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Spectral Edge Sold: Success for UEA spin out

UEA is delighted to confirm that CMP’s Colour & Imaging Lab spin-out, Spectral Edge, has been purchased by a major international company.


Spectral Edge was an image fusion start-up founded by Prof Graham Finlayson, Dr David Connah (both from UEA), and Prof Mark Drew (Simon Fraser University, Canada). Spectral Edge pioneered new approaches to image fusion, colour perception-based processing and image enhancement associated with digital imaging. Its technology is aimed at applications that rely on image quality for either function or aesthetics — including mobile, automotive, on-demand video and live broadcast. At the time of acquisition Spectral Edge had 15 full-time engineers including Drs Roberto Montagna and Alex Hayes (both former PhD students of Prof Finlayson).


Building on EPSRC funded research (in collaboration with Prof Marina Bloj, University of Bradford), an EPSRC Follow-on-Fund award and an Innovate UK grant, Spectral Edge was spun out from Prof Graham Finlayson’s Colour and Imaging Laboratory (CMP) at UEA starting in 2011. The company then attracted investment from the Iceni and Rainbow Seed funds. Once fledged, Spectral Edge moved to Cambridge where it won two significant rounds of venture capital investment from Parkwalk and IQ capital, as well as other investment from business angels.



UEA’s incubation services were key to the Spectral Edge story. RIN provided the legal support to found Spectral Edge, helped file Spectral Edge’s first patents and, initially, it also helped to manage the company. UEA also provided key financial support including Proof of Concept funding and it sponsored Dr David Connah to attend the Ignite programme at the Judge Business School, Cambridge.


Spectral Edge is the second of Prof Finlayson’s spin-out companies to be sold to an industry major. In 2006 Prof Finlayson spun-out Imsense Ltd from UEA, which produced ground-breaking software to enhance digital photos and photos before it was acquired in 2010. Imsense and Spectral Edge are respectively UEA’s first and second companies to reach a successful exit.


Prof Finlayson’s research interests include: colour imaging; computer vision; colour science; artificial intelligence; and computational geometry. He is an inventor on more than 30 patent applications, which are used in 100s of millions of commercial products worldwide and has worked with many blue-chip imaging companies including, Apple, Hewlett Packard and Sony. Prof Finlayson leads the Colour & Imaging Lab, which is one of the most successful research units at UEA: its impact is evidenced by more than 300-refereed papers, over 12,000 citations, more than £15 million in grant and investment funding, and more than 20 PhDs graduated. 


Prof Finlayson is the recipient of the Philip Leverhulme prize, a Royal Society-Wolfson merit award and the Davies Medal from the Royal Photographic Society. He is a fellow of the Institute of Engineering Technology, the Society for Imaging Science and Techology and the Royal Photographic Society. In 2018, Prof Finlayson was appointed an Innovation Fellow at UEA’s inaugural Innovation & Impact Awards.




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