UCL Entrepreneurs and founders of Captum Technology; Sam Ghazizadeh and Hossien Bahrami were successful in reaching the final of the Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition 2017.
The competition challenges London students to think of ways to improve the city, make it more sustainable and reduce carbon emissions. Sam and Hossien were selected from more than 300 entries to take part in the live final of the Mayor’s Entrepreneur competition on Monday 20th March. Each competitor was judged on originality, practicality, clarity, longevity and importantly – carbon savings. Competition for the two groups of UC groups came from King’s College London, City and Imperial College London.
They pitched to a high-profile panel of judges including perfume entrepreneur Jo Malone MBE, Jenny Tooth OBE from UK Business Angels Association, Niels Kirk from Citi, Christian Lane from Smarter.am and previous winner Arthur Kay from Bio-bean at London City Hall.
Here is an account of their experience:
‘We heard about the 2017 Mayor of London Entrepreneur competition from UCL Enterprise. As some of you may know, a previous winner of this competition was Arthur Kay from UCL who is now the CEO of bio-bean and wants to turn Coffee waste into valuable bi-products. We were greatly inspired by his success from UCL and wanted to give our idea a chance in this competition. UCL Enterprise has been extremely supportive in many aspects: they really helped us to polish our business model, to know our numbers very well, and also to prepare for pitching our idea.
The process of this competition started with submitting an online proposal where we had to explain our business idea in simple terms but in detail. Amongst 350 submissions which involved about 600 students, 10 groups were selected as the finalists and we were one of them! We were then invited to pitch our idea in two minutes in front of a panel of judges who were selected by the City Hall. We were proud to see Arthur Kay as one of the judges! We received very positive feedback about our project and how we should take it forward. The competition gave us a great exposure and also the opportunity to talk to various CEOs and investors invited to the City Hall.’
Sam and Hossiens idea in Mayor’s competition was a London-based and UCL home-grown start-up called Captum Technology – a clean technology start-up that is developing novel methods to turn carbon dioxide into valuable materials which can be vastly used in manufacturing industries. They aim to reduce the CO emissions from industrial plants in a financially viable way.
Sam explains: ‘Captum Technology has two forms of clients. First, industries who emit carbon dioxide as their waste gas. Our service to these industries is that we setup our CO2-capturing technology in their plants and reduce their CO2 emissions on a significantly higher scale than is currently possible. Our value proposition to these industries is that we offer our technology at no cost! This means that industries such as cement or energy, need not invest directly in their CO2 reduction. In return, we will require to have the full right/access to use their waste gas.
In industrial plants, such as cement, we direct the output gas streams into a large-scale apparatus where CO2 transforms to carbon. First, the gas flue will be inserted into a process that can selectively take up the CO2 molecules. Then, the taken CO2 gas will be utilised in a chemical reaction to form carbon. Carbon is our added value product with a chemical composition suitable for various applications. We aim to sell the carbon in bulk to various manufacturing industries, such as Steel.’
They go on to explain: ‘Although at the end we did not win the competition, our experience with Mayor’s competition has been indeed empowering. We had to be well prepared in front of the judges – very similar to the Dragons’ Den style. In principle, we had to present our idea very concisely but effectively. This, on its own, was a great skill we acquired from the process. At the end of the day, it’s all about how you present yourself and sell your idea in a compelling way. You want to show you’re best suited for a given opportunity.’
They are currently seeking support, endorsement and investments from interested parties in the UK to make our idea into reality. ‘We have to say that being a finalist in the Mayor’s competition has served us very well!’
Find out more on their website – www.captumtechnology.com
And for more information about the Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition click here – https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/environment/smart-london-and-innovation/mayors-entrepreneur-competition