One week left to apply for Technology Developer Accelerator Programme (TDAP) support

If the festive fog has lifted and the brightness of the New Year is inspiring you anew, you might be starting to think about how you can accelerate your big idea to the next level in 2020.

There is still one week left until applications close for wave 4 of the APC’s Technology Developer Accelerator Programme. This unique 18-month ‘commercialisation course’ supports technology developers as they take their idea from concept towards becoming a viable market proposition. During the programme, supported companies will benefit from funding and access to industry experts who help prioritise routes to market, protect intellectual property and validate the technology.

Here we look at three previous TDAP-funded companies and how their involvement in the programme propelled them to growth and, ultimately, commercial success.

Echion Technologies was part of TDAP wave 1 and received over £90,000 in funding from the APC. A spin-out from the University of Cambridge Engineering Department, their goal was the commercialisation of a disruptive Li-ion battery technology. This new technology could enable up to 600% faster charging times and higher safety compared to state-of-the- art automotive batteries with the same energy, power density, cycle life, and cost.

The company consisted of a single founder, who during TDAP grew the team to four co-founders plus a further 10 employees, whose core activities were focused on the development and scale-up of the novel battery material technology. During TDAP, Echion used APC support to develop their route to market strategy, understanding in detail their future place in the value chain and the requirements of their future customers. They were able to protect their IP with an appropriate strategy and further develop technically. The technology was at a very early stage when they joined the programme and using TDAP they were able to execute a development activity to help support the scale-up of the material with the Warwick Manufacturing Group as their key delivery partner.

Monolith AI was founded following the CEOs PhD work at Imperial College London, and they have developed a raft of new generative algorithms which deploy AI and machine learning techniques to accelerate product design and testing. The company joined TDAP in wave 2 and received over £90,000 in funding from the APC. Having started with just the CEO and two other employees, the company now employs 16 people including six people with PhDs.

The technology developed by Monolith AI is bundled into a platform that can support engineers in the design process, using existing model data. The platform can then advise/guide engineers in how certain parameters will change under defined conditions. The net result to a design team is that it reduces the amount of tests needed to be physically undertaken, thus supporting cost, resource and time constraints and gives a very powerful decision-making tool using existing data to design future products. Having graduated from TDAP, Monolith AI has significantly grown their team, closed multi-million-pound finance deals and has already undertaken a number of successful pilots with niche vehicle manufacturers and within aerospace.

Rift is already an established business applying a technology concept from its existing offering and adapting it to an automotive application. Receiving over £75,000 in funding in wave 1 of TDAP, the technology is much lighter and more energy-efficient than current motor technologies as well as being significantly cheaper. Rift used TDAP to demonstrate their design in a current road-going vehicle, in this case a G-Wizz. The initial proof of concept was successfully tested with a view of an ongoing development path toward full vehicle integration. Rift was able to learn and understand the automotive industry development process using the structure provided by TDAP, which they believe will offer them a new and accelerated route to market.

Applications for wave 4 close on 15th January 2020.