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Date revealed

SUCCESSFUL INNOVATION EVENT CONFIRMS IT WILL RETURN IN 2017

It has been announced today (Monday 20th February 2017) that following the success of Venturefest East 2016, the team will be holding the event again this year.

Last year, over 650 delegates attended the inaugural Venturefest East event held in May 2016, and since then the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP have been working with partners to secure the future of this new innovation event.

Laura Welham-Halstead, Venturefest East Champion and Head of Communications & Connectivity at the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, explains:

“Venturefest East surpassed our expectations last year. With such overwhelmingly positive feedback from those who attended, we knew then that we had to run the event again. We are therefore delighted to announce that we will be back on 21st September 2017 at Newmarket Racecourse with an even bigger and better event. We have a dedicated member of the team – Robin Childs – working on Venturefest East five days a week to make sure it is an event not to be missed!”

Venturefest East brings together innovators, investors and entrepreneurs to make things happen, with a packed one day programme that brings together inspiring speakers, engaging track sessions, and some of the best new innovations in its exhibition space.

The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP is working with New Anglia LEP, Innovate UK, KTN and other key partners, to deliver a world class event in the East of England.

Laura added: “Whilst tickets aren’t yet on sale, we would encourage people to save the date and follow us on Twitter (@VenturefestEast) to find out more about our plans for this year.”

Robin Childs Venturefest East

Venturefest East gearing up for new success

Following the success of the first ever Venturefest East, which attracted over 650 innovators, investors and entrepreneurs to Newmarket for a one day, high tempo event, a new Project Manager has been recruited.

Robin Childs has been appointed as Project Manager for Venturefest East, working for the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership, who are now leading Venturefest East.

Robin said: “I am very excited to be working with some of the most innovative businesses and start-ups in the UK, as we plan the next Venturefest East event. My many years’ experience of devising and managing global corporate events, coupled with the support of the great team at the LEP, will bring together Innovators, investors and entrepreneurs at next year’s event… We will be announcing details of sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, and further information about our next event as it develops.”

Laura Welham-Halstead, Head of Communications & Connectivity at the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP and Venturefest East Champion, added: “We are delighted to welcome Robin to the Venturefest East and LEP team. With a successful first event under our belts we are already working hard to develop an even bigger and better event in 2017, and we believe Robin is the ideal candidate the bring this ambition to life.”

We will post more news about our 2017 event on this site as soon as it is available.

Venturefest East 2016

The first Venturefest East was a great success; attended by more than 650 investors, entrepreneurs and innovators including 75 exhibitors.

You can watch the video from Venturefest East below:

Cambridge based technology firm Alviol won the 1,000 Guineas fast and furious pitch off prize. Alviol was first past the post out of eleven finalists from the East of England’s most innovative tech businesses.

The firm is an early stage MedTech business developing Occoris, an elegant and simple inhaler technology that delivers drugs more efficiently to the lungs. The judges thought Alviol gave a strong pitch, and that the product was destined to have a real impact on the lives of asthma sufferers in the future.

You can download the presentations from the likes of Hermann Hauser, David Cleevely and Ruth McKernan, here.

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Alviol wins 1,000 Guineas at Venturefest East

Cambridge based technology firm Alviol has won the 1,000 Guineas fast and furious pitch off prize at the East of England’s inaugural Venturefest East event, held at Newmarket Racecourse.

Alviol was first past the post out of eleven finalists from the East of England’s most innovative tech businesses. The firm is an early stage MedTech business developing Occoris, an elegant and simple inhaler technology that delivers drugs more efficiently to the lungs. The judges thought Alviol gave a strong pitch, and that the product was destined to have a real impact on the lives of asthma sufferers in the future.

The two silver prize winners were Citrecycle, a developer of technology to provide safe, clean, local and sustainable lead-acid battery recycling for the developing world, and Healx, a start-up specialising in finding new therapeutic solutions for rare diseases with the use of advanced data analytics, machine learning and modern computational biology techniques to identify novel drug applications in the area of rare diseases.

