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IoP team win Lion's Den Challenge 2014

Posted on 28/02/2014

A team of six PhD students from the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) have won the annual King’s Lion’s Den Challenge.  The team won ‘Best Idea’ and a £10,000 prize for ‘CogniTracker’, a health app which monitors users’ cognitive health, with the aim of improving early detection of diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Lions-Den

'CogniTracker' team (from left to right): Tytus Murphy, Christos Michaelides, Robert Westphal, Christina Wayman, Richard Joules, Jacqueline Robbins.

The winners were announced Monday at the Grand Final that concluded the five month programme. Eight finalists made it through an online judging round to pitch their businesses in front of a live audience and answer questions from an expert judging panel. The total prize fund on offer was £11,000: £10,000 for the Best Idea and £1,000 for the Best Pitch.

Best Idea went to CogniTracker: a team of PhD students from the IoP building a health app that monitors eye movements, speech and hand vibrations in order to assess users’ cognitive health. Through data collected on the app they hope to be able to improve early-stage detection of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's. Their £10,000 prize will help the team develop their science, build their app and  build connections with key organisations such as the NHS.

The CogniTracker team comprises:

  • Jacqueline Robbins, PhD student in the Department of Neuroscience (IoP)
  • Christos Michaelides, PhD student in the Department of Neuroimaging (IoP)
  • Tytus Murphy, PhD student in the Department of Neuroscience (IoP)
  • Robert Westphal, PhD student in the Department of Neuroimaging (IoP)
  • Richard Joules,  PhD student in the Department of Neuroimaging (IoP)
  • Christina Wayman, PhD student in the Wolfson Centre for Age Related Diseases

Professor Susan Lea, Vice-Dean for Education at the IoP at King’s said: 'I’m delighted that a team from the IoP has won this year’s competition. Their success highlights the creativity and innovative thinking that our students have. Many congratulations to the team, and I look forward to seeing their idea become reality!'

The winner of the Best Pitch was Attollo Lingerie with their range of lingerie that improves the shape and aesthetic appeal of DD+ bras. The judges felt their pitch best engaged the audience and delivered a persuasive argument for their business. The Best Pitch winning team comprises three Geographers - Alice Holden, Fleurette Mulcahy and Jessie Heemskerk.

Lion’s Den Challenge is built to equip King’s students and postdoctoral research staff with essential business skills to enable them to launch their own entrepreneurial ventures or convert their academic work into successful businesses. The Challenge began with a series of workshops to deliver the key skills required, covering marketing, finance, writing a business plan and pitching. An online submission and judging round selected the top eight who took part at the Grand Final on Monday.

Michael Hill-King, sponsor of the Lion’s Den Challenge and Director of Partnerships and Consultancy at King’s said: ‘Yet again, quality of entries into Lion’s Den has been fantastic. The creativity, expertise and entrepreneurial nous shown by all our finalists made the judging decisions exceptionally tough. The two winning teams fully deserved the awards and we hope to see their businesses flourish in the future. Lion’s Den provides a strong platform for turning ideas into reality.’

In recognition of a broader enterprise landscape, the evening culminated with the presentation of the College’s first UnLtd awards for social enterprise to Oli Zolman, Elizabeth Adelodun and Elena Sinel. For more information on UnLtd and our Social Entrepreneurship opportunities here at King’s please click here

Lion’s Den Challenge does not end with the Grand Final event. Following  a successful debut year, Lion’s Den + returns to advance the business skills of King’s entrepreneurs further, which includes an entrepreneurial boot camp and one-to-one mentoring sessions. Lion’s Den + is open to all entrants, including non-finalists.

The Lion’s Den Programme is a joint initiative between the Research Management Directorate, and King’s Graduate School.

Visit theLion’s Den Challenge website for more information on this year’s competition and other opportunities for entrepreneurs

For further information on entrepreneurship activities at King’s please contact innovation@kcl.ac.uk and follow us on twitter: @innovatekings

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