Innovation & Enterprise


Capital’s most exciting university startups pitch at inaugural London Demo Day

13 September 2019

Entrepreneurs from UCL presented their innovative startups to a group of international investors, alongside peers from London’s top universities.

UCL startups at London Demo Day 2019

London is the leading tech hub in Europe, according to figures from PitchBook Data. Tech Nation reports that from late 2018 to now, London scaleup firms grew by over 56%, more than anywhere else globally. (A scaleup is a company which has had annual growth of 20% or more in employment or turnover for at least two years, with at least 10 employees at the beginning of the period.)

The capital is also home to some of the world’s highest ranking universities, including UCL, Imperial College London and King's College London.

The inaugural London Demo Day on 12 September was an opportunity to showcase some of the incredible, world-changing ideas coming out of the three institutions to a group of international investors, journalists and influencers from the tech and startup scene.

Supporting a new generation of entrepreneurs

UCL Innovation & Enterprise helps to develop entrepreneurial mindsets by delivering extracurricular programmes, including workshops, boot camps and challenges. The best new ventures can apply to join the BaseKX hatchery incubation centre.

Jerry Allen, Director of Entrepreneurship at UCL Innovation & Enterprise, said: “The new generation of university innovators are motivated by change, solving problems and sustainability in all contexts. Their ideas are fundamentally about positively challenging systems, and delivering change and impact.

“London Demo Day is a perfect example of deep collaboration created for a vibrant network of global investors, to bring new investment in innovation to London.”

A diverse group of five UCL startups, spanning educational technology to precision medicine, pitched at London Demo Day. They were Musemio, Pexxi, Coplug WorldLabs, Oxford Heartbeat.

UCL startups at London Demo Day


WorldLabs is all about making connections to help achieve innovation goals – whether as individuals, startups, accelerators, universities, experts, funding bodies, public institutions or large corporations. It was founded by Dr Max Lehnus, Andreas Feller and Flavio Signorelli. Max has an MSc in Nanotechnology from UCL.

Oxford Heartbeat

Oxford Heartbeat develops medical device software that makes planning for surgeries simpler, faster and more accurate. It enables surgeons to unlock and visualise crucial information in preparation for surgery, to see what’s happening inside blood vessels and travel through tissues and bones. It provides unprecedented visibility for keyhole surgeries. The company is led by CEO Dr Katerina Spranger, previously a Research Associate in Biomedical Engineering at UCL.


Coplug is developing SidM Systems, a powerful digital solution to efficiently plan for rising demand on social infrastructure in our cities. Founder Darshana Chauhan has a unique combination of qualifications in architecture, urban design and smart city data analytics from UCL and extensive experience of design and delivery of citizen-centric smart city products and concepts.


The vision for Pexxi is to create an end-to-end female health solution, using home testing saliva kits to determine hormonal profiles and key genetic markers, coupled with qualitative survey questions. That information is fed into an algorithm which ultimately helps provide unique advice on medication and other lifestyle factors. Having acquired three Master’s degrees from UCL, founder Shardi Nahavandi has expertise in business, healthtech and endocrinology.


Musemio is developing innovative mobile virtual reality games that allow children to explore arts and culture in a fun and accessible way. Co-founder Kaitlin Fritz has a Master’s in Art History at UCL, with a focus on making art and culture more accessible to all, especially children. Fellow co-founder Olga Kravchenko has a Master’s in Arts and Cultural Management from King’s College London.


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Photo © Peter Haycock