Young dragon invests time in new start ups

Published: 5 May 2010 at 15:29

Anglia Ruskin University postgraduate student shares ‘sound’ business solution with other ventures

A 29 year old Anglia Ruskin PhD graduate - who started out on a Science Foundation      course because he did not have the A level Maths he needed to enter directly onto his chosen Audio Music Technology programme – has joined up with the dragon’s den style Ventures Academy to help mentor budding entrepreneurs who want to take investment-ready ideas to their next level. His company Audio Analytic ( has been listed as one of the Daily Telegraph’s Top  100 Growth Companies.

Dr Chris Mitchell, an outstanding example of lifelong learning, progressed to study BSc Audio & Music Technology, graduating in 2002 and gaining his PhD in 2007.  Near the end of the PhD, Chris was shortlisted by the National Council of Graduate Entrepreneurship in a hunt for the UK’s future entrepreneurial talent, being one of just a select group to spend six months in the USA in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Now CEO of Audio Analytic, based in Cambridge, his company produces the software that automatically classifies sounds by means of computer analysis. The software produced can detect a wide variety of sounds from dogs barking to various genres of music. This award winning technology was developed as a result of three years of cutting edge research into sound recognition.

He has recently addressed the Spring 2010 Ventures Academy for NACUE, the National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Cambridge hosted by The Hauser Forum.

Talking about his business idea, Chris said:

"We enable security officers to be looking at the right CCTV camera at the right point in time to detect crimes, incidents or events from the sounds that they generate."

"Put simply, my product is a black box computer that ‘listens’ to sounds, and by analysing and identifying their audio signals it automatically flags these sounds to a user".

"Its [the software’s] adaptability means that it will suit several different markets, including internet searches, TV programme and Security."

Continues Chris,

"My degree helped a lot as it afforded me time to find a course and a direction I massively enjoyed."

The Ventures Academy is a new initiative for Cambridge which provides young entrepreneurs with the ultimate opportunity to learn more about start-up finance, become investment ready and connect with potential backers.

It brings together some of the most promising young entrepreneurs, enterprising students, investors and mentors in a programme that helps young entrepreneurs develop the knowledge, skills and networks needed to take their start-ups to the next level.

Convinced of the potential of the Ventures Academy Professor Terry Mughan at the   Ashcroft International Business School said:

"During these events the venture-owners have demonstrated the tenacity and drive they need to succeed and with the help of entrepreneurs such as Chris, these individuals will have the motivation and commitment they need to take their business ideas to the next stage. They will need sharply honed skills to rise to the challenges that will face as they bring their business ideas to fruition."

Many Cambridge entrepreneurs are supporting the inventive programme including Professor Alan Barrell, a Cambridge business angel and entrepreneur in residence and Modwenna Rees-Mogg, CEO of Angel News, Gareth Roberts, CEO of PneumaCare, Miranda Weston-Smith of MWS Consulting, Jack Lang, a serial entrepreneur and business angel, and Amy Mokady, i-Teams Director.

Speakers and mentors are focusing on the fields of private equity, venture commercialisation, business planning and innovation.

The events have so far included a ‘Start Up Finance Masterclass’ and an ‘Investment Readiness Day’.

On May 26 the Ventures Academy will be staging ‘Deal Day’ which will see investors introduced to the group to look at 10 minute pitch presentations.

Professor Barrell said the Ventures Academy was highly significant for entrepreneurs in the UK.  He predicts that the initiative will become a nationwide and then a worldwide movement and activity. The advisory board of NACUE is already a phenomenon in its own right – now with 35,000 members in less than a year of life.