Our London meeting in January was being hosted by UCL Advances.
UCL has built a reputation as a pioneer of collaboration between industry and academia. Often in partnership with the London Business School, they have established many, now mainstream, initiatives that span the gaps between science discovery and exploitation.
microFunding is a new three way funding process. It introduces inventors with brilliant ideas but no funds, time or background in building a business to managers with proven skills and experience of making money for other people who in turn can attract angel investors with the money and motivation to back exciting, well managed early-stage opportunities.
Inventors register and post their idea on the secure microFunding website. Experienced managers scan all the ideas on a regular basis; the manager can then select, at his own risk; those that he believes have commercial potential. He creates a proof of concept project paper which is circulated to potential investors and the concept is developed from there.
UCL AdvancesBizSpark is a new programme from Microsoft to support new software development businesses. SMEs and Start-ups wanting to participate in the programme, work with a sponsoring organisation to sign them up, which gives the SME access to a suite of development and production-level software products, services and advice for free!
Eligibility requirements are minimal: If you're a privately held company, building a software-based product or service (even using open source code), in business for fewer than three years, and with less than USD$1M in annual revenue, you're in provided you have a partner to sign you up!
UCL has registered as just such a partner organisation. If you have a connection with UCL or would like to collaborate with UCL you can register with UCL Advances as your Network Partner, who will then supply you with an enrollment code. Once you have your enrollment code, joining BizSpark is fast and easy. No payment or credit card information is required, and there are no upfront costs
vzaar.com is an online video platform enabling businesses to add video to their websites. Uploading a video to vzaar enables the business to embed that video across the Internet on pages such as eBay, their own website or blogs and forums. vzaar offers a professional, clean video player which makes it a perfect service for any business wishing to sell or advertise online. Packages range from Free to $10/month for small businesses, and up to $200/month for enterprise customers. Based in London, the team has a strong and broad history in video technologies and ecommerce, which it capitalises on in its video for business solution.
Jamie answering questions at the meeting (taken on a mobile phone)
Rod Heap - Solar LtdSolarshades - innovation in sun shade protection
Solarshades is a new, patented, sun shade which is small and light enough to be packed into a suitcase but which unfolds to cast a body size shadow. It is made from an inexpensive material that filters out harmful UVA rays but still allows you to tan. It can be used in many different environments and can be set up on different surfaces e.g. grass as easily as sand using a simple anchoring system. The shade is light enough to be easily portable but robust enough to withstand even strong winds. Crucially, the surface of the shield makes an ideal vehicle for carrying advertising messages allowing mass display of company names, brands and logos.