Working on improving how fast cancer can be diagnosed is Aamir Butt, CEO of Tumour Trace, a start-up dedicated to finding innovative technological solutions for screening, monitoring and early diagnostics of cancer.
0-5 seconds: Sum your business up in a sentence
We have a proven, peer reviewed technology that can diagnose any cancer cheaper and more accurately in a matter of minutes. Today we have already shown it works with cervical cancer and prostate cancer.
5-10 seconds: What’s the business model?
We will sell the device and/or charge for each test making it available to both the NHS and private clinics. We will also sell abroad with the help of UKTI – a partner already giving us excellent help in India.
10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?
Each cancer uses different methods for screening and diagnosis and therefore has different competitors, i.e. the tests are varied as are the suppliers who supply them. However, there is no competitor who offers a single device capable of diagnosing multiple cancers.
15-20 seconds: What’s your USP?
We can deliver results faster, cheaper and more accurately than anything in the market. We deliver diagnostic grade results cheap enough to be used in extensive cancer screening.
20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?
The research has been funded privately and through grants at Belgrade University over the last five years. Since October last year it has been funded through angel investment.
25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?
I was a Senior Partner in Accelerace, Scandinavia’s premier business accelerator programme and the Programme Director for Next Business Generation, a business acceleration programme based in Nottingham’s Creative Quarter, funded by Nottingham City Council and contracted to BioCity.
30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?
The idea is the genius of our Chairman Professor Djuro Koruga, formerly head of the nanolab at Belgrade University. His method is able to detect magnetic field variations at the atomic, or nano, scale. He looks for those variations that are the fingerprints of cancer, and he has proven he can do this very accurately.
35-40 seconds: What’s the most exciting achievement you’ve had so far?
Other than my two wonderful sons, my achievements have been down to great giants on whose shoulders I have had the pleasure of riding on. My sweetest business achievement was selling a business after just 18 months of starting it. Working in Tumour Trace is the most intellectually rewarding by far; imagine literally visualising the character of individual atoms, a characterisation that is unique in the entirety of the universe!
40-45 seconds: What is your favourite marketing technique?
Whatever is the most effective in taking the message to the customer. I’m not being facetious here. Different groups of customers prefer to consume information from different sources. Whenever you start to ‘talk’ to a new group, you try different marketing techniques and over time you get that eureka moment when a particular technique shows itself to be the most effective for that group! That then becomes my most favourite marketing technique.
45-50 seconds: Do entrepreneurs really ever have a weekend off?
They do and should have time off; having a break recharges you to be able to deal with the stresses of being an entrepreneur. What is likely however is that an entrepreneur’s definition of a weekend off maybe different to other peoples definition. An entrepreneur is likely to spend the weekend playing sports, computer games, etc. but with business partners or potential business partners and consider that a break. Furthermore their definition of a weekend may not be a Saturday and Sunday.
50-55 seconds: Which idea are you a bit jealous of?
I hope I don’t sound facetious again but ideas are really two to a penny. What is exquisite is watching people take the simplest of ideas and turn them into an outrageous success. The latest example is a friend who started a software business with £40, built it totally through revenue maintaining 100% ownership, and sold it for over £10 million in less than five years. And all this by his 30th birthday! He deserves admiration with of course that bit of well-done jealousy!
55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months’ time?
I really hope that as a business we have been able to take Prof Djuro Koruga’s invention and helped deliver an earlier diagnosis to at least one cancer patient than would otherwise have been possible. That would have been a worthwhile 12 months.