By Marcus Leach

Five new technology businesses walked away as winners at Thursday’s finals of the Cambridge Wireless Discovering Start-Ups 2011 competition.

Advanced Balance Systems, Blu-Wireless Technology, Mindings, Proxama and Qiqqa were selected from 20 start-ups invited to pitch their innovative wireless technologies and business plans to 25 leading venture capitalists, angels and industry investors.

Senior representatives from companies including Microsoft, RIM, Nokia, Qualcomm Ventures, Innovacom, Broadcom, Orange, O2 Telefonica and ARM were there to judge the finalists and provide expert advice.

The five winners were presented with their awards at Queens’ College in Cambridge during a special Cambridge Wireless dinner.

Advanced Balance Systems has developed WalkasinsTM, a wearable medical device that reduces the risk of falls in people with balance problems; Blu-Wireless is developing low-cost multi-Gigabit semiconductor WiFi products for next generation consumer electronics devices; Mindings has developed an app that helps connects families and friends through a digital photo-frame or similar device that displays pictures, message and reminders; Proxama is pioneering near field communications and contactless technology for marketing and payments applications; and Qiqqa is software that helps researchers manage and extract maximum value from their research materials.

In addition to the prestigious Cambridge Wireless Discovering Start-Ups trophies, the winners receive £2,000 each along with free business and consultancy services.

They also have the opportunity to present their new technologies and business visions to 300+ leading wireless industry delegates from over 20 countries at the prestigious 2012 Future of Wireless International Conference next June.

“The quality of entrants shows that innovation and entrepreneurship is clearly very much alive,” said Clennell Collingwood, Investment Director at TTP Ventures. “It was difficult for us to pick out five winners and we are confident that all the Discovering Start-Up winners and many of the other finalists will go on to make important contributions to the wireless industry.”

“All the finalists had a unique opportunity to pitch to a dream line up of business angels, VCs and corporate investors with years of experience of spotting winners,” said Soraya Jones, CEO of Cambridge Wireless. “The support from the judges, sponsors, Cambridge Wireless members and entrants has been excellent and reflects the level of expertise, encouragement and business infrastructure that exists to nurture and help drive the success of innovative start ups.”

"Now in its second year, Discovering Start-Ups is supported by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) and sponsored by Microlease, Neondrum, Rohde and Schwarz, S-Tech Insurance Services, Dorsey and Whitney and Alliantus. Other organisations backing the Cambridge Wireless Discovering Start-Ups initiative include: Avidity IP, Business Link, Cambridge Network, Cambridge University, CamtechNet, Connected Cambridge, Enterprise Europe Network, Google, IdeaSpace, Innovation Martlesham, Nesta, One Nucleus, St John’s Innovation Centre and Survive & Thrive.

“Discovering Start-Ups has once again been a great success and were delighted to support the initiative to encourage, inspire and recognise the next generation of technology entrepreneurs,” said Kevin Coleman, Managing Director of Alliantus and Project Director.

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