BioTherma from left to right: Lee Dunham, Sarah Withey, Joe Segal, Rebecca Sullivan, Jonathan Lemon
A team from The University of Manchester has secured a place in the final of a national competition to find the entrepreneurial bioscientists of the future.
BioTherma Ltd beat off stiff competition from 16 teams from eight universities and institutes in the Manchester workshop of the Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (Biotechnology YES) 2013 competition. They will fly the flag for Manchester in December in London at the UK finals where the winning team will collect £2,500, an invitation to attend the BIA Gala Dinner and the opportunity to attend the premier regional US Business Plan Competition at Rice University in Houston, Texas.
BioTherma Ltd has genetically modified composting bacteria to produce temperatures in excess of 200⁰C. This thermal energy is then converted into electricity, enabling the conversion of organic waste into kilowatts more efficiently than any other process. They are selling this technology to farms and waste management companies in conjunction with a quarterly maintenance service, providing their customers with huge profits when electricity is sold to the national grid.
BioTherma CEO, Lee Dunham, commented: “Despite being a very busy few days, the Biotech YES NW workshop was absolutely fantastic. We all found the talks and mentors to be hugely beneficial, and we all learnt a great deal throughout the competition regarding the business side of biotechnology. Now onto London for the final!”
Manchester Business School student start-up, Zenguard, has just received six-figure investment funding from company builder, Project A Ventures. This follows a move to the investor-backed Axel Springer Plug and Play Business Accelerator in Berlin earlier this year.
ZenGuard’s first product is the one-click browser solution ZenMate that protects user’s privacy while surfing on the Internet. Installed by one click to the selected browsers, it encrypts the out- and incoming browser traffic.
The company was founded in Manchester in 2013 by MSc in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship student Simon Specka and business partner Markus Hänel (photo left). They are the first graduates of IQuBit –The University of Manchester’s Technology Transfer office’s (UMIP) digital business accelerator – and won second prize in the technology category of the University’s Venture Further 2013 business start-up competition.
Simon commented: “The investment is a great chance to develop our product further, as well as for developing other products, expanding our user base, scaling of our team and professionalising our company structures. We are very happy to have one of the leading European experts in their respective fields on board.
The support at The University of Manchester was very helpful at the very beginning as it provided office space and a great network to work with and challenge our ideas.”
Dr Martin Henery, Venture Further Competition Director, commented: “This is exciting news and that even if you don't win Venture Further, your business concept can still be a success.
The drive and passion exhibited by Simon and Markus has transformed their concept into an exciting opportunity that investors want to get involved with. They’ve done a great job and I can’t wait to hear about what happens next.”
Visit the ZenGuard website >> https://zenguard.org/home
Find out more about Venture Further >> https://mec.portals.mbs.ac.uk/Enterpriseactivities/Competitions/VentureFurther.aspx
Discover more about IQuBit >> http://umi3.com/iqubit/