The 2020 shortlist for next month’s coveted #21toWatch Awards includes some of the most daring entrepreneurs and innovations from our region.
Out of the hundreds of entries received, 246 qualified candidates that made it onto a longlist, which has now been whittled down to a shortlist of 57, featuring a dynamic mix of ‘People’, ‘Companies’ and ‘Things’.
The shortlist of ‘People’ includes Callum Coombes, CEO at Safepoint, Non-Executive Director at Menta and an active member of the East Anglian business community. He aims to save lives with his current business and works to make entrepreneurialism more accessible regionally.
Other shortlisted ‘People’ hopefuls include Beth Singler, Junior Research Fellow in AI; Essex-based Brigette Bard, BioSure; Dr Kam Pooni, Glyconics; Fotis Fotiadis, Entomics; Giorgia Longobardi, Cambridge GaN Devices; James Dean, Plastometrex; Kane Halsey, Pickr; John Cassidy, CCG.ai; Katja Hofmann, Microsoft Research; Kieran Miles, Duco; Ruchi Sharma, Stemnovate; and Serena Belluschi, Majico and Mogrify.
Entrepreneur and cofinitive Founder, Faye Holland, who created the hugely successful #21toWatch Awards, said: “We are really delighted to see an equal number of women to men featuring on the ‘People’ shortlist this year. In key sectors where female entrepreneurs, founders and leaders are few and far between, this really is most encouraging.
Faye continued: “It’s also been exciting to see the wide range of industries represented on this year’s list. There’s been a huge shift from last year with ICT now making up 33 per cent of the shortlist, although there are a number of strong contenders in the Biotech and Medtech sectors too.
“We also have a stronger representation from CleanTech and AgriTech as well as increased diversity around retail, industrial and more people-based solutions. All this is a clear reminder of how amazingly diverse our region is, and the huge opportunity for convergence and agglomeration we can offer these businesses.”
The 25 shortlisted ‘Companies’ include Cambridge Cancer Genomics who are developing an AI platform to analyse and interpret tumour DNA, enabling oncologists to provide more effective, personalised treatment for cancer patients.
The other companies on the shortlist are: Agile Analog; Arete Medical Technologies; Barocal Ltd; Biofidelity Ltd; Blighter; Cambridge Carbon Capture; Cambridge Gan Devices; Citispotter Limited; Conundrum; CorrosionRADAR; Dataswift; Eagle Genomics; Echion Technologies; Glyconics; Inawisdom; Intellegens; Kalium Health; KisanHub; Lightcast Discovery; Mogrify; Nu Quantum; Okra Technologies; POCKiT; Qureight; Reflection Therapeutics; Riverlane; Satavia; Shift Bioscience Ltd; VividQ.
The ‘Things’ shortlist, meanwhile, includes Xampla who are creating a natural plastic alternative made entirely from peas. Also shortlisted are AudioTelligence; Doc2; FlexEnable; FlipPad; Foundries.io; Herdsy; Karmacoin Referral Platform; Kubos; OBRIZUM; PBD Biotech; Pickr; Rnwl; RoboK; Sano Genetics; Sook; Sutrue; techspert.io; Thyngs.
The #21toWatch shortlist is independently judged by four leading experts across a range of disciplines. For 2020, the judges are Isabel Fox (Luminous Ventures), Tim Robinson (Tech East), Siddhi Trivedi (Entrepreneur) and Bruno Cotta (CJBS Entrepreneurship Centre) who will all assess the candidates based on five criteria: innovation, challenge, influence, viability and memorability.
Tim summarised the thoughts of the judges “What impressed me most is that so many of the shortlist are people and companies addressing major real-world challenges in climate change, ethical AI, security, precision medicine and more.”
It appears the campaign is one to watch in its own right.