As of 2022:
- 62 early career researchers have benefited from the programme
- 13 of these have moved to share their expertise in industry jobs
- 23 Startups have been founded from ideas explored on Techcelerate
- Over £36.5 million has been raised by startups from the programme, and these companies now support 178 jobs.
Below are just a few of our successes in Medtech and biotech, artificial intelligence, energy & resources and advanced manufacturing.
Medtech and biotech
ProtonDx - Dr Nick Moser
Dr Nick Moser, Dr Pantelis Georgiou, Dr Jesus Rodriguez Manzano
Dr Moser joined the programme in early 2020 to find the best use case for his team’s handheld diagnostic platform for rapid detection of infectious diseases. During the year, they pivoted, developing Covid-19 testing capabilities with the Lacewing and Dragonfly devices. The Dragonfly was used by Team GB at last February’s Beijing Winter Olympics for regular athlete testing and was instrumental in the detection of false positives through other testing methods. The more advanced, lab-on-chip version of the technology in Lacewing enables data transmission to monitor epidemics in real-time and is currently being tested with the Global Health Research Group in Africa and Porcine Respiratory Disease Complex (PRDC) at some of the UK’s farm, showcasing the wide potential usage.
Discover more about ProtonDx
Organa - Zhench Tan
PI: Dr Marc Masen
OrganA has developed high accuracy organ mimics that simulate the mechanical behaviour of organs and tissues to a degree unachieved before. The implementation of these mimics in surgical training courses and in the development of surgical robots worldwide will support safer and more effective surgeries. The mimics are made of a hydrogel that has been mechanically validated during Dr Tan’s PhD research and allows for surgical procedures to be carried out with high simulation accuracy.
hPSC-EC therapy - Dr Gabor Foldes
PI: Professor Sian Harding
Dr Gabor Foldes joined the programme in 2021 with his research on hPSC-EC therapy to explore the production of these stem cells in clinical manufacturing. His expertise in pluripotent stem cell technology (early and late preclinical), regenerative medicine, cardiovascular tissue engineering and cellular models, combined with the commercial skills and connections he developed on Techcelerate changed the course of his career. Dr Foldes is now a Senior Medical Director at AstraZeneca.
Move.ai - Tino Millar
PI: Dr Daniel Balint
Mechanical engineer Tino Millar was inspired his love of exercise and lack of time to revolutionise home exercising. He developed software that interacts with video cameras to monitor and evaluate body movements, run simulations and give immediate feedback on performance. While on Techcelerate, Tino learned the fundamentals of starting a business and explored the application of his tech in professional sports. Today, Move.ai’s patented AAA quality marker-less motion capture technology powered by computer vision and deep learning, supports content creators in film and TV, sports, music and gaming.
Find out about Move.ai
Polymetrix - Sam Willis, Dr Connor Myant, Dr Shiya Li
The Polymetrix team joined Techcelerate in 2021, while the world was still trying to contain aims to deliver a quick and cost-effective design-through-manufacture process for making custom-fit face masks, in order to provide additional support to healthcare services and the general public during worldwide health crises.
The masks will be computationally tailor made for individuals using the cameras from mobile phones. As a result, they will cause less skin damage after long wear for people who don’t fit standard mask sizing.
Discover more about Polymetrix
Monolith - Richard Ahlfeld and Professor Francesco Montomoli
Dr Richard Ahlfeld turned his PhD work at Imperial College London and NASA into a spinout using AI to optimise the engineering design process. Its platform offers companies and engineers an easy way to create machine learning tools that use data on the performance of existing parts to predict how new designs will perform. Techcelerate gave Richard the time and space to focus on the venture, and he set up a pilot of the software with Airbus. He built a diverse team of engineers, data scientists and software developers who have since worked with clients in the automotive and aerospace industries such as Mercedes-Benz, Formula E, Nanopharm and Rolls Royce, just to name a few. The team recently raised £8.5 million in investment and has entered into a partnership with Imperial College London.
