Exciting new tech companies from Oxford and Bristol are among 20 nationally named Rising Stars by Tech Nation, the UK network for ambitious tech entrepreneurs, early stage tech companies will compete for the top award in Manchester on March 5.
Two of the finalists are from Oxford and one from Bristol
With a digital tech turnover of £31.9 billionn and 215,000 people employed in the sector in 2017, plus an enterprise count of 38,530 in 2018, the south east region has a successful tech ecosystem, supported by flourishing clusters like Brighton, Southampton, Oxford and Reading.
Award-winning startup Serelay Ltd, based at Harwell Campus near Didcot, is pioneering trusted media capture. Its app-based technology enables mobile device users to capture verifiable photos and videos in one click. Any platform receiving these, from social networks to insurance companies, can then query them for authenticity using an online dashboard or REST API, quickly, conclusively and at scale. Users can also prove the authenticity of a photo or video to a third party by generating a trust report.
An alumnus of the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre, CSIT Labs and LDN_LAB accelerator programmes, Serelay was incorporated in March 2017 and has worked with several organisations to develop its offering. The company received initial prototype funding from Google’s Digital News Initiative. After developing a prototype, Serelay went on to work with the European Space Agency, which provided further grant-based funding and support in working with satellite signals, as well as the Centre for Secure Information Technologies to validate and improve the technology. Serelay was also granted funding from Innovate UK.
The subject of three patent filings to date, Serelay’s advanced technology was originally developed to target the media domain in battling fake news in its visual form. However, the company believes recent advances in synthetic images and deep fakes means many business verticals beyond media will need to protect themselves from increasingly sophisticated and cheap-to-produce forms of visual fraud, and is now focusing its attention on the insurance space.
Founded in February 2014, Oxford-based healthtech startup Vitaccess develops and implements digital real world evidence – data collected outside the strict confines of clinical trials – and is passionate about giving patients a voice using the power of technology. The company’s advanced digital platform, co-created with patient advocates and clinicians, produces real-time data to industry and clinicians on how diseases and treatments impact patients’ everyday lives, based on tailor-made smartphone apps.
The platform, MyRealWorld, includes a study app tailored to each project, which eligible participants install on their smartphone or tablet, and a research portal. Data entered into a study app by patients is transferred in close to real-time to the portal’s analytics dashboards, and displayed in anonymised, aggregated form. The platform offers unprecedented speed when it comes to the publication of data. Depending on the project model selected by the customer, Vitaccess also offers free data access to non-commercial researchers, such as hospitals and universities.
The company’s patient-centric approach offers benefits for all stakeholders – including pharmaceutical companies, patients, industry, patient advocate organisations, clinicians and regulators – because the close tailoring of the app to patients’ real life experiences allows it to collect highly granular data on their treatments, health-related quality of life, demographics, lifestyle and healthcare resource utilisation. Originally launched in the areas of oncology and rare diseases, the platform is scalable to suit any indication, any language and any country.
Across the South West there were 13,465 digital technology operating in 2018. Technology is the area’s fastest-growing sector, with the South West reporting a digital tech turnover of over £2.4 billion in 2017, and employment in the sector reaching 78,000.
Award-winning startup Metasonics is developing the next generation of customised, scalable acoustic metamaterials, providing enhanced control over sound and changing the way people use and interact with it. Doing for sound what liquid crystal displays and projectors have done for light, it takes a single speaker and makes it sound like an array of several thousand speakers. The technology will enable step changes to be made in a diverse range of ultrasonic applications within the consumer, architectural, environmental, medical and non-destructive evaluation markets.
Founded in October 2018, the company has developed two technical roadmaps where it imagines its solutions being successful. The first is in areas where ultrasound is currently a leading technology, but where Metasonics’ solution can drastically undercut the expense. The second is as a pioneer in advancing applications that, to date, have been inaccessible due to cost and complexity. Currently, close-to-market applications of the technology include separating in-car audio for drivers and passengers, and a range of new ultrasound capabilities for health wearables and smart appliances.