Learn more about the socially-responsible start-ups the Queen Mary Social Venture Fund has supported.
Oshen, founded by Anahita Laverack (CEO) and Ciaran Dowds (CTO), aims to use autonomous micro-vessels for en-masse ocean data collection. They are determined to fill in the areas of the ocean where we have sparse data coverage, by developing vessels that are small and simple enough to be deployed en-masse but smart enough to stay in position or track a desired path.
Anahita Laverack’s business combines her love for the sea and sailing with her passion for engineering. The idea came to fruition when she struggled to find sufficient ocean data for her Master’s thesis. After attending several conferences, she also realised that a lack of affordable, accurate ocean data affected a huge proportion of the market – and that the technology she’d been working on could become a solution to this problem.
Biophilica is a female-led start-up led by Mira Nameth. They have developed a product called Treekind, a leaf-based leather alternative which uses less than one per cent of the water used in traditional leather production.
Mira developed the material during her MA at the Royal College of Art. She conceptualized the business after discovering that urban plant waste can be made into different materials that are compostable, recyclable and carbon negative.
The product is plastic-free and non-toxic to the environment and can be turned into compost or recycled.
Biophilica have gained immense support and recognition from various platforms:
School of Business and Management alumnus Marcos Souto Ulloa, who graduated with an MSc in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in 2020, won the Young Innovator’s Award for developing a revolutionary plastic alternative made from seaweed.
Together with his co-founder Pia Alais, Marcos created Sweed, a sustainable seaweed material which decomposes safely in the ocean. Sweed's product is a home-compostable, marine-safe bio-packaging material, which combats the reliance on single-use plastic in packaging solutions.
Leiho is a female-led social enterprise co-founded by Joey and Thuta, who met at university while studying for their masters degrees. The company is on a mission to help support homeless communities through the supply of basic essentials that improve their quality of life.
Leiho sells environmentally-friendly socks made from organic cotton and bamboo, and every pair helps to provide essentials for vulnerable communities, including refugees and people experiencing homelessness.
They collaborate with smaller charities and projects that help families and individuals experiencing homelessness, to ensure they feel confident and clean enough to go about their day.
GoRolloe is a device that attaches to bike wheels to filter air pollution using the rider's motion.
The idea was conceptualized by the inventor Kristen Tapping, while she was cycling through the streets of London and being exposed to noxious gasses and particulate matter. It is a product based on the concept of using the energy produced by vehicles to capture pollution on prime roadways. In Kristen's own words, the invention can be imagined as if “an air purifier and the bike wheel had a baby.”
The company is currently based at London South Bank University, where it is conducting prototyping and testing using the university's workshops and machinery. The company also works in collaboration with Imperial College for sustainability and pollution impact assessment, The Imagination Factory for engineering optimisation and assembly, and Total Sim for CFD analysis.
The GoRolloe team are proud winners of the prestigious Design Educates 2021 Awards, which showcase and promote the best ideas and implementations of architecture and design that can educate and impact.