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Welcome to the Venture Catalyst Challenge 2022 Grand Final

Welcome

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the Grand Final of the Venture Catalyst Challenge 2022, Imperial College’s flagship innovation and entrepreneurship competition. After three years it is great to welcome you all back in person!  

 This has been another fiercely competitive year with over 184 applications resulting in a cohort of 25 teams, working across the following five industry specific tracks:  

AI & Robotics 
Creative & Consumer 
Digital & Finance 
Energy & Environment 
Health & Wellbeing  

The winners of each track will be presenting their ideas at tonight’s Grand Final event. I’m also very pleased to welcome Maya Pindeus, CEO of Humanising Autonomy, to the Grand Final as tonight’s keynote speaker. Humanising Autonomy took part in VCC in 2017 and have since gone on to be one of the Enterprise Lab’s great success stories.   

Underpinning all of this has been the generous support of our industry partners and sponsors, and I would like to personally thank Huawei, our headline sponsor, and the MedTech SuperConnector for their time and contribution in making this year’s VCC happen. This year’s programme was also made possible through philanthropy and I would like to thank our donors for their generosity.  

In addition, I would also like to thank the members of the Imperial Venture Mentoring Service (IVMS) for contributing to the Track Heats judging panels and helping to select our finalists.   

Both I and the Enterprise Lab team have been truly inspired by all of the teams in this year’s competition and we hope you are equally impressed by all of the teams and ideas you see before you at tonight’s event.   

If you would like to find out more about, or support, the work of the Imperial Enterprise Lab then please do not hesitate to contact me directly.   

Now, on the with the show!

Ben Mumby-Croft

Ben Mumby-Croft
Director, Imperial Enterprise Lab
b.mumby-croft@imperial.ac.uk

The prizes

Each of the Finalists have already secured £10,000 for winning their track, but tonight they will be pitching to be named Grand Final Winner with an associated prize of £20,000. We will also be announcing the winners of the Moonshot and Social Impact Prizes which can be awarded to any of the 20 teams not taking part in the Grand Final. 

Grand Final Winner
£20,000

The winner of each track pitches at the Grand Final to be named overall winner of the Venture Catalyst Challenge.

Moonshot Prize
£10,000

Awarded to the team that set out to challenge the norm, break boundaries and push innovation to the limit.

Social Impact Prize
£10,000

Awarded to the team whose work is inspired by a desire to have a positive impact on society.

The finalists

The five teams below are the winners of each of the five Venture Catalyst Challenge tracks and were each awarded £10,000 at the track heats. Now they are going head-to-head for the Grand Final Prize of £20,000.

Self.AI  
AI & Robotics Track Winner
Delivering a 3-in-1 platform powered by AI to help food trading companies manage their quality control. 

Sow Foods
Creative & Consumer Track Winner 
Making fresh, healthy plant-based meat that is genuinely good for you. 

Polarise
Digital & Finance Track Winner
The first platform that allows you to see and control what information your devices and services reveal about you.

FlexSea 
Energy & Environment Track Winner
Developing novel bioplastic films derived from seaweed, with the potential to replace single-use flexible plastic packaging in both food and non-food applications. 

Dotplot 
Health & Wellbeing Track Winner 
A breast health monitoring tool designed to help women look after their breasts with confidence. 

The judges

Johanna Waterous CBE

Non-Executive Director of COFRA Holding AG Group, C.Hoare & Co. bank, Compo Group, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and Rubicon Pharmacies

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Johanna Waterous is a Non-Executive Director of COFRA Holding AG Group, C.Hoare & Co. bank, Compo Group, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and Rubicon Pharmacies in her native Canada. She is the former SID of RSA Insurance PLC and Rexam PLC, former RemCo Chairman of Wm Morrison PLC, and NED at Shoppers Drugmart (Canada).

As an Operating Partner of Duke Street LLP, Johanna was Chairman of two portfolio companies: Sandpiper CI, the Channel Islands retail group, and Laurel Funerals (both successfully exited in 2015/16) and is now a NED for COMPO Garden Products. Johanna continues to be an active investor and advisor to a number of start-up consumer businesses. In 2013, Johanna received the CBE for services to business growth.

