Prize winning tech start-ups: satellites, solar & no socks

Virgin Media Business last night revealed the winners of their ‘Three New Things’ competition, as their hunt for tech that could change the way we live for good came to an end...

The winners, listed below, were announced at an exclusive event at the British Film Museum last night. The triumphant trio will now get the chance to meet with Richard Branson to discuss their ambitions and benefit from a programme of mentoring, support and free business telecoms from Virgin Media Business.

The people’s favourite was chosen by last night’s audience, with custom footwear company Three Over Seven receiving the most votes. The entries had been judged earlier this month by a panel including technology commentator Monty Munford; Dr Ling Ge, an expert in quantum computing and nanotechnology; Ella Weston, who heads up WPP’s Stream series of digital events; and Emily Memarzia, a digital consultant for the IC tomorrow programme run by the Government's Technology Strategy Board, who commented on the competition:

“The great thing about this competition is that it allows fantastic ideas to shine, whatever stage of development they are at.  It’s so important that budding entrepreneurs are given every opportunity to grow be that by shining a light on their ideas, providing mentoring and support, as well as formal investment. Three New Things provides exactly that: a platform for celebrating brilliant ideas.”

Meanwhile Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business, was also quick to praise the strength of the entries. “When cutting edge technology meets imagination, the results can be spectacular. Reading these entries has been an inspiring process and has unearthed some genuine game-changers with the power to change lives around the world.

“As the UK gears up for growth again, this is exactly the kind of creativity and entrepreneurialism that we need to nurture in this country – from Government schemes to community networks: we all have a part to play in supporting UK innovation. We can’t wait to get started with the winning teams and help them to shape our future. Who knows where our winners will be in five years’ time - we could be looking at the next WhatsApp.”

Check out the winning start-ups below and let us know your thoughts on how useful you'd think they'd be...

Buffalo Grid - supercharging the growth of developing nations

Buffalo Grid is giving large solar-powered charging units for mobile phones away for free to African entrepreneurs who live in off-grid areas. This enables them to charge the phones of their customers (of which there are a total of 750 million) who can’t do so at home - making connectivity available to whole new swathes of rural emerging markets. This capital-free business model could also be replicated with other must-have items. 

3D Cube Sat - Changing the economics of space

CubeSat structures are the casings for tiny satellites. And currently sell for $2,500. But our entrant has created a new space-resistant material that reduces the cost by 75%. And - because they can be 3D-printed inside another structure already in space - launch costs are also massively lower – making space exploration affordable for the first time.

Three Over Seven - custom footwear from your phone to your door in 24 hours

By using your mobile phone to scan your feet, and making the most of 3D printing, this technology will craft a pair of shoes that are an exact fit for your unique feet. And a day after you’ve ordered, you’ll receive your custom-fit shoes. This type of manufacturing has been envisaged for a couple of years. But this is the first time such a complex, custom object will be available to everyone.

To find out more about how your business can recieve a boost, head over to the Virgin Media Business website.


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