We aim to foster a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation and success among engineers in the UK, creating economic growth and societal impact. At the heart of how we do this are the Hub Members, the promising entrepreneurs who we support through our programmes, and our Hub Mentors, the business leaders who volunteer their expertise and time to help the Hub Members succeed.
From manufacturing to medtech, our Hub Membership is made up of some of the UK’s most innovative entrepreneurs. But don’t just take our word for it: read more about our Hub Members to see how they are, without exaggeration, changing the world.
While completing a master’s, Jenny Griffiths realised that visual search tools are rapidly changing the way we discover new things and interact with the world around us. As a result, Jenny established Snap Tech, a company offering novel visual search-based solutions for the fashion industry.
Snap Tech is changing the way people shop by fusing visual search with fashion. The technology can turn phones (or other devices) into smart cameras, allowing users to point at an item of clothing in a magazine or shop, and instantly learn more or discover alternatives.
The company aims to take image search further by personalising the shopping experience. Its tools use a blend of mathematical heuristics (problem-solving techniques) and deep learning algorithms to understand users’ preferences, such as those relating to colour, shape, budget and availability, making it easier for consumers to find what they want.
Retailers and publishers are using Snap Tech solutions to increase conversion rates, significantly improve engagement, and generate additional revenue.
The company aims to build strategic partnerships as it expands globally. As CEO, Jenny views her growth as a leader, supported by the SME Leaders Programme, as playing a key role in continuing to develop solutions for fashion, while exploring the potential impact of the technology in other industries.
The construction industry sends millions of tonnes of waste to landfill each year, at significant cost to the industry and the environment. And new legislation requires that by 2025 at least 70% of all waste must be recycled.
These two factors are driving the construction industry to find alternative building methods and materials that reduce waste.
With help from the Innovation Fund of Zero-Waste Scotland, Sam founded the clean tech spin-out company Kenoteq to address this need.
Kenoteq has developed a patent-pending process using traditional earth-construction methods to make unfired bricks that do not use cement which have 90% of their content recycled from building and construction waste. Its unique production process and materials are classified as recyclable by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
As the new brick does not use gas firing, large manufacturers can eliminate the cost of gas-fired production and avoid additional carbon taxes under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). The bricks offer a high thermal mass and are ‘breathable bricks’, reducing the need for air conditioning and air quality controls inside buildings by providing relative humidity buffering.
The array of switches, buttons, wheels and controls that help us to interact with electronics all rely on bulky and complex networks of sensors that can cost a lot to create.
TG0 has developed a new technology for making interactive 3D controls that are ergonomic, intuitive and engaging. Its solutions replace complicated networks of electronic sensors with one uniform, flexible, touch-sensitive material.
Driven by artificial intelligence algorithms and advanced signal processing, TG0’s platform technology can accurately detect variations in touch across a single flexible surface. This allows its material to easily sense pressure, location, speed, direction and movement allowing users to engage in more intuitive ways.
As Co-Founder, Ming leads research and development for the technology’s hardware. TG0’s seamless, interactive surfaces can be used in a range of applications including tactile gaming controls, car dashboard controls and ergonomic computer peripherals such as keyboards, amongst many others.
TG0 is also exploring how its technology can be used to make interactive products that are more accessible for the visually impaired.
Since its launch in 2016, TG0 has worked with high profile brands and manufacturers in the consumer and automotive sector and built a patent portfolio with more than ten international patent entries to date. A rapidly growing team is helping the company to expand and target a range of industries including sensor-embedded industrial robots, wearables, gadgets and underwater electronics.
"Getting to grips with a whole new mechanism for sensing and control doesn’t come naturally when you’ve spent your life learning to use another system."
Wearable technologies are making a massive impact on society, beginning to blur the boundary between human and machine. It is also an exploding commercial market set to be worth $12.6 billion by 2018.
The next generation of lightweight, high performance machines will rely on technologies that are capable of bringing the user as close to a device as possible.
Peiman has created the first reported nano-display device that uses both optical and electronic property modulation in Phase Change Materials. Peiman’s company, Bodle Technologies, spun out of Oxford University in November 2015, to further advance this technology.
