Regional businesses bursting with innovative ideas to showcase products at VentureFest

VentureFest North EastWearable tech, sustainability and smart healthcare are just some of the themes explored by the 14 Innovation Showcase winners set to demonstrate their bright ideas at VentureFest North East 2018.

Working with experts from the North East BIC in Sunderland, a search was launched over the summer to uncover new products and game-changing ideas. The selected businesses will now demonstrate their innovations to an expected audience of more than 700 businesses, investors, experts and academics as part of the Innovation Showcase at VentureFest on Wednesday 14 November at St James’ Park.

Amongst the winners is Northumberland-based Evolto, who have developed a low-cost environmental monitor that collects river flow data with the aim of strengthening flood-warning systems.

North Shields-based Soficus and Washington-based Shoes2Run have both used AI to develop products that assist with health and well-being. Soficus will demonstrate an assisted care product which uses sensors to support independent living, while Shoes2run have developed a sock with embedded tech to provide suitable footwear recommendations by measuring a runner’s gait. Elizabeth Shaw, Innovation Manager at the North East BIC, said: 

“The Innovation Showcase is the ideal platform to shout about the great ideas coming out of regional businesses. Innovation is at the heart of many North East companies, but we need to do more to celebrate these achievements and I’m excited we’ve been able shine a spotlight on 14 truly fantastic products and services.”

This year Innovation Showcase exhibitors are automatically shortlisted for ‘Innovation of the Year’ as part of the inaugural North East Innovation Awards. The winner will be selected by delegate vote and announced on the day.

Estelle Blanks, Executive Director at the Innovation SuperNetwork who plan and deliver VentureFest North East, said: “We’re excited to introduce the Awards this year and hope to encourage delegates to really engage with the wonderful products, services and ideas demonstrated at the Innovation Showcase with a delegate vote to select our ‘innovation of the year’.

“Showcase applications were particularly strong this year and I feel we have a good and diverse line-up of ideas on offer. I’m sure delegates will enjoy choosing their favourites on the day.”

VentureFest North East 2018 is all about bringing together people from different business sectors to learn from each other and use innovation to improve their competitiveness and profitability.

The event takes place on Wednesday 14 November 2018 at St James’ Park, Newcastle. Registrations are now open at

Meet the Innovators 

BMS Home is an energy efficiency company developing the Thermionix Smart Energy control system for electric heating. The Thermionix, Internet of Things (IOT), Smart Controllers can be retro-fitted to existing electric storage heaters to turn them into smart devices. These Smart Heaters store heat when low carbon green energy is available for use, maximising the benefits of renewable energy sources.

ClimbAX provides a competitive analytics and social media platform for rock climbers. The product provides two wearable wristbands that partner with an app (iOS + android). Climbers can track their sessions for personal monitoring, compete against friends, be professionally coached and explore sponsored challenges.

Coffee with Baby
Coffee with Baby is for new parents/carers and parents/carers in new places. The Coffee with Baby app and website provide user-generated listings rating the baby-friendliness of venues serving coffee via GPS. Actively gender non-specific, this app targets not just parents, but anyone responsible for childcare.

Equiwatt Ltd is a cleantech startup company that aims to reduce energy demand at peak times, thus reducing stress on the grid and blackouts. Equiwatt has developed an innovative digital platform that pays households for saving energy at peak times.

Formerly Creative Coding, Evolto showcases intelligent electronic design with a low-cost environmental monitor that collects data relating to river flow. This data can then be used in flood warning systems and to increase community flood resilience.

LightOx is developing light activated therapeutics and life science tools, using a library of small molecules that can target different cell types and induce cell death. They are currently developing these to be used in light-based therapies for diseases such as skin cancer and colorectal cancers.

Luminous Group has developed a mixed reality headset called RIVO. Using 3D imaging and mixed reality technologies, it helps the next generation of workers in complex industrial environments by delivering technical 3D information at the point of need through a hands-free mixed reality headset.

One Unite Partnership
As a not-for-profit social enterprise, One Unite Partnership aims to help UK registered charities, community interest companies and other not-for-profit businesses reduce their costs by finding them the best deals on their energy and telecoms, whilst reinvesting any commission back into the charity.

Podfo Ltd design and manufacture bespoke biometric insoles for the Podiatry and Orthotic industry. Podfo utilises industry leading 3D technology and advanced manufacturing to provide the clinician with greater prescriptive possibilities and improved variable flexibility in a fully bespoke orthotic.

Shoes2Run has developed a wearable technology incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI), smartphone technology and big data analysis. ‘Mymo’ is a sock with embedded electronics which measures a runner’s gait and uses AI to match their running style to all the shoes on the market, thus minimising the risk of injury.

Soficus aims to reduce the stress associated with care with their assisted living product, which helps people live independently in their own homes. The product uses sensors and AI to inform that users are safe, following their daily routines, carers have visited and what activities they are doing.

TL Multimedia
Working closely with AVID Technology, TL Multimedia have developed and refined their CAD Animation service, giving manufacturing and engineering firms the opportunity to adapt and present their CAD IP for use in training, marketing and promotional purposes.

TSG Marine
With a focus on supplying integrated services for the seamless delivery of survey, engineering, verification, procurement, installation and project management activity. TSG Marine provide innovative engineering solutions to the Oil & Gas, Marine and Renewables industries.

Wordnerd use advanced linguistics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help organisations understand text. Whether it’s Tweets and social media, online reviews and forums or customer service emails they can automate listening and understanding, allowing you to act.

VentureFest North East is part of the wider Innovation SuperNetwork programme, developed with around 60 partner organisations to support innovation in the North East. Led by the VentureFest North East team, the SuperNetwork is supported by the North East LEP, Northumbrian Water Group, Engie, Reece Innovation, North East BIC and Innovate UK, with part-funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

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