Kaleedo established itself as a possible future star of Cambridge’s start-up scene earlier this week when its Stella technology - an application framework that allows mobile apps to be ported to every smartphone platform - scooped a category win and a grand in cash at Cambridge University Entrepreneurs (CUE) £1k Awards Ceremony.
The founder of the venture, Wenqi Chen demonstrated a working prototype of Stella, pitching the platform as a means for “the rest of us” to get access to the 300,000 or so apps currently available on the iPhone app store as well as allowing “fair revenue sharing along the mobile value chain.”
Kaleedo believes the platform could enable iPhone app developers to increase revenues by porting their apps to other smartphones quickly and easily and offer handset manufacturers the chance to share in apps revenue.
Chen revealed that both Nokia and Palm have expressed an interest in the technology.
Chen was one of 25 or so young entrepreneurs pitching their ideas as part of the £1K Awards Ceremony at the University’s department of engineering on Monday night.
With £1,000 awarded to each of the best two ideas in three broad ‘streams’ - tech and cleantech, social enterprise and software - the field took in ideas as varied as an adjustable heel for ladies shoes, a network of electric cars, a mobile learning platform and a two-way translation device.
Labbridge joined Kaleedo as a winner in the software and IT category, with the prize presented on the evening by competition judge and co-founder of Red Gate, Neil Davidson; Anharmonika and eComm won through in the tech and cleantech category, prize presented by Robert Marshall of the Marshall Group; while RISE and Khadija’s Business Park were presented their social enterprise category wins by Tim Fright, trustee, Shackleton Foundation.
Honourable mentions also went to Rob Ellis of hiregrid.com, whose presentation of his ‘network of networks’ approach to online recruitment won him the prize for the best pitch of the night and runners-up, TrainSense, PCB Integrated Optical Sensors, Ifundresearch, Workingcycle and Qiqqa.
Labbridge is a web portal aimed at increasing efficiency and cutting waste in the research market. The site will provide tools to help researchers and institutions better manage lab routines and increase collaboration. Revenue will be derived from adverts from lab product and services company, the audience was told.
Anharmonika, fronted by Sourav Ghosh at the Cambridge Nanoscience Centre has developed an acoustic biosensor platform that enables point of care detection in healthcare, bio-security and food safety applications.The venture says it has already demonstrated reliable detection of single pathogens within a ten minute timeframe, “with scope for future improvement.”
The technology has been patented by Cambridge Enterprise and the company is seeking £25k to build a product demonstrator.
Tongyun Li of eComm is developing an in-building wireless coverage system. His approach to distributed antenna systems (DAS) is, he says, more energy efficient than the traditional approach to DAS - keeping maintenance costs down - cheaper to install and supports multiple communications technologies on one platform.
RISE, which recently entered the 2011 Dell Social Innovation Competition believes that mentoring could play a central role in cutting the high rate of recidivism - currently almost 75 per cent - among young offenders in the UK.
The company’s pitch pointed out that while the UK does not currently have a formal mentorship program for young people in custody, studies have shown that at-risk young people benefit from ongoing mentorship relationships. The team believes its approach could save taxpayers £25,500 for every young person that does not return to custody.
Social enterprise venture, Khadija’s Business Park hopes that its entrepeneur ‘bazaars’ for women could play a key role in alleviating the economic devastation caused by last year’s flooding in Pakistan. With many Pakistani families having lost up to 100 per cent of their income, Shah Rukh Abas believes her innovative approach could provide women with the skills, resources and networks to establish themselves as breadwinners in many households.
Khadija’s Business Park is seeking investment of £125k to establish the first wave of these parks in the five worst hit areas of Pakistan.
CUE president Shen Wei also announced on the evening that the organisation is to launch two new divisions - careers and external relations.
Shen Wei said that the careers division would work with businesses that want to staff single project, internship and full-time positions, while the external relations division would seek to raise the profile of the organisation’s pitching competitions and other events.
The £1k Awards mark the second stage in CUE’s business creation challenge. The winners of the first stage - £100 for 100 words - were announced in November last year, while the six winners of the £5k challenge will be announced on June 8. The initial deadline for applications in the £5k phase of the competition is Februrary 20.
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