By Daniel Hunter

Just months after their formation, six fledgling companies established by students at the University of Edinburgh have secured investment totalling £500,000 from a variety of sources including Shell and Santander.

All six companies were launched earlier this year through the University’s ‘Accelerator Pipeline’ Programme, which helps postgraduate students and alumni turn their research ideas into potential high-growth businesses.

The ‘Accelerator Pipeline’ programme is run by Edinburgh Research and Innovation’s LAUNCH.ed initiative at the University of Edinburgh and provides an award-winning mix of £5k seed capital, advisor support, and training and mentoring to students, giving them an opportunity to crystallise their business ideas.

“The programme was launched in 2010 to offer to Edinburgh’s research students with high-growth potential business propositions based on knowledge and intellectual property developed at the University," Grant Wheeler, Head of Company Formation at the University commented.

“During the last academic year, six companies successfully won investment from the Programme and have gone on to secure additional investment totalling almost half a million pounds. This is a remarkable achievement in such a relatively short timeframe and stands testament to the strong calibre of the aspirational student entrepreneur the University is renowned for.”

The six companies are;

AdvancetoGO, a rental properties management platform aimed at small private portfolios, which, this year, won the UK pitching competition ‘The Pitch’ and won Shell LiveWIRE’s Scottish Young Entrepreneur of the Year award

AdvertEyes, an advertising analytics company that automatically measures engagement in outdoor advertising using a novel, cost-effective platform. AdvertEyes was awarded £100k SMART funding.

eoSurgical, a surgical simulation company with a low-cost simulator aimed at all training and practising surgeons. Conceived by two surgeons and prototypes already sold internationally. eoSurgical also won the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) New Venture product prize and the Santander Universities Enterprise Awards for top postgraduate start-up.

Feusd, a platform to help membership and content-driven organisations reduce membership and subscription ‘churn’ by better managing audience engagement. This platform is already in successful use with two large membership organisations leading to increased engagement and subscriptions. Feusd was also awarded £100k SMART funding.

Social Artisan, a social media sentiment company predicts audience network response to messages before sending and chooses the optimal language and time to engage. Social Artisan was also awarded £100k SMART funding.

MediCenDevis, a medical devices design company with patented designs in place including an IV Drip system that greatly reduces infection and costs. Medical trials are planned to start early 2013. The MediCenDevis team was awarded the RSE Enterprise Fellowship awarded October 2012.

“All these fledgling companies are owned and managed by young students, most of whom are in their 20’s, who don’t have the same track record of some of the more experienced academic researchers," Paul Devlin, the manager of the Accelerator Pipeline, added.

"However, they show true entrepreneurial endeavour, innovation and such great vision that they are considered pioneering enough to attract cash from significant investors.”

Edinburgh Research and Innovation’s LAUNCH.ed has helped to mentor and nurture these businesses and to see them reach a collective £500,000 investment is down to the hard work of not only the individuals connected with each business, but the guidance and experience of the LAUNCH.ed team.

Through Edinburgh Research and Innovation, the University of Edinburgh has been sector-leading in its support of entrepreneurs for nearly a decade with over 200 new companies supported through various programmes established to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit at the University.

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