An entirely new class of ultra-thin, ultra-high resolution displays with nanosecond access speed and no power consumption in static mode is now under development by his team.
This revolutionary display will initially target the rapidly growing microdisplay market compact, projection based displays used in emerging near-eye applications like Google Glass. The first prototypes are currently under development, with a small working device set to be ready within the next 12 months.
mOm’s cost-effective, lightweight incubators could help to improve the survival rates of premature babies.
The World Health Organization estimates that there are 15 million premature births each year, and up to one million preventable neonatal deaths each year. Ensuring that babies are kept warm can help to prevent neonatal fatalities. mOm’s incubators are compact, robust and cost-effective so can be used in environments where conventional incubators are not available.
The incubators have been designed in close collaboration with clinical specialists including neonatologists, midwives and nurses to ensure that they are user-friendly and meet clinical quality standards. The resulting incubator provides a level of thermoregulation that meets the standards set for conventional incubators at a fraction of the cost.
James Roberts, CEO and Co-Founder, was inspired when he saw the issue highlighted in a documentary. He led the strategic development of the product and created the award-winning company behind it, with a vision of mOm increasing access to healthcare through affordable technology. The incubator is about to begin clinical trials.
James won the 2015 Launchpad Competition, and in 2019 was awarded a place on the SME Leaders programme.
Supported by the programme, James aims to strengthen his communication skills for effective leadership at all levels as the company moves towards rapid commercial growth and product realisation.
Current joint replacement systems use a standardised one-size-fits-all approach, despite the fact that bone shape and size can vary enormously.
Susannah had the idea to create fully-customised parts for surgery. She is a co-founder of Imperial College London spin-out Embody Orthopaedic that now make unique instruments designed specifically for a one person’s surgical intervention.
Embody are pioneering low-cost instrumentation for orthopaedic surgery with a new type of 3D printed technology to revolutionise joint replacements. This approach decreases risk by creating instrumentation such as knee replacements that are unique to each patient. The minimally invasive devices are printed in nylon, a low-cost, robust material that can be readily sterilised.
instruments are now used in both everyday surgery and more
specialised cases, such as soldiers with lower
limb gunshot wounds. Using 3D printing technology enables a very
complex operation to be planned and undertaken in a much
reduced timeframe, allowing an entirely personalised surgical
approach at an affordable cost.
is expanding on 3D printing customisable implants. Furthering plans to
deliver a fully tailored joint replacement process, from surgical
planning to recovery, the company is also launching a web-based
surgical planning system. This allows surgeons to upload patient
scans and trial different surgical scenarios pre-operatively. Within
the next ten years, Susannah plans to apply the technology in other
fields such as maxillofacial, cardiovascular and dental surgery.
“The Enterprise Hub has given me access to opportunities that have played a big role in my progress, particularly being able to take time out from my research to focus on the project, and receiving business training. The events organised by The Enterprise Hub have also enabled me to meet some very experienced people in the industry who gave me their views on my project from a completely different perspective, which was invaluable.”
Advances in passive (battery-free) radio-frequency identification (RFID) are creating opportunities for highly accurate tracking in a range of industries. Patented technologies developed by University of Cambridge spin-out PervasID harness the potential of passive RFID to allow real-time monitoring over wide areas, using a fixed infrastructure.
CEO and Co-Founder Sithamparanathan Sabesan has led PervasID in developing a complete RFID Inventory, Portal and Checkout, end-to-end solution that uses networks of antennas to detect and track items with passive RFID tags across wide areas. This can be achieved to a high level of precision (99%+), enabling cost-effective, continuous monitoring for companies in sectors such as retail, healthcare and security.
For example, in retail, PervasID’s systems support inventory management and improve customer experiences through real-time tracking of goods from the warehouse to store checkout and exit. Similarly, PervasID systems support efficient management of resources in healthcare. In security they help to keep high-value assets safe, deterring theft with systems for accurate, long-range tracking.
Sabesan has been a Hub Member since 2011, when he joined as an Enterprise Fellow. He aims to use support from the SME Leaders Programme to build skills in leading and growing a team dedicated to developing and marketing PervasID’s solutions. Training and mentoring will also provide guidance on establishing the right partnerships to broaden the technology’s use in industry.
