Startups pitch for investment at UCL’s first Demo Day
27 April 2023
Entrepreneurs from UCL’s most exciting startups seized the opportunity to pitch for up to one million pounds in investment at the inaugural UCL Demo Day last night.
The innovative early-stage startups are all from the Hatchery incubator programme at BaseKX, UCL’s dedicated entrepreneurship space in the heart of the Kings Cross Knowledge Quarter. Between them they cover a range of sectors including health, digital, finance and environment.
The event started with a welcome video from UCL’s President and Provost Dr Michael Spence, who talked about how UCL’s thriving and innovative entrepreneurial community contributes to UK economic growth while solving some of society’s biggest challenges.
Alexia de Broglie, who co-founded financial app Your Juno with her sister and UCL alumna, Margot (UCL Economics 2019) delivered a keynote speech at the event. The entrepreneurs were previously residents at the Hatchery incubator space in BaseKX, where they had access to free, tailored support and dedicated office space.
Professor Geraint Rees, Vice-Provost, UCL Research, Innovation & Global Engagement, said: “It was great to be at our inaugural Demo Day to witness first hand the brilliant startups and innovative ideas emerging from UCL. The event provided our forward-thinking entrepreneurs with more opportunities to connect with investors and strengthen the impact they’re already having on society.
“This event was also a brilliant showcase of the best of UCL’s startups based in the Hatchery. All of these entrepreneurs are testament to the extracurricular entrepreneurial support available at UCL to help students and graduates to start their own ventures. I take this opportunity to congratulate all of the startups who pitched today and look forward to following their journeys over the next few months and years.”
The UCL startups pitching for investment were:
Known Source, a premium marketplace of specialist second hand fashion sellers, founded by graduates Henry McNeill-Njoku (UCL Medicine, 2021) and Theo El-Kattan (UCL Spanish with Management Studies, 2018).
Allermuir Capital, which provides artificial intelligence (AI) driven investment analysis for investors, co-founded by Andrew Birrell and Anu Pohani.
Vollou, a social media platform for parties and music that uses innovative audio recognition software to save and share memories of nights out. The app also allows users to identify and save music played in nightclubs whilst complying with royalty law. It was founded by alumnus Andres Payne (UCL Information Management for Business, 2021).
Scientient, which adds smell to immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality (AR / VR) that is primarily aimed at training emergency personnel, medical staff and students. It was co-founded by graduate Ivan Novikov (UCL Mechanical Engineering Management, 2020) and Anastasia Georgievskaya.
Cilo Innovations, an employee climate app that helps businesses to demonstrate sustainability in the workplace to clients and employees by gamifying climate action. It was co-founded by Ryan Brown (UCL Environmental Design Engineering MSc) and Laurence Collingwood.
GHP Scientific, a drug discovery startup focused on finding treatments for metabolic diseases. Through their research they have identified and patented the use of new molecules linked with insulin resistance and fatty liver diseases. It was set up by Giorgio Castagneto Gissey (Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Bartlett School of Environment, Energy & Resources, BSEER) with Steven Zimmer.
BoxxDocks, a company building a global network of data-driven logistics boxes, reducing costs and carbon emissions within the logistics sector. It was set up by current student James Della Valle (UCL MArch and BASc Architecture) with Alessandro Attanzio and Amarjit Pall.
Tycho MedLink, a digital health startup using AR / VR technology to improve cognitive abilities for patients with neurological conditions through personalised rehabilitation and therapy. It was founded by alumna Juan Lin (Silvia) (UCL MSc Project & Enterprise Management, 2018).
Inxtinct, an AI-powered comprehensive cybersecurity solution that helps organisations anticipate, detect and prevent security vulnerabilities, threats and advanced email cyber threats. It was set up by graduate Deepanjan Paul (UCL MSc Information Security, 2020).
No Impunity, an impact litigation funding platform that harnesses blockchain technology to support victims of human rights and environmental abuses in their fight for justice. It was co-founded by alumnus Yanis Lunetta (UCL European, Social & Political Studies, 2021) with Aurelia Lefrapper, Emma Chailloux and Delfina Moresco.
MedQ, a secure platform that helps healthcare professionals to complete assessments using a three-step process called Select-Send-Analyse. It is designed to support clinics to transition from paper assessments to remote patient monitoring, and was founded by graduate Evelina Balt (MSc Health Psychology, 2017).
Laurence Collingwood, co-founder, Cilo, said: “The UCL Demo Day has been a great opportunity for us to hone our pitch and to spread the word about Cilo to potential investors ahead of our first funding round.
“At Cilo we’re all about accessing the power of the community to have a positive impact on climate change, so it’s exciting to see UCL using the power of its community to help the startups it supports to grow.”
The pitching event exposes entrepreneurs to investors who could invest in their companies further down the line. The evening also featured elevator pitches from other members of UCL’s Hatchery incubator programme, showcasing the breadth and depth of innovative startups emerging from UCL. The institution’s startups attract millions of pounds of investment, creating jobs and spearheading innovation. In total, over 400 new graduate businesses were started at UCL between 2014 and 2022. Collectively they have raised over £300m in investment and currently employ over 1,700 people.
London Demo Day
UCL’s Demo Day was inspired by the popular London Demo Day, where entrepreneurs from UCL, Imperial College London, King’s College London and – for the first time later this year – the London School of Economics, pitch to investors in the hope of raising between £100,000 and £1 million.
Startups from previous London Demo Days have progressed to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds following their pitches. UCL hopes to replicate this success for more Hatchery-based startups.
Alice Camera, founded by UCL alumni Vishal and Vik Kumar (UCL Atomic & Particle Physics and Physical Chemistry), alongside Dr Liam Donovan, pitched at London Demo Day in 2021, going on to raise £300,000 in pre-seed funding from early-stage venture capital firm Ascension and several Angel investors. The team then secured £74,000 in Amazon Web Server cloud computing credits.
UCL Demo Day welcome video
- The UCL startups who pitched for investment and presented elevator pitches at UCL Demo Day. Credit: UCL.
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Email: k.corry [at] ucl.ac.uk