Six Heriot-Watt entrepreneurs announced as Converge 2021 semi-finalists



Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo, Director of Converge

Heriot-Watt University, renowned for its focus on creativity, innovation and enterprise, has six projects shortlisted in the Impact Challenge and Kickstart Challenge categories of the Converge 2021 programme.

Three of the featured entrepreneurs are recent winners of the University’s Innovation Challenge Competition, led by GRID’s Enterprise team, which aims to support our people to become ambitious, forward-thinking and resilient, to help launch new enterprises and to support ideas with the potential to make transformational change.

Representing the University, in the Impact Challenge category, is Evan Gwynne Davies, Founder of green-tech start-up Scrapp. Scrapp is a free-to-download mobile app that educates users on correct recycling decisions at the point of consumer disposal and incorporates a reward system that incentivises positive behavioural change.

In the Kickstart Challenge category is Hamid Rafiee with a tailor-made modelling application that fills the gap between modellers and experimentalists in the geochemical industry and aims to increase the quality of data to support researchers and engineers in academia, R&D departments, and industry. And Rosemary Bristow with business Phantassie Fibre Mill, which connects regenerative agriculture to sustainable fashion to produce natural fibre yarn which is grown, processed, and spun in the UK. 

A third project, Podspectrix, developed by Marija Vella, is a medical imaging device aided by machine learning. In the UK, diabetes affects 4.7 million people, of which 15% develop diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs). The device prevents the development and progression of DFUs through detection of pre-ulcer states invisible to the naked eye. It identifies at-risk patients earlier, allowing simple treatments that prevent progression to more serious pathology.

A further project ViSion-RF, is an electronic system, developed by Professor Dimitris Anagnostou; that can capture remotely a set of physiological vital signs of a user using low-power and low-cost radar-based technology supplemented by powerful machine-learning, all encompassed in a single device. This unique device will be a 24/7 live health monitor that can track continuously and unobtrusively.

Lastly, high-speed imaging is a powerful tool in capturing ultrafast transient phenomena in a variety of applications. Senior Lecturer Xu Wang has developed a novel high-speed imaging technology that enables ultra-high-speed imaging at a substantially lower cost and operation complexity in a compact instrument.

Commenting on this year’s cohort announcement Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo, Director of Converge, said:

“I’m always amazed at the inventiveness and creativity of the projects coming through Converge and, despite the difficult times we’re experiencing, this year is no exception.

Starting a business right now might seem counterintuitive. However, as the history books show, difficult business environments can offer rich opportunities with moments of crisis serving as a powerful impetus for innovation. We can’t wait to get started and would like to congratulate all our semi-finalists on getting through to this stage”

This year’s cohort will now attend intensive business training followed by a series of masterclasses from Converge’s network of professional advisors. Joining the Converge partner network this year is leading firm of accountants, Chiene + Tait who, under a three-year agreement led by partner Neil Norman from the firm’s Entrepreneurial Tax Team, will support both emerging and more established entrepreneurs on key tax and finance issues as well as wider business matters.

Further information on the Converge Challenge website.


Leanne Muldowney