New technology to ensure data is secure has won the University of Bristol’s equivalent to Dragon’s Den and a share of over £35,000 prize money.
KETS, a company formed by Dr Chris Erven, Dr Jake Kennard, Phil Sibson and Professor Mark Thompson, uses quantum cryptography to improve data encryption – ensuring information is safe in all situations, from bank transactions to critical infrastructure, and to individuals shopping online from the comfort of their own home.
Their concept beat 103 entries to scoop the top prize in the New Enterprise Competition
which was judged by a panel of industry experts.
The team won £10,000 in cash, £2,000 worth of legal support and a year in the Bristol SETsquared Centre
– the University’s double award-winning business incubator – to help develop the technology further, explore potential uses and how it can be licensed to industry.
Nine finalists had to submit a 20-page business plan and give a presentation pitch to a panel of judges, before eagerly awaiting the announcement of the winner at the Enterprise Dinner in the Wills Memorial Building.
They describe the technology as a ‘game changer’ because it uses new quantum methods to ensure the most sophisticated and secure communications.
Dr Erven said: “It’s fantastic to win and the judging panel were very receptive to our pitch. It’s really starting to snowball now and this extra investment and support will make a huge difference. KETS technology will provide for secure communications in a fundamentally new way.”
Dr Kennard added: “It’s been a real team effort, building on all the excellent work which has been going on in Bristol for the last 10 years. We’re the first of hopefully many spin-outs to come from the Centre for Quantum Photonics at the University of Bristol, focusing on building devices that real people will use.”
Second place in the New Enterprise Competition and £7,000 went to Funeral Arrangements, a company founded by French graduate Tom Harries, offering an online platform for funeral directors and the bereaved.
And third place went to Imprint Clothing, a fashion social enterprise founded by History of Art student Lydia Cooper which aims to provide skills, flexible employment and empowerment to disadvantaged women in Bristol. She won £2,000 cash and £3,250 worth of marketing and business support.
There were two ‘honorable mentions’ in this year’s competition, Filthy Banana and No More Taboo, who will each receive £1,000.
This year’s competition entries were judged by a panel of industry experts from sponsoring organisations including Deloitte, Wyvern, SETsquared, Santander, IP Group, Airbus, Motorola, Watertight Marketing, Social Enterprise Works, Marketest and Veale Wasbrough Vizards.