Global University Venturing: Imperial leads by Gregg Bayes-Brown, 12 December 2013

Imperial College London’s tech transfer unit Imperial Innovations (II) has led a seed round worth nearly £1m ($1.6m) for Cambridge University spin-out Aqdot.

II, which invested £350,000 of the total, was joined in participation by the university’s own tech transfer unit Cambridge Enterprise as well as investors Parkwalk Advisors and Providence Investment Company. As part of the deal, Kelsey Lynn, director at II, will join the Aqdot board of directors.

Aqdot is developing chemical encapsulation technology which allows tiny droplets to carry active materials, such as cleaning enzymes for detergents and agrochemicals for crops. Funds raised by the seed round will be used to further develop Aqdot’s technology as well as securing new partnerships.

Roger Coulston, co-founder at Aqdot, said: “Instead of licensing to industry, we decided to form a company and to commercialise the technology through active industry engagement. We chose as funding partner Imperial Innovations because of their experience and insight in building high-growth companies based on academic research. We look forward to creating early value with this disruptive and novel technology through a number of partnerships in different industry segments.”

More information on Global University Venturing.

Cabume: Rising star Aqdot by Lautaro Vargas, 11 December 2013

A year old startup pushing a new encapsulation technology with the potential to disrupt a range of industries from farming to big pharma is gunning for early revenues through major partnerships following a £1 million seed fundraising round.

Aqdot Ltd spun out of Cambridge University’s Department of Chemistry at the end of 2012 to further a technology with the ability to enclose materials in capsules between 10 and 100 micrometres in diameter, while accurately controlling both the capsule structure and the core content.

Beyond being quicker than existing industry techniques, this ‘one-step’ process also allows for a far more controlled release of the microcapsule contents through a range of different stimuli, whether it’s drugs in the body or sealants in aircraft construction.

The company has generated a lot of interest including national broadsheet newspaper coverage and has won several business plan competitions from Cambridge University’s own CUE awards to a €20,000 European venture competition.

Having decided to build a company rather than just sell licenses, Aqdot now plans to use the money to ramp up development of the technology and grow new partnerships in its selected markets.

The appeal of the spin-out road for Aqdot lies in its belief that its technology is suitable for pretty much the entire micro encapsulation industry, a $40 billion opportunity that covers oil and gas, paper, textiles, pharma and medicine, adhesives, household and personal care, food and paints and coatings.

The company will need to have more focus early on, but says its Investors – who are Imperial Innovations, Cambridge Enterprise, Parkwalk Advisors, and Providence Investment Company – leave it well placed for rapid growth

Imperial Innovations’s Kelsey Lynn, who has joined the Aqdot board of directors, says there is already interest from a variety of large corporates and believes a company can emerge that can change the landscape of controlled release functionality in encapsulation.

She said: “Aqdot benefits from a wealth of research undertaken at one of the world’s leading chemistry departments,” adding, “We are excited to be involved with the company at this early stage in its development.”

Imperial Innovations is also supplying the company’s launch CEO in Dr John Hamlin, its own Entrepreneur-in-Residence who has 25 years of experience in senior business and technology positions in BP Chemicals. Aqdot has also recruited as chairman, Dr Peter Fields.

“We chose as funding partner Imperial Innovations because of their experience and insight in building high-growth companies based on academic research,” said Aqdot co-founder and CSO, Roger Coulston. “We look forward to creating early value with this disruptive and novel technology through a number of partnerships in different industry segments.”

More information on Cabume.

Business Weekly: Thanks a million by Kate Sweeney, 10 December 2013

Imperial Innovations has invested £350k and led a new seed funding round of almost £1 million ($1.6 million) into Aqdot Limited.

Cambridge Enterprise, Parkwalk Advisors, and Providence Investment Company joined Innovations in the investment round.

The funds will be used to further the development of the Aqdot technology and partnerships with companies in the selected markets.

Aqdot has developed a proprietary and disruptive chemical encapsulation technology that enables extremely tiny droplets to be produced to carry ‘active materials’: for example cleaning enzymes used in domestic detergents, and agrochemicals for crop treatment.

The high stability and robustness of the droplets allows for a finely controlled release of the contained ingredients while using much less encapsulation material than traditional products.

In addition to giving value to producers and consumers, the reduction in wasted active materials also yields significant environmental and sustainability benefits.

The company is engaged with a number of interested corporate partners across a variety of industries and is prioritising opportunities in home care, personal care, nutraceuticals and agrochemicals.

The science that underpins Aqdot technology was developed at Cambridge University Department of Chemistry under senior academics Professor Chris Abell and Dr Oren Scherman, both of whom join Aqdot’s Scientific Advisory Board.

The Cambridge University co-inventors Dr Jing Zhang and Dr Roger Coulston join the company as director operations and chief scientific officer, respectively.

Innovations Entrepreneur-in-Residence Dr John Hamlin joins as the launch CEO bringing his 25 years of experience in senior business and technology positions in BP Chemicals.

The company has recruited as chairman, Dr Peter Fields, who, after 20 years at ICI, implemented a buy-and-build strategy as COO to grow European specialty chemical distribution company, Azelis, from €330m to €1.1bn in revenue.

Innovations Director Kelsey Lynn joins the Aqdot board of directors.

Kelsey Lynn, director technology ventures at Innovations, said: “We are delighted to lead this investment round alongside Cambridge Enterprise and other high quality investors to build a company that can change the landscape of controlled release functionality in encapsulation.

“Aqdot benefits from a wealth of research undertaken at one of the world’s leading chemistry departments and is already receiving interest from a variety of large corporates. We are excited to be involved with the company at this early stage in its development.”