The winners all impressed a prestigious judging panel including David Gill, Managing Director of St John’s Innovation Centre; Hugh Parnell, Serial Entrepreneur and Chairman of Cambridge Cleantech; Ian Tracey, Head of Access to Finance, KTN; David Leftley, Managing Partner, Bloc Ventures; Marie Deschamps, London Business Angel; Dr Chris Winter, Managing Partner, Brightstar Partners; Caroline Hopkins, Development Director (UK & Ireland), ENGIE; and David Paul, Director, Corporate Engineering and R&D, Magna International Inc.
Venturefest East was attended by more than 800 investors, entrepreneurs and innovators including 75 exhibitors. In the main plenary session, it was standing room only for the eager delegates first thing in the morning.

Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, New Anglia LEP and St John’s Innovation Centre worked together with KTN and Innovate UK to create Venturefest East to provide opportunities to drive new business opportunities, by bringing together networks and individuals.

David Gill, Venturefest Patron and Managing Director of St John’s Innovation Centre, said: “The quality of entrants was very high and choosing three winners was extremely difficult. Innovation is thriving in the East and we believe the winners, and many of the others who participated, will go on to be the next big regional successes.”

Kevin Coleman, Project Manager of Venturefest East, said: “What I love about this event is its inclusivity. Sure there are corporate sponsors, investors and there are the big guys in the room – and government is pushing the agenda. Venturefest East was targeted at the new, the hungry and the enthusiastic that could just create the next billion pound companies. If that wasn’t enough we had a mix a tech from bio through games to wireless in the same place, and we just don’t know what interactions between people with different backgrounds will lead to. What we have learned in this region is that once conversations start, big things can happen.”

Neil Darwin, Chief Executive of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP and Venturefest East Patron, said: “There has been a real buzz at Venturefest East today with innovators, entrepreneurs and investors meeting to shares ideas and secure funding. Our area truly defines the future – creating products and enabling discoveries that will change the way we live our lives both now and in the future. It has been fantastic to hear from some of the leaders of entrepreneurship and innovation, such as Hermann Hauser, David Cleevely, and Charles Cotton, who have been there, done that, and have taken the time to share their experiences with over 800 people today. We look forward to seeing many of the start-ups in the future growing to become leaders in their own fields.”

Mark Pendlington, Chairman of New Anglia LEP, said: “The East of England is full of innovation, entrepreneurship and ideas, all of which come together so brilliantly today. The energy and collaboration generated at Venturefest East are certain to result in more jobs and increased growth, there can be no better showcase of our region to the world.”

Speaking at the event David Cleevely, Cambridge based serial entrepreneur said: “We know that getting people together always sparks new ideas and this event provides a great opportunity for people in different sectors and from different parts of the region to get together to learn from each other. I hope we will look back and say that other successful businesses were started because of conversations here.”

Photo caption: Ruth McKernon, Chief Executive of Innovate UK, speaking at Venturefest East 2016, courtesy of Woodhall Marketing.

5 HABITS OF HIGHLY-EFFECTIVE ENTREPRENEURS

It’s a topic debated for decades by academics, politicians and economists – what makes entrepreneurs tick? Authenticity? Desire? Self-belief? Realism?

Taking place at Newmarket Racecourse today, Venturefest East will welcome over 800 delegates – to hear tech leaders taking about investing in innovation and entrepreneurship – www.venturefesteast.co.uk

Greater national attention continues to shine on the East of England, following the publication of Tech Nation 2016 – which recognised 150,000 people from the region work in the digital tech sector, with Cambridge tech companies alone having a combined turnover of £11bn annually.

1. EMBRACE UNCERTAINTY

Dr Tim Minshall

“Start-ups face a set of challenges. They have to understand what they can’t do or are not very good at. That’s why it’s useful for them to seek advice and guidance, and support from others. But they’re not always very good at that, they often find it hard to do. It’s the case of the elephant [big business] and mouse [start-up] problem – the elephant has size, scale and resources, while the mouse has agility, speed and the idea. They need each other but getting them to work together is not easy; just as in the animal world, the two do not really behave like each other.”

