If you’re looking for truly unique gift ideas this season, UCL’s startups have something for almost everyone, from creatives and art lovers to curious children.
UCL has a thriving entrepreneurial community of students, staff and alumni. These talented, driven founders create and deliver a diverse range of innovative products and services.
Discover gifts to suit all tastes and interests, all supported in their journey by UCL Innovation & Enterprise.
View gift ideas for:
- creatives and art lovers
- curious children
- cocktail connoisseurs
- healthy body and mind
- the sustainably minded
- looking and feeling good
- safer and easier shopping
The Alice Camera: Empowering digital content creators
The artificial intelligence (AI)-powered ‘Alice Camera’ combines the best attributes of smartphone cameras and professional-level DSLR and system cameras. The Alice camera is the brainchild of Vishal Kumar, who completed a Master’s degree at UCL in Spatial Data Science and Visualization in 2017. Available now to pre-order.
Turning Landscapes: Transforming coal waste into vibrant paints
Turning Landscapes creates a unique range of exclusive and limited-edition wall paint and artists’ oil paints. While studying for a PhD at the UCL Slade School of Fine Art, Dr Onya McCausland saw the possibility of transforming ochre waste from former coal mines in Wales into pigments for use in paint. Working with the Coal Authority and UCL Innovation & Enterprise she was able to bring these paints to market.
Other ideas for the artistically-minded
- Browse the Inner Cinema’s ‘dreamscape’ art prints of brain cells
- Get started in miniature painting with The Perfect Brush
- Find work from exceptionally talented artists at Curaty
Playbrush: Making toothbrushing fun and interactive
Playbrush has a successful line of smart toothbrush products, apps and games, aimed at children and adults. While brushing, children can play interactive games such as flying aircraft or dance battles. They also get real-time feedback with a reward system. Playbrush was founded by UCL alumni Paul Varga and Tolulope Ogunsina (both UCL MSc Technology Entrepreneurship) alongside Matthäus Ittner.
More gift ideas for children
- Take children on an educational virtual reality journey with Musemio
- Help children gain basic engineering skills with Tomata’s mechanical toys
- Donate to In2scienceUK to inspire disadvantaged children in STEM
Double Dutch: Premium mixers with unusual flavours
Double Dutch sells a range of premium soft drinks mixers with unusual flavour combinations. These include pomegranate and basil, and cucumber and watermelon. The company was founded by twin sisters Joyce and Raissa de Haas (MSc Technology Entrepreneurship 2014). Their products are available at many supermarkets, bars and restaurants and direct from their website.
MindHug: Mental wellbeing at your fingertips
MindHug is helping deliver a host of transformative therapies to people who need them, including music therapy, art therapy, yoga and mindfulness. Classes are online or in person. UCL alumnus Raj Singh (MSc Technology Entrepreneurship 2019) founded MindHug in 2019, following his own personal struggles with mental health. Available to book now, from £10 to £40 per session.
Dr Will’s: Healthy and tasty sauces and condiments
Dr Will’s uses the best quality, all-natural ingredients to make its hugely popular sauces, including beetroot ketchup and avocado mayonnaise. They’re available nationwide in Tesco and Waitrose. The brand was co-founded by medical clinician Dr Will Breakey while he was studying for a PhD in Craniofacial Surgery at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health.
Other gift ideas to boost wellbeing
- Indulge, guilt-free with Livia’s vegan, free-from treats
- Boost body and mind with the The Good Mood Co’s recovery supplements
- Try Beau Duree’s healthier spreads, such as Earl Grey flavour
- Energise with Foga’s whole-plant smoothie blends
- Write together and feel better with HaikuJam’s therapeutic writing app
Blackwood: Sustainable Accessories
Blackwood creates beautiful accessories, using only natural and innovative leather alternatives, such as wood leather and cork leather. They also plant a tree for every product they sell, and aim to make carbon neutral accessories. The company was founded by Oskar Zieba (UCL MEng, Mechanical Engineering with Business Finance, 2019) and Guerric de Ternay (UCL English Legal Studies, 2014).
Another sustainable gift idea
- Keep warm sustainably with bio-bean’s spent coffee ground biofuel logs
Afrocenchix: Fairtrade, organic Afro haircare
Afrocenchix’s range of popular Afro hair products are vegan, natural, organic and cruelty free. Founders Rachael Corson (UCL MSc in Medical Anthropology) and Joycelyn Mate (UCL staff member) grew the company at UCL. They wanted a natural alternative to harsh chemicals that celebrated, rather than subjugated, afro hairstyles.
Another way to get that feel-good factor
- Book a bespoke bra-fitting service online with Brarista
Vendi: An online tech store you can trust
Vendi has created a safe buying and selling experience for new and pre-owned tech, including phones, tablets and smartwatches. Through their online marketplace they ensure every buyer, seller and product is verified. The company was co-founded by Pablo Gonzalez-Iglesias (UCL Management Science and Innovation) and business partner Anil Rao.
Other ways to make shopping easier
- Blitz the high street with Mishipay’s fast, easy mobile self-checkout solution
- Never get caught without gelcard’s discreet, elegant hand sanitiser
UCL startups and spinouts
At UCL, knowledge and ideas are turned into tangible applications. UCL spinouts and startup companies help attract external investment into the UK, creating jobs and driving innovation. In 2019/20, UCL spinouts and startups employed over 3,000 people, and between 2018 and 2020 attracted over £1 billion of external investment (HE-BCI 2018/19, 2019/20).