Who does what in an entrepreneurial ecosystem

Who does what in an entrepreneurial ecosystem

In a previous blog post, I delved into the term ‘entrepreneurial ecosystem’ to try and demystify this commonly-used phrase and provide some clarity. In that piece I wrote:

For any entrepreneurial ecosystem to be successful, it must be rooted firmly in its locality, drawing its strengths and identity from the characteristics of the place.

To expand that sentence, I would add: ‘The entrepreneurial ecosystem must also have committed individuals fulfilling certain roles.’ In the following paragraphs, I’ll explore what those roles are, using TEAM SY as an example. 


Accelerator Programme Manager

The Accelerator Programme Manager typically is the person who will design the intervention to support its startups. If this is for a sector specific accelerator, he or she will have industry knowledge and experience. Take for example Joe Handsaker, who was the Accelerator Director for Propel’s JUMP Sports Technology Accelerator. With an academic background in Sports Science, and having started and scales his own tech startup, he was the perfect person to design and manage the programme. He was able to draw on his own networks, and the extended Propel network, to bring together expert mentors from across the Sports industry.

Another good example would be Pippa Hedley-Takhar who was the P4SY Programme Manager and MedTech Connector. Pippa came to P4SY with a vast network in MedTech and many years experience working in Healthcare Technologies, whilst living in Sheffield and working across the North. This meant she was ideally place to connect entrepreneurs coming through P4SY to relevant support and to potentially buyers, and also advise companies on how to approach the NHS. Additionally, Pippa has experience in inward investment, so was able to ‘sell’ the region to companies wanting to relocate to South Yorkshire.

Community Manager

When entrepreneurs take part in accelerator programmes, they do so for a few reasons: support and training, mentorship, and access to a community. The role of the Community Manager is to be that friendly and welcoming person for founders, to bring a sense of community to a cohort and provide pastoral support. Tamara Moon was that person for P4SY. She not only provided invaluable support for Pippa in the administration and logistics of running the P4SY Programme, but she also went above and beyond in supporting the founders, by organising networking events, bringing together the cohort and being their go-to person within the programme.

Another example would be Denis Ivanov who was the Community Manager for Transform SY (Entrepreneurial Spark). Denis has entrepreneurial community engagement running through and through: before working for Transform SY, he voluntarily produced a regular podcast featuring entrepreneurs and individuals from the business support ecosystem in Sheffield (search for Sheaf Valley podcast on Spotify or Audible). He also hosted regular startup meetups and organised several fantastic Startup Weekend Sheffield hackathons. A Community Manager role is a great entry role for someone who wants to progress in a career focussed on supporting entrepreneurs. (Sidenote: one of my first roles in the entrepreneurial ecosystem space was as Community Engagement Manager for Tech North!).

Investment Facilitator

For any startup on an investment-raising track, two things are essential: top quality impartial advice, and connections to investors. The Investment Facilitator role fulfills these functions, providing valuable connections to interested investors, and having an in-depth knowledge of the startups who are looking to raise. Giles Moore was this person for TEAM SY. As Investment Programme Manager for NorthInvest, he brought together the South Yorkshire Angel Hub and also provided impartial investment-readiness advice for founders. Giles is a founder in his own right and has been on that investment-raising journey, and he knows what investors are looking for. This insight into understanding the process from both sides of the coin is essential for both founders and investors. A recent PreSeed Now article delved into Dealmakers (a different name for a similar role) with some great examples from individuals doing this work in different parts of the UK.

Super Connector

The Super Connector job title never fails to bring a smile to people’s faces. As I describe in a reflective blog post about my time as Super Connector for TEAM SY, it’s a multi-faceted role that is very much informed by the personalities and experiences of the people who hold it. With Ken Nettleship taking over the TEAM SY Super Connector role for the next six weeks, I’m excited to see how he will shape it based on his substantial experience in inward investment and more recently as Head of Unrest North. In essence, a Super Connector is a very well networked individual who loves making connections and introductions, and who constantly is looking for opportunities for new projects to arise or for new partnerships to form. I wrote a standalone blog post dedicated to describing the role of Super Connector when I started at TEAM SY. An additional nuance of the TEAM SY Super Connector role was that we also acted as key account managers for our partners, especially those who were new to the region.

Taken together, these four roles underpin delivering support for startups in an entrepreneurial ecosystem. By providing mentoring and resources, building community, and connecting founding teams with investment, they provide the bedrock support that makes it possible for startups to thrive and grow.