Explore the progress of Monolith AI
Energy and resources
Oorja Solutions - Dr Clementine Chambon
PI: Professor Jason Hallett
Dr Clementine Chambon and her co-founder Amit Saraogi have built an award-winning social enterprise that leads to improved livelihoods, job creation and access to services for Indian farming communities. Oorja designs and installs renewable mini-grids for businesses, farmers and households in rural India, beginning in Uttar Pradesh region before rolling out to farming communities across India. It offers pay-per-use services, originally rolling out solar submersible pumps to provide irrigation, but now offer affordable cooling and milling services. In all its projects the renewable power replaces more expensive diesel power.
The start-up has featured in World Bank reports, won several startup prizes and Dr Chambon has featured in Forbes 30 under 30 Europe.
Find out about Oorja Solutions
Bumblebee Power - Dr David Yates
With Professor Paul Mitcheson and Zac Hinton.
Dr David Yates joined Techcelerate in 2018 to find a market for his wireless charging technology. With the potential to be useful in almost all aspects of daily life, he quickly ruled out phone and laptop charging and at first had very little interest from micro-EV companies. After a bit more exploration, he developed two collaborations with an Argentinian drone company and a scooter manufacturer and spun out of Imperial College. The startup is now looking to roll out their solution in the electrical vehicle micromobility market. The electric vehicle market is expected to exceed $245 billion by 2030.
The company has raised a seed round in 2021 and are currently collaborating with Swedish micromobility startup Voi.
Discover Bumblebee Power's success to date
Biomass electrolysis - Dr Hui Luo
PI: Professor Magda Titirici
Dr Luo joined the programme in 2021 to explore the potential of her technology - an electrochemical system resembling water electrolysis, called "biomass electrolysis". The system uses electricity to transform widely available biomass and water into value-added chemicals and clean hydrogen. During the programme she built up a network of industry contacts and reshaped her career.
Since late 2022, Dr Luo is applying her expertise in chemical engineering, materials science and newfound commercial skill in her work in her capacity at Test Engineer at clean energy developer Ceres Power, an Imperial-founded business and the UK's most valuable cleantech company.
DyeRecycle - Dr Anton Firth and Dr Aida Rafat
PI: Professor Jason Hallett
Dr Anton Firth and Dr Aida Rafat used their chemical engineering expertise to clean up the fashion industry. Their novel technology allows easy recycling of dyes from waste textiles, by using an environmentally friendly solvent to remove the dye for reuse in new textiles. The process provides at least 85 per cent reduction in dyestuff and chemicals use compared to conventional dyeing process along with 65 per cent reduction water footprint.
During Techcelerate, Dr Firth made connections with potential early adopters in the fast fashion industry who are in need of a solution to reduce their use of resources and energy. After the programme, the team won the Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition and were selected for Fashion for Good’s Global Innovation Programme in early 2022.
Discover more about the award-winning DyeRecycle
Lixea - Dr Florence Gschwend
With Dr Agi Brandt-Talbot and Professor Jason Hallett
The team at Lixea developed a way to separate biomass like wood and agricultural waste cheaply and efficiently into reusable materials for energy, biomaterials and fuel. In 2018, Dr Gschwend was one of the first participants on Techcelerate. She was supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering and in 2019, the team won a €2.3 million grant to scale up their business. Their pilot plant, located in Sweden, is now fully operational using the process the team developed at Imperial College London.
Find out about biomass energy company Lixea
TOffeeAM - Dr Marco Pietropaoli
With Dr Audrey Gaymann, Dr Francesco Montomoli
By combining artificial intelligence and bio-inspired design techniques, TOffee optimises the design of components for high performance vehicles like aircraft and cars. The software can create more efficient, more resilient and more robust components according to client needs. During Techcelerate, Dr Pietropaoli reached out to people in the automotive, energy and appliance industries, quickly finding out that they had common needs and problems to solve. After the programme, Dr Pietropaoli won a Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowship and pitched at Entrepreneur First.
They’ve worked with Formula 1 teams, General Electric, Baker Hughes and Boeing, just to name a few. In late 2022, the team closed a £5 million Series A investment round led by Presidio Ventures.
Explore the future made possible by TOffeeAM