Going vegan beyond January, taming the Dragons and diagnostic development


Dr Chang Liu in the BBC Dragon's Den, with his robotic arm technology

Kick off 2022 with some important news and updates from Imperial’s entrepreneurial community and enterprising academics.

Veganuary, and beyond… 

Shellworks, Venture Catalyst Challenge winners in 2020, have pivoted in a pandemic, but not in the way you might have thought. 

In response to customer demand for a completely vegan product, the team have adapted their unique approach to tackling food waste to move from shells to plants

By developing their polymer technology to a broader range of sources, they are able to turn a wider variety of food waste into compostable plastic crockery, cutlery, containers and other packaging products, becoming more sustainable in the process. 

Applications for the 2022 edition of the Venture Catalyst Challenge are open until Wednesday 19 January. Apply online here

An interview with the founders of Shellworks, winners of the 2020 Venture Catalyst Challenge

Extend Robotics: As seen on TV 

Augmented and virtual reality will have applications across a huge range of industries and sectors, and some are already seeing the benefits.  

Dr Chang Liu, formerly a postdoctoral research associate at Imperial and the founder of Extend Robotics, successfully pitched for £150,000 investment in the first episode of the new series of Dragons’ Den (BBC One, Thursday 6 January, 20:00 GMT).  

While four of the investors worried that there was still a long way to go until the technology would be viable, Peter Jones was willing to invest in Chang and Extend, joining a long list of investors who have backed startups from across the Imperial community that are future-focused and that will make a significant positive impact on society. 

Chang was part of the Innovators Programme in 2019, run by Imperial’s White City Incubator, and Extend Robotics appears as a featured startup within Imperial Business Partners’ Tech Foresight 2041 Scenarios: Computation, energy and the planet. 

Check out the opportunities to work with Imperial’s Startups Team by joining the Investor Network and find out more about the Imperial College Enterprise Fund

Biomarkers and blood testing: Developing high-quality diagnostics  

Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos hit the headlines again following the recent fraud trial in the USA

Experts at Imperial and beyond are working on biomarker and blood testing technology, too, but that’s where the similarity with Theranos ends. The EU-funded DIAMONDS project is independently reviewed and critically examined by experts, adheres to extremely high levels of ethical conduct, and reports its progress transparently.  

This, and the exciting technology and science behind the project, is something explained by DIAMONDS deputy coordinator Dr Jethro Herberg in a feature about the advances in blood testing tech in The Sunday Times in early January, highlighting the possibilities that are just around the corner, and how the sector can leave Theranos’s bad blood squarely in the past.  

DIAMONDS, and its predecessor project PERFORM, is supported by Imperial’s Research Project Management team, which helps coordinate major international partnerships.  

Mayor’s Entrepreneur winner supported by major water company 

Manhole Metrics, founded by Imperial student Will Dubin, are no strangers to making waves with their innovative sewer management technology, and newly-announced support from Yorkshire Water will help them develop solutions to reduce blockages across their 52,000km network. 

The sensor-based technology, which attaches to manhole covers, remotely notifies engineers of any increased surge in the system or potential blockages, in order to best-deploy their resources to tackle them. With increases in urban populations and more run-off than ever going through the UK’s sewer networks, this is a vital area of infrastructure to bring into the 21st century.  

Appetite for this type of technology is increasing, and another Imperial-founded startup, Inflowmatrix, were recently acquired by international environmental services company SUEZ.

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Mike Jones

Mike Jones

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Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 3891
Email: michael.jones1@imperial.ac.uk

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Engineering-Civil-Eng, Robots, Entrepreneurship, Enterprise
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