UK tech for good put in a strong showing at this week’s Europas Awards – with power-to-the-people provider BuffaloGrid and future prosthetics creator Open Bionics among the big winners. Education, health and green technologies also featured.
Off-grid internet and power provider BuffaloGrid continued its impactful growth story this week, scooping the ‘hottest tech for good’ award at the prestigious annual Europas. Other for-good nominees included OLIO, Neighbourly, Open Bionics, Chatterbox and FoodCloud.
London-based BuffaloGrid, founded in 2011, helps rural and off-grid populations stay connected, by keeping their phones charged through a portable, solar-powered generator hub that can charge 24 phones at the same rate as a wall socket.
During a year-long trial in India, the company delivered over 250,000 mobile phone charges to over 60,000 users. It aims to set up a minimum of 2,000 new hubs this year. It has so far secured $3m in funding, primarily in grants but also crowdfunding.
Joel Gibbard and Samantha Payne, the founders of Bristol-based 3D-printed prosthetics startup Open Bionics, won the ‘hottest startup founders’ award. Their products include 3D-printed superhero arms that “turn disabilities into superpowers” and make children feel more positive about their differences. The pair have combined savvy communications with an amazing tech product.
Winner of the Europa for ‘hottest blockchain for good’ project was London-based Parity Technologies, for its United Nations Jordan Ethereum Project. This combined United Nations, World Food Programme project on the Ethereum blockchain has, said judges, “changed the game for aid distribution to Syrian refugees in Jordan”, and is poised to be applied to other humanitarian projects globally.
Mike Butcher’s Europas hit their 10th year in 2018, bringing together 1000 leading figures from the UK and continental startup and investor community at London’s Brewery venue. An afternoon Europas ‘unconference’ covered Brexit, data privacy, mobility, Ai and blockchain, before an evening gala dinner and awards ceremony.
The 36 Europas awards are based on thousands of public votes, followed by judging by founders and investors. Judges included Carlos Eduardo Espinal of Seedcamp, Eileen Burbidge of Passion Capital and Eze Vidra of Remagine Ventures.
Europas 2018 – impact winners
Hottest tech for good: BuffaloGrid
Hottest startup founders: Joel Gibbard and Samantha Payne, Open Bionics (UK)
Hottest education startup: Lingumi (UK) – language learning platform for pre-school kids encouraging parent participation
Hottest hardware: Kano Computing (UK): with new funding secured, a powerhouse of European hardware
Hottest health: Ada Health (Germany): definitely your future doctor
Hottest greentech startup: Asperitas (Netherlands): the next wave in greening datacentres
Hottest blockchain for good project: United Nations Jordan Ethereum Project by Parity Technologies (UK).
Others 2018 winners include:
Hottest ecommerce/retail: Deliveroo
Hottest fintech: Starling Bank
Hottest games startup: Bossa Studios
Hottest startup accelerator: Founders Factory
Hottest mobile startup: Depop
Hottest cyber security: Digital Shadows
Hottest technology innovation: Ultrahaptics
Fastest rising startup: Revolut
Hall of fame: Saul Klein and Robin Klein, LocalGlobe
Hottest angel/seed investor: Reshma Sohoni and Carlos Eduardo Espinal, Seedcamp.