Organisational and angel investors explored new investment opportunities at an evening of pitches and networking with Imperial's startups.
Haptic touch technology, disinformation protection algorithms and a retinal imaging solution were among the technologies on show at the event, which took place at the College's South Kensington campus. Following an introduction by Dr Govind Pindoria, Associate Director of Startup Formations, Imperial College London, investors heard pitches from six of Imperial’s investment-ready startups, as well as a talk by Lomax Ward, Co-Founder of Luminous Ventures, who provided an insight into venture capital fundraising.
Following the event, Lomax said: "Thursday's event demonstrated that Imperial continues to produce some extremely strong technology and entrepreneurs. Events like this are vitally important for entrepreneurs to build up engagement with the investor community and to get early feedback on a range of areas, including the product roadmap, the go-to-market, the team and fundraising strategy. Furthermore, it is important for entrepreneurs to understand the different funding options right from the outset, be that grant funding, angel investors, EIS funds or venture capital funds, since different investors have different return profiles and ways of working with companies: understanding this early will help them make the right choice when it comes to a funding partner."
The presentations were followed by a drinks reception with demos from seven additional, early-stage companies representing future investment opportunities. The startups which pitched or presented during the evening included both staff- and student-led companies across a wide range of research disciplines.
Companies pitching included:
- TauRhythm Therapies, a startup which has developed an advanced cardiac mapping system to revolutionise the invasive treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF)
- BladeBUG Limited, whose team are developing a unique walking robotic platform designed to remotely carry out detailed inspection and maintenance of wind turbine blades
- Cheesecake Energy Limited, a company developing energy storage at half the cost of the current market leader, lithium ion batteries. Their system uses compressed air and thermal energy storage to achieve high efficiency, long lifetime and dramatically lower environmental impact
- VUI Diagnostics, a startup that helps doctors detect retinal diseases earlier by providing a retinal imaging solution that is affordable, easier and faster than current tools
- Sieve, a startup which makes it easy for journalists and policy-makers to detect disinformation by providing a suit of disinformation detection algorithms
- Valkyrie Industries Ltd, a DeepTech hardware startup developing haptic (touch) technology. The first product is a wearable suit that allows enterprise-led developers to create richer content for Virtual and Augmented Reality. Their patented haptic technology allows natural interaction and sensations of touch, weight and resistance in virtual simulations.
Moray Wright, CEO of Parkwalk Advisors and one of the attendees, commented: “As a potential investor, I found the event extremely well run and a great opportunity to see the pipeline of potential investments from one of the world’s leading research institutions. I found the quality of the pitches to be unusually high with extremely credible presenters.”
The event was the latest in a series run by Imperial’s Enterprise Division for investors across the world to get to know the startups coming out of the College’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The series, launched in May 2019, followed on from Imperial taking the lead on its technology transfer activities in March 2019 and has been a valuable avenue for investors to connect with some of the best business ideas coming out of Imperial. Out of the seven companies that pitched at the launch event in May, four have closed their funding rounds and two are adjusting their plans based on investor feedback.
Dr Simon Hepworth, Imperial’s Director of Enterprise, said: “Imperial is very much open for business with investors. This event was an excellent opportunity for investors to meet some of the most exciting startups and early-stage ventures developed by staff and students within Imperial’s unique research and innovation ecosystem.”
The event in November also built on other occasions facilitating investor contacts with startups, including the College’s recent event for Angel investors, and a Demo Day run in partnership with King’s College and University College London. In addition, Imperial's newly established Angel Network aims to build an active network of individual angel investors that delivers increased investment into the College's startups.
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