Reflections on Super Connecting

Reflections on Super Connecting

Two years ago almost to the day, I wrote a blog post about the Super Connector role. I was just a couple months into this new job, having taken over the reins from Samantha Deakin who was on maternity leave, and joining Ceri Batchelder in post. (As keen followers of TEAM SY will know, Samantha rejoined the Super Connector team after mat leave, and the three of us worked alongside each other from January 2022 until June 2023.) As the end of my time at TEAM SY approaches, it feels like an apt moment to reflect upon how the Super Connector experience matched up to my expectations as laid out in that earlier blog post.

In many respects, the Super Connector role did indeed fulfill the three responsibilities that I outlined: 1) Connecting people, 2) Connecting institutions, and 3) Increasing pre-acceleration and acceleration in South Yorkshire to support entrepreneurs. Taking the latter point first, over the course of the TEAM SY programme, we established partnerships with 17 organisations who all delivered some form of pre-acceleration, acceleration, or one-off business support for entrepreneurs in our region. Together with our partners, TEAM SY has delivered over 5000 hours of support for over 270 South Yorkshire based ventures. You can read more about our impact here.

 The Super Connector role was critical in terms of establishing those partnerships and, in many cases, helping to embed partners into South Yorkshire. We were delighted that the TEAM SY programme opened up opportunities for new-to-the-region partners. This was great for our local entrepreneurs, as it made sector-specific accelerator programmes newly accessible. It was also great for those partners who were able to safely explore what it means to run a programme outside of London. A couple of examples: Unrest has set up its northern division (Unrest North) which is currently recruiting for its next cohort, and IndieLab remains committed to providing access to its training for entrepreneurs from outside of London through its regional programmes.

 Turning now to the first two responsibilities of the Super Connector role – connecting people and connecting institutions – these of course remained important throughout the TEAM SY programme. What is interesting however, is the different approaches that Ceri, Samantha, and I took: approaches that were driven by our own interests and experiences. 

 Ceri, master of opportunity-spotting and networking, seeded introductions and conversations that developed into numerous mutually beneficial partnerships and projects – in several instances, Ceri’s introductions led to new hires being made. 

Samantha, driven by a genuine desire to see founders succeed and her in-depth knowledge of the startup journey, provided vital one-to-one mentoring and coaching to many founders, and brought bespoke training to the region in both investment and sales. 

And as for me, with my interest in the regional economic development agenda, I ensured that TEAM SY was a respected voice in regional policy-making discussions, and that early-stage entrepreneurship and tech-driven innovation were accurately represented in decision-making around the South Yorkshire innovation district and investment zone. 

I don’t think Ceri and Samantha will mind me speaking for all three of us when I say that the Super Connector role has been a really good one for all of us, extending our existing networks in South Yorkshire, and building on our love of connecting people and making things happen. It is very validating as well to see that the “Super Connecting” skillset has become more widely recognised in our entrepreneurial ecosystem, with Sheffield City Council hiring for this role as part of the Innovation District work, and with SYMCA referring to the importance of this role in the ongoing development of the Investment Zone proposition.

Celebrating the Impact of TEAM SY

Celebrating the Impact of TEAM SY

We recently hosted a celebration in Sheffield marketing the culmination of the first phase of TEAM SY. It was great to see so many friends and collaborators from across the Sheffield ecosystem come together to celebrate an incredible startup support project.

As recently reported in Prolific North, there’s no doubt that more companies are starting and growing in South Yorkshire. TEAM SY has played a pivotal role in unifying a fragmented startup ecosystem and increasing the number of tech entrepreneurs starting businesses and accessing investment.

We recently spoke to a number of startup entrepreneurs who have been supported through TEAM SY. You can find the interviews hereherehere and here on our YouTube channel. One thing that really stands out from these conversations is the importance of community. Especially for first-time startup founders, it can be a lonely journey and TEAM SY played an important role, not only by connecting them to mentors and investors, but forging connections with other founders around them.

Moving forward, we are committed to supporting the growth of the South Yorkshire tech startup ecosystem and look forward to continuing to work with our partners in the region – and of course the entrepreneurs themselves. 

For entrepreneurs seeking support, Laura Bennett, our incredible Super Connector for South Yorkshire, is a great source for advice and introductions into the local ecosystem. We would also love to see more SY founders joining the Funding Readiness programme we deliver with Barclays Eagle Labs where applications will shortly open for the autumn cohort.

