View all news

SETsquared showcases cutting-edge technologies

Jerome Vaughan of Aragreen (left) receives the Elevator Pitch prize from Nathan Guest, partner at Veale Wasbrough Vizards

Jerome Vaughan of Aragreen (left) receives the Elevator Pitch prize from Nathan Guest, partner at Veale Wasbrough Vizards

8 July 2011

An innovative system that aims to convert waste water to protein, creating algae farms for the fish and animal feed markets, and a spherical musical instrument that glows were just two of the pioneering technologies showcased at the annual SETsquared Garden Party and Innovation Showcase.

Some of the South West’s most innovative technology companies from the SETsquared Business Acceleration Centres at the Universities of Bath, Bristol and Exeter presented their businesses to large corporate companies, prospective investors and grant-funders at the event in Goldney Hall, which attracted more delegates than in the previous seven years.

In a time of economic uncertainty, the SETsquared Business Acceleration Centre in Bristol was proud to announce the recent $1.6-million investment in one of its ventures, enModus, which exhibited at the event in 2010.

Danny Wootton, Innovation Director of Logica UK, gave the keynote speech, and described the importance of corporate and early stage companies working together: ‘In today’s economic environment, it’s clear that businesses doing everything themselves is a thing of the past. We see huge benefits from early-stage companies leveraging the routes to market and scale offered by a corporate and in return a corporate can tap into a constant stream of great innovative solutions and services from smaller businesses.’

Sponsored by the South West Angel and Investor Network (SWAIN), Veale Wasbrough Vizards, Baker Tilly and the SW Microelectronics iNet, the garden party provided an invaluable opportunity for the region’s high-tech, high-growth companies to network with potential investors and corporates.

Nick Sturge, SETsquared Centre Director, commented: ‘The key to success in any organisation is partnership: we are now working with corporates and investment groups to really accelerate the growth of companies we support. The creation of our joint technology investor network with SWAIN should double the amount of angel investments that happen.’

During the evening, eight selected companies entered a 60-second ‘Elevator Pitch’ competition to promote their businesses. The audience, of venture capitalists, SWAIN investors, representatives of the grant-funding and venture capital communities from London and the South West, senior executives from major corporates and supporters and mentors of the SETsquared activity, voted for the best pitch.

Aragreen (UK) Limited won the most number of votes and secured the top prize of £500 and the Veale Wasbrough Vizards Elevator Pitch trophy. By utilising a combination of cutting-edge production technology and what would otherwise be wasted nutrients (mainly phosphates and nitrates) from waste water, Aragreen aims to redefine the value proposition of algae, as a sustainable and cost-competitive source of protein, for commodity markets.

A further eight ventures that are supported by the SETsquared Centres at Bath, Bristol and Exeter showcased their work, including ‘nu desine’, which makes the Alpha Sphere, a novel new musical instrument that brings the musician away from the computer, and back to the instrument.

Three of the SETsquared’s 52 current members are based at the renowned Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol and receiving business support from the SETsquared Centre, demonstrating the value being created at the interface of creative industries and high-technology.

Dr Neil Bradshaw, a director of the SETsquared Partnership, commented: ‘This is the best city and region in the country to create a technology company and the event shows how universities, large companies and investors are all coming together to help entrepreneurs make these businesses even more successful.’

For further information, please contact Nick Sturge, Centre Director, SETsquared Business Acceleration Centre, University Gate East, Park Row, Bristol BS1 5UB, tel 07973 361 179 or email

Edit this page