Sheffield Hallam’s AWRC Unveils New Healthtech Accelerator Cohort

Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) has unveiled the companies set to join the 2024 cohort for its Advanced Wellbeing Accelerator programme.  

The prestigious six-month accelerator programme, which will support 10 start-ups and SMEs, was three times oversubscribed and saw a 30% increase in applications on the previous year, reflecting the strength of demand for early-stage R&D support amongst healthtech companies.

The successful applicants include a Welsh company that has developed a patented cooling system to enable life saving vaccines to be transported efficiently, and a Chester-based tech company that has developed a bioanalytics engine capable of monitoring 160+ biomarkers to provide medically validated health plans. 

The accelerator has been match-funded by Sheffield Hallam University and Barclays Eagle Labs Ecosystem Partnership Programme. Successful applicants include a diverse mix of companies using technology in different ways to improve health and wellbeing.

This year, the university will enhance the accelerator’s impact on early-stage ventures by providing the cohort with dedicated support from its talented global MBA students, who will support the companies with marketing, business strategy, finance and more. This is the first time it is providing this kind of support since the launch of the accelerator programme three years ago.

The successful applicants for the 2024 cohort are:

  • Aspedan, based in Chester, has developed a Bioanalytics Engine capable of monitoring 165+ biomarkers to provide incentivised, personalised and medically validated health plans through a smartphone app and clinician portal. 
  • BERRI, based in Matlock, creates clinical evaluation tools that identify, support and track childrens’ psychological needs, which enable them to produce individualised reports for caregivers.
  • FLX Health, based in Hull, uses proprietary Intrinsic Biomechanics Model algorithms to improve the way people move in order to manage pain and prevent musculoskeletal disease and injury. 
  • Hero of Health, based in Sheffield, provide Digital Lifestyle Hubs to increase GP profitability by building clinically proven activated neighbourhoods that prevent and reverse chronic illness, resulting in increased mobility, enhanced mental health, and sustained weight loss.
  • Hytro, based in West Byfleet, seeks to advance human health and performance through patented blood flow restriction (BFR) wearables.  
  • Ideabatic, based in Wales, has developed a patented cooling system to enable life-saving vaccines to be transported and administered efficiently. 
  • Live More Offline, is a Yorkshire-based digital wellbeing consultancy, and uses a Digital Culture Diagnostic™ to help organisations seeking to improve productivity and retain talent through healthier working cultures. They provide data-driven insights into employees’ digital work experiences and training to improve digital ways of working.
  • Prorizon,  based in Birmingham, is a health-tech start-up using bio-psycho-social data to build science-first, AI-enabled, personalised solutions for optimal mental and physical health and performance.
  • Select Research, based in Malvern, have developed the Body Volume Index (BVI), a digital measurement system and obesity solution that analyses digital images and demographic data to provide insightful data outputs.
  • Simply Connect Solutions, based in Sheffield, put social prescribing in the hands of the user by providing easy access to mental health and wellbeing support services.

Sirinda Bhandal, CEO and Founder, Simply Connect Solutions Ltd, said: “We’re over the moon to be joining the health and wellbeing accelerator programme and really looking forward to working with the AWRC and Sheffield Hallam to help validate our product and achieve our goal of helping people to get their lives back on track, accessing the right support, when they need it.”

These businesses will benefit from Sheffield Hallam’s research expertise, expert mentors and up to £25,000 of non-dilutive R&D support to access world leading facilities and equipment delivered by the AWRC at the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.

Ryan Sylvester, Programme Manager for the Advanced Wellbeing Accelerator, said: “Like the entrepreneurs we are supporting, we have been through our own development journey with this programme since it was founded back in 2020. I am pleased to share that this year’s package of support is the most exciting to date. It is market-leading, both in terms of breadth of the support offer and potential for impact. The team is looking forward to connecting the participants into our growing ecosystem to help them in reaching their potential.”

Jason Brannan, Deputy Director of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, said: “If we are to truly address the widening gap in health inequalities and productivity across the UK, evidenced clearly in post-industrial Northern economies, we must focus on the prevention of disease and the resilience of people. Advanced wellbeing and physical activity have an important role to play in this, something that became apparent throughout the Covid pandemic and beyond. These companies have an important role to play here and the AWRC Accelerator will support them in bringing their products to market.”

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