Venture Builder Incubator programme unveils 24 new cohort companies

Barclays Eagle Labs has formed a new partnership with the University of Edinburgh’s Venture Builder Incubator (VBI), a programme tailored to help PhD students develop and commercialise academic research.

The news comes as 24 new cohort companies – all operating in sectors addressing key societal challenges including green technology, animal welfare, and agri-tech – have been announced for this year’s VBI. The intake includes 10 innovative health-related start ups, the majority of which are focused on combating cancer and will be supported through an existing partnership with Cancer Research Horizons.

The new association with Barclays Eagle Labs will offer further mentoring to the University-supported entrepreneurs as well as access to its Eagle Labs premises situated across the UK. Adding further value to the programme’s partnership with Cancer Research Horizons,  Barclays Eagle Labs will support founders behind oncology-related start ups and other health-related cohort companies, providing content and support via its network of more than 600 healthtech start ups, and also offer access to other specialst areas outside health as required.


Among the health-focused ventures involved in this year’s VBI is Less Grey, a triaging technology tool that will help prostate cancer patients; and Naela Technologies, developers of an improved form of vibrational spectroscope which enhances cancer detection. Also participating in the programme is PallorMetrics, creators of new technology which can automatically measure pallor in routine retinal photographs, aiding disease detection, monitoring and progression.

Other start ups involved in this year’s programme include sustainability business Carbon Glance, which helps companies to control their exposure to carbon pricing and comply with climate-related disclosure obligations; DeepQA, developers of software testing hyperautomation which helps companies scale; and Eweper, a platform designed to aid farmers in recording sheep DNA information.

The full list of all this year’s 24 cohort companies can be found here

The VBI is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Data Driven Entreprenurship Programme and is growing significantly as PhD research is recognised as key to building quality start up business pipelines.

The start ups in this year’s cohort were chosen after an application process which includes PhD students, early career researchers and academics from the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University, which is a fellow partner to the VBI. All the oncology-based start ups were selected from across UK with input from Cancer Research Horizons. For this cohort, VBI provides access to the University’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, its innovations-focused peer group, and its data expertise.

The VBI is supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service, and delivered by the Bayes Centre on behalf of the University’s five Data-Driven Innovation Hubs. The Incubator forms part of the ambitious Data-Driven Entrepreneurship Beacon Programme at the University of Edinburgh to support post-COVID recovery and position Edinburgh as the data capital of Europe.

Charlotte Waugh, Enterprise and Innovation Programme Lead at Edinburgh Innovations, said: “We are delighted to announce the new relationship between our Venture Builder Incubator and Barclays Eagle Labs. This will bring additional value to all of this year’s 24 participant companies and will build on our existing partnership with Cancer Research Horizons in supporting oncology-oriented ventures.

“With the support of our partners, we look forward to supporting a range of innovative start up ventures which aim to address key societal issues around health and wellbeing, food production, financial accessibility, and the environment.”

Helen Tate, HealthTech Lead at Barclays Eagle Labs said: “We are proud to become part of the University of Edinburgh’s Venture Builder Incubator. We look forward to offering support to all the businesses participating in this year’s programme through our business growth programmes, investor connectivity, mentoring and access to our UK-wide network of Barclays Eagle Labs.

“As an organisation nurturing a community of innovative HealthTech businesses, we also look forward to working with the University and Cancer Research Horizons to provide additional support for the health-focused entrepreneurs involved in the VBI programme.”