Investment tripled for student start-ups

Start-ups created by Edinburgh students have secured over £30m in combined investment over the last year.

Students help plant trees to mark the growth in student entrepreneurship

The investment into student-led businesses marks a significant rise from the £11m secured the previous year.

News comes as the University’s commercialisation service, Edinburgh Innovations, revealed figures showing more than 100 student start-ups formed over the same period.

105 start-ups have been founded during 2021-22, compared with 102 in 2020-2021 and 72 in 2019/2020.

To mark the growth in student entrepreneurship, company founders and University enterprise leaders have planted the first of 100 trees to be added across the University’s campus.

Our impressive cohort this year is notably using data and artificial intelligence to transform areas of society from health care to energy provision. Their ideas have the potential to change the world, and our job at Edinburgh Innovations is to equip them with business knowledge and skills to ensure that impact. We are proud to support them on their journey.

Dr George BaxterCEO of Edinburgh Innovations

Innovative ideas

Synthetic biologist Maggie Hicks founded SynSense – one of the 100 start ups to receive funding this year – after fellow research student Florentina Winkleman suggested she commercialise her PhD.

The pair have attracted the attention of the US Navy with their skin patch that uses sweat to detect potentially problematic body states, enabling eventual diagnosis.

Another member of this year’s cohort was graduate Xiaoyan Ma and founder of a robotic waste-sorter.

Danu Robotics is set to use automation to increase the global percentage of recycled waste.

We’ve gained so much knowledge and confidence this past year through Edinburgh Innovations, from being directed to award schemes, to support with the legal side of our intellectual property, to coaching and training through the Startup Accelerator. Our aim is to keep the patch as low cost and accessible as possible, for it to be used as a universal, non-invasive medical device.

Maggie HicksFounder of SynSense

Entrepreneurial development

Entrepreneurial students and staff can receive free support from Edinburgh Innovations.

Support includes events, competitions and workshops, one to one business advice, awards and programmes, funding opportunities and networking events.

The University’s investment team, including venture capital fund Old College Capital, invests in high-growth, early-stage businesses associated with the University, partnering with experienced investors.

Previous University-funded successes include audio tech company Two Big Ears which was acquired by Facebook in 2016, and Orfeas Boteas, creator of the Dehumaniser sound effects software used by Hollywood movies and blockbuster video games.

With emphasis on inclusivity and sustainability, our aim is to inspire and equip every University of Edinburgh student with the enterprise and entrepreneurship knowledge and skills to meet the world’s biggest challenges.

Lorna BairdStudent Enterprise Manager, University of Edinburgh

Related links

Edinburgh Innovations | The University of Edinburgh

Danu Robotics

Old College Capital