Dr Tim Minshall, Reader in Technology & Innovation Management, University of Cambridge

2. KEEP AHEAD OF YOUR CASH

Dr Hermann Hauser

“To be attractive to investors, you need to consistently scale financial challenges. Contrary to popular belief, financially vulnerable start-ups are simply unappealing to investors – companies need to show steady progress, rather than running out of cash. For most, that’s game over. So, surround yourself with the right team – both in terms of creating and supporting your business, very few entrepreneurs are equally strong on both ideas and finance.”

Dr Hermann Hauser, Co-founder Amadeus Capital Partners / Acorn Computers

3. BE PURPOSEFUL

Dr Tim Whitley

“For me, the overwhelming characteristic of successful innovation has been, and likely always will be, that it is ‘purposeful’. Scientific breakthrough, combined with practical real-world engineering, and a clear understanding of the business problem to be solved, are the ingredients to success. It worked for Cooke and Wheatstone in 1837, inventing the world’s first practical electric telegraph. Their invention led to the founding of what became BT and we’re continuing the principle of purposeful innovation today. ‘Purposeful innovation’ is the future and can transform the world.”

Dr Tim Whitley, Managing Director Research and Innovation – BT

4. COLLABORATION IS WHAT YOU NEED

David Cleevely

“We know that getting people together always sparks new ideas, and events (Like Venturefest East) provide a great opportunity for people in different sectors and from different parts of the region to get together to learn from each other. I hope we will look back and say that other successful businesses were started because of conversations here”.

David Cleevely, Founder of Analysys Mason and Serial Entrepreneur

5. LEARNING IS KNOWING

Dr Soraya Jones

“Innovation does not take place in isolation, you need to understand what is in the ecosystem and learn from each other. This what Venturefest East is all about- the gathering and networking of the three tribes: entrepreneurs, innovators and investors!

“You may think you are the expert in the area or you know best in what you do, but you don’t really… learn from those who have done it before, seek their advice and guidance, and always recruit for people who have better skills in the area you are lacking…no entrepreneurs have ALL the skills to run a successful business.”

Soraya Jones, Entrepreneur in Residence, St John’s Innovation Centre, Cambridge

For more information, media should contact Paul Howlett-Davey on 07802 655070 or email paul.howlett@milnerltd.com

Purposeful Innovation by Dr Tim Whitley

In a world where commercial success is ever more dependent on innovation, but where ‘patient money’ is in increasingly short supply, what will successful innovation look like in the future?

Collaboration is rightly already recognised as a key ingredient. When we think of major breakthroughs and great innovation we often think of a team: Crick and Watson; the founders of Apple or Google. At BT we collaborate with academia and industry from around the globe – we call this open innovation. In the future, successful innovators will need to collaborate even more widely. Collaboration across industries and disciplines will increase. Applying techniques and insight from another field that may seem far removed from your own will be the key to going further, faster, first.

In the future, it’ll be harder to predict where innovation will come from. Many of the plethora of apps available for smartphones and tablets weren’t developed by large companies, or even small companies, but by individuals with a good idea. The Internet of Things and the networked world it enables is ripe for citizen innovation. As a partner in the MK: Smart project, we’re encouraging people and businesses to develop apps which exploit the data from sensors around the city. This democratising of innovation will continue, which is why it is vital that young people have the ICT skills required to participate.

For me, the overwhelming characteristic of successful innovation has been, and always will be that it is purposeful. Scientific breakthrough, combined with practical engineering to make it work, and understanding the business need are the ingredients to success. It worked for Cooke and Wheatstone in 1837, inventing the world’s first practical electric telegraph. Their invention led to the founding of what became BT and we’re continuing the principle of purposeful innovation today.

‘Purposeful innovation’ is the future and can transform the world.

The BT design Showcase exhibition at Adastral Park Dr Tim Whitley - MD Research and Technology

Dr Tim Whitley is the Managing Director of Research and Innovation at BT. Join us at Venturefest East to listen to his keynote talk on “The Future of Innovation”.

VFE Pitch Training

Region’s top innovators readied for the off

The region’s twelve Fast and Furious Pitch-off Competition finalists gather today at St John’s Innovation Centre in Cambridge to take part in an exclusive pitching workshop.

