University of Edinburgh celebrates entrepreneurial success as Converge Challenge 2018 finalists announced

Published: 6 September 2018

The finalists have been revealed for the 2018 Converge Challenge, Scotland’s premier company creation programme. The University of Edinburgh has secured finalists across all three Converge Challenge categories.

Securing just over 20% of the coveted finalists spots, the University has placed two Converge category finalists, one in Kickstart and two in the social enterprise category. 

006Converge Challenge Finalists

The Converge category finalists are Dr Jan Mumme with Carbogenics and Dr Kate Cameron with Cytochroma. 

Carbogenics produces a carbon-based additive CreChar, to increase biogas yields by 15% from Anaerobic Digestion. CreChar is made from difficult-to-recycle paper waste like disposable coffee cups, tetra packs, and paper sludge, using a low carbon technology to generate value from waste and reduce carbon emissions.

Dr Kate Cameron’s company, Cytochroma, will greatly enhance toxicity testing through state of the art, automated technology and pioneering science, to generate stem cell derived liver cells. These can model human physiology to accurately identify liver-based toxicity.

The KickStart finalist is Lorenzo Conti with Crover Ltd, an early stage agri-business and the first robotic device able to move within stored grains and measure conditions thus enabling grain owners to minimise losses.

In the Social Enterprise category there are three finalists:

  • Anton Puzorjov has founded One Cherry, an online marketplace for second-hand shops.
  • Alison Woods’s social enterprise Lilypads strives to end period poverty and stigma by providing affordable reusable sanitary pads and education to communities in Kenya.
  • Pranav Shakti & Pooja Jain have launched CogniHealth, as a way to transform the way both family and professional carers look after people with dementia by enabling personalised care.

Emerging technologies and much needed industry innovations are showcased by the twenty-three entrepreneurs that have been shortlisted. Ranging from early stage projects to established start-up and spin-out businesses, the finalists will head to Edinburgh later this month to take part in the awards ceremony of the 2018 Converge Challenge programme.

Renowned venture capitalist and serial investor, Paul Atkinson, founder of Par Equity and a member of the Converge Challenge Strategic Advisory Board, believes that high calibre of entries this year is a direct result of Scotland’s Higher Education Institutions’ continued support of innovative projects and ideas. 

“Converge Challenge is a transformative programme which combines business support, training and mentoring as a complete package to support the business creation process. This sets Converge Challenge apart as Scotland’s most prestigious company creation programme for our academic community. It continuous to nurture disruptive innovative companies generating a much needed pipeline of high quality investable propositions.”

Paul Atkinson, founder of Par Equity and a member of the Converge Challenge Strategic Advisory Board

 There are 23 finalists across the three categories which sit under the Converge Challenge. Seven finalists in the Converge category aimed at businesses ready to incorporate, ten in the KickStart Programme for early stage ideas and six in the Social Enterprise category aimed towards businesses creating positive impact on social and environmental issues.

Dr. Olga Kozlova, director of Converge Challenge, expressed her gratitude to every Higher Education Institution in Scotland for continuing to encourage participation in Converge Challenge.

“Scottish Universities are strongly committed to contributing to the Scottish Government’s economic strategy. For the university-based entrepreneurs their entrepreneurial journey starts with Converge Challenge – crystallising the business idea and making them part of the highly supportive ecosystem. We are delighted with such a strong cohort of projects and look forward to working with them in the months to come.”

The Converge Challenge 2018 winners will be announced at a gala dinner and ceremony on Thursday 20th September at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh where a total prize pot of £160,000 and in-kind business support await the winners and runners up. 

Full list of finalists 

Converge Challenge:

  • Carbogenics – Jan Mumme - University of Edinburgh
  • Cytochroma – Kate Cameron – University of Edinburgh
  • Kenoteq – Samuel Chapman – Heriot Watt University
  • mycoBiologics – Fiona Rudkin – University of Aberdeen
  • MycoNourish – Peter Orrell – James Hutton Institute – Dundee
  • Teqnox – Carmen Cummiskey – University of Strathclyde
  • Platinum Informatics – Angus Lamond – University of Dundee


  • Silver Lion Innovations Ltd - Ruth McLaren - University of Strathclyde
  • HiRes Solutions - Vassiliki Voulgaridou/Vassilis Sboros - Heriot-Watt University
  • Vector Photonics - Richard Taylor - University of Glasgow
  • ThermoDrone - Simone Mattsson - Heriot-Watt University
  • AquaOmics - Dr Mary Doherty University of Highlands & Islands
  • Immernova - Atanas Chilingirov - University of Dundee
  • Crover Ltd - Lorenzo Conti - University of Edinburgh
  • SiMologics - Mohammed Al Qaraghuli - University of Strathclyde
  • Infinect - Dr. Carolina Mateo-Segura - Heriot-Watt University
  • Seawater Solutions - Yanik Nyberg - University of Strathclyde.

Social Enterprise:

  • One Cherry - Anton Puzorjov - University of Edinburgh
  • Lilypads - Alison Wood - University of Edinburgh
  • - Dr Pam Ramsay - Edinburgh Napier University
  • Youcan Recycling - Thomas Bayne - Abertay University
  • CogniHealth - Pranav Shakti - University of Edinburgh
  • Health Design Collective - Dr Kavi C Jagadamma - Queen Margaret University


Source: Converge Challenge



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