As a Briton, it's always great to see UK innovation and I was pleased to learn today that Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest independent cancer research charity, has spun out a new genomics startup, called Inivata. The company is focusing on the potential for using non-invasive “liquid biopsies”, or blood tests, to detect cancer via circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA).

Inivata has raised funding of £4M / $6.6M to kickstart its efforts and is based in Cambridge, UK. The round was led by Imperial Innovations and also backed by Cambridge Innovation Capital and Johnson & Johnson’s venture capital branch, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation.

Back in 2008, YouNoodle launched with the claim that it could predict a startup's success using artificial intelligence.  Reaction was mixed and six years on, the company's focus has changed considerably.  With a fresh round of funding behind it, YouNoodle is now carving out a new brand for itself as a platform for discovering and managing startup competitions.

Over the past twelve months, 28,000 startups from 153 countries have competed in YouNoodle competitions. A small number of the most innovative of these projects pitched today in YouNoodle Live, a virtual demo day pilot that YouNoodle intends to make a repeat event.


Today is a “dry run” for Y Combinator's Summer 14 batch, when the participating startups present their visions to a room full of previous YC founders. Tomorrow comes the real thing, Demo Day, when they present to a room full of investors.

This year there are 75 companies taking part, including a number of life science-related projects. Although, historically, YC has been reluctant to invest in biotech companies, it has now backed many (impressivelife science-enabling startups.

As the healthcare sector steadily becomes more tech-savvy, investors are ploughing cash into startups that are bringing wider network benefits to what are typically local services. Today came funding announcements from two startups, Doctor on Demand in San Francisco and Figure 1 in Toronto, that are attacking different sides of the healthcare field.

Back in 2012, Max Hodak was carrying out his own scientific research as a student at Duke University. He became frustrated with the process of building experiments and felt it essentially meant pretending to be a robot, without the accuracy of automation. The result of this frustration is Transcriptic, a Menlo-Park-based robotic lab that enables scientists to write experiments from the comfort of their own desks.