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Winners of cofinitive’s #21toWatch awards for 2021 revealed

The winners of the #21toWatch awards have been revealed - and represent an extraordinary array of talent across the disruptive science and technology sectors from Cambridgeshire and the wider East of England region.

Organised by cofinitive, and proudly supported by the Cambridge Independent, the #21toWatch campaign recognises innovative people, company and ‘things’ across industries including the life sciences, AI, agri-tech, water and energy sustainability.

At an interactive virtual awards ceremony today (March 4), guest speaker Jamie Urquhart, co-founder of Arm, offered his insights to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

The #21toWatch Top21.2021 individuals

  • Aleksandra Pedraszewska, co-founder and COO, VividQ: Poised to be a thought leader in computer-generated holography, Aleksandra is co-founder and COO at VividQ. She is focused on taking VividQ’s software to the market with pioneering technology companies, which includes an exciting collaboration with Arm.
  • Dr Catherine Elton, co-founder and CEO, Qkine: Catherine co-founded Qkine in 2016 to re-define growth factor and cytokine quality to advance stem cell, organoid and regenerative medicine - areas she believes underpin future advances in human health and wellbeing.
  • Francesca O’Hanlon, founder and CEO, Blue Tap: Francesca founded Blue Tap after she gained first-hand experience in water and sanitation working as an engineer in Mexico, India, South Sudan and The Central African Republic. Francesca is CEO at Blue Tap, a social enterprise using 3D printing to give more people in urban environments access to clean water.
  • Dr Giorgia Longobardi, founder and CEO, Cambridge GaN Devices: After almost a decade of leading-edge research and development at the University of Cambridge, Giorgia and her team launched Cambridge GaN Devices (CGD). An inspiring CEO, Giorgia has a strong engineering background including a PhD in power devices and has just completed a $9.5m funding round.
  • Dr Gita Khalili Moghaddam, founder, GlycoVue: Gita is an UKRI innovation scholar at the University of Cambridge leading the use of AI in medical technologies and therapeutics. In her entrepreneurial role, Gita established GlycoVue for diabetes self-management, and Gita’s own personal journey is an inspiration to everyone who meets her.
  • Prof Justin O’Grady, group leader, Quadram Institute: Justin is group leader at Quadram Institute, working on pathogens and rapid diagnostics. He is a key member of the Norwich team working on sequencing the SARS-CoV-2 virus as part of the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK).
  • Dr Tom Stubbs, CEO and founder, Chronomics: Tom is CEO and founder of UK-based biotechnology company, Chronomics, founded on the use of epigenetics to give people the knowledge of how their environment and lifestyle are imprinting on their DNA and affecting their health. He is a specialist in epigenetics, machine learning, and computational biology.

The #21toWatch Top21.2021 companies

  • Cambridge Cancer Genomics: Cambridge Cancer Genomics software enables data-driven, precision oncology. Its AI platform analyses and interprets tumour DNA, enabling oncologists to provide more effective, personalised treatment for cancer patients.
  • Echion Technologies: Echion’s promise to reduce the charging time for electric cars to six minutes moved closer with the announcement that it has demonstrated a six-minute charge Li-ion battery cell with 200 per cent improvement in anode volumetric capacity over commercial competitors.
  • Flusso: This fabless semiconductor company, originally spun-out from the University of Cambridge, has developed the world’s smallest flow sensor as part of a flow sensing solution easy to incorporate in low-cost, high-volume applications. Last year, the company raised $5.7M series A funding to scale up and bring its vision to reality.
  • Iceni Diagnostics: Iceni Diagnostics develops carbohydrate-based point-of-care diagnostics and vaccines for infectious diseases, using its unique, proprietary HPGR ™ technology. Norwich-based Iceni has a strong pipeline of products currently lead by a Covid-19 diagnostic.
  • Kalium Health: Kalium Health is working to help millions of people living with kidney disease to manage their health at home. The company’s digital blood electrolyte monitoring platform is based on sensing technology developed at the University of Cambridge, one of Kalium’s strong clinical and commercial partner eco-system.
  • Leaf Expression Systems: Using its proprietary technology, Hypertrans, Leaf Expression Systems is an innovative contract development and manufacturing organisation specialising in plant-based production of proteins, vaccines and complex natural products for research and commercial applications.
  • SATAVIA: Cambridge aerospace startup SATAVIA’s vision is to eliminate two per cent of human climate impact by making aviation smarter and greener. Previously winners in 2019, SATAVIA’s agile startup culture and connections with leading aviation players enables the company to quickly scale and adapt to new opportunities and partnerships.

