Dundee’s top innovators recognised at Converge Awards
Published on 6 October 2023
Two business concepts from the University of Dundee - a pioneering new platform to aid drug discovery and a revolutionary video stabilisation software - have found success in Scotland’s top enterprise awards
Ricardo Moreno Ballesteros, a PhD student at the University’s School of Life Sciences, was named the winner of Converge’s KickStart Challenge, scooping £10,000 for ‘GenProtex’, a future company developing a technology to speed up the long and costly drug discovery process.
Ryan Anderson, who recently graduated from the School of Science and Engineering, was named runner-up in the same category, receiving £7,500 to develop his business ‘AllSteady’, a software platform for video stabilisation.
The pair are among 15 of Scotland’s top entrepreneurs who were recognised at the awards ceremony in Glasgow.
Both Ricardo and Ryan competed in the University’s Venture competition, a process designed to prepare them for Converge.
Ricardo receiving his award at Converge 2023
GenProtex is developing a platform that aims to revolutionise the world of drug discovery. The technology will help validate potential drug targets and provide critical insights for precise therapies.
“It is a very expensive, long and difficult process to bring a new drug to the market,” said Ricardo. “GenProtex can enhance efficiency.
“With our approach, we can robustly assess the worthiness of developing a drug discovery programme by providing results that will tell what would happen if you were to make a drug for a specific target for a specific disease. With such results in hand, scientists will have conclusive evidence to decide whether or not to pursue the development of drug candidates for a target-disease context.
“I am delighted to have won Converge’s KickStart Challenge. This success is a huge milestone and validates the importance of our technology. I want to surround myself with people that want to be part of this journey and Converge has helped facilitate that."
Ryan receiving his award at Converge 2023
AllSteady builds on work previously done by Ryan as part of his computing studies at the University. Developed from his interest in creating videos with first person view drones, the video stabilisation software platform allows users to remove shakiness and distortions from their videos during editing.
"Given the strong competition from the other businesses in Kickstart, I was surprised that I had managed to secure an award,” said Ryan. “I'm incredibly proud that the effort required to go through Converge has paid off.
“The funding will help massively as we head towards launching our first software product and will allow us more flexibility in what we are able to do, particularly with regards to marketing and IP protection at these early stages.
“In the coming weeks we hope to have our software in the hands of potential customers for testing and feedback and then look to release it by the end of this year.”
This year’s Converge success further underlines Dundee’s standing as the best university in the UK for supporting spinout business, as highlighted in Octopus Ventures’ Gateways to Growth: The Entrepreneurial Impact Report, for 2023.
Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo, executive director at Converge, said, “Scotland’s universities are truly world-class and this is evident in the achievements and ambition demonstrated by the talented pioneers we’ve recognised at this year’s awards. These founders represent the magic that Scotland needs to realise its ambitions and fulfil its potential as one of the world’s greatest nations of innovators.
“Supporting young companies that are focused on creating positive impact and long-term societal change is imperative for everyone working in the innovation ecosystem as these companies hold the future of our economy and society in their hands.”
*Images credit - Lloyd Smith
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