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Young innovators recognised in Forbes 30 under 30

Eleven UK-based start-ups that have received Innovate UK support were named in the list of business and industry figures to watch in 2017.

Elena Dieckmann, co-founder of Aeropowder
Elena Dieckmann, co-founder of Aeropowder

Forbes 30 under 30 Europe 2017 highlights the brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers with the potential to change the world. Across 6 of the 10 industry categories in Europe, 11 of the projects honoured have received Innovate UK support.

Winning projects


  • Susan Graham, co-founder of BioCarbon Engineering, which uses drones and remote sensing to restore woodlands and forests by planting trees quickly and cheaply

Retail and ecommerce

  • Freddy Macnamara, founder of Cuvva. Cuvva’s car insurance model is designed to more accurately represent drivers’ risk profiles. It allows customers to insure their parked car for a base fee and only pay extra when they drive it
Dr Miguel Martinez and David Benigson, founder of Signal


  • David Benigson, CEO of Signal, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to provide hyper-relevant real-time content and news to businesses

Science and healthcare

  • Amrit Chandan and Carlton Cummins, co-founders of Aceleron. This partnership is working to convert end-of-life electric vehicle batteries into safe, cost-effective energy storage for developing regions
  • Alex Bond, CEO of Fresh Check. With fellow Imperial College PhD students, Alex has developed a simple colour-change system for food packaging that alerts consumers to bacterial contamination

Social entrepreneurs

  • Julian Melchiorri, founder of Arborea, which is working to develop biotechnology solutions for urban pollution and wastewater treatment. Its BioSolar Leaf mimics photosynthesis to support energy producing, carbon-neutral buildings
  • Elena Dieckmann and Ryan Robinson, co-founders of Aeropowder, who are looking to repurpose feathers from the poultry industry that have traditionally gone to waste, and exploit the naturally high-performance material into new products
  • Tom Webster, co-founder of GrowUp Urban Farms. With his co-founders Tom has developed an aquaponics system for the sustainable, year-round farming of produce and fish, allowing consumers to locally source their food


  • Victor Dillard and Edward Perello, co-founders of Desktop Genetics. The University of Cambridge postgrads marry software innovation with life sciences. They are building an AI to re-engineer the human genome and treat genetic causes of disease
  • Ankur Modi, co-founder of StatusToday, offers an AI tool that gives business managers insight into their employees, helping them to improve performance and recognise threats
  • Timothy Sadler, co-founder, CheckRecipient, which uses AI to spot and prevent email data breaches and loss before it happens

How we support businesses

These innovators have benefitted from a variety of Innovate UK programmes, including direct competition funding, innovation vouchers and knowledge transfer partnerships, which connect businesses with a university and recently-qualified graduate to bring in new knowledge.

Elena Dieckmann with the other women in innovation winners

Elena Dieckmann of Aeropowder was one of the winners in our women in innovation competition, receiving £50,000, a tailored business support package and mentorship. The competition aimed to challenge the low number of female entrepreneurs in the UK and encourage diversity.

Published 2 March 2017
Last updated 2 March 2017 + show all updates
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