For an overview of TEAM SY’s impact in South Yorkshire, read Prolific North’s report here.

How TEAM SY has strengthened South Yorkshire’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

How TEAM SY has strengthened South Yorkshire’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

In a previous blog post, I unpicked the jargon to explain what an entrepreneurial ecosystem is. The tl;dr (1) is that “an entrepreneurial ecosystem is the supportive environment in which entrepreneurship can flourish”. There are certain key institutions (2) that we can point to which indicate the presence of an entrepreneurial ecosystem, for instance, accelerator programmes, incubators, and investors. (If the jargon is confusing, this article, penned by our friend Alison Partridge, provides a comprehensive and easy-to-read glossary of terms.)

But how do we assess the strength of our region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem? How can we tell whether or not the interventions spearheaded by TEAM SY have made any difference? 

Different approaches to measuring the strength of an ecosystem

How we measure an entrepreneurial ecosystem is a hot topic in theory and in practice. Through my PhD research, I came across a number of different approaches. In fact, some academics argue that the strength of an entrepreneurial ecosystem is impossible to measure, for instance, in one article, the argument is made that, “work on ecosystems in other contexts has found that, because of their complexity, they cannot be effectively assessed using simple, “count-based” metrics … Traditional metrics used to measure entrepreneurial activity, such as the number of jobs created or counts of firms founded, may provide a baseline, but do not fully capture the health of the ecosystem.”(3)

Alongside the academic debates, there are also some more practical approaches, for instance Startup Genome which publishes an annual report ranking national entrepreneurial ecosystems based on metrics across six factors: performance, funding, market reach, connectedness, talent and experience, and knowledge. In a similar vein, StartupBlink draws on data from their own (user-populated) map alongside insights from their global partners to inform an algorithm which then ranks city and country ecosystems based on quantifiable metrics such as the number of startups, coworking spaces, accelerator programme, and key figureheads. The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs reviews and synthesises a number of different approaches to measuring an entrepreneurial ecosystem, concluding with its own tick-box matrix which practitioners can use as an assessment tool for their local entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The extent to which it is useful to rank our own entrepreneurial ecosystem against others is debatable. In startup lingo, it is a bit of a “vanity metric”: it gives us a warm glow to know that we are doing well, but unless we use that knowledge to do something differently to improve the environment for locally-based entrepreneurs, it ultimately doesn’t tell us very much about what is working and what could change. (That being said, using a high ranking for PR or inward investment purposes can be very useful, within a broader narrative about what the entrepreneurial ecosystem here has to offer and how to access it.)

There is, however, value in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the South Yorkshire entrepreneurial ecosystem in and of itself, rather than as a comparator to other places. It was this knowledge which informed the design and development of the original TEAM SY approach, and it is critical to understand what we have achieved and what needs to be built upon as we move forwards into the next stage of the South Yorkshire entrepreneurial ecosystem. The approaches referred to above use count-based metrics to inform their rankings, as this is generally seen as an ‘objective’ way to compare and contrast different entrepreneurial ecosystems. But count-based metrics do not provide the full picture: there is no way of “counting” the all-important interactions that occur on a daily basis within an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and without this, we are missing a piece of the puzzle. To provide a more complete assessment of the impact of TEAM SY, it is therefore important to consider both the tangible outputs and the intangible outcomes.

TEAM SY impact: the tangible outputs

Count-based metrics may not provide the full picture, but as a project funded by the European Regional Development Fund, we are contractually obliged to measure certain outputs that demonstrate the impact that we’ve had, and so this is a sensible place to start. Our 16 programme partners will be very familiar with these outputs: we ask them for regular updates to tell us how many companies they have supported, how many of these are new companies founded in the last 12 months, how many new and innovative products or services have emerged, and how many jobs have been created. As we approach the end of our funded period, we are truly delighted that the combined efforts of all of our partners has meant that we have over-achieved in our target of number of hours of support delivered, and are very close to reaching our targets for the number of new products created. The final figures will be released post-June, but let’s take a moment to celebrate our achievements so far:

