Plus X Brighton
On Thursday 4th November, Plus X Brighton hosted the first ever BRITE Disruptors event to celebrate the inaugural cohort of businesses on the BRITE (Brighton Research Innovation Technology Exchange) project.
Local policy makers, researchers and leading members of the business community gathered at the Plus X innovation hub in Lewes Road, Moulsecoomb to meet some of Greater Brighton’s most inspirational entrepreneurs, hear their stories and try out interactive demonstrations of their products.
In partnership with the University of Brighton, the Plus X team launched BRITE in 2020 to help the region’s highest potential start-ups scale their operations. The fully-funded £10.5million project helps BRITE members grow their business, conduct research and development in partnership with university teams, forge collaborations, and enter new markets. The project is currently accepting applications for its next intake of businesses – check your eligibility and apply.
Speaking on the night Mat Hunter, Plus X Co-CEO, said: “BRITE is a collaboration of academia, business and communities. When we started this development we didn’t just aim to create a great building, but a fantastic community of entrepreneurs. We’re delighted to have partnered with the University of Brighton to provide the right support to scaling businesses, something that was missing in the existing ecosystem.”
Professor Debra Humphris, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton said: “The incredible £30 million redevelopment of Moulsecoomb, which includes investment from the University of Brighton and U+I, is an illustration of public and private investment coming together to lead innovation for the future. BRITE enables people with a smart idea to make it a reality and helps them realise their talent.”
Documentary: Meet the Innovators
We are excited to present a 10-minute documentary featuring 12 businesses that have benefitted from the BRITE project over the last year.
Each business discusses how the University of Brighton’s expertise and Plus X’s space and community in Brighton has helped them to grow and adapt.
Founders discuss important topics on why innovation is important and how finding the right community and business support is key to scaling a growing business.
Introducing the BRITE Cohort 2021
During the event, nine of the 64-strong BRITE cohort gave live demonstrations of their products in Plus X’s Launch Space, workshop, and meeting rooms. You can find out more about these inspirational businesses below.
3AI has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) tool to create democratic investment opportunities. At BRITE Disruptors, the team demonstrated its award-winning machine learning tool ALBA, which has outperformed the world’s top investor over the past 30 years on unseen data, and continues to improve over time.
Bare Cacao makes a naturally caffeine-free alternative to coffee packed full of essential minerals. Guests sampled freshly prepared hot drinks made from gently roasted cacao beans, and learnt about its cardiovascular benefits and the history of cacao in rituals.
Winner of the People’s Choice Award at the Barclays Entrepreneur Awards 2020, BeoBia uses insects to turn food waste into pet food.
Founder Tom Constant explained how its closed-loop food waste system is aided by eco-pods of live larvae, pupa and adult beetles. This allows fruit and vegetable scraps to become food for mealworms, which in turn become a sustainable and nutritious pet food. Tom demonstrated the simple manufacturing process using a 3D printer in Plus X Brighton’s state-of-the-art prototyping workshop.
Hatsumi builds healthcare virtual reality (VR) experiences to improve patient-doctor communication and develop better understanding of pain.
At the event, founder Sarah Ticho and her team showcased SoulPaint, a fun new VR game to build understanding of anxiety as a natural part of human experience. Guests got the chance to draw a physical manifestation of their feelings through an avatar body and express them in a private dance party.
Make Real is the creator of award-winning VR experiences for professional skills training. The team invited guests to try their immersive simulations, with a choice of operating a crane, or managing traffic on a building site through their Skills Shield VR experience.
MarinaTex’s award-winning home-compostable alternative to plastic film is made from fish scales and algae protein.
Founder Lucy Hughes talked attendees of BRITE Disruptors through the remarkable qualities of this material, which was developed during her final year studying Product Design at the nearby University of Sussex. Samples of its packaging applications such as sandwich cases and plastic bags were also on show.
Naurt creates hyper-accurate GPS technology which can pinpoint locations down to the nearest 10cm and was recently cited by Forbes as one-to-watch.
Co-founder Jack Maddalena demonstrated the technology and explained BRITE’s role in their story so far, including setting up a collaboration to develop a weather-proof box to house research equipment on Plus X Brighton’s roof.
Percept Imagery is an augmented reality (AR) business creating experiences for retail customers so they can digitally try on new clothes and cosmetics. The team showcased its new retail mirror technology Sprie.ar, and discussed the innovation opportunities to improve digital shopping experiences.
Workshop visitors learned about the manufacturing process of Votch’s cruelty-free watches and straps from sustainable materials. Votch uses circular economy raw materials to make vegan alternatives to leather such as a by-product of the apple juice industry and Piñatex, made from pineapple skin.
Thank you to everyone who came along to celebrate the achievements of all of the 64 incredible businesses that joined BRITE in its first year. The speed at which these agile ventures are developing, and their common focus on sustainability and community gives us great hope for the future.
Applications for the next Profitnet programme in February are now open!
To apply and find out more about the fully funded BRITE business innovation and growth project available at Plus X Brighton, visit www.briteinnovation.co.uk.
BRITE (Brighton Research Innovation Technology Exchange) is an ERDF-funded business support project in partnership with The University of Brighton. The project supports ambitious and scaling businesses in the Coast to Capital region (however applications are considered from outside the area). The BRITE project is receiving up to £5m of funding from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
Want to find out more about BRITE and how it can help your business? Watch the film here.