Future Worlds: a new start-up culture
A new initiative that brings together researchers from Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) and across the University, millionaire entrepreneurs, successful start-ups and aspiring student innovators was launched on Tuesday evening at Prince Philip House, London.
Future Worlds is an exciting new platform from ECS and the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, which focuses on the business of invention and entrepreneurship, highlighting the innovative commercial opportunities being developed by researchers and students at the University of Southampton. By providing exclusive access to events, support, and mentors with a global network of contacts, Future Worlds helps turn these opportunities into market-ready solutions for a range of industries.
The launch saw five aspiring entrepreneurs – ranging from an undergraduate student to a professor – pitching their businesses, with investment opportunities as varied as multipurpose, portable medical tests, and an augmented real-time map technology for disaster response.
Also speaking at the event was mobile software engineer, ECS alumnus and Arieso founder, Shirin Dehghan. Arieso was critical to supporting mobile networks at the advent of 3G, and was sold for $85m in 2013. Shirin said: “It's fantastic to see enterprise-minded people at the University of Southampton working together on this model example of a start-up community. This is much needed in the UK and the more universities that follow the example of Future Worlds the better.”
Start-ups already benefitting from Future Worlds include BluPoint and Crossa. BluPoint are in talks with The Gates Foundation having recently received £500,000 from Innovate UK to deploy their local web product across the developing world. Meanwhile Crossa, a roadside assistance app for cyclists, are speaking to major UK bike retailers. Crossa founder, Agata Tomaszewska, said at the event: “Future Worlds has been an invaluable resource when it comes to advice and high-value introductions. The mentoring and training that we received has been absolutely amazing.”
Other delegates included Chris Broad, Director of Apple Europe and Future Worlds mentor and sponsor. He said: “Being a Future Worlds mentor is giving me the opportunity to have some fun working with really smart people on really interesting projects, where I can help move things along.”
Future Worlds has been developed by a team led by serial entrepreneur Dr Reuben Wilcock, Principal Enterprise Fellow at ECS. With a theoretical PhD in Electronic Engineering, Reuben is well aware of the brilliant research taking place at the University and is passionate about ensuring these designs make it into the real world. He said: “It’s hugely inspiring to see what our students and researchers can do and to share their enthusiasm for future technologies. Future Worlds is growing a start-up culture that offers everything our entrepreneurs need to change the world with their ideas.”
Investors, mentors and companies interested in joining the initiative can contact Dr Wilcock at firstname.lastname@example.org