TEAM SY interim output figures to 31st March 2023

Number of startups supported


Number of hours of support delivered


Number of jobs created


Number of new products created


Although it isn’t an ERDF requirement, we have also been keeping track of the companies within the TEAM SY family who are raising investment. With their participation in TEAM SY programmes, entrepreneurs have been able to strengthen their business models and professionalise their investment pitch decks. Many have had the opportunity to pitch to investors, for instance, the Unrest accelerator cohort who pitched at a demo day at the Barbican in January 2023. We have supported other entrepreneurs through our partnership with NorthInvest who are building out the South Yorkshire Angel Hub. NorthInvest’s South Yorkshire Investment Manager Giles Moore is expertly forging relationships with angel investors and entrepreneurs alike, and he is in the particularly valuable position of having had experience on both sides of the table, as entrepreneur and as investor. Giles is passionate about supporting entrepreneurs and has worked directly with many of the TEAM SY founders to develop their pitch decks. He’s also hosted a number of very well attended investor lounges, where startups have pitched to investors and gone on to raise investment as a result. 

These combined efforts, as well as spin-out raises from the University of Sheffield, mean that Sheffield has seen a 54% growth in early-stage Venture Capital investment over the past year, and a 149% growth rate over the past two years, according to Dealroom. This represents the second highest positive growth rate of any city in the UK over the past year and accounts for £33m in 2022 and £21.4m in 2021. A significant proportion of these companies have been supported through TEAM SY, so there is some direct tangible impact there. 

TEAM SY impact: the intangible outcomes

So far, so tangibly good. Now, what about some of the intangibles? We know from other entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world that valuing the intangibles is really important. For instance, in Espoo, Finland, their approach is to value qualitative anecdotes not just quantitative metrics (4). The beauty of the TEAM SY project is the emphasis that has been placed from the beginning on doing things that are much harder to measure, but that are just as important for an entrepreneurial ecosystem to flourish. These include the connections we’ve brokered, the increased vibrancy of the ecosystem, the connectedness of the communities, the narrative we’ve developed, the opportunities we’ve spotted, and the introductions we’ve made. 

Much of the ‘evidence’ base for this is anecdotal. It comes out in the stories we hear of projects that have emerged from opportunities we have spotted, or stories of entrepreneurs who have gone on to successfully raise investment on the back of an introduction we have made. Sometimes those stories never make their way back to us, and it can be very hard (nigh on impossible) to attribute later successes to a TEAM SY initiative – after all, businesses and entrepreneurs have multiple touchpoints along their journeys, and one of the beautiful things about the South Yorkshire entrepreneurial ecosystem is people’s willingness to be helpful to entrepreneurs. But despite the difficulty of attribution, we mustn’t forget that stories (qualitative) play a hugely important role alongside metrics (quantitative). (5) There is a vast array of these stories on the Capital Enterprise website and YouTube channel. Specifically related to South Yorkshire, do take a few minutes to listen to Dash Tabor (CEO & Founder of Tubr) and Dan Blaney (CEO & Co-Founder of Ferrio) talk about how TEAM SY helped them on their business journeys.

The investment landscape is another area where the stories matter, alongside the quantitative investment raised as referred to earlier. As well as the headline figures demonstrating an increase in early-stage investment in South Yorkshire, we must also recognise that this increase in and of itself is an attractor for other investors to come to the region – a rising tide lifts all boats. The thesis driving TEAM SY has always been that a concentration of acceleration programmes leads to a higher number of startups who are at a credible stage to consider investment, thus attracting more investment and startups into the region. We are seeing this play out – there is confidence in the region as a source of exciting and investable startups, as evidenced by the likes of Mercia who have brought on board Investment Manager Chris Borrett as a dedicated resource for the region, and similarly Newable who have appointed Thom Webb as Director for the North of England. 

Moreover, the visibility and knowledge of startups raising has acted as inspiration and encouragement for other early-stage startups, who are now also seeking investment. When we recently asked the entrepreneurs in our networks about their investment ambitions, we discovered that over 100 South Yorkshire based startups are currently looking to raise, with 90+ of these seeking pre-seed, and 15+ seeking seed / series A. From the perspective of an entrepreneur, it is far easier to envisage pursuing a certain path (in this case raising investment) if your peers are doing so too, not to mention the invaluable bonus of having other people within your networks to learn from.