During the day the magnificent twelve will have the opportunity to explore their business strengths whilst refining and practising their three minute elevator pitches with help from SJIC, SETsquared and other experts from Surrey 100.

The main competition will take place on 24th May 2016 at Venturefest East, the flagship event celebrating and showcasing innovation in the East of England.

Chair of the session, Caroline Hopkins, Development Director UK & Ireland for ENGIE, expressed her delight at the range of companies represented: “We are so pleased to support the inaugural event and are very impressed by the spread of technologies being given a showcase at Newmarket. The companies that are represented span MedTech, the Internet of Things, Big Data, Finance, Gaming and even the re-use of airplane parts. I wish all of the companies good luck and can’t wait to hear their pitches.”

All twelve start-ups will present to top judges, including Venture Capitalists from London and Business Angels from the East of England, in front of a live audience of entrepreneurs, innovators and business professionals. They will also present their technology and solutions on a one-to-one basis during the Innovation Showcase at the event. The shortlisted finalists are:

  • Alviol – an early stage MedTech business developing Occoris, an elegant and simple inhaler technology that delivers drugs more efficiently to the lungs.
  • Directed Systems – a developer of closed-loop control systems (CLIP) that enables autonomous clinical care of critically ill and injured patients.
  • Phoelex Ltd – the creator of a new Optical Transceiver, which helps convert information such as big data, analytics and video between computers at very high speeds, but offers dramatic cost and power savings.
  • The Pension Counter – the provider of an innovative solution which helps payroll bureaux, accountants and employers with new workplace pension legislation.
  • Speechmatics – a speech recognition web service, which converts audio to text.
  • Healx – a start-up specialising in finding new therapeutic solutions for rare diseases with the use of advanced data analytics, machine learning and modern computational biology techniques to identify novel drug applications in the area of rare diseases.
  • Citrecycle – a developer of technology to provide safe, clean, local and sustainable lead-acid battery recycling for the developing world.
  • Swift Molecular Diagnostics – a developer of a novel technology for a rapid and accurate test identifying specific genetic material.
  • This Way Global – a GPS for jobs.
  • OAL – an provider of innovative automating engineering solutions for the food and beverage industry.
  • DappR Aviation – a unique recycling company producing bespoke art and furniture using recycled aircraft parts.
  • Tower Studios (Sociable Soccer) – a Game Developer and creator of Sociable Soccer.

The overall winner in the ‘Fast and Furious Pitch Off’ on the day will receive 1000 Guineas   and the two runners up will each receive prizes of 500 Guineas. Up to three relevant winners of the Fast and Furious Pitch-off competition will also receive automatic entry into ENGIE’s Big Pitch to be held in London, in June. This will provide the victors with exposure to the ENGIE Board which has access to a €100 million investment fund.

How universities help drive innovation and growth

By Professor David Richardson, Vice-Chancellor, The University of East Anglia (UEA)

 

THE JOURNEY

The University of East Anglia (UEA), in common with the East of England, has a great spirit of creativity, entrepreneurship and ambition, and that’s why I’m delighted we’re sponsoring Venturefest East.

Global challenges like energy and food security need innovative thinking, and since 1963 UEA has pioneered an interdisciplinary approach to our research and teaching to help bring a more creative approach to solving the problems we face.

We know that researchers in one field benefit from working with colleagues in a different discipline. We also know that working with companies and organisations outside Higher Education better helps us to solve these grand challenges.

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Increasingly, our students come to UEA expecting to learn about enterprise and entrepreneurship. Yes, they come to study in their chosen field but also to develop skills that will help them develop their careers.

And not all of our graduates want to work in a corporate environment. Some of them want to set up their own businesses, and we have seen some magnificent success stories from these alumni.

Universities are economic drivers but I suspect most people underestimate the contribution that Higher Education makes to local, regional and national economies. In fact, we’ll shortly be revealing the impact UEA has on the region’s economy, and the figures are striking.