The #21toWatch Top21.2021 ‘things’

  • Better Origin: Better Origin’s X1 is the world’s first autonomous, cost-effective insect mini-farm that converts waste biomass, such as excess feedstock or food waste into insect biomass, rich in proteins and fats. Tried and tested on chicken farms, it can be used to produce feed for any animal and is set to expand further with a recent $3million funding round.
  • Developing Experts: Designed to connect the world of work to learning, Developing Experts offers a science curriculum for schools and a careers and recruitment platform for the whole family. The company empowers employers to recruit responsibly by supporting its users to make informed choices about their future careers to build the diverse workforce industry needs.
  • Glyconics: An innovative diagnostics company, Glyconics is developing a range of miniaturised infrared (IR) products for point of care, exploiting the ability of IR to produce distinctive molecular ‘fingerprints’ in samples. The company’s first application is screening for Type 2 diabetes, a major global challenge.
  • Map of Ag: Map of Ag’s vision is to be the most trusted global data platform connecting farms and industry. The company’s platform can control how and where data is used, allowing Map of Ag and third parties to develop innovative solutions that drive efficiency, transparency and Net Zero.
  • RoboK: A VC-backed Cambridge University spin-out, RoboK has developed efficient AI-based 3D sensing software solution for resource-constrained platforms to deliver safety for the automotive and transport industries.
  • Sook: Offering flexible space, Sook has developed a rent-by-the-hour business model which allows retailers to pay only for the time they are in the shop. With spaces already in Cambridge and London, the group plan to open in Oxford, Newcastle, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Poland, South Africa and multiple additional London and UK locations this summer.
  • Spotta Smart Pest Systems: Spotta Smart Pest Systems aims to be the world leader in smart pest detection with its Spotta bed pod. An automatic, continuous pest monitoring device, Spotta bed pod is ultra-low-power and helps hotels detect bed bugs early.

Network’s choice winner

Delegates at the virtual awards also voted for their overall winner and selected Echion Technologies.

Echion Technologies
Echion Technologies

Entrepreneur and cofinitive founder Faye Holland, the creator of the #21toWatch awards, said: “Securing the Top21.2021 was a tough ask for the judges as this year’s shortlist was jam-packed with inspirational people and businesses from our region. Our aim for #21toWatch, this year more than ever, was to recognise those people and companies who are creating an impact – but also to facilitate connections and a network to support them.

“Congratulations to the Top21.2021, the longlist and the shortlist, we look forward to celebrating your continued progress in the future.”

Faye Holland, founder of cofinitive, and creator of #21toWatch (42242280)
Faye Holland, founder of cofinitive, and creator of #21toWatch (42242280)

Launched in 2017, the campaign was designed to showcase emerging talent that deserve recognition, funding and support because what they are doing is truly ground-breaking.

This year, it was judged by Simon Thorpe, angel investor, managing partner of Delta 2020 and chair of Cambridge Angels, Yupar Myint, head of programme for Cambridge University’s Impulse Programme at The Maxwell Centre, a tried-and-tested catalyst for entrepreneurship, Thea Goodluck, entrepreneur engagement manager for East of England at Tech Nation, and Jason Mellad, CEO and co-founder of Cambridge healthcare accelerator Start Codon.

Among those supporting the event this year were HSBC, Penningtons Manches Cooper, BOOST&Co, Birketts, Foresight, Kao Data, RSM, Taylor Wessing, Tech East, the Bradfield Centre and the University of Cambridge.

Find out more at www.cofinitive.com/21toWatch.

Read more

The #21toWatch shortlist for 2021 is revealed

Meet six from the longlist for #21toWatch in 2021

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