Student entrepreneurs selected for South Korea trade visit

Issue date: 19 March 2018

Student technology entrepreneurs from Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) have been selected to take part in an Innovate UK business trip to South Korea.

The founders of Altitude Tech, a start-up venture specialising in robotics and nanomaterials based in the BRL's Hardware Incubator, will meet representatives from companies including Hyundai and Samsung during the trade mission this week.

Ali Rohafza, the company's CEO, said: “This event brings together companies and research-performing organisations working in key enabling technologies to focus on the opportunities and benefits that innovative solutions can bring to achieve more efficient and effective operational models. The event features two key sectors where the UK and South Korea are particularly strong: advanced material and immersive tech.

“This is a rare opportunity to meet a host of South Korean companies pushing the boundaries of technology development. We will be networking with car giant Hyundai, discussing our graphene progress with nanotechnology specialists KAIST & Hanwha. We will also be dropping in for a visit to see Samsung's Internet of Things branch, Samsung ARTIK, to further a relationship which was started last year.”

Altitude Tech is following in the footsteps of several other successful start-up companies from the BRL Hardware Incubator selected for Innovate UK/Department for International Trade-funded International Business Exchange Programme trips. In recent years Reach Robotics, Open Bionics, Agilic and Aralia Systems have visited the USA, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan, as part of the 'Innovation is GREAT' campaign.

Based at Bristol Robotics Laboratory, Altitude Tech benefits from access to world-class technology expertise and state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment. With recent advances in sensor technologies, the company is developing a new range of gas sensors using machine algorithms which could significantly drive down their cost. Working at the forefront of nanomaterials research, Altitude Tech's founders believe its graphene sensor technology has the potential to make an impact in robotics, medicine and other sectors.

The company was founded by three students who were studying Robotics and Product Design at UWE Bristol. They initially developed an air quality sensor called Sensly, and after looking for a remote data collection solution, created Iot Bit, a mobile data HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) for the Raspberry Pi and similar mini computers. Since then they have managed to grow a successful business and have brought a range of products to market. The team is now made up of seven core members, all of whom studied at UWE Bristol. BRL's Hardware Incubator has been an integral part of their success.

Altitude Tech has also found success in the Duke of York's Pitch@Palace initiative, which helps to connect entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses with potential supporters, including CEOs, influencers, angels, mentors and business partners. Their Pitch@Palace story began in 2015, when the business reached the boot camp stage of the competition. The company was subsequently invited to further events across the globe including one in Lebanon. Altitude Tech's relationship with Pitch@Palace continues, with its founders attending alumni events, most notably a recent networking evening at Buckingham Palace.

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