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NatWest Startups Business of the Year, Dr Julie Barnes and Chris Hodkinson of Abcodia and Abe Tilling of NatWestThe winners of the Startups Awards 2012 were revealed on Friday (7 December) at the Kensington Roof Gardens, London.

The ceremony was attended by over 130 leading business figures including Dragons’ Den’s Duncan Bannatyne and former Pizza Express chairman Luke Johnson.

The Startups Awards, sponsored by NatWest and organised by, celebrate the success of businesses in the UK that have been trading for less than three years.

Duncan Bannatyne, of Dragons’ Den fame, led the judging panel alongside a number of other highly successful entrepreneurs and business experts including James Hurley, enterprise editor for the Daily Telegraph and Julie Meyer MBE of Ariadne Capital.

Presented by business journalist and entrepreneur Adrienne Lawler, 15 awards were given to the winning companies and individuals.

Highlighting the diversity of start-up businesses across the UK, the winners hail from a range of sectors and include luxury holiday and hotel provider Secret Escapes, online retailer and sustainable building solutions firm PropertECO Ltd.

The overall title of NatWest Startups Business of the Year went to Abcodia Ltd, a London-based cancer biomarker validation company.

Abe Tilling, regional managing director of NatWest Business Banking (London & South East), said: “I was delighted to hand over the NatWest Startups Business of the Year to Abcodia, a worthy winner and fantastic example for any budding entrepreneurs looking to start up a new business.

“Abcodia displayed a truly innovative approach to business with the potential for making profit whilst operating in a hugely important area of early cancer detection. We wish them all the very best for the future.”

Dr Julie Barnes, who took home four awards, commented: “I was delighted to receive these awards on behalf of Abcodia Ltd. It is extremely rewarding to know that an awards scheme as respected as the Startups Awards has recognised what we are aiming to achieve.

I would like to thank everyone who has helped us get this far, particularly our investors, Albion Ventures and UCL Business, our academic founder, Professor Ian Jacobs, our company chairman, Dr Andy Richards, as well as our very capable management team and collaborators at UCL. We have a lot to do, but with the continued commitment of such a great team, we have every opportunity to achieve our goals.”

David Lester, founder of, commented: “As one in three start-up businesses don’t make it beyond the first year of trading, we are proud to recognise those that negotiate these early hurdles at the Startups Awards.

“Each year we unearth innovative new businesses representing the unique diversity the start-up community has to offer, which show that, despite the recession, British innovation is still booming. This year was no exception with many excellent entries and it is immensely gratifying to follow their progress in the years that follow.”

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