Oxford Space Systems' innovative structures, such as its novel large deployable antennas (LDAs), use both conventional and new materials. The LDAs offer significant savings in the build and launch costs of satellites and are lighter, less complex and can be stowed more efficiently than those currently in commercial demand. The development of a flight-worthy LDA is currently viewed as "strategically important" by the European Space Agency.
Although still in its early design stages, Oxford Space Systems is generating significant interest from satellite builders and operators globally and has gained investment from venture capital firms and various private investors.
Oxford Space Systems has the ambitious vision of establishing its position as the centre of excellence, making the UK the go-to supplier for large deployable antenna technology.
Shefali is one of the ten winners of our 2016 SME Leaders Programme.
Robots can be a useful educational resource to engage young people in science and engineering but they can be high in costs which prevents broader accessibility.
Founder of Robotical Ltd, Alexander, has created an affordable, working robot that can walk, dance, or even be programmed to play football. Targeted at young people from 10 to 18+, the robot is a fun, educational tool for both makers and educators.
Known as Marty, the 3D printable robot has a novel design. Unlike most two-legged robots, it uses fewer motors to control each of the robot’s legs, reducing production and retail costs significantly.
Designed with fun and engaging features, Marty can be used at home or in the classroom as a hands-on educational tool to help children build skills in coding and computational thinking.
Marty launched for sale online at Robotical in January 2018 and is now available worldwide. The company also creates and sells resources such as activities and lesson guides to promote digital skills and learning in STEM.
Sandy was awarded a 2016 Enterprise Fellowship to support the development of his affordable robot and to build his startup, Robotical.
What makes us different is the Academy’s Fellows and our wider Mentor network – an unrivalled community of the UK’s most successful industry leaders, technology experts and entrepreneurs. Find out more about our Mentors and their areas of expertise.
Dr John C Taylor OBE FREng was born in Buxton, Derbyshire in 1936. Having spent five years living in Canada
during his childhood, he returned home towards the end of the Second World War.
He attended King William’s College on
the Isle of Man before studying Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge.
Dr John C Taylor is one of the UK’s most successful and prolific living inventors and, over a sixty-year career, has invented, produced and sold components for numerous electrical appliances around the world.
While at his company Strix Ltd, Dr Taylor established the business as the world-leading manufacturer of kettle controls. His research was instrumental in designing the ubiquitous safety switch that turns a kettle off when it boils and prevents it from overheating, and he also designed the 360˚ cordless connectors in modern kettles.
Dr Taylor’s innovations led to the production and sale of almost two billion kettle controls - 75% of the global market. His inventions in the development of bi-metallic safety critical cut-outs for electric motors are also used in domestic appliances such as hairdryers and fan heaters. His work has also seen over four hundred patents filed, including automatic windshield wipers, electric motor protectors and cordless kettle connectors and controls, and it is a testament to these components’ visionary design that they continue to be in prolific use today.
Dr Taylor has been the recipient of many honours including, but not limited to, the following:
He is also an elected Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge, and has been conferred Honorary Doctorates from University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) and Durham University. When he’s not inventing and innovating, Dr Taylor is a keen aviator, mountaineer, yachtmaster and philanthropist.
Dr John C Taylor is a committed philanthropist and has made a number of donations in order to ensure that young engineers in the UK have the tools they need to be competitive in a global market. In 2017, he became the main sponsor of the new Dr John C Taylor Enterprise Hub, affectionately known as the Taylor Centre, in the Royal Academy of Engineering. He also established in perpetuity a Chair Professorship of Innovation in the Engineering Department of the University of Cambridge.
Following his career in creating electrical control switches, Dr Taylor became well-known for his interest in clocks and is one of the world’s leading experts in the work of John Harrison, an early pioneer of timekeeping and sea clocks. This led him to design and help build the Corpus Chronophage, a large, time-eating clock which that stands proud on the exterior of the Taylor Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Dr Taylor donated the clock, alongside a bestowment to make the Taylor Library possible, to his alma mater in order to support bright students of future generations.
Sir Robin is a technology entrepreneur most known for his work as ARM Holdings’ founding CEO and Chairman. Under his leadership, ARM become the world’s leading semiconductor Intellectual Property (IP) company with ARM chips becoming the most prolific on our planet. He guided ARM from start-up through flotation on NASDAQ and the LSE in 1998 before retiring in 2007.