Roger Coulston, co-founder and CSO at Aqdot Ltd, added: “Instead of licensing to industry, we decided to form a company and to commercialise the technology through active industry engagement.

“We chose as funding partner Imperial Innovations because of their experience and insight in building high-growth companies based on academic research. We look forward to creating early value with this disruptive and novel technology through a number of partnerships in different industry segments.”

More information on Business Weekly.

Aqdot successfully closes seed funding round – Touchstone Innovations Business LLPc (AIM: IVO, ‘Innovations’), a leading technology commercialisation and investment group, has invested £350k and led a new seed funding round of almost £1 million ($1.6 million) into Aqdot Limited. Cambridge Enterprise, Parkwalk Advisors, and Providence Investment Company joined Touchstone in the investment round.

The funds raised in this round will be used to further the development of the Aqdot technology and partnerships with companies in the selected markets.

Aqdot has developed a proprietary and disruptive chemical encapsulation technology that enables extremely tiny droplets to be produced to carry ‘active materials’: for example cleaning enzymes used in domestic detergents, and agrochemicals for crop treatment. The high stability and robustness of the droplets allows for a finely controlled release of the contained ingredients while using much less encapsulation material than traditional products. In addition to giving value to producers and consumers, the reduction in wasted active materials also yields significant environmental and sustainability benefits.

The company is engaged with a number of interested corporate partners across a variety of industries and is prioritising opportunities in home care, personal care, nutraceuticals and agrochemicals.

The science that underpins Aqdot technology was developed at Cambridge University Department of Chemistry under senior academics Professor Chris Abell and Dr Oren Scherman, both of whom join Aqdot’s Scientific Advisory Board. The Cambridge University co-inventors Dr Jing Zhang and Dr Roger Coulston join the company as Director Operations and Chief Scientific Officer, respectively.

Innovations Entrepreneur-in-Residence Dr John Hamlin joins as the launch CEO bringing his 25 years of experience in senior business and technology positions in BP Chemicals. The Company has recruited as Chairman, Dr Peter Fields, who, after 20 years at ICI, implemented a buy-and-build strategy as COO to grow European specialty chemical distribution company, Azelis, from €330m to €1.1b in revenue.

Innovations Director Kelsey Lynn joins the Aqdot board of directors.

Kelsey Lynn, Director Technology Ventures at Innovations, said:

“We are delighted to lead this investment round alongside Cambridge Enterprise and other high quality investors to build a company that can change the landscape of controlled release functionality in encapsulation.

Aqdot benefits from a wealth of research undertaken at one of the world’s leading chemistry departments and is already receiving interest from a variety of large corporates. We are excited to be involved with the company at this early stage in its development.”

Roger Coulston, Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Aqdot Ltd, said:

“Instead of licensing to industry, we decided to form a company and to commercialize the technology through active industry engagement. We chose as funding partner Touchstone Innovations because of their experience and insight in building high-growth companies based on academic research. We look forward to creating early value with this disruptive and novel technology through a number of partnerships in different industry segments.”

 

Growth Business: Cambridge spin-out Aqdot – 10 December 2013

Having been spun-out from the University of Cambridge at the end of 2012, Aqdot has secured the capital it needs to further develop its technology.

The science behind the business was developed at the university’s Department of Chemistry by Chris Abell and Oren Scherman and involves the manufacturing of structures for encapsulating actives.

The chemical encapsulation technology allows very small droplets to be produced to carry what the company calls ‘active materials’ – such as those used in domestic detergents and agrochemicals.

Roger Coulston, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Aqdot, comments, ‘Instead of licensing to industry, we decided to form a company and to commercialise the technology through active industry engagement.

‘We chose as funding partner Imperial Innovations because of their experience and insight in building high-growth companies based on academic research.’

Joining Imperial Innovations, which is contributing £350,00 towards the round, and Cambridge Enterprise as investors are Parkwalk Advisors and Providence Investment Company.

Aqdot says that it is engaged with a number of interested corporate partners in a variety of industries, with priorities being made in the home care, personal care, nutraceuticals and agrochemicals areas.

Kelsey Lynn, director for Technology Ventures at Imperial Innovations, says, ‘We are delighted to lead this investment round alongside Cambridge Enterprise and other high-quality investors to build a company that can change the landscape of controlled realise functionality in encapsulation.

‘Aqdot benefits from a wealth of research undertaken at one of the world’s leading chemistry departments and is already receiving interest from a variety of large corporates.’

More information can be found on growthbusiness.co.uk.

The Observer: Cambridge’s leading tech startups – The Guardian, The Observer

Nicola Davis, 1 December 2013

Jing Zhang (1), director of operations, and Roger Coulston (2) CSO

Company launched: 2012

What it does Aqdot has developed and patented new technology for creating microcapsules filled with a range of active ingredients.

These ingredients can then be released, under control – a technique that can be tuned to myriad applications.

“The early priorities are the home care, personal care, nutraceuticals and agrochemicals markets,” says Zhang

Cambridge’s leading tech startups

Why Cambridge? The company has close links to the University of Cambridge chemistry department, while the city’s ability to attract talent is also beneficial, as is its accommodating and supportive entrepreneurial community. “This is ideal for a young start-up like us,” says Zhang.

Future Plans The next few years should see Aqdot develop significantly. “The primary opportunity is for us to grow by licensing the technology,” says Zhang. “This would be among a variety of other business models including straight licensing, joint development agreements, joint ventures and production of our product.” Work is currently underway to commercialise the technology.

The Observer: Cambridge’s leading tech startups

The full coverage can be found on The Observer.

 

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