TEAM SY as a catalyst for resources and networks

Another way of thinking about the strength of an entrepreneurial ecosystem is to use a matrix developed by University of Edinburgh academics Ben Spigel and Richard Harrison, which assesses the munificence / sparseness of resources alongside the strength / weakness of the networks to establish how well-functioning an entrepreneurial ecosystem is. (6) In a nutshell, the argument made here is that an entrepreneurial ecosystem needs both the resources (for instance, the institutions mentioned in the opening paragraph) and the networks that enable entrepreneurs to easily access those resources. It is not enough to just have the resources – they have to be within an entrepreneurial ecosystem where the networks are strong.

With its innovative approach to ecosystem development, TEAM SY has worked to move the dial for both resources and networks: we’ve vastly increased the munificence of resources available to entrepreneurs through the provision of pre-accelerator and accelerator programmes, and we have also worked hard to increase the strength of the networks within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, ensuring that entrepreneurs are accurately signposted and that information sharing between institutional elements is happening more regularly. 

Taking this into account, I think it’s safe to say that South Yorkshire’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has moved out of the bottom-right quadrant which is characterised by few resources and weak networks. We’re not Silicon Valley (nor do we want to be!) but I think that we are holding our own alongside other UK cities and regions that have a similar entrepreneurial makeup and economic profile, more so than previously.

Recognising the impact of TEAM SY and building on its success

As the largest city in South Yorkshire, there is a natural gravitational pull towards Sheffield. We were not surprised therefore when startups.co.uk ranked Sheffield as the best UK city outside of London in which to start a company in their 2022 annual list

It came as a bigger surprise when Eli David, the CEO of Startup Blink, reached out on Twitter to share the stat that Sheffield had experienced the most rapid rise nationally and globally, moving from 164th up to 11th in their list of “Top UK Cities for Startups”. As I mentioned earlier in this blogpost, lists and rankings like this should be treated with a degree of caution – we definitely don’t want to rest on our laurels, and it’s really important that entrepreneurs continue to experience the positive impact of being part of a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. But, it’s a great story, it adds to our regional narrative, and we should take pride in the increased recognition of Sheffield as being a great place to start and scale a company.

TEAM SY has played an integral role in strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in South Yorkshire. But there is more to do. It could well be argued that the idea of a ‘regional’ entrepreneurial ecosystem is a fallacy – in particular in a region that is so geographically spread with poor transport links between the different areas. In future iterations of TEAM SY, we would love to get even more local – I envisage Super Connectors in each town and city that are truly embedded in their locality, whilst also being able to make connections at a regional level and benefit from the overarching regional narrative. TEAM SY has been a fantastic catalyst to kickstart the entrepreneurial ecosystem here, and it will be exciting to see how we, as a region, maintain the momentum and go from strength to strength. Watch this space!

1. And in the interests of jargon-busting, tl;dr is Internet-speak for “too long; didn’t read”. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/tldr.

2. Institutions can be both formal and informal. With regards to an entrepreneurial ecosystem, formal institutions refers to organisations and individuals, for instance, anchor organisations such as universities, entrepreneurial support organisations such as incubators and accelerators, the public and private sectors, mentors, coaches, and investors. Informal institutions refer to more intangible aspects such as social norms, the culture of a place, its entrepreneurial spirit, supportive government policy, and networks.

3. Roundy, P. T., Bradshaw, M. and Brockman. (2018). The emergence of entrepreneurial ecosystems: A complex adaptive systems approach. Journal of Business Research, 86(1). pp 1-10.

4. Alison Partridge wrote a blog post which covers Espoo’s approach and success: https://urbact.eu/communities-play-together-stay-together.

5. Indeed, if we take a Theory of Change approach to measuring impact, then equal importance is placed on both qualitative outcomes and quantitative outputs. It is a tool which is well used in the NGO / development / social enterprise sector, but I’ve not yet seen it used in an entrepreneurial ecosystem setting before. I might write a blogpost about it, but in the meantime, you can have a look at: https://www.theoryofchange.org/what-is-theory-of-change/.

6. Spigel, B. and Harrison, R. (2017). Towards a Process Theory of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, (12). pp. 151-168.


Success at the South Yorkshire Investor Lounge

Success at the South Yorkshire Investor Lounge

The first South Yorkshire Investor Lounge took place on Wednesday 30th November at Kollider in Sheffield, bringing together members of the region’s rapidly growing startup ecosystem to reflect on the successes of 2022, and discuss the challenges for the future. The evening was launched through the South Yorkshire Angel Hub, a collaboration between TEAM SY and NorthInvest, to showcase some of our finest up and coming startups, (covering sustainability, media, immersive tech, data, AI, medtech, e-commerce and tech for good), and focus on securing early stage funding for them.

