Cabume: Rising star Aqdot plans major growth following £1m funding round

Cabume: Rising star Aqdot

Cabume: Rising star Aqdot by Lautaro Vargas, 11 December 2013

A year old startup pushing a new encapsulation technology with the potential to disrupt a range of industries from farming to big pharma is gunning for early revenues through major partnerships following a £1 million seed fundraising round.

Aqdot Ltd spun out of Cambridge University’s Department of Chemistry at the end of 2012 to further a technology with the ability to enclose materials in capsules between 10 and 100 micrometres in diameter, while accurately controlling both the capsule structure and the core content.

Beyond being quicker than existing industry techniques, this ‘one-step’ process also allows for a far more controlled release of the microcapsule contents through a range of different stimuli, whether it’s drugs in the body or sealants in aircraft construction.

The company has generated a lot of interest including national broadsheet newspaper coverage and has won several business plan competitions from Cambridge University’s own CUE awards to a €20,000 European venture competition.

Having decided to build a company rather than just sell licenses, Aqdot now plans to use the money to ramp up development of the technology and grow new partnerships in its selected markets.

The appeal of the spin-out road for Aqdot lies in its belief that its technology is suitable for pretty much the entire micro encapsulation industry, a $40 billion opportunity that covers oil and gas, paper, textiles, pharma and medicine, adhesives, household and personal care, food and paints and coatings.

The company will need to have more focus early on, but says its Investors – who are Imperial Innovations, Cambridge Enterprise, Parkwalk Advisors, and Providence Investment Company – leave it well placed for rapid growth

Imperial Innovations’s Kelsey Lynn, who has joined the Aqdot board of directors, says there is already interest from a variety of large corporates and believes a company can emerge that can change the landscape of controlled release functionality in encapsulation.

She said: “Aqdot benefits from a wealth of research undertaken at one of the world’s leading chemistry departments,” adding, “We are excited to be involved with the company at this early stage in its development.”

Imperial Innovations is also supplying the company’s launch CEO in Dr John Hamlin, its own Entrepreneur-in-Residence who has 25 years of experience in senior business and technology positions in BP Chemicals. Aqdot has also recruited as chairman, Dr Peter Fields.

“We chose as funding partner Imperial Innovations because of their experience and insight in building high-growth companies based on academic research,” said Aqdot co-founder and CSO, Roger Coulston. “We look forward to creating early value with this disruptive and novel technology through a number of partnerships in different industry segments.”

More information on Cabume.