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Success Stories

With the support of Venture Lab, Durham University students and graduates are creating innovative and ambitious startups that positively impact the world. They are tackling issues ranging from food poverty to environmental sustainability. 

Meet some of our inspirational founders below:

Luke Young and Rory Hornby of Alora

Alora was built to solve world hunger and is evolving to create the sustainable future of food. It achieves this by creating crops that can grow in high salt conditions such as salt soils in the Mekong Delta or in coastal saltwater on their floating ocean farms.

  • External finance raised to date: > £2 million
  • Key achievements: Graduated from IndieBio Accelerator, featured in Forbes and Wired, first full-scale pilot launched in Singapore (August 2022), Food Planet Prize Runner Up 2021, and Future Food Asia Finalist 2020, Highly Commended Award at Durham University’s Blueprint Startup Challenge 2019
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IMPOSSIBREW has a mission is to create the world's most complete alternative to alcohol that offers an experience beyond taste. It brews top quality, enhanced non-alcoholic beers developed for relaxation to offer a real alternative for those who don't want to drink alcohol, but still want to unwind with a pint. 

  • Financed raised to date: > £1 million
  • Key achievements: hailed as ‘the most credible 24 year old’ to appear on BBC’s Dragon’s Den, first and only non-alcoholic beer to be awarded the Gold Medal at London Beer Competition 2022, Entrepreneurial Impact Award at Blueprint Startup Challenge 2021
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Natasha Boulding, Scott Bush and Phil Buckley of Sphera 

Sphera is an award-winning speciality materials company focusing on low embodied carbon, next-generation construction material alternatives in the race to Net-Zero. Its products allow the creation of carbon negative concrete blocks with a better thermal insulation and thermal mass than incumbents.

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Will Smith and Peter Kirby of Tred

Tred is a consumer fintech whose mission is to make money work for people and the planet. It has created and launched the UK’s first green debit card that lets you track and offset your carbon footprint as you spend, and plants trees with profits. 

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