Bird & Bird supports innovative, British tech start-ups through the Cisco British Innovation Gateway (BIG) Awards


For the third time, Bird & Bird was the sole legal sponsor for the Cisco BIG Awards, offering a package of legal advice and mentoring support to this year's winner, Nwave Technologies, as part of their prize.

The BIG Awards has been funding and supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups since 2012 as part of Cisco's wider efforts to support innovation in the UK. This year saw the BIG Awards specifically focus on start-ups working towards solutions centred on the Internet of Things (IoT).

Bird & Bird's long-term commitment to the technology and communications sector, supplemented by our developing support of start-ups in various industries means we can offer valuable and commercially-minded advice to the applicant companies, particularly as IoT is a hot topic and expanding area of expertise across the firm. Taking part in the awards and judging process also gives us vital face-to-face contact with a wide range of innovative new British technology companies, senior Cisco personnel in the UK and the other BIG Awards partners. This initiative therefore fits perfectly with our wider strategy to support innovation.

We were thrilled that Barry Jennings, Associate in our London office acted as a judge in the competition. He was joined on the panel chaired by Phil Smith, Chief Executive of Cisco UK and Ireland, last year’s winner, Bruce Hellman, CEO/Founder of uMotif, CTO of Cisco UKI Alison Vincent and senior representatives from other BIG partners, Chime Communications, Kreston Reeves, GlaxoSmithKline and Episode 1.

The standard of entries was incredibly high this year, with over 150 applications from companies providing innovative, practical solutions to challenges in the oil and gas, energy, transport, health, retail and smart cities sectors. Nwave Technologies delivered an impressive pitch and were awarded the first place winning the $100,000 cash prize. The funding will act as an accelerator taking their wireless network platform for M2M communications and the IoT to the next level. i2i Pipelines, delivering smart connectivity and data collection for oil and gas pipeline inspection devices, came in second walking away with $25,000. EMD, whose sensor and transmitter devices harvest energy from light, heat or motion to remove the need for short life batteries, received £10,000 for third place. We are proud to offer all three companies 12 months mentoring, training and pro bono legal advice from Bird & Bird.