Tech stars impress at East of England Investment Catalyst grand final

The Investment Catalyst finalists, from left, Mark Hammond of PBD Biotech, Thyngs' Neil Garner, David Brooks of Ablatus, Sarah Mintey from Developing Experts and Kam Pooni, Glyconics

Top tech businesses from East Anglia secured new investment and made valuable connections at the final of the East of England Investment Catalyst.

Held at Barclays’ impressive Rise London venue in Shoreditch, the final saw five members of the 2019 Investment Catalyst cohort – Ablatus Therapeutics, Developing Experts, Glyconics, PBD Biotech and Thyngs – pitch to an audience of investors and members of the Tech Community.

The Investment Catalyst saw selected high-growth businesses from the region put through a short, intensive programme to hone their business propositions, before a panel of expert judges selected their top five. The other members of the cohort – 8Power, Aitrak, Duco, Herdsy and SupaPass – were also invited to the final to take part in a special East of England tech showcase.

Barclays Matthew Peak got proceedings underway with a keynote speech highlighting the strong tech economy in East Anglia, before the pitches themselves.

New investment secured

Neil Garner is CEO of Thyngs, which uses NFC technology to turn everyday items into points of transaction.

He said: “We were delighted to get to the final of the East of England Investment Catalyst alongside some fantastic local businesses with world leading products.

“We loved to the opportunity to pitch to different audiences and get tailored advice on how to make our offer even more compelling. Thanks this programme we’ve already had two new investors invest in our business, with new contacts that could do the same in future. Here’s to more success and recognition for the great businesses in the region.”

Kam Pooni, CEO of Glyconics

Glyconics, which has a team based in Norwich and Cambridge, is developing a novel diagnostic device which can be used for early diagnosis detect a variety of conditions. It is initially targeting diabetes and COPD, and believes it will be able to predict chronic lung attacks caused by COPD before they happen.

CEO Kam Pooni said: “If you want a program that will ‘stress test’ and refine your investment value proposition then this is spot on.  I found the camaraderie and support during program from fellow cohort companies and speakers welcome and valuable. Highly recommended!”

Another of those pitching was Mark Hammond, CEO of PBD Biotech, developer of a new test for TB which it believes can detect signs of the disease quickly and effectively.

Mark Hammond of PBD Biotech

He said: “The East of England Investment Catalyst offered a fantastic opportunity to gain expert advice, input and build connections with business leaders and the region’s most innovative entrepreneurs as we continue to roll-out our rapid Actiphage blood test for TB into new markets.

“Exposure to a wide selection of potential investors was extremely valuable, especially during this period of active fundraising for PBD Biotech, and we’re looking forward to continuing to build on our community of individuals and organisations with a commitment to improving  diagnostic performance for human TB, bovine TB and Johne’s disease.”

A diverse range of tech talent

Developing Experts' Sarah Mintey delivers her pitch

The East of England Investment Catalyst was organised by the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor, Anglia Capital Group, Barclays, Invest East, New Anglia LEP and Price Bailey.

Linn Clabburn, programme director of the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor, said: “Congratulations to all the companies that took part in the East of England Investment Catalyst. It’s been great to work with the entrepreneurs and see them develop their pitches with the support of our experts.

“At the Tech Corridor we are committed to helping the region’s ambitious tech businesses achieve their full potential, and the Grand Final pitches and showcase gave our audience of investors a glimpse of the diverse range of game-changing businesses in East Anglia.

“We hope the experience of the Investment Catalyst programme will help our cohort secure the investment they need to reach the next level, and will be following their progress closely.”

The East of England Investment Catalyst will be returning in 2020. If your company is interested in applying, get in touch, or sign up for our newsletter to receive regular updates on all the Tech Corrior programmes.