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Top21.2020 Judges and their judging criteria

The #21toWatch shortlist is independently judged by four leading experts representing a range of disciplines. For 2020, the judges are Isabel Fox (Luminous Ventures), Tim Robinson (Tech East), Siddhi Trivedi (Entrepreneur) and Bruno Cotta (CJBS Entrepreneurship Centre) who will all assess the candidates based on five criteria: innovation, challenge, influence, viability and memorability.

Here are our judges for 2020


Isabel Fox is a mother, wellness coach, bio-hacker, Peloton enthusiast and horse lover. She also happens to be one of just a handful of female General Partners in the UK, at Luminous Ventures, with a $30m fund and a portfolio of ground-breaking founders who are daring to disrupt the status quo and improve the world we live in.

Bruno Cotta is Executive Director at Cambridge Judge Business School’s Entrepreneurship Centre. He has over 20 years of leadership and management experience working with public, private and third sector organisations, and has led initiatives to inform and shape world-class university strategic plans, international partnerships and innovation ecosystems, including founding the Enterprise Lab at Imperial College London to support the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.

Siddhi Trivedi is a multi-award-winning disruptor in technology with 30 years of business innovation. Her projects have featured in TechCrunch, Disrupt Berlin, Novo Nordisk Innovation Awards and many more. She is continuously searching for ground-breaking ideas that will change the world and features them on the global TEDx platform as curator and license holder of TEDxLeicester.

Tim Robinson is the first Chief Operating Officer of Tech East, the leading voice of the digital tech community in the East of England. He spent 14 years with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in London where he created a product technology division in 2007 and ran the information, data and technology business from 2010-14.

On completion of the judging, Tim clearly articulated the thoughts from the four “What impressed me most is that so many of the shortlist are people and companies addressing major real-world challenges in climate change, ethical AI, security, precision medicine and more.”

The Attributes of a Top21

To ensure consistency, the judges are provided a judging pack with specific guidance to follow. We talk about the five attributes of our Top21, here is a quick synopsis of what the judges are looking for:

Innovation – We’re looking for people, companies and ‘things’ that are progressing their industries and how things are done – tired of the status quo they’re leading the way to the next phase. Theya re judged on How innovative is the approach vs a late market catch-up, and how much of a step-change is it?

Challenge – When ideas have to search for a challenge to solve, they’re not pioneers or leaders of their industry. It isn’t a case of the chicken or the egg, true #21toWatch are working on real issues and solutions to fix them, and that’s what the #21toWatch is all about. The entrants are judged on whether they solving a real problem or just looking for one?

Influence – Addressing widely-felt issues is only impactful when the solutions are widely-known. Although the #21toWatch may be small or relatively unknown at present, they’re expected to explode once they elevate and influence their industry. How a #21toWatch candidate is integrating with other Cambridgeshire and UK businesses will also be a factor. Are they supporting or enhancing another innovative endeavour in the region? Judges also consider whether the entrant will catch on, or end here?

Viability – The #21toWatch aren’t just a flash in the pan; they’re long-term revolutionaries. #21toWatch may change and develop over time, but they’re people, companies and ‘things’ that are definitely here to stay. Any decision around the viability of a #21toWatch will need to include a complimentary, inclusive, and environmentally sustainable model too. Measures of ‘success’ are numerous and interconnected. Judges will assess whether their impact stand the test of time?

Memorability – We wouldn’t be able to pick the #21toWatch if they didn’t stand out of the crowd. You often hear us talk about the ‘pants on fire’ affect – a burning passion and drive to take action and see results now, not in the unforeseeable future. That’s what we’re looking for in our top #21toWatch.

The Top21.2020 will be announced at an invite-only event on Thursday 5th March 2020. For more information please contact us.