London universities showcase the capital's brightest student startups


Dr Olivia Ahn, co-founder of Polipop

Imperial's most promising student entrepreneurs pitched to an audience of investors and business leaders at London Demo Day.

The event saw Imperial join forces with King’s College London and UCL to showcase some of the capital’s brightest student startups and entrepreneurs to hundreds of international investors.

Fifteen of the best startups from the three universities pitched for investor interest at the inaugural Demo Day, which was held at King's College London. The startups covered a diverse range of industries including healthcare, education and fashion, and technologies including machine learning, AI and robotics.

Imperial’s pitches included startups developing biodegradable sanitary pads, futuristic roadside structures to tackle air pollution and hydrating treats for people with dementia.

Plastic-free periods

Polipop are developing biodegradable, flushable sanitary pads, which have the potential to significantly reduce plastic waste. Their pads, which are as absorbent as conventional plastic products, have been designed to be soft and silent during use and effortless to dispose of. They disintegrate within minutes down the toilet, leaving behind no microplastics. 

Dr Olivia Ahn
Dr Olivia Ahn

A conventional sanitary pad contains up to 90% plastic and takes 500 years to degrade. With 20 million women aged 15-55 in the UK, this leads to 200,000 tonnes of sanitary product waste every year.

Polipop were founded by Imperial graduates Dr Olivia Ahn and Aaron Koshy. 

Hydrating treats

Jelly Drops’ bright sweets are made up of over 90% water and can be given to people with dementia to combat dehydration – a full box of Jelly Drops is the same as drinking three cups of water. Often people living with dementia can forget to drink, or won’t recognise that they feel thirsty.

The Jelly Drops team
The team behind Jelly Drops

The team are made up of Innovation Design Engineering graduates Lewis Hornby, Nick Hooton and Claudia Arnold. Lewis first thought of the idea for Jelly Drops as a project to help his own grandmother, after realising she was having trouble staying hydrated.

Their solution is to offer a treat that will excite and engage dementia patients, while hydrating them. Jelly Drops now has over 1,000 care homes on a waiting list to trial the hydrating sweets and over 15,000 individuals waiting to purchase them.

Tackling air pollution

Pluvo who are designing futuristic roadside structures to tackle air pollution while acting as an innovative advertising medium.

The system, which resembles a large glass chimney, uses “wet-scrubbing” technology which cleans the air in a similar way to rain. The structures draw surrounding air into them, where water droplets attract, collide and combine with pollutants to remove them from the atmosphere. 

What Pluvo would look like on Regent Street
What Pluvo would look like on Regent Street

Holograms could be projected onto the mist to create an attractive visual display, and the team aims to make the system cost-neutral by using this feature as a new advertising medium in high foot-fall areas.

Pluvo was founded by Nick Hooton, Claudia Arnold and Lewis Hornby who met whilst studying on the Innovation Design Engineering course.

Agricultural analysis

FungiAlert provides innovative soil and water analyses that increase agricultural productivity and sustainability.

Kerry and Angela
Kerry and Angela from FungiAlert

Their analyses are facilitated by their patented SporSenZ sensors, which sample the microbes in the field, and only detect alive and actively growing microorganisms. FungiAlert provides a unique solution for early detection of crop diseases and for guiding sustainable crop protection strategies.

Kerry O’Donnelly and Angela de Manzanos founded FungiAlert while PhD students at Imperial.

Money manager

TRACK is a money manager designed for homeowners.

TRACK’s technology gathers all the most important information homeowners need, from AI-powered home valuations to automated expenses and contributions tracking. This information is then given to the user in one place to view, manage and transact their home finances. 

Henry Oakes and Byron McCaughey
Henry Oakes and Byron McCaughey

By providing a platform where homeowners can manage all their property-related finances, the team have a unique view of homeowners’ future intentions, and the products that enable them.

TRACK was founded by Henry Oakes and Byron McCaughey, both former students at Imperial College Business School.


Joanna Wilson

Joanna Wilson
Communications Division

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Comms-strategy-Entrepreneurial-ecosystem, Student-entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship, Enterprise
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