These examples are from the pilot version of Sirius run in 2014 for 12 months by the then named UKTI, now known as the Department for International Trade (DIT). The summaries give you an indication of the type of business ideas supported and the origins of the entrepreneurs as well as highlighting some of the benefits of being part of the Sirius Programme.
Braci - www.braci.co
Sector: ICT, Region of Origin: Middle East
Braci is a sound recognition platform that functions through recognising and analysing sounds from the environment and converting these into visual and sensory notifications and alerts. This idea is designed to improve the lives of hearing impaired people as the mobile application detects everyday sounds such as the doorbell, baby crying or car horn and converts them into vibrations, notifications and flashing lights. The 4 team members came from very different backgrounds and were located in Wolverhampton. Product Manager, Juma El-Awaisi said “since joining Sirius and relocating to Wolverhampton we have been able to access a wealth of opportunities to make connections and raise our profile. Sirius is different to other programmes we looked into. The money we get each month allows us to spend our time exclusively on progressing Braci.”
Motion Metrics - www.lines.io
Sector: Sports technology, Region of Origin: India, UK
Set up by a duo of post-graduate engineering and business students, Motion Metrics designed an in-boot movement sensor that feeds into an app which helpsskiers and snowboarders to monitor their movements and improve their technique. The sensors provide feedback that the skier can review later. They can also provide real-time feedback through heads-up displays like Google Glass.
Metix Ltd - www.metixmedical.co.uk
Sector: Medical Technology, Country of Origin: Mexico
Mentoring and funding helped start-up Metix design a cost-effective vital signs monitor for use in developing countries. On why they were accepted on to the Programme, founder Julio Enrqiue Guerrero said “I think we stood out from other applicants because we had more than just a good idea. We were well on the way to developing a prototype and had registered as a company. We knew that we would be able to sell our device for less than half the price of the models currently on the market. This, along with the monitor’s functionality, makes it especially attractive to institutions providing medical care in the developing world, at the sites of disasters and other extreme settings.”
Sector: Life Sciences and Medical Technology, Country of Origin: Afghanistan, Iran
Medical physicist, Shakardokht Jafari, from Afghanistan and her partner, Iranian Shabnam Jamshidi set up TrueInvivo in November 2014. Since July 2012, while studying for her PhD at the University of Surrey, Shakardokht had been working on developing a medical device for quality assurance of radiation treatment received by cancer patients. The product is a non-invasive implant, like a nasal or urinary catheter, which penetrates a patient’s skin, allowing for more effective analysis of how a tumour is targeted and how to avoid damaging healthy cells during treatment. On why they chose to be based in the UK, co-founder Shakardokht Jafari said “when you develop precision, quality-controlled tools like ours in the UK, people around the world trust in your work and believe the products will be effective. We really appreciate the support that Sirius offers us – there is nothing like it in my home country. We have access to advice, facilities and investment opportunities that we simply wouldn’t have otherwise. In time, we will also use the UK as a base from which to target other markets, like the Middle East, India and China. We are confident that the Sirius Programme will help us achieve our objectives.”
Wibbu - www.wibbu.com/en
Sector: IT for language learning, Country of Origin: Spain
The Sirius Programme supported Wibbu to realise the potential of its language learning app, creating a sustainable, viable and scalable commercial business. Thanks to the mentoring support delivered through Ignite Accelerator Programme, the start-up has made progress quickly. As of Dec 2014 Wibbu had already had over 100,000 customer downloads, becoming Number 1 in the Apple App Store Education Category in 17 countries. Wibbu secured £300,000 of investment and is in talks to roll the technology out at 5 schools in Madrid, reaching 625,000 people across Valencia. About joining the Sirius Programme, Benjamin Romero Chief Communications Officer and Head of Sales said “the Sirius funding has been critical – without it we would have had to use savings or work on the side to fund Wibbu, until we secured any investment.”