What do insects, menopause, bananas and personalised healthcare have in common?

Posted on: 21/11/2022
Row of solar panels

They’re some of the areas being looked at by 12 startups on the new Sustainable Impact Investment accelerator programme.

The Sustainable Impact Investment Programme (SIIP) is an initiative led and funded by Innovate UK KTN to support high-growth impact-driven startups from the UK who were awarded grants from the Sustainable Innovation Fund to aid economic recovery after Covid-19. 

Each startup has received funding from Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund and was selected from thousands of others to join the 12-week accelerator programme run by Innovate UK KTN and Growth Studio

These startups prioritise social impact and sustainability to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges, including agriculture, mental health, battery systems, and carbon-free energy. 

The 12-week accelerator programme has seen these impact SMEs receive expert support on everything from business modelling and go-to-market strategies, to sales and investor relations. They are all currently fundraising (from £300k – £5m).

See their pitches at the SIIP Demo Day on Thursday 1st December in central London.

Meet the Cohort

Achelous Energy

Founders: James Diddams & Tim Wood

Discipline: Net Zero, Energy

770 million people globally live without access to electricity, inhibiting jobs, health, education and wealth. But renewable energy often comes at a cost; expensive to build, install and maintain, with many technologies dependent on variable factors such as wind or sun.

Achelous’ floating power-generating platforms are placed on fast-flowing rivers, turning kinetic river energy into continuous, clean, electricity 24/7. They are easily installed and cheaply maintained.


Founder: James Kong

Discipline: Net Zero, Energy

4 billion people rely on diesel generators for energy, and nearly 1 billion have none. In the developing world, energy is expensive and dependent on fossil fuels. So how do we supply energy to more people, without the environmental cost?

ALP’s architecturally re-designed intelligent battery system can use different – or heterogeneous – battery cells and chemistries with our AI/ML ‘brains’ and proprietary electronics. The result? The system acts more like an intelligent multi-cellular organism, self-adjusting and optimising for power output and duration at a lower cost.


Founders: Michael Wilkinson & Aleardo Furlani

Discipline: MedTech, Health & Wellbeing

Care plans prescribed by doctors are not only complicated to follow for patients but also difficult to convey in a way that makes sense to patients. This leads to the abandonment of plans, worsened outcomes for patients and additional strain on healthcare systems.

Avatr lets doctors input care and medication plans and removes complexity making it easy for patients to follow. With Avatr, doctors can assess the effectiveness of medication against each individual patient’s lifestyle, biomarkers and effects on mental health in order to intervene/intercept when needed, to offer more proactive care at scale. Patients now have the peace of mind that they are being looked after between their visits to the doctor.

Beta Bugs

Founder: Thomas Farrugia

Discipline: Food, AgriTech

Insect farming is a rapidly scaling alternative protein source used for pet, fish and livestock feed. But currently, insect protein cannot compete on price with traditional proteins (soya, fishmeal).

Beta bugs selectively breed Black Soldier Flies (BSF), improving their performance. Selling either eggs or larvae, their insects grow faster and larger. This helps farmers improve their yield, lower their costs, and ultimately make insect protein compete on price with traditional proteins.

Born Maverick

Founders: Azhar Murtuza, Parag Acharya, Stephane Durand & Tom Kinney

Discipline: Food

The food industry is killing our planet. It contributes 18bn tonnes of greenhouse gasses every year, has depleted our soil nutrients by 40%, and wastes 13.8% of food grown. And yet we have 9 billion people to feed by 2050.

Born Maverick are bioengineers developing tasty, nutritious alternative proteins from sustainable, plant-based ingredients for the food industry to develop new, affordable food products like meatless shrimp and scallop, and plant-based milks.


Founders: Dan Yates & Mehrnaz Tajmir

Discipline: AgriTech, Food

Building a sustainable agrifood business is hard, and it starts with sustainable partners. This is because 90% of businesses’ impact comes from their supply chains. But knowing what works and where to start is complicated, expensive, and time-consuming for agrifood businesses.

Greener learns what businesses do, want, and need and then connects them with perfect partners. Greener companies can:

  • Grow their business by finding perfect suppliers/buyers/partners
  • Strengthen sustainability credentials
  • Streamline procurement
  • Be part of a like-minded community.


Founders: Becky Cotton & Mo Morgan

Discipline: MedTech

21 million across the UK, EU and North America currently are experiencing difficult menopause symptoms. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been proven to help, but access is poor due to high costs and workforce shortages.

Seren is the world’s first digital therapeutic for menopause symptoms. It helps healthcare providers and employers improve outcomes, by making CBT available at low cost, at scale, with no waiting times.


Founders: Dr Andrew Lee, Amin Premji, & Prof Mark Lyte

Discipline: Food, AgriTech

Globally around 50m tons of bananas are discarded into landfill each year. Currently, there exists no large-scale use for this waste which gives off greenhouse gases equivalent to 665 mT CO2 pa. Lytegro has the technology to utilise this waste to make valuable products for use across multiple high-value industries.

They aim to set up global production plants via joint venture partnerships to utilise this untapped waste stream to produce our products for sale to local distilleries and bio-energy plants.


Founders: Charlotte Morley

Discipline: Circular Economy, Consumer

Clothing kids is a never-ending parental burden. It costs a fortune, takes huge amounts of time, and creates guilt-inducing levels of waste. Meanwhile, brands are looking for new ways to engage with ever more conscious consumers, while profitably controlling their growing secondary markets.

Ethical childrenswear brands partner with us to rent and re-sell their clothing via our circular clothing platform. Parents can rent, swap, and even buy styles as often as they like – saving up to £1000 p.a. And brands have a new channel and revenue stream to connect with today’s more conscious parent.


Founders: Colin Herperger, Steven Pippin, & Steven Davies

Discipline: Transport & Mobility, Consumer

Urban movement has changed through on-demand bikes and scooters— a trend that will only grow supported by massive investment (£500bn+ to date). Safety remains the #1 barrier to micro-mobility adoption and is a key industry growth issue. Yet, helmet technology hasn’t kept up with this shift towards spontaneous and convenient transport.

VENTETE has created the first micro-collapsible helmet. When stored, it is smaller than a laptop and 5x thinner than the next best competitor. The helmet inflates from flat to on your head in 20 seconds and has a leading safety performance.


Founders: Mark Pearce & Jason Wheatley

Discipline: AI, Machine Learning

Wyser help people with legal disputes. For help, they turn to experts who are either expensive (lawyers) or oversubscribed (ombudsman/ government bodies). As a result, legitimate claimants often give up because of cost, or because backlogs are so long that they lose the will to pursue their case.

Wyser’s conversational and machine learning AI combines an understanding of the law, best practice and natural human conversation to gather the right info from citizens and lower the cost to serve.


Founders: Dr. Rod Lane, Dan Severn, & Emma Northover

Discipline: MedTech, Wearables

Obesity is the new global epidemic that has long-term health implications. Today’s smartwatches can inform the way you exercise and sleep, but cannot inform what you should/shouldn’t eat, or how foods can positively or negatively affect your body. If they could, people would be empowered to make better food decisions.

A sensor that measures blood sugar through the skin that is ready to integrate into any smartwatch/fitness tracker. The sensor allows manufacturers to create new propositions for their users centred around food – including how they can lose weight, stay healthy, get stronger and get in shape.

Meet the SIIP cohort at Demo Day

Join us and our 12 Impact SMEs in Central London on Thursday 1st December from 14:00 – 17:30 to meet the founders, hear their pitches for investment, and join a carefully selected, invitation-only room of investors, press, and industry experts.

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