Ashleigh Ward






Plus X Brighton

We’ve only just finished the first quarter of the year and already have plenty to shout about with all of the incredible things that the current BRITE cohorts and programme alumni have achieved.  

From award wins, securing grant funding, and even appearing on prime-time TV, we love reflecting on the successes of the pioneering businesses of BRITE. 

In no particular order, we’ve put together some of the highlights of some of the incredible accomplishments of our BRITE community – read on to see what these BRITE businesses have been up to! 

Motivated by the stories below? Follow in their footsteps by joining one of BRITE’s support programmes. Applications are currently open for:  

  • INSPIRE: A unique, five-month one-to-one coaching programme: learn about open innovation, develop a bespoke innovation readiness review and action plan, and forge the right partnerships for growth. 

  • PRODUCT FOUNDRY: A seven-week programme to support you in the development of physical products through hands-on prototyping. 

  • ACCESS TO EXPERTISE: Fully-funded academic expertise and support from the University of Brighton to solve a specific challenge within your business.

    Apply today or visit the BRITE website to find out more!  

VOTCH – Dragon’s Den Appearance  

VOTCH, a cruelty-free watch and accessories company based, has gone from success to success since launching in 2016. And in March, Founder Laura Way, appeared on our TV screens in front of some of the hardest investors out there on Dragon’s Den.  

The Dragons were impressed by the watches’ design, as well as VOTCH’s classy packaging and beautiful branding, and we were all touched to learn more about how Laura’s journey with Topical Steroid Withdrawal led to her founding the company.  

Votch on Dragons Den

Laura and the VOTCH team are familiar faces at Plus X Brighton, and joined BRITE in 2021, benefitting from 1:1 support from the BRITE team and partners. We’re so proud to have such a forward-thinking (and fashionable!) company in our four walls. 

While the dragons didn’t take a bite of this vegan cow, we’re sure that the rest of the country getting to see their innovative creations will only bring them further success. Well done Laura for an inspirational pitch! Catch up on iPlayer. 

Naurt – Tech Nation Rising Star Award Winners 

Naurt is reimagining what is possible with location technology with optimisation software that improves accuracy and precision for location tracking. This plug-and-play software toolkit works both indoors and outdoors, and is used by well-known brands including Tui and Sofology.  

The growing Naurt team, including Jack Maddalena and his co-founder and CTO Nicolas Slack, has called Plus X Brighton home since launching in 2020. Naurt has attracted a lot of well-deserved media coverage and attention for its innovative solutions – but its recent win might be the most exciting yet!  

Naurt - Tech Nation award winners

In March, Naurt won the 2022 Tech Nation Rising Star award. This esteemed competition showcases top technology talent in the UK, with Naurt being very worthy winners! Watch the winning pitch from Jack to learn more about what makes Naurt so special.  

Naurt award

Jack said: “This competition aims to showcase and uplift start-ups from across the country that have technology to make huge differences in the world – so we’re naturally thrilled to be recognised in this way. Brighton has a great ecosystem of support, from Elizabeth at Tech Nation to Plus X and the BRITE project, which has been instrumental in helping us get here and win this award. The BRITE project has helped us scale quickly and establish Naurt as an integral part of all smart cities of the future.” 

Make Real – Learning Tech Award Winners

Make Real is an immersive technologies content developer that creates immersive learning experiences through VR, AR, and other technologies.  

While undertaking a BRITE programme, Make Real developed a new software, SkillShield. Developed in partnership with Keltbray xR, this virtual reality training application support tool allows video to be captured of the learner while using the immersive learning experience. This means that training can be recorded, so that there is a record of competency. 

Learning Technologies Award

This year, Make Real and Keltbray xR were the bronze award winners of the Learning Technologies Award at The Learning Awards for SkillShield. The application was also nominated as a finalist at the 2021 Learning Technologies Awards – Most Innovative New Learning Product award, and as 2021 AIXR VR Awards’ Best Enterprise XR Solution. 

Well done Make Real! 

PeakBBC Good Food Coverage

Peak Pink Grapefruit Mint screenshot

Best friends Louis and Ben created Peak to fill a gap in the functional drinks market. Drinks with caffeine and alcohol can have short-term effects on mood and behaviour, but after-effects can take a toll. Peak, on the other hand, uses mood-enhancing ingredients that put you in a peak state of mind.  

At the beginning of 2022 Peak appeared on BBC Good Food’s list of ‘The best non-alcoholic spirits and premixed drinks’. Reviewer Henry Jeffreys said:  

“These lightly carbonated drinks were certainly invigorating on the palate and one of the best pre-mixed cocktail alternatives we’ve tried. The pink grapefruit and mint was our favourite flavour, with a pleasing balance of subtly sweet and sour elements and refreshing aftertaste.” 

