Chris Abell PBPC provided the spark for AR tech venture

Attracting the attention of global multi-national giants, Pawan Shrestha draws daily inspiration from Cambridge.

Fast becoming one of the leading lights in the field of electronics engineering, it’s an interesting contrast to his childhood in Nepal, where he grew up with neither running water nor electricity.

“I always felt like I would develop a technology or do something in the world that can make an impact and Cambridge is the place where I can make my dreams a reality,” he says.

His Augmented Reality company Lark Optics is flourishing after initially explaining his idea to Cambridge Enterprise. That experience triggered his entry to the Chris Abell Postdoc Business Plan Competition to develop the commercial potential of his doctorate research and to a place on the impulse programme at the Maxwell Centre, where the entrepreneurial support continues to give value.

I think it was just the right timing for me because I really needed help. The programme offered us a strong foundation from which to navigate our entrepreneurial journey, including how to register a patent, and fundraise,” continues Pawan. “I still email my mentors every time I am stuck; I quickly organise a call online and talk through the problem with them.”

Pawan says confidence came once he and cofounder Xin Chang gained traction with investors and garnered interest for joint development agreements for their product. He believes the support network here is unrivalled and is energised by the culture of connectivity in the city.

“Cambridge is not just about academic work,” he says. “The commercial achievement, the University and the ecosystem in Cambridge is equally remarkable. Being able to talk to some of the biggest people in the entrepreneurial world is very surreal and I cannot get this knowledge from books.”

The most surprising part for me was how helpful everyone was

Pawan Shrestha

His grandmother in Nepal may struggle to grasp his vision for the future to transform medicine, military strategy and even driving a car, but Pawan believes he’s in the perfect space to make it happen from his base at ideaSpace West.

“I feel like I have this fire. I should not let it die. I have this amazing opportunity. I should not let it go.”

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