Alexandre Colle won a Main Edge Award of £80,000 for his company Konpanion

[12/12/2023] Alexandre Colle from the School of Informatics is amongst the 8 Edinburgh awardees receiving a Scottish Edge award for his innovative initiative that supports people against loneliness and anxiety.

L-R Mark Scott of Bella Duke, Camila Jimenez Pol and Alexandre Colle holding award

The Maah 

Maah is a companion robot, developed in Edinburgh, designed to offer comfort and companionship to individuals of all cultures and generations. Its primary focus lies in enhancing well-being, supporting mental health, and providing additional and meaningful data to users. 

Maah has applications for individuals of different age groups, including children, younger adults, and older individuals. It replicates the warmth of a lifelike pet while prioritizing safety and encouraging tactile interaction. Through advanced sensors and AI integration, it effectively monitors and comprehends behaviour, with the key benefits of fostering connections and addressing loneliness. 

This robot is crafted to be a source of solace and anxiety relief, offering a calming presence during times of unease. It encourages our nurturing instincts and, in the context of mental care, provides non-invasive sensory data to capture people's state of mind while gathering environmental data.

Alexandre Colle
PHD student at the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics


Humans naturally desire social interaction and affection, and traditional domestic pets are known for their love and loyalty. However, they do have practical constraints, including issues like allergies, hygiene concerns, time commitments, space requirements, and unpredictability, which may dissuade potential pet owners. The next generation of AI and robotics aims to provide solutions by offering both dependable companionship and practical assistance for everyday needs. 

Wider University success  

On the 29 November, seven Edinburgh student startups and one staff spinout won a total of £195,000 for their innovative initiatives that will improve the lives of older people and families with sick children, amongst others. 

Winners included the joint Edinburgh/Dundee spinout, Eye to the Future, which received £70,000 for its retinal imaging software and Clinical Sciences graduate Ioannis Stasinopoulos who won £65,000 for his biotech startup, Prozymi Biolabs, aiming to revolutionize the gluten-free bread market. Additionally, Lizzie Smith, a psychology graduate, won £10,000 in the Wild Card category for Gradatim, a project creating picture books to explain complex health information to children under five. 

Scottish Edge Awards 

38 Scottish businesses with a high-growth potential were awarded a share of £1.5m.  

As businesses across Scotland find themselves facing challenging circumstances, there’s never been a more urgent need to drive creativity and innovation. The winners of the 22nd round of Scottish EDGE are testament to the incredible potential within Scotland’s start-up landscape.

Evelyn McDonald
CEO of Scottish Edge

Scottish Edge is Scotland’s biggest business funding competition, offering grants and loans from £10,000 to £100,000 to help support entrepreneurs and businesses. The scheme is backed up by the Hunter Foundation, Royal Bank of Scotland, Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise.  

This year also saw the introduction of the new Scottish Government-backed £100,000 Pathways Award to support an ambitious female entrepreneur, which was presented to Good Nude Food, a multi-award winning, probiotic fermented sauerkraut company. 

Related links  

Link to Edinburgh Scottish Edge Winners 

Link to Scottish Edge  

Link to Konpanion Website