The first business plan competition at the University of Cambridge specifically for postdocs ran in 2015 as a collaboration between Cambridge Enterprise and the EPOC society (Entrepreneurial PostDocs of Cambridge). Applications were of a very high quality, and four teams made it to the finals.
The winners of the £15,000 prize were Immaterial Labs, whose CEO Andrew Marsden and Head of Product Development Thomas Fry were members of the original i-Team that worked on the MOFs (metal-organic framework materials) technology in Michaelmas 2014.
The second place prize of £7,500 was awarded to WaterScope, which uses a Raspberry Pi to produce a low-cost microscope for water testing. The idea originated from the first Development i-Teams programme, which was run in partnership with the Centre for Global Equality, in Easter 2015, with one of the students of the i-Team joining the inventor. The product concept was further developed in the second Development i-Teams programme in Michaelmas 2015, when additional i-Teams members joined the company.
We wish both companies well as they take their ideas closer to commercialisation.