Robin first became interested in technology aged 8 and at 13, was running his own radio and TV repair business which lead him to study Electronic Engineering at the University of Liverpool.
Sir Robin’s early career was in electronic design with Rank Bush Murphy and Pye TMC followed by 13 years with Motorola Semiconductors. Prior to his time at ARM, Robin served as the Managing Director of ES2 Ltd. and was the CEO of Henderson Security Systems. In addition to his day-to-day work, Robin served as Chairman of the Open Microprocessor Initiative (an ESPRIT panel advising on the collaborative R&D across Europe). He is a past President of the IET.
Robin was knighted in 2002 for services to the information technology industry, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2002 and Fellow of the Royal Society in 2015. He is a visiting professor at the University of Liverpool, and regularly mentors new entrepreneurs and serves as an angel investor and advisor to several UK-headquartered high-tech companies. His hobbies include skiing, tennis, painting and music.
“For business success, customer pull is 1000 times more important than technology push, and today I enjoy guiding and mentoring other companies that have the potential to change the world. The Enterprise Hub connects new technology entrepreneurs to the experience of Fellows, so that together we can create economic benefit from strong engineering foundations.”
Steve is a leading expert with over 35 years of experience.in the fields of semiconductor device research, nanotechnology and millimetre-wave integrated circuit design.
After founding and leading the Nanoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Glasgow, he co-founded and became Technical Director of Intellemetrics Ltd. His enterprising spirit continued with the foundation of Kelvin Nanotechnology Ltd in 2001.
Steve became Vice-Principal for Research and Enterprise at the University of Glasgow in 2005 where e is responsible for the University’s research strategy and policies. These includes key relations with research sponsors and strategic partners. He also heads up the University’s enterprise activities which has a strong focus on research links with industry and the promotion of spinout companies.
Steve was awarded an OBE for services to the field of nanotechnology in the 2002 Jubilee Honours List and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2007.
“Encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in technology and engineering requires a genuine link up and sharing of knowledge between research partners and industry. The Enterprise Hub is a key part of this, sharing enterprising expertise with individuals who have an incredible amount of technical talent, and providing the links to springboard their success in the industry.”
Hermann is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of the Silicon Fen cluster. He is a co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners, alongside Fellow Anne Glover. He has been involved in a number of successful start-ups in his time at Amadeus such as CSR plc, Entropic Research Laboratory (which was later acquired by Microsoft) and Icera (acquired by Nvidia in 2011).
His career began famously as the co-founder of Acorn Computers, responsible for the iconic BBC Micro computer, which led to the development of ARM Holdings, now a global microprocesser giant. He was also founding director at organisations including IQ (Bio), IXI Limited, SynGenix and Advanced Displays Limited.
Hermann was awarded an Honorary CBE for ‘innovative service to the UK enterprise sector’ in 2001, and was made a member of the Government’s Council for Science and Technology in 2004. He was also commissioned to write a report on technology and innovation in the UK by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
In 2012, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society in recognition of his contribution to the translation of science into business. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering from 2002 and holds honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Bath, Loughborough, and from Anglia Polytechnic.
“I am a firm believer in the idea that entrepreneurship with supportive venture capital can change the world for the better. Britain has an outstanding track record in computing innovation, and the support of the Enterprise Hub will help to ensure the next generation of highly talented individuals in this space will continue this proud legacy.”
In some of the most male-dominated parts of the engineering world, Jane has shown by example that women are at least as capable as men. Her work in education has been dedicated to keeping the door open behind her for future generations of engineers.
Jane Atkinson is currently Director, Cape Specialist Services part of Cape Ltd, an international leader in the provision of critical industrial services.
Brought up in Middlesbough, her career began as a sponsored engineering student with British Steel in 1990. She worked as a technical advisor at the Teesside Blast Furnace before moving into operations, managing the Cast House at Redcar. During her time in the steel industry she managed many major production units and spent five years with the company in Alabama in the USA. Jane then moved into power generation managing coal and gas fired assets for Sembcorp Utilities Ltd. During that role she was responsible for the operations of the UK’s first Biomass Power Plant.
