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Five new graduate start-ups join InnovationRCA

Five impressive teams of RCA graduates have been selected to join InnovationRCA’s Start-up Programme. InnovationRCA’s high-growth start-up incubation programme will provide business support and mentoring to help these graduates to transform their compelling ideas into successful businesses.

1. Deploy Tech Ltd founded by Paul Mendieta 
MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering, 2020

Deploy has created a new approach to water storage
Deploy has created a new approach to water storage

Deploy has created the first-ever air-deployed, ready-to-use concrete water tank. Their product aims to help rural communities and populations fighting wildfires have access to more affordable, transportable and sustainable water storage infrastructure. Each Deploy tank can supply communities of up to 2,000 people. The product has a capacity of 40,000 litres of water, which can extinguish almost four football fields of intense fire.

Their patent-pending technology is breaking the pre-established perception of concrete infrastructures being inflexible, bulky and heavy, creating a time and cost-effective water storage solution. After manufacturing, Deploy’s tanks can be folded and packaged to be shipped anywhere in the world. 

Three generations of Paul’s family have been working to address the issue of water storage in Ecuador for over 50 years. The creation of Deploy is Paul’s innovative solution to the challenge of affordable and sustainable water storage.


2. Nod Technologies Ltd founded by David Freemyer 
MA Service Design, 2019

An example interface for Nod Technologies
Nod Technologies

Nod is a digital start-up working to create a platform that rethinks growth and development in the workplace. The Nod platform provides you context for your daily behaviour and connects you with tools that will help you to discover better ways of working. With so many companies offering generic learning opportunities, Nod hyper-personalises how every single professional learns, changes behaviour and ultimately grows in their career. 

Before founding Nod, David worked with many Fortune 500 companies to create better workplace experiences through design. The idea for Nod stems from his belief that people deserve a better and more fulfilling experience in the workplace. We spend one-third of our lives at work and, for the most part, it's less than ideal. Simply put, Nod wants to make work better. 


3. LiteWork Bikes Ltd founded by James Harness 
MA Vehicle Design (now MA Intelligent Mobility), 2011

LiteWork Bikes logo
LiteWork Bikes Prototype Teaser

LiteWork Bikes are developing a new generation of aesthetic folding bikes to be as pleasurable to ride, as they are to fold, by using innovative design and materials.

For many people, space constraints in the home and a necessity for multi-modal journeys make folding bikes a great solution for urban transportation. But they have their own issues. In particular flex and poor design contribute to a nervous riding experience and excess weight limits portability. 

Before founding LiteWork Bikes, James gained substantial industrial design experience working as a Senior Industrial Designer at Dyson Automotive, and earlier at Bentley Motors. James has also secured venture capital funding for LiteWork Bikes from InnovationRCA’s partner, Venrex Investment Management.


4. The Tyre Collective Ltd founded by Hanson Cheng, Hugo Richardson, Siobhan Anderson & Deepak Mallya
MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering, 2020

The Tyre Collective is a cleantech spinout accelerating the shift towards zero-emission mobility by spearheading tyre wear capture, sensing and monitoring, safeguarding our environment and health. Tyre wear emissions contribute up to 50% of air particulate matter emissions from road transport and are the second-largest source of microplastic pollution in our oceans. Their patent-pending technology uses electrostatics and airflow to capture tyre wear right at the wheel. It currently prevents 60% of these airborne particles from escaping into the air we breathe.

The Tyre Collective’s design is the first of its kind in the world and they won the 2020 Mayor’s Entrepreneur Environment Award, was a national winner for 2020 James Dyson Award and runners-up for the International James Dyson Award. These awards have led them to be profiled in Forbes, iNews, The Guardian, The Times, Dezeen and Design Week.


5. KnitRegen Ltd founded by Laura Salisbury 
PhD researcher in Textiles, Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design.

KnitRegen smart yarn
KnitRegen smart yarn

KnitRegen is developing wearable physiotherapy in the form of smart yarns to help with stroke rehabilitation. Laura has been working with people affected by stroke and leading neurologists to analyse current approaches to upper limb recovery. This research led Laura to develop a patent-pending textile nano structure that provides targeted, continuous limb support by modifying neural responses to improve recovery. 

Laura has recently been awarded MedTech and Advanced Materials grants from Research England and the Henry Royce Institute to further develop materials, scoping wider applications beyond stroke. Laura has also secured venture capital funding for KnitRegen from InnovationRCA’s partner, Venrex Investment Management.