University businesses in the running for Converge 2023
Published on 29 September 2023
Some of the University of Dundee’s brightest business minds have been named as finalists in this year’s Converge competition, Scotland’s top enterprise awards
Three projects from the University have made the final of Converge’s Kickstart category for early-stage business ideas. They are competing for this year’s prize package of £320k, spread across four categories.
The winners and runners-up will be named at the Converge awards ceremony in Glasgow on Wednesday 4 October.
The Dundee individuals to make the finals are Ricardo Moreno Ballesteros with GenProtex, Keith Wilcox with Rescue Winch, and Ryan Anderson with AllSteady.
All of three Dundee finalists have found previous success in the University’s Venture competition, Scotland’s largest university funding competition for new business ideas.
GenProtex, by PhD student Ricardo, is developing technology to aid drug discovery. The idea is to build a platform that will help prove if generating a drug for a specific protein would benefit treating a disease.
Drug development is a very risky adventure with a staggering 90% failure rate. Ricardo said that GenProtex has the potential to de-risk that journey.
Ricardo said, “Our tech can perform reliable target validation, and with our approach, we will 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 this target for this 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.
“Life Sciences at Dundee has shown very successful ventures and I want to pave the way for the next generation of scientific entrepreneurs. I am very proud to be among the three Dundee finalists.”
Rescue Winch was set up by Keith Wilcox after he was involved in an incident on a river where current water rescue methods were unable to assist the group he was with. The concept of a lightweight winch, compatible with current safety and rescue equipment, was born from this.
Keith, a lecturer within the University’s School of Science and Engineering, said that Rescue Winch will revolutionise water rescues and save lives.
Keith said, “Rescue Winch are working to revolutionise safety and rescue equipment, techniques and knowledge used in paddle sport rescues in rivers to save lives and reduce risks to rescuers. Currently 50 people die a year in the USA, pinned against a hazard in a river, where rescuers have been unable to free them. Our winch will increase the likelihood of successful rescue.
“I'm really excited to make the Converge Kickstart final. I describe myself as a change maker rather than entrepreneur, and competitions like Converge, and the support of the Scottish start-up ecosystem, are crucial in our journey to fulfilling this description.”
AllSteady, by computing graduate Ryan, is a subscription-based software platform for video stabilisation. It allows users to remove shakiness and distortions from their videos during the editing phase of video production.
He explained how he initially started creating the software as a hobby.
Ryan said, “The idea for AllSteady came from my interest in creating videos with first person view (FPV) drones which have been growing in popularity as tools for video capture over the last 5-10 years, but oftentimes produce shaky video. I started developing it in 2020 as a hobby project before approaching some lecturers about further developing it as my final year honours project.
“This is my second year going through the process with Converge Kickstart, and I'm over the moon to get through to the finals this year. Through the various training sessions with Converge, I have spoken to a lot of the other people who entered, and there are a lot of very impressive business ideas in the competition. Initially I wasn't sure if AllSteady would make the cut, but I couldn't be happier that it has.”
*Image credit - Lloyd Smith
Press Office, University of Dundeepress@dundee.ac.uk