With over 100 investors, funders, sector specialists and entrepreneurs in the room, the evening was a great success, and demonstrates just why South Yorkshire is such an exciting place to start, develop and grow a business.

The evening began with an introduction to the current startup ecosystem, and discussions of the amount of support already available through a variety of associations, accelerator programmes and influential people who are making things happen. Attendees then heard a presentation from Ashley Tate from Mina, who shared his journey through fund-raising rounds, before the first of the startups had their chance to pitch.

With fantastic pitches from CAST, Tickets for Good, Future Greens, TUBR and Snowball, the future is certainly looking bright for South Yorkshire!

Before the remaining startups took to the stage, we spoke to a panel of regional specialists including: Louisa Harrison-Walker, Chief Executive of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce; Alex Dochery, Investment Team Manager of Business Doncaster/Doncaster Council; Kathy McArdle, Service Director for Regeneration and Culture of Barnsley Council, and Yvonne Asquith, Business Sheffield and Invest, Sheffield City Council.

Bringing together all of these experts under one roof displayed just how much potential there is in South Yorkshire for startups, investors and sector specialists who are looking for innovation to drive their sector forward.

This was only highlighted further during the final five pitches from The HRC Test, GeoStories, Ferrio, Twin Dynamics, and Stemcell X.

The evening led to some great successes for the startups, with 7 of them already in conversation with investors who attended the event. A further 4 of them are now having discussions with investors who heard about the event afterwards and have since been introduced, and one of the startups will close their round before the end of the year.

These amazing achievements are a fantastic platform to build from. There are some very exciting things happening in the region, especially with TEAM SY’s programmes and accelerators, which are designed to support a wide range of businesses and sectors. This is leading to a strong and consistent pipeline of credible startups looking to raise investment. The South Yorkshire Angel Hub and NorthInvest are now seeing more regional investment activities and attracting new investors to the region. They have created a great starting point for all of South Yorkshire, and it will be exciting to see how they move this forward in 2023.


About NorthInvest

NorthInvest is a not-for-profit investment organisation specialising in angel investment in tech and digital start-ups across Tech For Good, Digital Media, Cyber, FinTech and MedTech. NorthInvest is backed by the Northern Powerhouse and facilitates connections and investment between tech and digital startups and angel investors, as well as offering free coaching and mentorship opportunities to entrepreneurs and Non-Executive Director opportunities to investors


Showcase Highlights Strength of South Yorkshire MedTech Ecosystem

Showcase Highlights Strength of South Yorkshire MedTech Ecosystem

On 23 November, we welcomed 10 companies from the current P4SY Accelerator Programme cohort to Sheffield’s Millennium Galleries for the P4SY Showcase & MedTech Conference, bringing together startups and domain experts from across the region for a day of pitching and presentations on the development of South Yorkshire’s medtech ecosystem.

First to take the stage was Peter Fish, CEO of rare disease startup Mendelian. The company’s first product, MendelScan, is a clinical decision support tool that scans through medical records at scale, using clinically validated detection algorithms to find cases of rare and hard to diagnose diseases. As Peter explained, current estimates predict that 1 in 10 of us will someday be diagnosed with a so-called rare disease, which can often take years to diagnose due to a lack of familiarity among GPs. The company recently completed its 10 millionth scan and is currently raising its Series A. 

Next up was Angela Malik, CEO and founder of Planet Nourish. The company’s aim is to level the playing field and improve health outcomes for underrepresented populations with an ethnically-focused Prevention as a Service (PaaS) digital platform delivering hyper-personalised food, lifestyle and behavioural change recommendations. The company’s first target are British Asian populations, one of the factors that initially attracted them to working in the South Yorkshire region. The company is currently raising a pre-seed round and seeking to build partnerships with enterprise clients and health insurance providers.

Zorrie Dimitrova, COO of GlycanAge, introduced the audience to the importance of glycans, protein biomarkers which we carry on the surfaces of every cell and which have been underexplored to date as a way of predicting health changes and disease. The founding team behind GlycanAge are the world’s leading glycan experts and the company is pioneering a B2B2C model through a network which already includes 400 medical providers and 15,000 direct customers, more than half of which test multiple times. They are currently raising a seed round with half of the amount committed.

