The £1.6 million initiative, launched in September last year, is the first funded programme of its kind in the North-East of Scotland. It is a collaboration between The Wood Foundation, Opportunity North East (ONE) and NESCol and aims to stimulate the economic development and diversification of the north-east economy by supporting the yearly creation of new businesses.
Digital Future Capital took the Biggest Global Impact award and an extra £20,000, the highest value prize of the day. The business provides access to high growth venture capital/investment funds, such a cryptocurrencies, to the general public.
The next award, Best Pitch and an additional £15,000, went to Evolved Monitors. It combines cutting-edge artificial intelligence with clinical and user experience concepts to enable minimally trained responders to identify critically ill patients early, allowing for more efficient use of health care resources, increased community resilience, and improved long-term patient outcomes.
The third prize was the Most Improved award and this saw both Coco-UNAI and Archilink receive £15,000. Coco-UNAI is an artisan sugar-free chocolate brand, while Archlink is an online marketplace for the architectural industry.
Udrafter took the last award which was the Audience’s Choice and received an additional £10,000 investment. Udrafter is an on-demand and real-time student work experience platform where trusted businesses can post one-off jobs, or bite-size projects to be completed by skilled students within hours, or even minutes.
All teams who pitched but didn’t take the main prizes also received an extra £1000 on the day.
Sir Ian Wood, Chairman of The Wood Foundation, commented: “Yesterday’s RGU Founders Showcase event was a great success. The quality of the 14 presentations was unbelievably high and bodes well for RGU and for the future of the North East of Scotland. There was a great combining of talent between the students, staff and alumni communities in the region, clearly aiming to create businesses that will grow. The level of interest and engagement from the teams in the first year is very encouraging.”
Professor Gordon McConnell, Vice Principal for Commercial and Regional Innovation, added: “I have been very impressed by the calibre of the teams involved in the programme’s first cohort.
“Covering a wide variety of disciplines and representing a range of schools at RGU, they are working to deliver real impact and revolutionise their respective sectors, and to help them develop has been fantastic.”
Over 150 teams entered the competition phase of the accelerator and their applications were judged by 40 judges, including 30 international experts. In the first cohort a total of twenty-eight startup teams were chosen covering a range of sectors including healthcare, education, food and beverage, technology and digital.