We’re hunting out the people and companies that deserve a place on their respective #21toWatch lists. But for many it’s their invention, product or development – their ‘thing’ – in their field of expertise that has made them secure a place on the #21toWatch list.

A leader of innovation, the Cambridge Phenomenon has earned its impressive name. From pacemakers to potatoes, as science and technology has evolved we’ve marvelled at the products that people and companies create.

What ‘things’ do you think are setting the standards in innovation? Here is the #21toWatch 2020 list (in alphabetical order):

Longlist Shortlist Top.21 Name Synopsis

3D Water Purification Technology

A social enterprise that aims to change the way the world consumes water. Blue Tap uses 3D printing to build low-cost water purification technology for users in the developing world


Powering the sensor revolution. Self-powered sensors for remote condition monitoring of industrial assets


The first jet-engineered stovetop espresso machine

Academy of Magic and Science

Designing and delivering creative learning experiences through lecture shows, corporate workshops, conference public engagements, media formats and interactive exhibitions


The world’s first rapid, sensitive blood test for tuberculosis developed by PBD Biotech. By detecting live mycobacteria, at an early stage of infection, it enables effective disease control of human and bovine TB


Enables anyone who can write some Python to build a full-stack web app and publish it

Arcus Answer

Arcus Answer by Arcus Global sits at your frontline contact centre, handling customer calls and chat and reducing the load on your staff whilst saving money

Audacious SIM Technology

Audacious is a brand new SIM-only network designed to improve the quality of phone calls for people with hearing loss


Leading the world in blind audio signal separation from multi-microphone audio

Azuri TV

Solar Satellite television and home lighting systems for off-grid households in Zambia by Azuri Technologies

BiologIC Technologies

BiologIC’s pioneering architecture enables a radically advanced generation of automation. Our “factory-in-a-box” will provide patient access to high quality therapies. Our ambition is to create an empowering ‘desktop PC’ that drives the next wave of biological innovation


Innovative maths learning system powered by AI to free up teachers from routine teaching and marking tasks so they can spend more time on tailored, individual tuition

A network to connect the AI community in Cambridge and drive communication, collaboration and innovation between the people and businesses working here


Cambond Ltd is a cleantech company. We invent, develop and commercialise environmentally friendly adhesive and biocomposite technology for the construction, furniture and manufacturing sector

Cambridge LaunchPad

Cambridge LaunchPad is a movement led by science and technology companies that invests their talent and resources to inspire young people, especially girls and young women, into STEM careers

Cambridge Mask Company

Respirators that use military grade filtration technology

Cambridge Energy Partners

Cambridge Energy Partners sells renewable energy to large scale industrial operators in underdeveloped areas

Cambridge Spark

Cambridge Spark provides Data Science training and recruitment solutions for professionals

Cascade50 Sage Dashboards

Built by the team at Complete Analytics Limited in Norwich, our platform gives SMEs the ability to monitor performance across the whole business, providing powerful visualisations of data in one place, using our advanced analytics engine


A brand new way to create professionally designed circuit boards. Upload your requirements, see a detailed breakdown of costs and watch in real-time as your project progresses to completion


Cognidox is a SAAS company that provides Lean Document Management for Complex Product Development allowing document and project control for high tech and medical device product companies

Coral Eyewear

Coral Eyewear is on a mission to bring the eyewear market into a realm of sustainability. Industry-leading spectacles and sunglasses are produced using ghost fishing nets and recycled plastic

Curvy Balance Board

Young & Learning makes sustainable, open ended toys that ignite imaginations, improve child development and create opportunities to learn and grow through play


Doc2 speeds up the creation, sending and signing of contracts for SME businesses

Fafaza Precision Crop Spraying

By Cambridge Consultants. Brings ‘AI to the edge’ to perform plant recognition and precise, individualized treatment in the field in real time


Developed and industrialised the lowest cost organic electronics platform for flexible, ultrathin and ultralight displays and optical modules that can be applied to almost any surface


FutureNova design, manufacture and sell medical grade, anti-microbial tablet and phone cases for use by doctors, surgeons and clinicians in a clinical environment where infection control is paramount

Flit Bike

Flit develops lightweight folding electric bikes for busy urban commuters is addressing security and device management for IoT and Edge devices


Health supplements and vitamins scientifically proven to deliver more of the good stuff to your body

Heartfelt Technologies

Exists to help patients, their families, carers and doctors, to reduce hospital re-admission rates from congestive heart failure de-compensation


Using the Healthera app, which is listed on the NHS Digital apps library, patients can order and track their prescriptions, access clinical services, and monitor their medication intake in one digital end-to-end solution


