GlycoVue, which combines glucose-responsive smart polymers with advanced holography and AI-enabled smartphone technology for diabetes self-management, has won the £20,000 first prize in the 2020 Postdoc Business Plan Competition.

The second prize of £10,000 went to REAVIS, which has invented low-cost Head-Up Display (HUD) technology that can be adapted for passenger cars, commercial trucks, and urban trains. The third prize of £5,000, was awarded to Impossible Materials, which has developed cellulose-based white pigments to supply to the coating industry, with a view to expand to the pharmaceutical market and plastics replacement. Cambridge Enterprise sponsored the first and second prizes while Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) sponsored the third.

The Grand Finale

With the calibre of entries continuing to rise each year, it is no surprise that the Grand Finale event (watch it here) attracted a record-breaking number of attendees. Researchers, senior members of the University, mentors, and investors all came together over Microsoft Teams for the first Virtual Grand Finale.

The audience was captivated by presentations from the six finalists, which also included:

  • Camadhere, which has developed a platform technology for producing novel biodegradable collagen membranes that can be used to prevent the formation of scar tissue
  • Cambridge Detectors, which plans to revolutionize X-ray imaging by producing X-ray detectors based on halide perovskites that are lower-dose, faster, and higher resolution than existing commercial detectors
  • Stroma Biosciences, which is developing therapies that target the tumour microenvrionment for the treatment of environment-mediated drug resistance and immune modulation in cancer as well as autoimmune diseases.

The presenters were put through their paces with questions from the judging panel comprised of Christine Martin, Deputy Head of Seed Funds at Cambridge Enterprise; Keith Blundy, Cambridge Enterprise Investment Committee; Carol Cheung, Principal at CIC; and Maximilian Ge, President of Entrepreneurial Postdocs of Cambridge (EPoC).

GlycoVue – Accessing the Experts and Mentors Programme at Cambridge Enterprise

Gita Khalili Moghaddam, project lead, said:

“Thank you for the opportunity to be Mike’s mentee. He is absolutely amazing, particularly his depth of knowledge of different markets, reimbursement pathways, and patient engagement. He has played a huge part in helping me to understand different aspects of strategy development and marketing. As a result, I have done my best to deliver quality work that matches his high quality mentoring […] Thank you for all you have done over the last couple of months. This was probably the best competition I have entered because of its unique learning nature.”

Announcing ‘The Chris Abell Postdoc Business Plan Competition’ for 2021

The audience also heard from previous winners Tongtong Zhu, Co-Founder of Poro Technologies, and Simon Baker, Co-Founder of Versed AI. Professor Andy Neely, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations at the University, gave a speech in which he expressed being “blown away” by the quality of the pitches, the quality of the ideas, the passion of the presenters, and the potential of their innovations.

Neely went on to recall the late Professor Chris Abell, who passed away unexpectedly in October, describing him as “one of the University’s most inspiring entrepreneurs” and “one of the great movers in embracing commercialisation of University research outcomes as well as acknowledging and integrating postdoctoral researchers into the University”. To honour Abell and his contributions, the competition will be named The Chris Abell Postdoc Business Plan Competition. “In doing this, we will continue to recognise his enormous contribution to science, innovation, supporting the postdoctoral community, and ultimately contributing to society.”

Neely finished by imploring all of the competition entrants to “keep going, develop your innovation, get it out to the world, make a difference to society”.

The competition is run by Cambridge Enterprise and EPoC, and this year was sponsored by Taylor Vinters, an international law firm supporting the businesses that drive the innovation economy, and the entrepreneurs and private wealth that underpin them. ideaSpace provided the six finalists with membership, including tailored support and office space, for 12 months.

We would like to thank everyone who helped to make this year’s competition such a resounding success, including the sponsors, entrants, mentors, judges, and attendees of the Grand Finale.

The Chris Abell Postdoc Business Plan Competition 2021 will be open for entries in May 2021.