Meet our Finalists for MSDUK Innovation Challenge 2018


MSDUK is pleased to announce the finalists for its second annual Innovation Challenge, a pitching business competition that aims to provide opportunities for ethnic minority entrepreneurs in the UK with an innovative idea, product or technology. From Aberdeen to London, UK entrepreneurs submitted an impressive range of ideas within this year’s four key categories: Tech for Good, Disruptive Businesses, Sustainable Futures and Wildcard.

The final will take place at the MSDUK 2018 Conference & Awards in Birmingham on Wednesday 26 th September and will provide the businesses with an opportunity to pitch their idea live to a panel of investors and a global audience of entrepreneurs and business owners.

After the live pitch, three winners will be chosen by a panel of judges who will score finalists on criteria including relevance, quality of innovation and marketing strategy.  This year’s prizes include scholarships worth $10,000 to the prestigious Ivy League Tuck School of Business in the USA, funding opportunities, a place on Accenture’s Development programme and mentoring pitch workshops with international motivational speaker and coach David McQueen.



Carl Thomas, Founding Director

Smart headphones powered by platforms like Spotify, that know how you feel to amplify the impact audio has on your life.

Innovation Sector: Smart Consumer Electronics

More details:

Our lives are shaped by what we hear. And what we hear influences how we feel. Whether forcing us to go hard at the gym. Or helping us enjoy a journey. Music acts as our personal companion. Always there, as a shield against the hammer of reality. Helping us stay in the zone. To focus. To work out, or just to chill.

At Audiowings, we’re passionate about developing tools to help increase the impact audio has on our lives. And we’re doing that, by creating a tool for the heart. Turning headphones into intimate audio computers that use the power of music, to stay connected.

Nicknamed ‘The Shell’, Audiowings are working with an audio manufacturer, creating headphones that connect directly to cloud platforms like Spotify, whilst using sensors to track our environment and the body. We want to understand how you feel when listening to music, to create your unique soundtrack with smart recommendations. The platform powering The Shell also taps into audiobooks and podcasts. We’re all about giving you access to your favourite audio. Wherever you are. Straight in your ears. With nothing in the way.What we’re striving to develop is the iPod for the always-on streaming generation. To help you Hear how you Feel, to really Feel what you Hear.

Biggest company milestones:

  • Patent granted for a core piece of our technology
  • Concept endorsed by Sir Richard Branson, EE and others
  • A joint venture agreement signed with a global headphone company for access to manufacturing and distribution resources

LinkedIn: N/A

Twitter:  @Audiowings


High performance, superior quality, rapid fit, fire test approved insulation for 2 storey homes. 

Innovation Sector: Construction

More details:

Current technology for insulating 2 storey homes built with solid walls is failing. Envirup’s patented insulation system takes the complexity those systems into high a quality manufacturing process, resulting in high performance, fire test approved product that quicker and easy to fit. Targeting the fuel poor market, this product aims to reduce the impact of fuel poverty, where over 31,000 people die every year in the UK alone.
The system is the culmination of over 7 years work, invented by Envirup, experts building energy efficiency and supported by leaders in the sector including Eon Energy and Nottingham University’s Department of the Built Environment.

Biggest company milestones:

  • Winner of multiple Innovate UK development grants
  • Winner of ‘People and Environment’ Award 2017
  • Winner of Climate KIC Cleantech Accelerator Grant


Twitter:  @Envirup


Hello Daisy is an internet enabling private social network, using any TV, so older people who are digitally / socially excluded, can connect with family, friends, community and their health and care providers.

Innovation Sector: Health & Care

More details:

Hello Daisy is a private social media platform that internet enables anyTV using our set-top box, camera and remote. Family, friends, community and health and care professionals can connect and share life experiences such as photos, videos, messages, video-chat using our companion app through any smart device.

Biggest company milestones:

  • Finalist in Centrica’s Global Active Ageing Challenge
  • Featured start-up for the Winner of Innovation 2018 with The School of Engineering, London South Bank University
  • 740 pre-registered customers including BUPA Care Homes, NHS CCGS, Councils, Housing Associations, AGE UK London and consumers.


Twitter:  @hellodaisylife


Nicole Kayode, Founder

Medixus is a peer-to-peer app for healthcare workers across Africa and beyond to connect and collaborate on challenging patient case, in real time.

Innovation Sector: Healthcare

More details:

Medixus uses technology to plug the gaps in physical proximity, empowering clinicians and fostering the pan-African healthcare community. We believe that through real-time cross disciplinary collaboration, a higher quality of clinical decisions can be made leading to improved quality of patient care. At the core of Medixus is the ethos that no front-line healthcare worker should feel unsupported in her/his decision making. We aim to harness the expertise that exists on the continent, and ensure all healthcare workers can access this at the push of a button

Biggest company milestones:

  • Winner of Start Up Pitching session @ EU-Africa Business Forum, Abidjan
  • Launch of MVP in app store, play store and web version
  • Signed four pilot hospitals in Kenya


Twitter: @MedixusHealth


Christiana Iliya, CEO/Founder

We are individuals who are passionate about making refreshing drinks that are inspired by flavours from a diverse range of cultures from different parts of the world, whilst caring for the environment and having a positive impact on the lives of the people we work with.

