In 2014, Alex Ward reached the finals of the Converge Challenge with Razorbill Instruments, scooping third prize. The prize money combined with an R&D grant from Scottish Enterprise helped take an idea that had started in a lab at the University of St Andrews, all the way to a fully functioning and certified product.
The company which develops high-performance scientific instruments for precision engineering, soon outgrew its initial premises at the University of St Andrews and in 2015 moved to the Higgs Centre for Innovation, a state-of-the-art research complex at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh. Following the move, Razorbill brought its first product to market – the world’s first compact cryogenic strain cell. Sales from all over the world soon followed, enabling the company to reinvest in R&D to develop their product range.
With an expanded team and new markets opening up all over the world, the future looks decidedly rosy for Razorbill. New products are in development with the company remaining at the cutting-edge of cryogenic mechanisms and testing.
“Converge was really useful because it forced me to sharpen my vague notions of how to exploit the technology into a clear and concise plan. The training was also extremely helpful and helped me to transition from academia to business. Also, the publicity for being a finalist was huge and really helped to raise our profile as a company. I was very surprised to see myself in The Courier!”