date and time icon Thu, 05 Oct 2023

LastingAsset scoops major tech prize at Converge Awards

The team behind an Edinburgh Napier University project are celebrating a win at the 2023 Converge Awards – which has landed them £10,000 and the mentorship of a major global company.

LastingAsset claimed the Cisco Future Tech Award at the 13th edition of the annual ceremony, which recognises potentially transformational spinouts and start-ups at Scotland’s universities. The category is defined by judges as a ‘Best in Class’ prize to springboard an innovative, break-through tech company.

Recently backed by fresh funding from Scottish Enterprise and The Data Lab, the LastingAsset team at Edinburgh Napier University’s School of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment (SCEBE) have developed a technological solution to scam phone calls, which they are rolling out to pilot customers in the coming months.

The win secures the future spinout company support from Cisco to develop their concept further and bring it to market. 

Project leader Dr Zakwan Jaroucheh
said: “Cisco's recognition of our efforts in combating impersonation phone call fraud is not just an award – it's a validation of the importance of the problem we're dedicated to solving.

“We are deeply honored to receive this award, and the prospect of mentorship from Cisco is a game-changer that will undoubtedly elevate our solution to meet the highest enterprise standards.

“This partnership reinforces our commitment to making the digital world safer for all, and we are excited to embark on this transformative journey with Cisco by our side.”

Nanik Ramchandani (pictured), who leads the project’s commercial team, said: “We are ecstatic about winning the Cisco Future Tech Award.

“Cisco is not only the world leader in technology that powers the internet but also a key driving force in making the UK safe from cyber criminals.

“With their mentorship, support, and guidance, LastingAsset can take on scammers and help protect our fellow citizens.”

Tom Kneen, Head of CTO Office & Country Digital Acceleration, Cisco UK & Ireland, said: “Impersonation is one of the greatest threats we as citizens face in cyber security, so Cisco is particularly pleased that this year our 2023 Converge Challenge Future Tech Award has gone to Lasting Asset - a great start up coming out of Edinburgh Napier University - one of our university partners in Scotland.” 

Open to students, graduates, and staff from across Scotland’s universities, Converge supports new businesses through intensive business training, networking, 1-2-1 support, generous equity free cash prizes and expert, professional advice from its roster of industry partners.  

Funded by the Scottish Funding Council, South of Scotland Enterprise, Creative Scotland and a network of eleven corporate partners, Converge works in partnership with all of Scotland’s universities. Since its launch in 2011, the programme has trained over 700 aspiring founders, contributed to the creation of more than 330 companies which have raised in excess of £320 million in follow-on funding.

Richard Lochhead, Scottish Government Innovation Minister, said: “Entrepreneurship and innovation are at the heart of our National Strategy for Economic Transformation, and academia-industry collaboration helps fulfil Scotland’s potential to nurture many more inventive new start-up companies. 

“We recently published our National Innovation Strategy which sets out our vision for Scotland to become one of the most innovative small nations in the world over the next decade.

“The strategy includes how we can support the creation and growth of more university spinouts and innovative businesses and products. 

“With a focus on tackling environmental and societal challenges, this year’s winners have demonstrated outstanding talent and creativity and I congratulate all those that took part in this year’s awards for their efforts.” 

 Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo, Executive Director at Converge, said: “Scotland’s universities are truly world-class and this is evident in the achievements and ambition demonstrated by the talented pioneers we’ve recognised at this year’s awards.

“These founders represent the magic that Scotland needs to realise its ambitions and fulfil its potential as one of the world’s greatest nations of innovators.  

 “Supporting young companies that are focused on creating positive impact and long-term societal change is imperative for everyone working in the innovation ecosystem as these companies hold the future of our economy and society in their hands. 

 “The next step for Converge and all our colleagues working in Scotland’s wider innovation ecosystem is to translate the programmes for action laid out in the entrepreneurial campus blueprint and the national innovation strategy and take these from policy into practice.  

 “We look forward to working with our winners and runners-up to take their businesses to the next level and help them to deliver real, tangible impact throughout Scotland and around the world.”