Last week on the 13th June, the ICB CDT held its prestigious Dragons Den competition, which offers a first prize of £10k and a runner-up prize of £4k.
This competition took students through 6 months of training with serial entrepreneur and visiting professor of the London Business School, Adam Davies, learning business acumen and the foundations of what it takes to run a start-up company. After this training, they were whittled down to a handful of teams to go through to the final. The finalist teams for 2023:
Ocean & Sage - Sachi Sharma, Vanessa Ho & Aileen Cooney
OCEAN&SAGE(O&S)is an innovative brand designed to reduce single-use plastic waste in our daily products. Personal care products such as shampoo contain a high-water content, up to 95%. These high-volume products leads to unnecessary transportation requirements, plastic and packaging waste.O&S uses technology to remove water content in personal care product formulations. Consumers can rehydrate these products in a reusable bottle at their convenience by adding water.
O&S offers water-free personal care products that are innovative, sustainable and customisable. Currently, there is no direct competitor addressing the customisable, ecological and water-free trends. O&S water-free technology addresses industry challenges in water use and transportation.
Wearitech - Owen Griffiths, Shreyas Bhatt & Tom Kitto
Sudden cardiac death is responsible for 20% of all global death. It is often due to undiagnosed heart conditions such as cardiomyopathy and arrhythmia. These conditions which are characterised by an irregular heart rhythm can be easily diagnosed by an ECG scan. However, there is currently no accurate way of conveniently conducting an ECG scan outside of a hospital. At Wearitech we are developing accurate and easy-to-use ECG monitoring shirts that continuously tracks your heart data throughout the day. Our Wearitech app will alert you to any abnormal heart rhythms, builds a personal heart-health profile and predicts any future cardiac incidents. Wearitech garments come in a range of styles and sizes such as sports bras, vests, and even baby onesies to accommodate for everyone. Our patented design incorporates our unique Wearitech dry electrodes that are reusable, washable, and comfortable so they can be worn without any inconvenience.
Wearable tech is set to revolutionise the way we monitor our health. Tech it. Wear it. With Wearitech.
C-Pro – Zak Elliot & Brian Cunningham
The C-Pro medical device is a guarded scalpel blade, with the aim of improving safety for newborn children during caesarean sections (C-sections). A simple, low-cost device designed with surgeons in mind, C-Pro improves on current solutions on the market. With a working prototype, we hope to secure funds to further our design, and start the necessary steps to achieving a marketable medical device.
Honest Shot – Jack Dainton & Sofia Philipps
We exist to show the truth of the health drinks industry and provide healthy, scientifically backed solutions. Last year consumers in the UK spent in the region of £83 million on ginger and turmeric drinks, however this was almost entirely in vain. The human body body is only able to absorb less than 1 % of the ingredients in these plants that are responsible for the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits that customers desire. At Honest Shot we believe consumers deserve to get what they pay for. By applying our scientific background to the health drinks industry, we are going to blow this market wide open with our modern, vitamin-based solution and guarantee a far greater absorption of these ingredients into the body, so consumers get the health benefits they deserve.
These four teams, once confirmed for the final, headed over to the Enterprise Lab where they were trained in pitching techniques and had bespoke 1-1 sessions with Ben Mumby-Croft who helped them craft their pitches and slide decks for the final night.
In order to support all the finalist teams, the ICB CDT paid for them to file a patent or trademark for their business, so that no matter the outcome on the night they were ready to take the next step!
The final was hosted by engineering presenter, maker and pyrotechnician Fran Scott and began with an introduction from the provost, Professor Ian Walmsley. After an inspiring talk from previous ICB CDT Den winner, Dr Ángela de Manzanos Guinot, CEO and Co-Founder of FA Bio, each of the four finalist teams pitched incredibly – even with one team member joining virtually from Japan!
Then it was time for the Dragons to ask some tough questions, this year the Dragons were:
· Professor Sir Mark Walport – former Government Chief Scientific Adviser and founding Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation. He chairs Imperial College Health Partners, Imperial College Academic Health Sciences Centre and the Kennedy Memorial Trust. He is Foreign Secretary and Vice President of the Royal Society, non-executive board member of NHS England, and trustee of the British Museum, the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation and Health Data Research UK.
· Priya Guha MBE - Priya is a Venture Partner at Merian Ventures, investing in women-led innovation, an Advisor to Kheiron Medical Technologies and Gallos Technologies, a member of the Investment Governance Board at Future Planet Capital, a NED at Reach PLC, UK Research & Innovation, the Digital Catapult & GB Badminton and Adjunct Faculty at the Ashridge Hult Business School.
· Victoria Armstrong - A seasoned professional in 7-startups, Victoria is an entrepreneur and passionate leader of people having founded four businesses across health, media and tech (Saas B2B), and has a proven track record for building and scaling.
· Steve Crossan - Steve is an entrepreneur and investor who is actively engaged at the intersection of AI and biotech. He's a founder at Dayhoff Labs, building foundational models for chemistry and biochemistry. He is also an Operating Partner at US deep tech firm DCVC and a board advisor at quantum error correction company Riverlane.
· Ayo Olajiga - Ayodele Olajiga, MBA, MSc is currently serving as the Engagement Director at Leveli Consulting Limited, UK and is an accomplished business leader and investor with over 25 years of experience driving business start-ups, critical transformation initiatives, and performance improvement across three continents.
After much deliberation (it wasn’t an easy decision!), the Dragons awarded the following teams:
FIRST PLACE (£10k awarded): Wearitech
RUNNER UP (£4k awarded): Ocean & Sage
The ICB CDT and the Enterprise Lab will continue to support all four teams in their entrepreneurship journey and the ICB CDT would like to thank the participants for their immense effort in the competition, we are all incredibly proud of what you have achieved so far!
Make sure to look out for their future businesses, these people are ones to watch!
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Department of Chemistry