InspoHub – Launched Aston Martin’s New DBX 707 

Tess Daly at the Aston Martin launch

Marketing specialists InspoHub produced the live broadcast for Aston Martin’s launch of their new DBX 707. This high-profile event for a global brand brought a lot of pressure, and the InspoHub team did an amazing job!  

Producer, Ben Lake, said: “To wrap up the production of this magnitude knowing we’ve done right by our standards and that has impressed a global brand like Aston Martin, now THAT is a special feeling.” 

Watch the live broadcast over on Facebook, or watch InspoHub’s behind-the-scenes-look below. 

BeoBia – Winner at the Young Innovators Awards

BeoBia is the future of pet food. Created by Thomas Constant, BeoBia manufacture growing pods that allow people to turn their food waste into pet food and fertiliser. This continuous supply of affordable pet feed is both nutritious and sustainable – with ambitious plans to remove 125,000,000 kilograms of CO2 by 2026. 

BeoBia's Thomas Constant in the Plus X Brighton workshop

BRITE alumni Thomas recently won the Young Innovators award. Receiving more than 1,300 applications, Thomas was named one of 63 winners – alongside a few other innovators from the wider Plus X community including CRL Accelerator alumni members Liam Murphy from Stix Mindfulness and Joanna Power of Lylo Products, and Emmanuel Oyemade, creator of Modomise and member of the Plus X Brighton team! 

The award supports winners for 12 months, with individuals benefiting from a £5,000 grant, one-to-one coaching, and an allowance to cover living costs. 

And BeoBia’s success doesn’t end there. Thomas was also recently named on TechRound’s 29 Under 29 list, and made it onto the wall of fame for FoodTech 500.  

Hatsumi – AR House Residency

Hatsumi is a virtual reality experience, exploring how the arts, our brains, and bodies collide. Their tools help us better understand ourselves and each other, and make the indescribable tangible.  

Sarah Ticho from Hatsumi using VR

Hatsumi has just completed an exciting 3-month stint in the US completing a residency at AR House in Los Angeles to work on a project exploring death, grief, and memory through song.

While in the US, Founder Sarah Ticho also gave a keynote at the Augmented World Expo conference. She was also recently placed on the Women in the Metaverse awards list.  

Watch this space as Hatsumi conquers the US!

Gamely – Partnership with Moose Toys 

Soundiculous by Gamely

Gamely’s mission is to get people to connect outside of screens, to connect people of all ages through laughter and quality time. Their games aren’t only incredibly fun, but also good for the environment, with plastic free games and ten trees planted for every game sold!  

These small, fast, and funny games have been picked up by Moose Toys who will be selling their best-selling game – Soundiculous. This means that more people around the world will soon be able to enjoy the giggles and challenge of making ridiculous sounds together. The US version of Soundiculous will be launching this year. 

Wildling Water Kefir – Great Taste Award 

Wildling water kefir

Wildling founder Roisin Meredith is on a mission to find gut health. While on maternity leave with her second child, Roisin was frustrated by conventional medicine, and began to look deeply into the world of science-based alternative medicine.  

Through her research, Roisin discovered natural ways to support health through fermented food and drinks until she refined the recipe to create Wildling Water Kefir.  

The drinks are vegan, low-sugar, and free of caffeine, dairy, and gluten. This alternative to kombucha makes a great prosecco or tonic alternative, and is available in 4 delicious flavours: lime and mint, rhubarb and ginger, elderflower, and activated charcoal and lemon. 

Wildling Water Kefir was recently awarded a Great Taste Award – an incredible achievement! Wildling was also named one of Brighton On The Inside’s most loved women-led businesses. 

Connected Brighton – The Argus Profile

Connected Brighton is a specialist networking group that focuses on creating connections for local businesses and individuals. Led by Lyndsey Clay, Connected Brighton was recently profiled in The Argus to celebrate an incredibly successful first year.  

After being created during the pandemic, Connected Brighton now has more than 50 members, and holds regular events with a range of varied activities, including food tastings, kayaking, singles nights, foraging, and petanque!  


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A post shared by Lyndsey (@connectedbrighton)

Lyndsey told The Argus, “I’m so proud of what we have achieved, it’s gone in some different directions that I didn’t expect. I wasn’t sure if we would go down the membership route. 

“I think we have become a trusted voice in the city, our brand is about championing the city and championing local businesses.” 

Happy first birthday Connected Brighton!  

 Are you a business in the Plus X community that would love to share your successes? Post your story in the #smuglife Plus X Slack channel, or get in touch with our Content Manager Rosie – we love to hear what our members and alumni are up to!  

Plus X Innovation Hubs and the University of Brighton have teamed up to deliver a unique range of support so whatever your innovation challenge we can help you succeed. BRITE members occupy space at Plus X Brighton, which has seven floors of flexible work space, collaborative meeting rooms, specialist innovation workshops for prototyping and state of the art media suites. The BRITE project is receiving up to £5m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. 

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