Before embarking on a portfolio career, Johanna spent over 20 years with McKinsey & Company, where she co-led the firm’s Retail and Consumer Marketing Practices. She holds an H.B.Sc. from Western University in Canada, and M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Outside work, Johanna is Chairman of the Patrons for the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew. Her interests include extreme gardening, reckless skiing, keen (game) shooting, bad tennis and a shocking level of on-line shopping.

Michael Hill King

Collaboration Director, Huawei

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Michael Hill-King joined Huawei Technologies in June 2015 as Collaboration Director, UK R&D Centre. Michael now leads the team that builds partner relationships, drives technology planning, scouts for great technology, identifies acquisition opportunities and manages a broad portfolio of technology cooperation projects in the UK – to build a better connected world. Important aspects of this role are building and maintaining strong relationships with UK partners, especially universities, and communicating the strengths of UK research and technology to Huawei’s R&D team.  

 

Prior to joining Huawei, Michael served as Director of Partnerships & Consultancy at King’s College London. There, he led a portfolio of functions for the university including major commercial partnerships, and knowledge transfer and entrepreneurial schemes. Michael joined King’s in September 2009 from Imperial College London where he led the College’s business development activities in Engineering and Technology, having joined the College in 2003 to manage major research bids and projects.  

 

His areas of expertise are in business growth and technology development, knowledge transfer, collaborative research, intellectual property and industry-academic relations. Previously, Michael spent over fifteen years in business, primarily in sales and marketing roles with industrial and scientific equipment companies. Michael read Physics at the University of Sheffield and holds an MBA with distinction. 

 

Michael’s achievements in Huawei include strengthening relationships with many leading universities and helping to establish hundreds of research projects with over 30 universities in the UK. He is always searching for cutting-edge technologies that can be foundational for new innovations that can deliver societal benefits. In recent years, he has taken an interest in science and technology policy. 

Professor Mary Ryan FREng

Interim Vice Provost for Research and Enterprise, and Armourers and Brasiers’ Chair in Materials Science, Imperial College London

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Professor Mary Ryan FREng. is Interim Vice Provost for Research and Enterprise, and Armourers and Brasiers’ Chair in Materials Science at Imperial College London. In her College role Mary is responsible for the Research and Enterprise Strategy across the College, ensuring we deliver maximum impact from our research and our talent, for the benefit of society. She also leads a large interdisciplinary research group studying nanomaterials for health and energy applications, working extensively with national institutes and Industry partners.   

The host

Anne-Marie Tomchak

Journalist and Entrepreneur

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Anne-Marie Tomchak is a journalist and entrepreneur who has led editorial teams at Mashable and British Vogue. A seasoned broadcaster and digital expert, she launched the social media investigative unit BBC Trending and her TV documentary work on digital wellbeing has been added to the Irish curriculum.

Now working primarily in the sustainability space, Anne-Marie founded the tech and media company DesignTracker which helps people decarbonise their homes, and the fashion non-profit ShareJoy which sells pre-loved fashion to raise funds for mental health charities. She is also a contributing editor for the Conde Nast title Glamour UK and a climate columnist with Ireland’s most read newspaper the Irish Independent. 

The keynote

Maya Pindeus

Co-Founder & CEO, Humanising Autonomy

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Maya envisions a world in which technology is built around people and has a positive impact on humans and society. With a deep passion for human – machine interactions, she is an architect, designer and engineer and holds degrees from Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art. Her work as a leading founder in AI and the technology industries has earned global recognition. She was awarded Forbes 30 under 30 and contributes to the World Economic Forum and various industry alliances.  

The sponsors

Headline sponsor
HUAWEI

 

Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. Operating in more than 170 countries and regions, serving more than three billion people around the world, Huawei is committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.

 

www.huawei.com
MedTech SuperConnector

 

MedTech SuperConnector (MTSC) is designed to accelerate the early-stage development of innovative medical technologies, including devices, diagnostics and digital healthcare solutions.

Led by Imperial but combining the expertise of eight academic institutions, MTSC offers early-career researchers the funding, training, advice and access to industry partners they need to help fast-track the translation of their research discoveries.

 

medtechsuperconnector.com