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Poro Technologies, which is developing next-generation LED technology, has won the £20,000 first prize in the 2018 Postdoc Business Plan Competition.
The second prize of £10,000 went to NeutroCheck, which is developing a new medical device that will deliver more efficient healthcare for cancer patients worldwide. The third prize of £5,000, was awarded to Semarion Discovery, which is pioneering a novel in-depth protein fingerprint insight into a patient’s state of health that should triple the success rate of clinical trials. Cambridge Enterprise sponsored the first and second prizes while Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) sponsored the third.
The calibre of entries this year was particularly high and the Grand Finale at Peterhouse Theatre last night attracted a record number of nearly 200 postdocs, researchers, senior members of the University, corporates, mentors and investors.
The audience was captivated by the presentations from the six finalists that also included the following: Nu Quantum, which is pioneering in the field of encrypted communication; PlantCaps, which has developed an entirely new class of bio-material; and Textile Two Dimensional, which is innovating the materials and technology to create fully functional wearable electronics.
The presenters were then put through their paces with tough questions from the judging panel consisting of Anne Dobrée, Head of Seed Funds at Cambridge Enterprise; Michael Anstey, Investment Director at CIC, specialising in healthcare investment; Srishti Gupta, President of Entrepreneurial Postdocs of Cambridge (EPoC); and Charles Cotton, member of the Cambridge Enterprise Investment Committee and Founder and chairman of Cambridge Phenomenon International Ltd.
Tongtong Zhu, CEO of this year’s winning company, said:
“This competition is truly a great experience thanks to Cambridge Enterprise and EPoC. I am thrilled to be selected for the first prize and very grateful for both the recognition from the judges and the opportunity to have my business plan critiqued. The mentoring and coaching has really helped me improve the plan and my pitching skills. Now, winning the prize and the investment from Cambridge Enterprise will allow Poro Technologies to take a further step towards the commercialisation of its scientific findings.”
The audience also heard from previous winners Maximilian Bock, founder of award-winning start-up Netwookie, and Hanbin Ma, co-founder of AXCEL. Professor Andy Neely, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations at the University, also gave a short speech in which he extolled the virtues of the competition. He explained the Postdoc Business Plan Finale is one of his favourite events, citing it as a strong example of the Cambridge ecosystem at work, with researchers focused on how they can develop their research to create a positive impact on society. He also applauded the high level of passion and potential demonstrated by the contenders.
The competition is run by Cambridge Enterprise and EPoC, and this year was sponsored by Holben Holt, a private capital investment company specialising in technological business ideas at the embryonic stage. ideaSpace provided the six finalists with membership, including tailored support and office space, for one year.
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 Postdoc Business Plan Competition 2019 will be open for entries in May 2019.