Michael Baum, the founding CEO of $5 billion (£3.3 billion) big data pioneer Splunk, is backing eight UK university spinout companies through his Founder.org programme.

The startups, among 40 announced today as the Founder.org class of 2016, will receive up to $100,000 (around £70,000) and embark on a company building program designed to create a foundation for "startup hyper growth". 

The University of Oxford also spawned AI firm DeepMind ©istock/peterspiro

UK firms among the cohort range from the University of Oxford’s GiveVision, which has invented a pair of smart glasses for the visually impaired, to Blocks, a modular smartwatch platform spun out of Imperial College London. A full list can be found below.

Founder.org said it has picked the companies because they are solving some of the planet’s biggest problems and they need help.  

"Our mission is to support the next generation of courageous innovators to help them alter the future in profoundly positive ways," said Baum. "We focus on startups with the biggest ideas that are going to have a measurable impact on our world.” 

Applicants for the latest cohort came from 45 schools across Europe and North America, representing nine countries and more than 20 different industries, including: space technology, life sciences, mass customisation, agriculture 2.0, industrial sensors, robotics, digital health and genomics. 

Since launching in 2012, Founder.org claims to have engaged over 100 startups in its programme and further invested in 20 companies through its investment fund.

The first-year class had 10 student teams and seven of them received venture investments of up to $2.5 million. 

UK spinouts in Founder.org class of 2016

  • Building Radar: Geo-opportunity analysis (Center for Digital Technology Management, London School of Economics, Technische Universität München)
  • Blocks: Modular smartwatch platform (Imperial College London)
  • Biocarbon Engineering: Industrial scale reforestation (University of Oxford)
  • BeamLine Diagnostics: Pre-cancer screening software (University College London)
  • Cambridge Bio-Augmentation: Platform for interactive prosthesis (University of Cambridge)
  • GiveVision: Smart Glasses for the visually impaired (University of Oxford)
  • Gravity Sketch Limited: 3D Sketching in augmented reality (Imperial College London)
  • Serket: Pharmacy integrated solution for medical non-adherence (University of Cambridge)

Full list of 2016 class

  • Additive Rocket Company: Rocket engines for nano rocket launchers (UCSD)
  • Akanocure Pharmaceuticals: Nature inspired cancer therapies (Purdue University)
  • AlphaSheets: Cloud-based financial modeling (MIT)
  • Audacy Corporation: Space-based Internet (Stanford University)
  • BeamLine Diagnostics: Pre-cancer screening software (University College London)
  • Biocarbon Engineering: Industrial scale reforestation (University of Oxford)
  • BioInspira: Airborne chemical detection (University of California Berkeley)
  • Blocks: Modular smartwatch platform (Imperial College London)
  • Building Radar: Geo-opportunity analysis (Center for Digital Technology Management, London School of Economics, Technische Universität München)
  • Cambridge Bio-Augmentation: Platform for interactive prosthesis (University of Cambridge)
  • Cariboo: Turning locals into tour guides (ESCP Europe, EDHEC, Ecole Centrale Paris)
  • Civil Maps: Intelligent big data driven maps (University of California Berkeley)
  • Deekit: Real-time whiteboards (Tallinn University of Technology)
  • Deliberate: Global debate on important issues (Stanford University)
  • Desaia: Design and creation software for 3D virtual worlds (Technische Universität Berlin)
  • Dramatize: Streaming Bollywood worldwide (Harvard Business School)
  • Guardian Sensors: Vital sign sensors (University of Texas at Austin)
  • GiveVision: Smart Glasses for the visually impaired (University of Oxford)
  • Gravity Sketch Limited: 3D Sketching in augmented reality (Imperial College London)
  • Havenly: Personalized interior design (University of Pennsylvania)
  • HeySuccess: Marketplace for international student programs (Tallinn University of Technology)
  • ICEYE: Radar-based satellite imaging service (Aalto University)
  • LaserX: Satellite to ground communication (MIT, Harvard Business School)
  • LocoRobo Innovations Inc: Learning programming through robotics (Drexel University)
  • ManoMotion: Real-time 3D gesture tracking and analysis (KTH Royal Institute of Technology)
  • peerCast: Peer-to-peer live-streaming video (KTH Royal Institute of Technology)
  • Poly6 Technologies: Sustainable plastics technology (MIT)
  • Rankmi: Digitized talent management (UCLA)
  • RaptorMaps: Unmanned aerial systems for agriculture (MIT)
  • Rorus Inc.: Water purifiers for natural disaster relief (Carnegie Mellon)
  • Rubbee: E-bike conversion system (Kaunas University of Technology)
  • Sandbox SEF: Remote scientific experimentation (MIT)
  • Serket: Pharmacy integrated solution for medical non-adherence (University of Cambridge)
  • Spoiler Alert: Marketplace for surplus food (MIT)
  • SUN Bioscience: Organoids as a service (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)
  • Symbio Robotics: Software for industrial robotics (University of California Berkeley, University of Southern California)
  • Transcense: Audio visual aids for the hearing-impaired (University of California Berkeley, University of San Francisco)
  • Unite Genomic Solutions: Big data analytics for genomics (University of California Berkeley)
  • Vendri: Video ad acceleration (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Woobo: AI-based imaginary friend (MIT, Carnegie Mellon University) 

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