Nine Aspiring Innovators Pitch to Investors

Ben Jones

On Thursday 20 June, BioAccelerate 2019 was brought to a close as a panel of investors and industry experts heard pitches from nine aspiring entrepreneurs.

The programme, running for a second year after last year’s success, was an 8-week hands-on business accelerator helping to commercialise innovation in the bioscience and healthcare sectors across Wales. In a programme that blended workshops and one-to-one mentoring sessions, participants were given the opportunity to develop their innovations into market-ready propositions.

Hosted at Aberystwyth University’s William Davies Hall, each participant had ten minutes to present, follow by ten minutes of questions from the panel. A wide range of innovations were pitched, including a cloud-based platform for recognising of pests and disease stress on crops in Africa, a novel prebiotic for animal feeds, and indoor vertical aeroponic farm to produce year-round sustainable speciality vegetables.

Following the pitches, participants and the panel convened at the AberInnovation Offices to continue discussions over a networking lunch. Several members of the panel – which included representatives from the Development Bank of Wales, Angels Invest Wales, and from the programme’s sponsors – expressed an interest in deeper discussions with some of the participants, with a view to exploring potential investment opportunities in the future.

Dr. Jade Powell, patent attorney at Greaves Brewster, said: “It was a pleasure to sit on the panel at the final pitch day of BioAccelerate 2019. It was great seeing how all the participants had developed over the course of the programme, and to get a glimpse of some of the exciting innovations being developed in Wales.”

Construction of the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus continues to progress well, with the Seed Biobank having been handed over to the University at the end of May 2019 and the Biorefining Centre due by the first week of August 2019. Phase two of the construction will include a Future Food Centre, an Advanced Analysis Centre, and an Innovation Hub. Completion of the whole site is due by August 2020. The new Campus will foster collaboration between academia and industry, with the University’s research acting as a catalyst for innovation and bringing new industry partnerships and jobs to the region. The European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (now part of UKRI), and Aberystwyth University are funding the £40.5m project.