Innovative spinoff companies from Uppsala University funded by Vinnova

29 May 2018

Sustainable, seasonally independent herb cultivation: Optima Planta is one of the companies linked to Uppsala University that are receiving support through Vinnova’s Innovative Startups programme.

In Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova’s latest call for proposals in the Innovative Startups initiative, 92 companies with innovative business ideas are to share SEK 27 million. Among the companies selected are Soccermatics, Optima Planta and MaishaBit, which were started by researchers and students at Uppsala University.

Vinnova has selected 92 young companies with innovative business ideas to receive up to SEK 300,000 each, to further develop their ideas. The aim is to help them progress to innovative solutions that can reach the market and contribute to Sweden’s development and competitiveness. Three of the companies selected in competition among the more than 400 that applied, originate from Uppsala University: Soccermatics, Optima Planta and MaishaBit.

Soccermatics has created a digital football expert, David the bot, which bases all its views on data and technology. Its purpose is to make it more fun to watch football and help football enthusiasts understand more of the game. It retrieves its knowledge from an algorithm created by David Sumpter, Professor at the Department of Mathematics, who also founded the company Soccermatics and wrote the bestseller with the same name (Soccermatics: Mathematical Adventures in the Beautiful Game). The company has already assisted Premier League clubs with analysis and is now discussing more in-depth cooperation with one of the League’s most successful teams. See David Sumpter’s TEDx talk on Soccermatics.

Optima Planta grows herbs and other green crops without soil, sunlight or pesticides – vertically, locally and all year round, regardless of weather and season. This is achieved through a closed cultivation system, which means that the plant environment can be regulated with great precision according to the plants’ needs. The company’s current cultivation module will have a production capacity of some 7,000 plant units per month, equivalent to about 1 tonne of green plants per year. Optima Planta was founded in 2017 by Lennart Sör, who studied on the Master Programme in Molecular Biotechnology Engineering, specialising in Bioinformatics, at Uppsala University.

MaishaBit designs and develops eHealth solutions for diabetes and other chronic diseases in close collaboration with end users – patients and healthcare personnel. In addition to providing patients and health professionals with a digital solution for communication, it enables healthcare staff to monitor their patients’ health status, for example.

UU Innovation has given these companies early-stage business development support including, for example, business and patent advice and funding for verification (for collaboration). Two of them have also participated in the business incubator UIC’s business development programme.

Another four companies that receive funding from Vinnova in this initiative are based in Uppsala. See the full list of innovative startups that receive funding here (in Swedish).