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Five of the hottest university spin-outs in Sussex

By Matthew Dunne-Miles
18 August 2021

The UK economy growth relies heavily on innovation, and with over 3,000 spin-out businesses established across the UK from 2003 to 2018, university spin-outs are a major source of growth and dynamism. We continue to identify some of the promising up-and-coming incubated businesses in the South East.

The Sussex Innovation Centre, owned by the University of Sussex, has been responsible for the incubation of many businesses in the region since launching in 1996 – and continues to harbour the next generation of talent. 

On top of this, Brighton Research Innovation Technology Exchange (BRITE) from Plus X Innovation HUB and the University of Brighton launched in 2020, with the aim of providing a workspace, facilities, event, and support for growing businesses – which will no doubt provide another pathway for university graduates.

Here are five of the most promising university spin-outs in Sussex that we at The Business Magazine will be keeping an eye on:

Lemonade (

Credit: Lemonade

A business launched as a result of the recently closed DRIVA Arts DRIVA project from The University of Brighton – a £1.3m digital platform that supported technology SMEs and artists alike – Lemonade is an app that describes itself as ‘Pokemon Go meets Silent Disco’ and works with artists to create original music which is then hooked to geolocations in the real world.

The technology was tested at Brighton Festival, with songs ‘hidden’ across the seaside location for festival-goers to find – and the aim is to offer the solution to other cultural events going forward.

Data Javelin (

A University of Sussex spinout, founded in the Astronomy department, using machine learning and artificial intelligence to work on solving real-world problems and support businesses.

Data Javelin’s environmental applications have already included consultancy work for Brighton-based Ambiental Risk Analytics, which called on their expertise to improve their flood prediction tools and services, as well as mapping and projecting crop yields for the agricultural industry. 

Hatsumi VR (

Credit: Hatsumi

A member of the recently launched BRITE program from Plus X Innovation HUB and the University of Brighton, Hatsumi VR is looking to use virtual reality in order to change the way in which we convey information around pain both physical and emotional.

The idea behind the approach is that diagnoses on health issues are often based on patient’s explanations to doctors, which can often result in misdiagnosis. Founder Sarah Ticho drew on her own experiences to create a service that helps people communicate their medical issues visually rather than verbally and has the potential to change healthcare.

The Virtual Doctors (

Credit: The Virtual Doctors

Based at the Sussex Innovation Centre in Falmer, The Virtual Doctors is a charity that uses a smartphone app to connect more than 200 volunteer doctors from across the UK with health centres in rural Zambia and Malawi – where access to proper medical attention can be extremely limited.

The charity has successfully equipped healthcare workers in more than 230 health facilities in Africa to date and continues to expand its offering through the support of donors – with an upcoming crowdfunding campaign scheduled for later this year. 

Emteq Labs (

Another business using The University of Sussex’s Sussex Innovation Centre as a breeding ground for interesting ideas, Emteq Labs are producing wearable technology which can read analyse the expressions and emotions on people’s faces.

The applications for this technology range from use in psychology and neuroscience research, all the way through to content creators adding emotional reactions to their latest video. 

The emteqPRO headset is currently available as a Beta product, with a focus on both academic and market research. 

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