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Tech-minded students prepare to embark on an ‘edventure’
Education & Skills

Tech-minded students prepare to embark on an ‘edventure’ 

Twenty-seven startup companies are to be supported by a new data-driven innovation business support programme launched at the University of Edinburgh.

The university’s Data-Driven Entrepreneurship Venture Builder Incubator will be run in partnership with edventure – Scotland’s first student-led accelerator that aims to attract early stage investment.

The digital businesses will include AI-powered waste-sorting robotics, a mental health app, a food marketplace and a platform to monitor health conditions and deliver medication.

The incubator will support postgraduate students, post-doctoral researchers and academic staff looking to solve major global challenges. It will bring their research to market as part of the ambitious Data-Driven Entrepreneurship Beacon Programme at the University to support post-Covid recovery.

The incubator is the first at the University to include students from Heriot-Watt University, making it a pioneering collaboration between the two universities.

It is also the first at the University of Edinburgh to be delivered in partnership with edventure, a pan-European university venture builder and accelerator launched in September 2020 by three Edinburgh students, Zara Zaman, Ragnor Comerford and Fynn Comerford.

edventure.vc has been backed by some of Scotland’s leading international business figures including James Watt, co-founder and CEO of Brewdog, Skyscanner founder Gareth Williams and Nigel Eccles, founder of Flick, co-founder and CEO of Fanduel and Hubdub.

Since its launch, edventure has grown to a team of more than 40 people, more than half of them women, helping over 200 students to build startups at universities across Europe.

The DDE Venture Builder Incubator is managed by Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service, and delivered by the Bayes Centre on behalf of the University’s five Data-Driven Innovation Hubs. It is delivered in partnership with Edinburgh-based strategic design consultancy Nile, as well as edventure.

Paul Devlin, Head of Commercialisation at Heriot-Watt University, said: “We are delighted to have some of our most promising entrepreneurial students participate in the inaugural Venture Builder Incubator and have an opportunity to collaborate with students from each of the Data-Driven Innovation Hubs.”

Dr John Lonsdale, Head of Enterprise Services at Edinburgh Innovations, said: “We have been delighted at the response we have had to this innovative programme. The University of Edinburgh is recognised worldwide for the quality of its research and this programme will make an important contribution to unlocking the benefits of that research for communities and the economy. We will be supporting these entrepreneurial researchers from idea to business launch.”

Jim Ashe, Director of Innovation at the Bayes Centre, said: “The PhD Incubator complements the Post-Covid AI Accelerator and the University investor readiness programme, EIE (Engage Invest Exploit). The cohort will benefit from our community of over 400 internationally recognised scientists, leading industry experts, entrepreneurs and investors. I look forward to working with them – to establish new dynamic businesses that will deliver data technology solutions to real-world problems.”

Projects:

  • Altra – an app for improving education by saving teachers’ time.
  • Bennu.ai – a smart bin that sorts waste automatically using smart sensors and AI models.
  • Car Seat Jungle – a comprehensive car seat search engine.
  • Danu Robotics – AI-powered, vision-guided robotics to automate waste sorting.
  • Efemarai – a platform for testing and debugging machine learning models.
  • eMoodie – a digital mental health app for early intervention and addressing treatment gaps.
  • Grand Bequest – a historical real estate app for old building conservation.
  • HiGHS – offers consultancy and an open source software for discrete and continuous optimisation problems.
  • Koios – a reading platform for cause-and-effect discovery in advanced materials.
  • MeetDoc – a platform to monitor health conditions and deliver medication.
  • Nature Sky Solutions – an unmanned aerial vehicle system for studying the environment.
  • NextChain – a B2B food marketplace that connects local farmers/producers with restaurants and small retail stores.
  • Nimbo – a command line tool that abstracts the AWS DevOps and infrastructure setup away from the programmer.
  • Podspectrix – a medical imaging device aided by machine learning for foot ulcer detection and ulcer management guidance.
  • Readysetcore – a hospitality-focused suite of applications that saves time and money on managerial tasks.
  • Rigpa – an event-based solution for radioisotope identification.
  • Scrapp – a personal recycling assistant that scans waste and informs if the material is recyclable.
  • Sense Check – helps engineers learn from the measured in-service behaviour of civil structures.
  • Sleuth AI – a data testing platform for market predictions.
  • SmpliCare – a digital platform that helps families proactively support ageing loved ones to maintain independence at home.
  • Student Bubble – a platform for private student rental accommodation.
  • VisionRF – a wireless health monitoring device.
  • [unnamed project] – a canine microbiome fecal test, utilising state-of-the-art sequencing technology.
  • [unnamed project] – a comprehensive battery test to determine their value after use.
  • [unnamed project] – a financial platform that provides access to professional financial tools.
  • [unnamed project] – a tool framework to mitigate machine learning models’ negative biases.
  • [unnamed project] – working on a pregnancy test that allows early identification of non-pregnant cows

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