Innovation Sector: Food and Drink

More details:

Our Innovation
  • Great taste with a difference
Mother Nature’s Was born out of a desire to tackle food insecurity in a refreshing way
  • Mitigating the growing impact of food insecurity at farm level

We support small/ independent farmers; we promote sustainable farming practices, in line with the climate challenges, promoting.

  • Raising awareness of Climate Change
We are raising awareness of climate change on food security in some of the most vulnerable communities.
  • Make Ethnically varied flavours of natural drinks

to meet the growing need for more interesting choices in food and drinks in the UK and EU.

Our vision:
  • Champion Sustainability- We will continue to work with more small scale farmers to raise awareness and source their natural farm produce.
  • Become Europe’s leading sustainable ethnically diverse brand, making refreshing and healthy drinks and investing in farming techniques that combat climate change.
  • Mother Nature’s was born in July of 2017. following an intense product development process, the company started a pre- trading launch period which began in January of 2018 and distributes to independent retailers in Hertfordshire.

Biggest company milestones:

  • 3 supplier deals with Independent retailers under two months of trading
  • 70 bottles sold in food stores under 2 months of trading; Angel Investment Offer (worth up to £10,000)


Twitter: N/A


Olivia Ahn, Co-Founder

Polipop provides the markets first flushable and biodegradable sanitary products. 

Innovation Sector: FemTech

More details:

Polipop is a new approach to periods. Our proprietary flushable and biodegradable products have a higher absorbability than current disposables and will disintegrate away within minutes in water. We deliver a personalised box through our customer’s letterbox before every period – all for just 10p more than the market leader Always.
Our platform tracks and predict our users period, while going one step further to actively recommend personalised solutions to the issues they faces every month, such as cramps or acne. These solutions are driven by our menstrual health research through our partnered universities and institutes. Creating an active loop that’s not about selling monthly products but finding the best possible period. Polipop is made by you. For you. Period.

Biggest company milestones:

  • London Mayor Entrepreneur Winner 2018
  • Partnership with Manchester University and the Indian National Government for our medical research initiatives and social impact respectively
  • Manufacture ready product with multiple products for R&D in the pipeline


Twitter: @Polipop_Care


Rotimi Alabi, Founder/CEO

RAB-Microfluidics diagnose early signs of failure in lubricated heavy machinery by continously analysing the lubricating oil in realtime with our microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technology, improving efficiency and increasing uptime of machinery.

Innovation Sector: Energy

More details:

RAB-Microfluidics improve efficiency, reduce OPEX and increase the uptime of heavy rotating machinery. To do this, we diagnose early signs of failure in lubricated heavy machinery by continously analysing the lubricating oil in realtime with our microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technology.
Early diagnosis of potential failure in heavy machinery is critical to operations across many industries. For this reason, industrial businesses in 2016 spent £2.01Bn on state-of-the-art Oil Condition Monitoring (OCM) techniques. These techniques however, are inefficient, expensive and environmentally unfriendly. For example, additional £2.1Bn was spent in 2016 on breakdowns, repairs and costs associated with downtime losses, highlighting the inefficiency of current OCM technologies. RAB-Microfluidics has developed cutting edge microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technology to deliver real-time continuous testing and analysis of lubricating oil. Our “lab-on-a-chip” technology delivers oil analysis 1000 times faster and 10 times cheaper than the current “send the sample to the laboratory” approach. We combine our hardware technology with data computing by developing machine learning capabilities to utilise the continuous real-time machine health information (big data) generated by our hardware for smart predictive maintenance solutions.

Our technologies enable us to solve the hard-to-reach and hard-to-sense challenges of many businesses across various industries e.g oil and gas (upstream and downstream), power generation, wind sector etc., using the data we generate intelligently and innovatively to forward model machinery behaviour and immerse businesses in industry 4.0. Specifically, we offer customers real-time continuous monitoring, early problem diagnosis, rapid decision making, enhanced efficiency and cost savings. RAB-Microfluidics is looking to disrupt the current OCM status quo and drive an automated OCM market, estimated to be worth £250 million in the next four years, with our automated predictive maintenance technology. RAB-Microfluidics believe we can pioneer a £250mn automated OCM market with our technology.

Biggest company milestones:

  • Multi award-winning Scottish-based start-up, who to date have secured funding of over £900k from grants/awards and private investment
  • 1 of 10 pioneering start-up companies on the Oil and Gas Technology center’s TechX accelerator programme
  • 1 of 20 twenty selected for the inaugural Royal Society of Edinburgh Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship funded by the Scottish Government.