Whilst UEA is a relatively young university, our partnerships with business; science and technology; health; and the creative industries have become stronger and ever more productive as we’ve matured.
UEA’s base on the Norwich Research Park (NRP) has also brought its own unique advantages. The NRP is home to 3,000 researchers and practitioners, and attracts an annual research spend of over £100 million. I am immensely proud to have recently been appointed Chair of the NRP.

Strong partnerships make things happen. Together, we can solve problems, we can innovate and we can deliver growth. It is only by breaking down barriers that we really succeed.

Ambitious Suffolk and Norfolk start-ups selected as finalists for Venturefest East Fast and Furious Pitch Off

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Two ambitious start-up companies from Norfolk and Suffolk have been selected to be finalists for the Venturefest East pitching competition, by New Anglia LEP.

Large internet companies such as Google and Facebook could benefit from a new product being created by Phoelex Ltd. The company, which is based at Innovation Martlesham on BT’s Adastral Park in Suffolk, will compete in the Fast and Furious Pitch off at Venturefest East on 24 May at Newmarket Racecourse.

Phoelex is creating an Optical Transceiver, which helps convert information such as big data, analytics, video and collaborative online gaming between computers at very high speeds.

The new product offers dramatic cost and power savings for Optical Transceivers. Compared to current products, there is the potential for a 175% price-performance improvement.

The current cost and power consumption of Optical Transceivers are some of the main obstacles that mega data centre operators are facing. Phoelex technology could reduce both capital expenditure and operating expenditure in data centres by up to 40%.

Dr Amir Nejadmalayeri - Phoelex

Dr Amir Nejadmalayeri of Phoelex Ltd

Dr Amir Nejadmalayeri, of Phoelex Ltd said: “It’s an honour for Phoelex Ltd to be shortlisted for the pitching competition. The great support of the Innovation Martlesham Incubator Program helped us reach to this level. This opportunity enables us to take one step further to present our business idea to an all-star panel. We hope to achieve widespread visibility through the process and at the same time to learn through the expert opinion and feedback of the panel.

“Venturefest East is a unique opportunity to immensely expand our network and connections in the investment circles, through which we hope to be able to secure investment for this funding round.”

The other company selected to go forward to the pitching competition is The Pension Counter, based at the Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia, (UEA). The firm has created an innovative solution which helps payroll bureaux, accountants and employers with new workplace pension legislation.

New legislation has meant that all employers are required to automatically enrol certain employees into a pension scheme. Once a scheme has been set up the onus is on payroll to administer these schemes on an ongoing basis. This can be complex, especially when a chosen pension provider does not integrate well with payroll software. The complexity is increased further for a payroll bureaux or accountants who have numerous different schemes to administer for multiple clients.

The Pension Counter has developed a solution to this challenge. Looking at a problem from a different perspective meant they were able to develop and profitably deliver an online service that leads to increased efficiency at a cost that is around a third of that found in the wider market. Working with payroll bureaux and accountants they can proactively recommend workplace pension schemes to employers that are more efficient for the payroll, require minimal input from employers and are good value for employees.

The Pension Counter also provides payroll bureaux and accountants with software enabling them to track their clients’ automatic enrolment status and progress to ensure all clients are fully complying with the legislation by their specified date.

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Daniel Harvey, Chief Executive Officer of The Pension Counter

Daniel Harvey, Chief Executive Officer of The Pension Counter said: “We have re-engineered an existing process to reflect fundamental marketplace changes as a result of new workplace pension legislation. Looking at a problem from a different perspective meant we were able to develop and profitably deliver an online service that leads to increased efficiency at a cost that is around a third of that found in the wider market.

“We are proud of what we have achieved in a short period of time. We have learned a lot about the challenges of creating a fintech startup, in such a dynamic market it is vital to always be looking at the next phase. The Venturefest East pitching competition will therefore be a great opportunity to introduce what we currently do and our next developments to the panel of entrepreneurs and investors.

“We want to take our business further and we are keen to meet other businesses that may become strategic partners”.

The news comes just days after tech leaders across the region gathered to launch TechEast, providing one voice for the tech sector to champion businesses, encourage investment and drive economic growth.

Phoelex and The Pension Counter will be joined by two further shortlisted companies all of which will receive free entry and an exhibition space.

