Heriot-Watt University announces inaugural cohort for deeptech accelerator programme



ScrubMarine prototype DeepTech innovation

Heriot-Watt University has selected six startups and small businesses to join the first cohort of its DeepTech LaunchPad pilot programme, which connects entrepreneurs to the university's world-leading expertise and facilities in areas like robotics, AI, and advanced engineering.

The programme, supported by Barclays Eagle Labs through the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology's Digital Growth Grant, will provide organisations with access to tailored services, facilities and equipment within Heriot-Watt and the National Robotarium, the world-leading centre for robotics and artificial intelligence based at the University’s Edinburgh campus.

As part of the 6-month pilot, participants representing a diverse range of sectors including robotics, self-care, food services, marine technologies, and medical devices, will be able to utilise Heriot-Watt’s array of experts from across its three global campuses and the cross-discipline research outputs of four global research institutes - including iNetZ+, the emerging Global Research Institute for Net Zero transition and beyond.

These include Borobo Ltd, founded by industrial designer Alexandre Colle, which aims to advance a new robotics platform targeting enhanced power management and electronic board design. Also joining the cohort is ScrubMarine, founded by engineer Clyne Albertelli who is developing specialised robots to tackle biofouling in maritime vessels.

GI Healthcare Industries, led by entrepreneur and engineer Aswath Ganesan Indra, is revolutionising food services with semi-autonomous cooking robots for institutional catering. Infinity DPM is creating advanced upper limb prosthetics through expert engineering and biomechanics by founder and mechanical engineer David Yeudall.

Janki Group, led by architect Aisha Janki Akinola, is building an AI-powered tattoo robot system for the personal self-care industry, whilst Wynter Robotics is building mobile robotic solutions for construction industry applications such as measuring, bricklaying, and wood frame assembly.

The six successful companies will receive training and support from the university’s commercialisation team, helping them to become investment-ready with proven prototype products, industry partners and a viable route to market.

Jamie Allan, Deeptech Launchpad programme leader said:

“The DeepTech LaunchPad marks an incredibly exciting step in strengthening Scotland's innovation ecosystem and establishing Heriot-Watt as a global leader in commercialising deep technology research. As an international university with campuses and partnerships spanning the world, Heriot-Watt is uniquely positioned to help entrepreneurs translate their ideas into transformative and commercially viable solutions.

“Through this pilot programme, our six-strong cohort will gain access to world-leading facilities like the National Robotarium as well as our vast network of international industry connections, experts and alumni to accelerate their cutting-edge research toward commercial success on the global stage. By fostering this collaboration, we empower the translation of deep science into transformative solutions ready to make real-world impact.

“We eagerly anticipate the fruits of this hands-on commercialisation experience and look forward to continued engagement with these innovators as they bring remarkable technologies to market across critical sectors like medical devices, food technology, robotics, and sustainability.”

Grant Wheeler, Head of Commercialisation said:

"Having a deeptech accelerator is one of the missing pieces in Scotland's entrepreneurial ecosystem and will allow our nation to create companies that can compete on an international scale."

"By giving external entrepreneurs access to the same expertise and facilities as our internal teams, the DeepTech Launchpad levels the playing field and fertilises high-growth businesses with world-changing potential."

Applications for the next cohort open in mid-2024 following evaluation of the pilot. Heriot-Watt intends to scale up the programme and potentially expand to other Scottish universities if this first round proves successful.


Holly Sinclair