Eupnoos CEO and founder Arshia Gratiot explained the company’s mission to improve monitoring of lung diseases using breathing sounds and smartphone sensors, speeding up diagnosis and giving patients better insight into their own health. With a special focus on preventive healthcare, the company is currently raising a seed round and seeking partnerships with NHS community leads to validate specific population cohorts such as people with asthma, COPD, and fibrotic diseases. 

Luis Rodrigues, CEO of Kinetikos, has developed a solution for passive monitoring of patients with movement disorders, starting with Parkinsons. The Kinetikos software platform has already been used by more than 1,700 patients in research settings and clinical practice in the company’s home market of Portugal, as well as the United Kingdom, Spain, and the United States. The mobile app is available in the UK and has been DTAC cleared and ORCHA certified while the company looks to raise a Series A.

Jiva.ai demonstrated their no-code platform to make AI accessible to any type of business user. As CEO and co-founder Manish Patel told the audience, Jiva’s technology allows small teams to create, test, validate, and deploy practical and usable AI tools including for purposes such as diagnostics at a fraction of the cost of an AI team. The company is currently raising a £4.5 million round, with £2.1 million already committed, and is seeking channel partnerships with companies that can resell Jiva.ai services to their own client base.

Saran Muthiah of EnrichMyCare pitched the company’s offering for children and young people with disabilities and long-term conditions: a personalised platform for self-monitoring and multi-disciplinary team (MDT) management. The company is currently seeking seed investment, and looking for opportunities to scale up the existing platform at system level and develop collaborations with Integrated Care System partners from health, care, and education.

As Dr Keith Tsui of Medwise explained, many clinicians in patient-facing roles lack a single authoritative source of medical information which they can quickly and reliably access when evaluating their patients. That’s why Medwise has been created as a search engine for health professionals to use at the point of care. Already used by more than 500 providers across 50 care commissioning groups, Medwise was recently awarded an Innovate UK Smart Grant. They are currently completing a seed round and seek to expand relationships with NHS trusts up and down the country. 

Mark Bartlett, CEO of StoreGene, explained his company’s Clinical Genomic Operating System which integrates genomics into every stage of the healthcare journey. With a single test that reveals 20,000 genes and 3.2 billion base pairs, the company aims to move genetic testing from the laboratory to the cloud, making it possible for doctors to draw on this data to inform individual treatment approaches. The company is currently raising its seed round and anticipates increasing revenue by 10x over the next year.

Dr Phil Alton, a former NHS emergency doctor, started Senti Tech with the goal of making it easier to monitor patients with conditions such as asthma and COPD in a virtual ward model. The Senti Smart Garment is a medical device, worn like a tabard, that uses sensors to capture breath and heart sounds and inform decision-making by health professionals, allowing them to better adjust medication in real time. The company is currently completing a single site medical study and plans to raise a £10 million series A next year. They are also looking for further partnerships with NHS community teams in more regions, outside Liverpool and Essex where they are already active. 

Before and after the pitching, the audience heard from guest speakers Will Gibbs of Octopus Ventures and conference sponsor Mark Jackson of Scarborough Group International, as well as Dr Richard Cullen, Clinical Lead for Digital & Innovation, SYB Integrated Care Board.

Prof Tony Young, National Clinical Lead for Innovation, NHS England delivered a rousing keynote touching on the importance of medical innovation and his work as national lead for the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme. 

A panel on the future of the medtech sector heard from Prof Wendy Tindale, Dr Mandy Dixon, entrepreneur in residence Alan Pooley, and Goddess Gaia Ventures founder Priya Oberoi-Cattai. 

P4SY companies exhibiting included: 

  • Holly Health, a digital health and well-being coach that helps users with personalised, habit-forming positive behaviour change for physical and mental health;
  • Gold Standard Phantoms, improving the quality of MRIs through standardisation thereby improving diagnostic confidence;
  • Mint Diagnostics, innovative saliva testing and visualisation providing hormone data intelligence for women’s health and wellbeing;
  • XR Therapeutics, developing a treatment that combines cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with virtual reality to support people with phobias and anxieties. 

If you are interested in a warm introduction to one of the P4 SY cohort companies, please get in touch with Programme Manager & MedTech Connector Philippa Takhar or P4 SY Programme Coordinator Tamara Moon

Follow P4 SY on LinkedIn for regular updates on our startup support programmes and future accelerator opportunities.