These are:

Silicon Safe: which has produced an un-hackable authentication device for the storage of user names and passwords, based at Innovation Martlesham, Suffolk

KTLG Media: which has developed a new type of asset management system for the agricultural sector and farmers in particular, which has integrated technology to manage visible and buried assets, based at Innovation Martlesham, Suffolk

Phoelex and The Pension Counter will be entered into the Pitch off against other finalists selected by other East of England clusters, where they will face a panel of industry experts and investors headed by David Gill, Managing Director of St John’s Innovation Centre. The overall winner on the day will receive 1,000 Guineas (just over £1,000), while the two runners up with each receive prizes of 500 Guineas.

Chris Starkie, Managing Director of New Anglia LEP said: “Our chosen companies have a wealth of knowledge, expertise and are creating fantastic products which could have a major, positive impact on companies locally, nationally and globally. Venturefest East will help introduce them to powerful contacts who could offer collaboration, investment and business development opportunities to help grow their business.”

The University of East Anglia (UEA) and BT are lead sponsors of Venturefest East, along with with ENGIE, the French energy company. Engie will be inviting three pitching companies, relevant to their business, to a big pitch to their board, in London on 10th June, which has access to a 100 million Euro investment fund.

Nicky Daniels, Head of Innovation Martlesham (IM) said “It’s fantastic news that Phoelex will be pitching at VentureFest East. Amir Nejadmalayeri, the founder of Phoelex, has recently been awarded a place in the IM business incubator, having targeted IM as a strong tech cluster with people and processes which would support his start-up company”.

Professor Dave Petley, UEA’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise said: “It is fantastic that The Pension Counter (established by recent UEA Economics graduates) has been given this valuable opportunity to pitch for funding to help to develop and grow their business.

“It is testament to the team’s hard work, energy and entrepreneurial, pioneering spirit that since graduating in 2015 they have established a company that is on course to make over £1 million revenue in its first year. They have accomplished this by disrupting and improving traditional referral methods within the financial sector.

“On behalf of UEA I would like to congratulate The Pension Counter on this brilliant achievement and I wish them success in the pitching competition.”

The brainchild of St John’s Innovation Centre, Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), Venturefest East (VFE) is part of the Innovate UK series of events and provides opportunities to listen to the region’s innovation gurus.

The event is set to attract 400 businesses, investors and entrepreneurs from across the East and beyond.

Delegates will be attending the Fast and Furious pitches, as well learning from world-class keynote speakers, attending inspirational workshops, visiting the innovation exhibition and networking with individuals and organisations.

For further information on Venturefest East and to book your ticket visit www.venturefesteast.co.uk

If you would like to exhibit at Venturefest East please email venturefest@cambridgewireless.co.uk

For more information please contact:
Emma Finn
M: 07495 766622
E: emma.finn@pathfindereast.co.uk

Notes for Editors
Venturefest East is jointly delivered by Innovate UK, The Knowledge Transfer Network, St John’s Innovation Centre, Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (GCGP), New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, sponsored by University of East Anglia, Engie, BT, Magna International, Taylor Vinters, Barclays, SBRI Healthcare and Adnams, and supported by Cambridge Wireless, Cambridge Network, One Nucleus, Cambridge Cleantech, Agri-Tech East, Games Eden and Alliantus Ltd.

SJIC announces Alviol and Directed Systems as finalists for Venturefest East Fast and Furious Pitch-Off

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St John’s Innovation Centre has announced Alviol and Directed Systems as the shortlisted finalists for the Venturefest East Fast and Furious Pitch-Off competition that will take place on 24th May 2016 at Newmarket Racecourse. The competition aims to discover and promote the most promising, innovative early stage technology companies in the east region.

The organisers and creators of the event, St John’s Innovation Centre, GCGP LEP and New Anglia LEP have pulled together experienced and professional panel of judges including Venture Capitalists from London and Business Angels from the East of England. The Fast and Furious Pitch-Off is a unique opportunity for innovative companies to benchmark themselves against others in other sectors, and to raise their profiles amongst the national and international investment community and multinational companies.

