Murgitroyd, the global intellectual property attorney firm, has awarded first prize of £5,000 cash to Scotland-based start-up uFraction8 in its first Innovator Launchpad competition.
In an award ceremony at The Dome, Edinburgh, co-founders of the Falkirk-based microfluidics company, Dr Brian Miller and Dr Monika Tomecka, were presented with the £5,000 winner’s cheque together with a £2,500 intellectual property services voucher from Murgitroyd, custom Beta Brand space jackets and a PR package.
The UK-wide innovation competition was launched by Murgitroyd in May 2017 in a drive to support early-stage businesses, and is based on Facebook.
The initial “top three” were decided in a public Facebook vote, with these three then going through to a formal judging process, with experts including Converge Challenge founder Dr Olga Kozlova.
Winner uFraction8’s technology centres on a new liquid particle processing technology which offers superior performance and cost savings against the three big liquid processing technologies: filtration, flow centrifugation and flocculation. The company is a spin-out from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University.
The technology has multiple applications including enhancing food security, increasing access to medicines and nutrients, preserving ocean life and enhancing operational capabilities of humanitarian aid missions.
UFraction8 has won a number of awards recently, including the high-profile Imagine Chemistry Challenge, run by AkzoNobel. Through this, a strategic partnership has just been announced been uFraction8 and AkzoNobel.
The company has also achieved equity funding through the Deep Science Ventures business accelerator programme and further non-diluting grant funding is lined up through Scottish Enterprises’s SMART Feasibility scheme.
Dr Miller, the company’s CEO, a former automation engineer who retrained in microfluidics, described the award as a “great helping hand”. “It’s not just the cash, but also the intellectual property advice provided by Murgitroyd that will come in useful: this will help us to assess the value we can add to the company through intellectual property”.
Dr Tomecka, uFraction8’s Chief Operating Officer, a biomedical researcher with experience in marketing and team management commented that the company had ambitious plans for expansion and that they were seeking investors. She and Miller believe that both of these objectives will be helped by the publicity from the competition.
UFraction8 fought off serious competition from other UK start-ups to win the prize with 35 other early-stage businesses entering the competition.
Innovator Launchpad judge Keith Jones, Director – Patents with Murgitroyd, commented on the high standard of competition entries: “As a patent attorney, I deal with innovation day in day out, and I have to say I was very impressed with the quality of the entries”. Jones described uFraction8’s entry as “seriously disruptive technology”.
Jamie LeLiever, Chief Marketing Officer with Murgitroyd, was keen to stress the importance of professional services help alongside cash support for early-stage businesses: “As an entrepreneur myself, with experience of founding my own businesses in the US, I know that it’s not just the cash that counts.
“Young companies need advice, and companies like Murgitroyd can assist with that – we will also be opening up the competition to other professional services sponsors in the next phase, in order to increase the range of advice available to companies.
“Innovator Launchpad will be back in 2017, and we will have some exciting new developments to announce. We’ve taken on feedback from this competition’s competitors and aim to streamline it further in the next phase.
“So look out for news of Innovator Launchpad 2.0 in the early Autumn on our Facebook page – we look forward to supporting more young companies in the UK!”.