Anti-counterfeiting tech start-up wins Oxford Trust prize

Curacode team

An Oxford-based tech start up which has developed innovative anti-counterfeiting technology has scooped The Oxford Trust’s #StartedinOxford Demo Day 2020 prize.

CuraCode Ltd  applies laser technology to print high-security, low-cost authentication labels with the potential to be used in a wide variety of industries from pharmaceuticals to identity documents.

Leveraging the simplicity of barcodes and the security of holograms, the CuraCode label is serialised according to specification with an identifier, batch number and expiry date.

Uniquely, this information is hidden in a fingerprint of tiny dots which are barely visible to the naked eye. The advantage of this is that this secure fingerprint can be read back using a specialised light source, similar to that from a smartphone. CuraCode’s new technology will help tackle the global challenge of counterfeit goods.

Run by Enterprising Oxford, a University of Oxford initiative, the #StartedinOxford demo day 2020 showcased the Oxford-linked entrepreneurship community. The 24-hour online event brought together many ventures linked to the universities, including students, staff and alumni, from across the globe as well as those from Oxfordshire.

CuraCode was co-founded by Dr Farah Jawitz, a medical doctor with a passion for improvement of healthcare systems and recent graduate on the Rhodes Scholarship, and two other University graduates Francesco Moiraghi and Priyav Shah. The start-up grew out of Oxford University Innovation’s STEPIgnite programme and is also currently supported by SETsquared Partnerships’ ICURe Programme, Creative Destruction Lab (Atlanta), OxLEP and now through the #StartedinOxford prize, The Oxford Trust.

Steve Burgess, chief executive officer, The Oxford Trust said: “There were so many impressive demonstrations but CuraCode’s technology and team stood out as a deserved winner. They are a dynamic start-up with a strong product and a talented team.

“Over the last 35 years we have seen many businesses, such as Navenio, Perspectum, Mirada Medical and Oxford Computer Consultants, flourish in our innovation centres and, with our help, we hope to see CuraCode do the same.”

Dr Farah Jawitz, co-fouder, CuraCode added: “We are thrilled to join The Oxford Trust community. The Escalator Support Programme is another fantastic part of the Oxford start-up ecosystem and a clear commitment on the part of the Trust to support young companies like ours. This award will provide us the much-needed physical space to set up our lab and the support to help us grow our company.”

Thirty-five years ago, entrepreneurs Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood set up The Oxford Trust to support start-ups and spin-outs, such as CuraCode. In setting up their own business, Oxford Instruments, the Woods understood the challenges faced by start-ups when trying to get their feet on the commercial ladder. Today, the Trust continues to help science and tech start-ups and spinouts by providing cost effective, flexible office, technical workspace and R&D labs in their innovation centres: The Wood Centre for Innovation in Headington and The Oxford Centre for Innovation in the city centre. The Trust also offers 1:1 business support and an Escalator Support Programme for eligible fledgling tech businesses, like Curacode.

Other sponsors included: Barclays Eagle Labs, Oxogen, Oxford Product Design, law firm Freeths, Oxford University Innovation and Tech Nation which offered significant prizes to support a wide range of start-ups and spin-outs.