SJIC shortlisted Alviol, an early stage MedTech business developing Occoris – an elegant and simple way of delivering drugs more efficiently to the lungs and Directed Systems, a developer of closed-loop control systems to care for critically-ill patients, as the competition finalists.

‘Alviol is very pleased to have been shortlisted to pitch at the Venturefest East event. Pulmonary drug delivery is a large ($24Bn) and fast growing market (4.5% CAGR) which hasn’t seen disruptive innovation for several decades. However, blockbuster patent expiration and emergence of new biologic drugs have created ideal conditions for breakthrough innovation and we believe that Occoris is just that,’ commented Ben Wicks, CEO of Alviol. ‘Occoris increases the efficiency of inhaled drug delivery from ~25% to 75% and since it is breath-activated, every patient will get the correct dose irrespective of technique or lung capacity. We expect it will set a new standard for respiratory drug delivery over the coming decade.’

‘We are delighted to have an opportunity to present our latest development, a closed-loop control system (CLIP) that enables autonomous clinical care of critically ill and injured patients,’ said Mark Leaning, Founder & CEO of Directed Systems.

Ben Wicks, CEO of Alviol and Mark Leaning, Founder & CEO of Directed Systems will pitch their innovative products against other finalists selected by East of England tech clusters and will face a panel of region’s top industry experts and investors headed by David Gill, Managing Director of St John’s Innovation Centre. Both companies will also be exhibiting their products during the Innovation Showcase at the Venturefest East event.

‘We are very impressed by the market potential of both companies,’ commented David Gill, MD at SJIC. ‘I look forward to the pitching final at Venturefest East, judging by the quality of entries so far, it will be a fascinating start-up battle featuring the best early stage technology companies in the region.’

The other companies that have been awarded exhibition space at the VFE’s Innovation Showcase are:

• Crowdsurfer – a fintech company building the world’s richest data analytics service for the multi-billion dollar crowd finance industry.

• Argon Design – a developer of Argon360 is a hardware based system for real-time stitching of video output from multiple cameras, a crucial element in the creation of 360-degree immersive VR content.

• Cambrionix – a supplier of finished products and electronic components for use in hospitals, schools, homes and businesses that need to manage and control updates, synchronise data and charge USB connected devices reliably and quickly. Cambrionix will provide onsite mobile phone and tablet charging for all visitors and exhibitors during the Venturefest East event. In addition to this we would also like run a competition – Bring ANY USB chargeable device to our stand and if it won’t charge it, you win a Series8 intelligent charger.

• FABPulous – a developer of technology that makes a 5minute whole blood test possible to be performed in healthcare settings.

The overall winner in the Fast and Furious Pitch Off on the day will receive 1000 Guineas (just over £1,000), while the two runners up will each receive prizes of 500 Guineas. Three relevant winners of the Fast and Furious Pitch-off competition will also receive automatic entry into ENGIE’s Big Pitch to be held in London, in June. This will provide the victors with exposure to the ENGIE Board which has access to a €100 million investment fund.

‘We are very excited to run a pitching competition during the main event,’ said Dr Soraya Jones, Board Member at KTN and Venturefest East. ‘The ambition behind Venturefest East, designed as a flagship event showcasing innovation and future trends in the region, was to create a powerful mash-up of early stage and established companies and get them in front of top investors, innovators and entrepreneurs. We are also very grateful for the support from all stakeholders and clusters in the region that helped bring Venturefest to East Anglia.’

Venturefest East is jointly delivered by Innovate UK, The Knowledge Transfer Network, St John’s Innovation Centre, Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (GCGP), New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, sponsored by University of East Anglia, Engie, BT, Magna International, Taylor Vinters, Barclays, SBRI Healthcare and Adnams, and supported by Cambridge Wireless, Cambridge Network, One Nucleus, Cambridge Cleantech, Agri-Tech East, Games Eden and Alliantus Ltd.

To find out more about securing exhibition space, please contact venturefest@cambridgewireless.co.uk

To find out more about Venturefest East and to REGISTER for the event, please visit www.venturefesteast.co.uk