Herdsy is an award-winning international technology company, that has developed a technology that helps to solve the biggest issue in the Beef Industry, namely sustainability

Karmacoin Referral Platform

Karmacoin is an online recruitment referral platform with a difference. Users can refer their friends for technical jobs and earn coins to spend on rewards and experiences while supporting local charities


Developing low energy consuming LEDs using proprietary cubic-GaN technology


Crossbridge Scientific offers a simple, minimal effort fitness test delivered via a wearable device (KuduSmart) to measure human thermoregulation

Legal Sphere

Legal Sphere is an online legal platform which allows lawyers and their clients to connect and collaborate online

Light Blue Fibre

A joint venture between the University of Cambridge and Cambridgeshire County Council offering commercial access to ducting and dark fibre networks - delivering digital connectivity across the city and beyond


By GEOTEKK. Limpet is the cutting-edge smart alarm for your bike, motorbike, or high value property which deters, detects and delays theft. Controlled via a simple app, you stay connected


An enterprise cloud platform by OBRIZUM group Ltd which allows companies to automatically create, deliver and monitor adaptive digital learning programmes on a global scale

Orca Scan

Orca Scan makes it easy for companies to build custom barcode solutions with just their smartphones and a web browser

Photovoltaic Glazing

By Polysolar- a developer, manufacturer and installer of transparent photovoltaic glazing – windows that produce renewable electricity thereby turning buildings into power stations


We enable businesses to deliver major infrastructure projects, by changing the way they build their delivery teams

Pod Group

Pod Group provides a complete suite of IoT connectivity technologies, combined with expert consultancy and support to enable IoT companies, OEMs and systems integrators to connect, manage, bill and secure their connected devices


Flexible Integrated Circuits (FlexICs) thinner than a human hair

Rainbird AI

Rainbird is an AI-powered automated decision-making platform that allows businesses to replicate and scale their best workers

Repeat XP

Repeat XP is a startup fighting food insecurity. The team is developing a platform that guarantees the user to gain and maintain a healthy diet while experiencing constraints to achieve it


Your insurance renewal sorted. Sticking around with the same insurer is expensive. Shopping around for deals is a hassle. We'll do it for you. For free


3D sensing software solutions for cost-effective advanced driving applications to deliver safety for all


Safepoint is a modern, easy-to-use platform that instantly increases the safety of lone workers whilst also allowing businesses to ensure they are compliant with today's health and safety regulations

Sano Genetics

Connects people with research in personalised medicine. We provide access to free genome sequencing and analysis for research participants. You own your data and have full control over how it used


Unlimitech is developing the Smartmask™, a state-of-the-art wearable fitness tracker that analyzes breath flow and composition in real-time to assist sportspeople in the difficult process of optimizing performance


Developed a rent-by-the-hour business model which allows retailers to pay only for the time they are in the shop

Start Codon

Start Codon is a life science and healthcare business accelerator that provides companies with seed funding, facilities, mentoring and access to a dedicated team and network of industry leading contacts


We make branded content apps for businesses and influencers


Sutrue has created an automated suturing device to make medical stitching safer, quicker and more accurate. Our patented mechanism can take all industry-standard needles/sutures, and rotate them at the touch of a button

Tactful AI

Tactful uses AI and real-time analytics to provide 360-view of the customer and empower customer care agents to deliver personalized and rewarding experience across digital platforms

Developers of the world’s first AI-driven solution to knowledge exchange, uses AI technology powered by machine learning to connect businesses with experts to help them make more informed decisions


TechVelocity is an accelerator helping founders scale tech business quickly through highly skilled support. Through Founding 50 we are also the voice of the ambitious & successful founders in the East


Tevva designs and develops mass-market extended-range electric trucks & related technologies

The CashCuff®

Designers of the World's First Payment Shirt. DressCode is taking contactless payment to new levels - no wallet or phone required. Secure payments and more direct from your shirt


We connect any physical object to a digital experience using a smartphone, without the need for an app


Platform that enables business travellers to make faster, better-informed travel choices


A fast and simple tool to verify the thermal performance of new buildings by Cambridge Consultants and Redbarn Group


The WAi2Go platform by Smart Networked Environments is the defining framework for all SmartNE projects: a sophisticated, powerful platform for a wide variety of smart city, campus and building solutions


Xampla is the world leader in plant protein materials. The Cambridge University develops alternatives for plastics in cosmetics, homecare and packaging applications

Should your ‘thing’ be on this list too? Or what ‘thing’ have you seen recently that really stood out? Submit your nomination by completing the form, emailing or following @cofinitive on Twitter and using #21toWatch.

Remember, we’re also looking to create the lists for the companies and people who could be a #21toWatch Top21.