13 semi-finalists announced in Cambridge Enterprise’s Chris Abell Postdoc Business Plan Competition


Chris Abell was a British biological chemist and Professor of Biological Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Cambridge Enterprise*, the technology arm of the University of Cambridge, has announced the semi-finalists in the 2021 Chris Abell Postdoc Business Plan Competition.

Run by Cambridge Enterprise and the Entrepreneurial Postdocs of Cambridge**, the Chris Abell Postdoc Business Plan Competition is held every year to honour the life and career of the late Chris Abell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Professor of Biological Chemistry.

The competition has become a key annual event in Cambridge University’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and has led to the spawning of a number of successful spin-out companies, including XO1, BlueGnome, Cambridge CMOS Sensors, Lumora, Quethera, and VocalIQ.

This year, competition is so strong that 13 entries (not the usual 12) advanced to the semi-finals. Each entrant is competing to win funding, with three prizes up for grabs: £20,000 for first place, £10,000 for second place and £5,000 for third place. The first and second place prizes are sponsored by Cambridge Enterprise, and the third by Cambridge Innovation Capital.

As well as securing the largest funding, the first place winner will also have the opportunity to pitch at the next Cambridge Enterprise Venture Partners dinner, an investor forum of venture capitalists and business angels with more than £4 billion of funds under management by members.

Cambridge Enterprise invests the University’s seed funds in new companies started by academics, researchers, staff, and students, building a bridge between research and commercial development.

The 13 postdocs will now be matched with a seasoned mentor from Cambridge Enterprise’s network of experts. Each team will have three virtual one-to-one meetings with their selected mentor to help develop key business skills and hone their business plans.

Up to six finalists will then go on to compete at the online Grand Finale event***, which will take place on Thursday 11 November, 2021. At the event, each team will pitch its business plan to a panel of judges who are experts in spin-out investment.

The 13 semi-finalists this year are:

Accelerated Materials led by Nicholas Jose (Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology)
ARX Photonics led by Pawan Kumar Shrestha (Department of Engineering)
BioMavericks led by Andrew Guo (Department of Medicine)
Cambridge Conduits led by Alex Justin (Department of Engineering)
Cambridge Nucleomics led by Kaikai Chen (Department of Physics)
Camzyme led by Gavin D. Garland (MRC Toxicology Unit)
Deep Form led by Christopher Cleaver (Department of Engineering)
Ethicronics led by Franck Courbon (Department of Computer Science and Technology)
InnovaRNA led by Aristedis Sfakianos (MRC Toxicology Unit)
Photoreforming led by Michael Stanton (Department of Chemistry)
ProSpectral led by Gwenhivir Wyatt-Moon (Department of Engineering)
Shaping Horizons led by Matias Acosta (Centre for Latin American Studies)
Vitamin K Alex Patto led by Alexander Patto (Department of Physics)

Many of the ventures are so early they do not yet have a website.

Find out more: https://www.enterprise.cam.ac.uk/for-the-university/start-a-company-or-social-enterprise/the-chris-abell-business-plan-competition/

* https://www.enterprise.cam.ac.uk/
** https://www.epoc.group.cam.ac.uk/
*** https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-chris-abell-postdoc-business-plan-competition-grand-finale-2021-tickets-148964728513

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