Seven entrepreneurs from the University of Edinburgh have raised almost £900,000 to develop their research into commercially viable businesses – with around £625,000 of the funding coming from Scottish Enterprise’s SMART: SCOTLAND Awards.
From being able to transform a voice into monster sounds in real time, or revolutionising computer game sound for virtual reality to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease, all the entrepreneurs have been awarded a Scottish Enterprise SMART: SCOTLAND Award after highlighting how their projects, display an advance in technological innovation.
The SMART: SCOTLAND Award programme can provide funding of up to £100,000 for technical and commercial feasibility studies, and up to £600,000 for research and development projects that aim to develop a pre-commercialisation prototype of a new product or process.
The University supports around 30 start-ups annually through LAUNCH.ed, an award-winning information, advice and mentoring service established by Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI), the commercialisation arm of the University.
GRANT WHEELER, ERI’s Head of Company Formation, welcomed the news, saying “The companies granted SMART: SCOTLAND Awards in this round represent seven of 13 University of Edinburgh projects supported this year. The University of Edinburgh has a long history of securing SMART: SCOTLAND Awards through this scheme. However, this is the largest number of successful awards we’ve had in any one year.”
“As a result of these SMART: SCOTLAND Awards, six jobs will be secured and a further 13 new ones created. So not only will this provide a boost to the future growth of the businesses, it is also helping our economy.”
The total amount awarded to the seven entrepreneurs by SMART: SCOTLAND is £624,572. The companies are
TWO BIG EARS: VARUN NAIR & ABESH THAKUR
Founded in 2013, Two Big Ears design immersive and interactive audio applications and tools, with a focus on mobile and emerging technologies; their technology makes it possible to hear a sound from any point in space over any pair of headphones in real-time, whether it’s above, below or behind the user. Their core technology has been most recently used in the Bjork retrospective currently on exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the artist’s newly launched music videos for Virtual Reality.
KROTOS LTD: ORFEAS BOTEAS
Krotos is an independent company that improves the process of designing sound effects efficiently for audio professionals. The company’s primary product is Dehumaniser, which began as a prototype application that transforms voice into creature sounds in real time. A professional version was launched in November 2013, and has already been used by recognized sound professionals in feature films and video games – with it most recently being used in the FOX television series Sleepy Hollow.
PARKURE: LYSIMACHOS ZOGRAFOS
Parkure’s mission is to stop Parkinson’s disease. The company has a living system and Parkinson’s specific assay that can be used for screen drugs that stop the degeneration process of the disease. The assay is biologically relevant, cost effective and has a high throughput which makes it ideal for screening novel compounds as well as drug repurposing (an approach that is very compatible with Parkinson’s).
PLING LTD: ANDREW MANCHES
Pling is an early learning innovation company which has undertaken leading edge research into early learning and new technologies, and developed a set of intelligent blocks that use colour to bring mathematics patterns to life. The product provides an engaging way for pre and early school children (2–6 years old) to play, talk and learn mathematics at home or school.
SHOTSCOPE TECHNOLOGIES: DAVID HUNTER
ShotScope is the next generation of golf performance tracking technology. As a golfer plays, the smart technology wristband tracks activity and performance data, collecting scoring and statistical information.
KAJEKA: PROFESSOR TOM FREEMAN & DANNY MEANEY
Kajeka supplies big data solutions to analysts and enterprises. Its ground-breaking analysis tools allow the user to reveal hidden relationships in complex data. The software makes it easy to see connections and understand patterns within big data – making the user’s analysis or business more effective.
PARTICLE ANALYTICS: JIN OOI & CARLOS LABRA
Particle Analytics software offers a user-friendly graphical interface for the preparation of Discrete Element Method (DEM) modelling and advanced post-processing techniques for the analysis of simulation results. The analysis goes considerably beyond the current capabilities of existing DEM software in allowing users to extract bulk design parameters from the particle data and interrogate the influence of temporal and spatial scales. The software can interact with all the major commercial and open-source DEM solvers.
Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI) is a UK leader in commercialising research and entrepreneurship. As the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation (technology transfer) office, ERI seek to promote the University’s world-class research and commercialisation expertise to potential funders, collaborators, licensees or investors. An independent economic impact report revealed that this activity contributes over £164 million annually to the UK economy and supporting nearly 3,000 jobs.