Imperial College London & Central Working combine to help ‘world-saving’ startups

Imperial College ThinkSpace and workspace provider Central Working have today announced the winners of the inaugural Scalable Business Awards (SBAs), providing six promising technology companies with support worth a combined £250,000.

The successful startups will receive a year of free White City office space alongside the guidance, business connections and support that comes with Central Working membership.

With the capital’s office rents ranked as the second most expensive in the world, providing free West London workspace allows the startups the opportunity to grow without rent overheads as they establish connections in one of Europe’s most vibrant business hubs.

Launched to support startups with the potential to transform an industry, the 2018 SBAs focused on technology that helps address major challenges facing the modern world. The six winning companies are:

  • BrightSign – A smart glove which translates sign language into text and speech, and also employs machine learning to build its own customised virtual sign language library

  • Customem – Bio-based, absorbent material which extracts micropollutants from water, providing a clean solution to disasters such as oil spills

  • ThinAir – A water-from-air generating material surface providing clean drinking water out of thin air, inspired by nature to tap into the 140 quadrillion litres of water in the Earth’s atmosphere

  • Remora Marine – Ocean-cleaning tech which attaches to ship hulls, autonomously removing pollution  caused by the 8 million tonnes of plastic waste which enter oceans every year

  • Macusoft – AI clinical decision system to support the work of eye doctors, instantly analysing patient data and images to identify optimal treatment, cutting the need for multiple appointments and providing vital support for overstretched healthcare services

  • Clustermarket – The Airbnb for research labs, this online marketplace matches scientists and engineers with affordable laboratory space and equipment, cutting costs and encouraging collaboration between university researchers and the private sector

All SBA winners have now moved into Central Working White City, located at the Translation & Innovation Hub (I-HUB) at Imperial College London’s White City Campus – a 23-acre research and innovation district for science, engineering, medicine and business in West London.

As part of the support programme, winning companies will have access to the thousands of potential collaborators and investment partners housed across Central Working’s UK network, as well as Imperial’s extensive network of researchers, academics and other corporate partners.

Grant Powell, CEO, Central Working, said: “Any London startup looking to scale has to contend with the capital’s spiralling commercial rents, so removing office costs can be a game-changer that frees up budget for new hires, marketing or research and development.

That being said, I expect these startups will benefit even more from the unique mixture of connections they’ll have access to, whether through Central Working’s UK-wide network or Imperial College London’s collection of researchers and corporate partners. All six startups have the potential to become the UK’s next tech unicorns, but more importantly they’re developing world-saving solutions which can address some of the planet’s biggest challenges. We couldn’t be more excited to offer our support.”

Dr Eulian Roberts, Chief Executive of Imperial College ThinkSpace, said: “Choosing the six companies from the final short-list was very difficult. The winners represent a broad spectrum of very talented and innovative new companies.

We were impressed by not only the clever and imaginative approaches to solving difficult problems but by the passion and commitment to make a difference.  We are delighted to welcome them to the I-HUB and look forward to helping these businesses grow and flourish over the next twelve months.”