Winners of UK Discovering Start-Ups 2013 announced

Five new wireless businesses get the thumbs-up from leading investors and wireless industry experts

Press release

October 1st 2013. Five new wireless entrepreneurs won the praise of leading venture capitalists, angel investors and wireless industry experts yesterday at the finals of the nationwide Discovering Start-Ups 2013 competition. The winners were chosen from 18 finalists from across the UK who pitched their innovative technologies and business plans to the panel of judges that included senior executives from BT, Google, Orange Labs, Qualcomm Ventures, Samsung and Vodafone Ventures, along with investors such as Cambridge Angels and NESTA.

The winners of Discovering Start-Ups 2013 are Chirp, Ether Books, Simpalarm, SQR Systems and White Space Water.

Chirp is a new platform that allows consumers and businesses to share data using sonic barcodes in the form of electronic bird song, using anything that creates sound from TVs and radios to smartphones and doorbells. The company is based in London www.chirp.io

Ether Books from Bath has developed a mobile social commerce technology platform that enables individual writers and publishers’ writers, to get published, get paid and to engage directly with a global smartphone and tablet reading audience. www.etherbooks.com

Simpalarm, based in Bristol, pitched an effective and affordable device designed to provide family telecare by unobtrusively monitoring a wide range of normal daily activities in the home such as movement, door opening, visitors, water and electricity. www.simpalarm.co.uk

SQR Systems is working on innovative technology to securely distribute video data over low-bandwidth and bandwidth varying networks to constantly optimise the video in encrypted form. SQR Systems is based in London www.sqrsystems.com

WhiteSpace Water is looking to reduce water loss and save money with its range of sensors and systems for the water industry based on Weighless-technology and White Space spectrum http://www.aquamatix.co.uk/

The Discovering Start-Ups competition is run by Cambridge Wireless and Silicon South West – two of the UK’s leading technology industry networks – along with the support of London’s Tech City.

Now in its fourth year, the competition is sponsored by Qualcomm Ventures, as well as Google, Rohde & Schwarz, SETsquared, Microlease/Agilent Technologies and Taylor Wessing, who hosted the pitch event at its London headquarters.

“The innovation, ambition and passion shown by the 18 finalists reflects the strength of the UK’s tech start-up industries,” said Dr Soraya Jones, CEO of Cambridge Wireless.

“The quality and diversity of the entrants made it difficult to judge but we can be confident that the five winners will be ones to watch over the next few years.”

One of last year’s winners, Smart Antenna Technologies has recently secured funding and launched an innovative single-antenna technology for smartphones and tablet devices that replaces up to six separate antennae.

“Winning Discovering Start-Ups 2012 certainly helped to raise our profile in the wireless and investor communities and has contributed to the rapid growth of our business,”  said Professor Rick Hillum, CEO at Smart Antenna Technologies.

“While there is no shortage of entrepreneurs with great ideas and vision, business development and fundraising remain tough and you have to take advantage of every opportunity,” said Clennell Collingwood, of TTP Ventures.

“The chance to get in front of 21 investors and major industry influencers at one time is a tremendous opportunity and all the judges were impressed by the quality and inventiveness of the companies pitching in the finals.”

As well as the prestigious Discovering Start-Ups trophies, the five winning organisations were each presented with a prize fund worth £5,000 including cash prizes sponsored by Qualcomm and tickets to Mobile World Congress (MWC) provided by UKTI.

The prize also includes 12 month memberships to both Cambridge Wireless – the not-for-profit industry forum with a network of nearly 400 members involved in the development and application of wireless technologies – and SETsquared, including a business MOT, networking and mentoring support, investor readiness training and the prospect to be selected for various investor showcases in London and the USA.

In addition, they get the opportunity to pitch to a global market in the Innovation Hothouse, as part of Cambridge Wireless’ The Future of Wireless International Conference 2014.

About Cambridge Wireless

Cambridge Wireless is a leading industry forum and vibrant community with a rapidly expanding network of companies actively involved in the development and application of wireless technologies. In addition to high level networking dinners and events, a strong educational programme and business development activities, Cambridge Wireless runs the annual Future of Wireless International Conference along with the prestigious Discovering Start-Ups programme and competition to support emerging, innovative wireless companies. Over 15 Special Interest Groups focused on specific technologies and market sectors, also provide opportunities for members to meet, form partnerships to exploit new commercial opportunities, and share knowledge and information about the latest industry trends and hot topics. Cambridge Wireless has partnerships with other leading industry clusters and organisations around the world to extend its international reach and to keep members up to date with the latest global developments and business opportunities. For more information, please visit www.cambridgewireless.co.uk

About Silicon South West

The Silicon South West network provides regular networking events, news and national and international promotion for the South West of England’s world class microelectronics design cluster.

Over 100 companies connected to the microelectronics sector are concentrated in a region which includes the key towns & cities of Bristol, Bath, Exeter, Plymouth, and Southampton & Swindon. For further information please visit www.siliconsouthwest.co.uk

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