and the White City Innovation District as they go further and faster in their quest to improve the cleanliness of water around the world.
Bringing the community together
When the Incubator was housed at the South Kensington Campus, the focus was very much on supporting Imperial’s startups and helping them develop their business propositions.
Since the move to White City, the Incubator has been able to continue a strong legacy of supporting the College’s entrepreneurs, while also opening up to emerging companies from further afield, as well as rooting itself in the burgeoning innovation district.
We’ve consistently provided a great level of professional and service-level support for companies and ventures across the White City Innovation District. Graham Hewson Head of Imperial White City Incubator
The Incubator team plays a pivotal role in supporting startups on their journey by working closely with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, in particular through the Upstream partnership, and by helping graduating companies to find new office and lab locations nearby. This includes at Scale Space and within the Innovation and Translation Hub on Imperial’s White City Campus.
Scale Space, a new community for innovative businesses looking to scale, recently announced that it was expanding its lab provision across its estate, in response to increased demand for ready-to-use laboratories for fledgling companies
As the area develops its Life Sciences cluster, the Incubator continues to provide an attractive proposition as a gateway for startups to develop their businesses, as well as for established companies to find out about the latest innovations that will either disrupt or drive forward their sectors.
“Being shortlisted for the award is another great achievement for the Incubator, and even more so now that we can bring a hugely active Scale Space community and the activities of the Hackspace into our offer,” said Graham Hewson, Head of the Imperial White City Incubator.
“Over the past five years we’ve consistently provided a great level of professional and service-level support for companies and ventures across the White City Innovation District. This latest nomination reflects how the team goes above and beyond to ensure that these potentially world-changing companies have access to the tools, insights and support they need to design and create innovative solutions to major diseases, industry-specific challenges and to power the green energy revolution.”
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