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The University of Southampton

SPRINT support for Southampton academic on new Seraphim Space Camp Fellowship Programme

Published: 21 May 2020
Andrei Dragomir
Physicist Dr Andrei Dragomir has been accepted onto the Seraphim Sprint Camp Fellowship Programme.

Physicist Dr Andrei Dragomir from the University of Southampton - founder of the Aquark Technologies start-up business - has been accepted onto the latest Seraphim Sprint Camp Fellowship Programme.

Dr Dragomir, a Research Fellow in Southampton’s Quantum, Light and Matter Group, is supported on Space Camp by the national SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) business support programme, in which the University is a network partner. This opportunity will help Aquark Technologies to accelerate the commercialisation of its new cold atom quantum technology solution.

Seraphim Space Camp is the UK’s leading accelerator programme dedicated to rapidly grow space technology start-ups in a wide range of industry themes. Its 10-week Fellowship Programme, which began on 20 April 2020, will provide Dr Dragomir with strategic advice, mentoring and training on developing a market opportunity for his new quantum technology and preparations for potential venture capital investment.

Aquark Technologies aims to enable the mass market adoption of quantum technologies into everyday life by producing the first simple, plug-and-play, cold-atom quantum device on the market, which will be the size of a match box. The company’s main focus is on the vacuum chamber and novel optical geometry that sits at the heart of its devices, which allows the miniaturisation of most quantum technology-based systems.

Dr Dragomir, who is CEO of Aquark Technologies, said: “This is a pivotal time for my company as I’m focused on transforming my ideas from academic research to a business environment. My primary objectives at this point are to target and secure seed funding to enable me to start the practicalities of the business and product development cycle, and to leverage engagement with some of the major players in the space sector to gauge the potential fit for my product in the current marketplace.

“The support from SPRINT, Space Camp and the University makes me confident that I can bring my start-up business to market in the near future.”

Rob Desborough, Partner Seraphim Space Fund & CEO Seraphim Space Camp added: “The Fellowship Programme provides us with an opportunity to engage with UK academics at the leading-edge of space technology and help them to discover how to develop their spin-out ideas into Venture backable businesses. Andrei and Aquark Technologies is a great example of the attributes we look for, ground-breaking tech and great ambitions!”

“Exploring technology transfer opportunities for academic start-ups can be a real challenge and that’s why working in partnership with SPRINT has been really beneficial. They have a wide network of UK university contacts and a real understanding of how programmes such as ours can translate to high growth business opportunities.”

Ross Burgon, Head of the national SPRINT programme commented: “SPRINT is rooted in helping UK start-ups and small businesses to realise the opportunities of engaging with university expertise and the wider UK space sector to accelerate their product development and commercialisation strategies.

“Our partnership with Seraphim Space Camp enables us to offer business support to Space Camp companies and alumni and now help Space Camp to identify academic research areas that fit with their programmes. We’re delighted to be supporting Andrei and Aquark Technologies on the Space Camp Fellowship Programme and look forward to continuing to grow our collaboration with Space Camp.”

The £4.8 million SPRINT programme provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.

SPRINT is supported by Research England and the Scottish Funding Council. It is being delivered by a consortium of five of the UK’s leading space universities, led by the University of Leicester and including the University of Edinburgh, The Open University, University of Southampton and University of Surrey.


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