Twitter:  @RAB_Micro


hris Forbes and Julie Chen, Co-Founders

Making the world’s most sustainable tissue by using bamboo.

Innovation Sector: Tissue Products

More details:

The Cheeky Panda Ltd source, manufacture and offer a range of tissue products made 100% from bamboo. Our tissue is ultra-sustainable, carbon neutral and also the worlds first vegan tissue. Our tissue also has a range of health benefits, this is due to the lack of chemicals needed in the production of our tissue. The Cheeky Panda Ltd has been established since 2016, growing from strength to strength.

Now being listed with the largest retailers in the UK, we can also be found in a large selection of European countries. Save the trees with every sneeze!

Biggest company milestones:

  • We are Amazon’s choice in the toilet tissue category
  • We have had a £1m investment, to fund a marketing campaign on Channel 5.
  • We are now listed with Tesco’s, the largest UK retailer.


Twitter:  @TheCheekyPanda1


Imran Shafqat, Head of Cloud; Aman Gupta, Head of Devices

ThingTrax makes factory smart, regardless of its age, size or sector by providing easy to setup devices and simple to use ThingTrax cloud platform powered by Artificial Intelligence.

Innovation Sector: Industrial IOT

More details:

ThingTrax provides an end-to-end industrial IoT solution providing easy to setup devices and simple to use web and mobile software. ThingTrax is the Chromecast for manufacturing machines, bringing desperate disconnected machines online to provide crucial KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for every manufacturer. ThingTrax AI powered cloud continuously analyses data to provide real time actionable insights to manufacturers.

Biggest company milestones:

  • Customers in 5 different countries
  • More than 250+ connected machines, 120+ connected labours
  • Winner of Innovation award in 2017 at Interplas UK


Twitter: @thingtrax


Alborz Bozorgi and Ellenor McIntosh, Co-Founders

The world’s first truly flushable toilet wipes!

Innovation Sector: Clean Tech

More details:

14% of the UK’s wet wipes sales are used in the bathroom, but traditional wet wipes aren’t flushable! Twipes solve this with the world’s first truly flushable wet wipes!

No more sewer blockages, no more fatberg and no more microplastics in our oceans. Follow Twipes to make our oceans and sewers more sustainable!

Biggest company milestones:

  • The Mayor of London’s Entrepreneurs of the Year for 2017
  • UK Women’s Startup Competition Winners 2017
  • Germany’s Green Innovation Forum Winners 2018


Twitter: @ace_twipes


Mansata Kurang, Co-Founder

We provide an interactive and personalised platform for an uplifting social experience using a virtual reality app and headset for dementia sufferers – reliving memories, general increase in mood and happiness.

Innovation Sector: Tech for Good

More details:

Dementia causes memory loss, confusion and difficulties with thinking. According to the World Alzheimer Report, dementia will become a trillion-dollar disease by 2018, rising to US$ 2 trillion by 2030 in worldwide cost of treatment. 46.8 million people worldwide were living with dementia in 2015. This number will almost double every 20 years (74.7m in 2030, 131.5m in 2050). Despite Alzheimer’s being the world’s fifth biggest killer, funding levels for research have lagged shockingly behind those for both cancer and cardiovascular disease. The traditional approach draws on physical visual stimulus such as photo books, or even involves substantial investment in constructing full-scale sets that recreate nostalgic scenes.

Our solution is to provide an interactive platform for an uplifting social experience through an app and headsets through a general 360-degree film with an additional customisation feature which personalises the app where patients can upload photos and videos into app. It will include familiar and peaceful scenes such as: Hyde Park, Epping Forest, Brighton seaside, Dam flask reservoir to help alleviate stress and bring back good past memories. There will be an option for simple games such as ‘spotting the gems’ to help stimulate their brain activity. The service part of our business will involve going into care homes to deliver personalised VR sessions.

Biggest company milestones:

  •  Winner: Sky Women in Technology Award with £25,000 grant and mentorship from Debbie Forster MBE, chief executive of education technology platform Apps for Good (article) 
  • Runner Up: Foundervine and Ernst & Young Start-up 54 Hackathon


Twitter: N/A


Giselle Frederick, CEO/Founder

Zingr is the Minimum Viable Ecosystem for Financial Inclusion and Financial Literacy for the Unbanked and Underbanked in developing countries.

Innovation Sector: FinTech / Financial Inclusion

More details:

We are enabling digital payments on smart and feature phones in developing countries through a platform that makes accepting payments online and P2P seamless, fast and secure. Our remittance component uses Blockchain reduces the cost of remittances. Our Social & Digital KYC will enable anyone to have an online identity. Our AI & ML layer will allow users to gain insights into their spending and along with budgeting and financial literacy tools to help them manage their money while embedding local AML laws in algorithms. Cash-out option will be implemented through Merchants.

Biggest company milestones:

  • Signed partnership agreement with a major artisan craft marketplace in Asia.
  • Signed partnership with major bars, supermarkets and hotel chains in the Caribbean.


Twitter: N/A