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New Business Development Managers at Warwick Ventures

We are very happy to welcome two new Business Development Managers to the team, Dr. Viraj Perara and Kevin Marks.

Dr Viraj Perera is a biotechnologist with a B.Sc. (Microbiology), a Graduate Diploma (Applied Microbiology & Biotechnology) and a PhD (Molecular Microbiology & Biotechnology). Following a short contract as a postdoctoral researcher at RMIT University, he co-founded a biotechnology start-up to develop molecular diagnostic tools for path labs for the rapid detection of bacterial pathogens. He managed the company as the CEO and is thus experienced in raising capital from private investors and government agencies, IP management, business planning, R&D project management and start-up management. He’s also the co-inventor of a patent -‘Method for the detection and/or identification of a micro-organism’- which has been patented in multiple jurisdictions.

Kevin Marks received his BSc in Engineering Science from Warwick before joining Lucas as a Graduate Apprentice. He then moved to the Wolfson Research Laboratories at the Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre, Birmingham to design and develop blood analysers, and became a Chartered Engineer and member of the IEE. After 7 years he progressed to the University of Birmingham as a Lecturer in Electrical and Electronic Engineering having research interests in sensing systems and Automotive Electronics. At this point he gained his MPhil in short range identification systems. He was then asked to set up an Automotive Electronics development department at T&N Plc’s central research facility in Rugby which migrated into a team developing control systems for novel production processes and machine tools. After specialising in Aluminium gravity foundries, Kevin became a chartered foundryman and led the Group’s development programme across 160 manufacturing sites throughout Europe, US and South Africa. Kevin then became Manufacturing Director of Lec Refrigeration plc. Despite building a new factory and introducing a new product range, Kevin was finally forced to outsource production to China. During this period Kevin successfully completed a Warwick distance-learning MBA and became a fellow of the RSA. Kevin left Lec to join the MBO of the commercial refrigeration trading company Caravell (UK) Ltd. By the middle of 2008 the company was sufficiently viable to be sold to the Austrian trans-national AHT. Also see:

Design Council: "Innovation for Universities"

The Design Council is launching a mentoring and training service in May 2009 to help technology transfer teams use design to commercialise new technologies. Based on a proven Design Council support service for hi-tech start-ups, it’s now being tailored to the needs of universities. The service is funded by DIUS and HEFCE

The Design Council has developed it from the Innovate service for hi-tech start-ups that is part of its national Designing Demand business programme. A new version for universities has been tested and refined through work with technology transfer teams at the University of Oxford and University College London.

The UK now has a strong record in commercialising technology but other countries are raising their game too. So the government’s 2007 Sainsbury Review looked for ways to ensure the UK remains a front-runner in exploiting its science base. A key recommendation was to give technology transfer teams access to strategic design advice, and now government has asked the Design Council for a service to provide it. Innovate for Universities is the result.

"Designers can make a unique and valuable contribution to technology start-ups through skills like creative problem solving, visualisations and knowledge of user needs and the product development process"
David Maddison, Maddison Design.

Proof of Concept Fund - Warwick Winners

Advantage Proof of Concept Recognising the need to support innovation from its earliest stages, Advantage West Midlands created the Advantage Proof of Concept Grant Fund to provide pre-commercialisation capital for technical and commercial proof of concept. The Fund supplies grants, typically between £15k and £30k to support the third party costs associated with commercialising new products and processes. The Fund became active on the 10th October 2008 based out of the University of Warwick Science Park and is expected to award grants until 31st March 2010 on a rolling basis. It is managed by UWSP Concepts Limited on behalf of Advantage West Midlands. The Fund is also delivered through four satellite offices based at UWSP/Connect Midlands, Malvern Hills Science Park, the University of Wolverhampton and Staffordshire BIC. The majority of interaction with applicants to the Fund will be handled by these satellite offices due to the volume of applicants that we must process and so that the Central Office can be demonstrably objective and fair in its scrutiny of applications.
Project £ grant
Novolytics Ltd 30,000
Origin Biomarkers Ltd 30,000
Sarissa Biomedical Ltd 30,000
Virabiotech Ltd 20,250
Vizeye Ltd 30,000
Warwick University Heat Exchangers 27,000
Warwick Effect Polymers Ltd 30,000
Warwick University Microelectrodes 22,500
Warwick University Organic Photovoltaics 15,000
Warwick Warp Ltd 30,000
TOTAL 264,750
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Mar 6th -> Apr 17: iFestival, Leicestershire

Spring 2009 will see the third region-wide innovation Festival (iFestival) take place across the East Midlands, between 6th March (the start of National Science and Engineering Week) and 17th April. The iFestival will feature an inspiring programme of events, designed to celebrate and nurture a culture of innovation in the region with activity targeted around young people, businesses, communities and research organisations supporting or involved within an innovation environment.

Jun 18: Springboard, Loughborough

The Connect Midlands Springboard is a half day showcase where the most exciting investment-ready technology enterprises will present to investors, high net-worth individuals and professionals who are experiences at brokering corporate finance deals.

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In this section we ask for your help in identifying potential partners or licensing opportunities for our spin-offs. Maybe you are interested in collaborating with one of our companies or perhaps you know somebody else who is?

Group-Up software

The unique software product, “GroupUp”, solves the complex problem of optimising the membership of syndicate groups. The software product has been trialled for five years at Warwick Business School with their MBA and MSc students.  

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    About Us
    Warwick Ventures is the technology transfer office at the University of Warwick. We exist to enhance the reputation of the University of Warwick, by demonstrating that the University makes good use of IP arising from publicly funded research, for the benefit of the academics, the University and the region and country as a whole; and to generate additional revenues from the exploitation of the research and expertise of the University, making a significant contribution to the finances of the University in the medium to long term.
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