Jane has won several awards most notably the CBI First Woman Award in Manufacturing and the prestigious Stephenson’s Award for inspiring young people in science and engineering. She is an active member of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Chair of the UK IChemE Board. Jane is also a Governor of Teesside University and an Advisory Board Member of the National Science Museum in London.
“If I can persuade at least one child a year to become an engineer, I think I must be doing OK. It’s my mission.”
Robert is an experienced angel investor and mentor to technology-based start-up businesses in the UK and USA.
He is the founder of the Cambridge Angels, a group of expert technology and biotechnology entrepreneurs who invest in and mentor technology start-ups across the UK.
He is Chairman of two technology startups, Netronome and CCS, and serves on the board of Focalpoint Positioning, Myrtle Software, Featurespace, CRFS and Ubisense. His entrepreneurial experience also involves co-founding FORE Systems, a leader in high-speed data communications, where he was Chief Technical Officer (the company was sold to Marconi in 1999).
Robert was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2010.
“Through my career I’ve built up considerable experience taking knowledge-based technology business from initial idea through to becoming successful businesses. I’d like to help a new generation of technology entrepreneurs do the same, and the Enterprise Hub is an excellent platform for me to do this.”
Jeremy is Chief Technology Officer at Cambridge Display Technology. He is one of the three original inventors of P-OLED, the technology used to create digital displays in devices such as TV screens, computer monitors and smart phones.
He played a major role in transforming early permutations of the invention into a fully manufacturable and marketable technology using new device architectures, materials and manufacturing processes - including the direct printing of full colour LED displays.
Jeremy's career has also involved working with Toshiba in the UK and Japan to develop quantum electronic and opto-electronic devices. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2009.
“I believe it’s vital that emerging entrepreneurs with bright ideas in this industry are given the encouragement and direction they need to make a real success of their work. By imparting my knowledge and experience with talented individuals at the Enterprise Hub, I hope to play a significant part in laying the foundations for the long-term growth of technology development in the UK.”
Andy’s career in industry has involved co-founding over a dozen spin-outs and start-ups, three of which floated on stock markets. Virata floated on NASDAQ and at its peak had a market capitalisation of $5 billion.
His most prominent successes have come through RealVNC, which won the prestigious MacRobert Award in 2013, and Ubisense plc. Collectively, these two organisations have received five Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.
In academia, Andy heads the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory and is an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall and Corpus Christi College. Elsewhere, he served as President of the IET between 2012 and 2013, and in 2007 received a CBE for services to the computer industry.
Andy is co-founder and Chairman of pioneering remote access software developers RealVNC and is also Professor of Computer Technology at the University of Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1996.
“My own career experiences have demonstrated just how important it is that the bridges between academia and industry are present and robust, and also what can be achieved when the relationship works to its potential. The Enterprise Hub offers an invaluable opportunity for exceptional academics to work with experienced industry figures and bring truly exciting new technology businesses to fruition.”
Sir Alan is one of the Academy’s longest-serving Fellows, with an illustrious career across the research and technology industry.
He has a PhD in Electrical engineering and has served on more than twenty company and institution boards as either an executive or non-executive director. These have ranged from start-ups to FTSE 100 companies and include Director of Research and Technology and Deputy Chief Executive of British Telecom, Chairman of WS Atkins and deputy Chairman of Experian Plc. He is currently President of the ERA Foundation.
Sir Alan has served on the British Government’s Committee for Science and Technology and the Strategic Defence Review panel, and as Chairman of both the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Engineering Council.
He is a past President of the IEE (now IET) and a Life Fellow of the IEEE (USA). He has been awarded nine honorary doctorates as well as an OBE (1987) and CBE (1995) before he was knighted in 2000.
Sir Alan was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1984.
“Over the past decade my work with the ERA Foundation has included supporting and encouraging young companies at early stages of commercialisation, championing the restoration of UK manufacturing and raising the profile of engineering as an exceptional career – all of which I feel passionately about. We have a strong knowledge base in science and engineering in the UK, and I believe the Enterprise Hub, which brings together this knowledge with entrepreneurial experience, can make an important contribution to the regeneration of our productive industries.”