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.
and Chief Technology Officer, Oxford HighQ
Oxford HighQ is a spin-out company from the University of Oxford’s Departments of Materials and Chemistry. It is developing nanoparticle sensing instruments that are up to 10,000 times more sensitive than available optical sensing technologies. The company has engineered a way of producing large-scale, repeatable, high precision optical microcavities for the first time.
These sensors will enable new tools to be created in pharmaceutical and medical research, as well as food and water monitoring. This technology could prove a step-change in performance for chemical and nanoparticle sensing.
Aurélien Trichet is Co-Founder and CTO at Oxford HighQ, managing the R&D team and directing technology development. He became an SME Leader in 2020 and is looking forward to using the programme. He says: “This opportunity is ideal for me. It will allow me to move from a heavy academic skillset to a more business and technology management one. The workshop, coaching and mentoring will all help me make this transition.”
Oxford HighQ is aiming to transition from R&D to mass production in 2021. Its first product provides a way to measure drug loading and delivery profiles as well as particle size for nanomedicine applications. As a consequence, researchers within academic institutions, SMEs and pharmaceutical companies will have better quality assurance procedures, a crucial requirement in this valuable industry.
Research shows that 23% of the
world’s energy is lost through tribological contact, which is the wear and
friction generated by interacting surfaces in motion.
Tribosonics Limited, a Sheffield company, has developed sensing technology to tackle wear, friction and lubrication issues in rotating equipment. The business venture designs, manufactures and installs high-end, often bespoke, ultrasonic sensing and data capture platforms across many industrial sectors.
Tribosonics inserts sensors within bearings, seals and other moving parts to create smart components that can measure and monitor tribological contact as well as other performance and structural metrics. The generated data helps companies to extend plant life, prevent critical failures, shorten maintenance cycles and reduce energy use through improved operational efficiency.
Christina King is the Chief Commercial Officer for Tribosonics, responsible for building innovative commercial partnerships with large corporations. Christina joined the SME Leaders programme in 2021 and says “I want to gain business insights and build networks that will help develop my personal journey, as well as scale-up the company.”
In 2020, Tribosonics secured over £1 million of equity investment from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, via Mercia Asset Management. This will enable the company to double in size over the next three years. It is now looking to further expand its patented ultrasonic sensing technologies into global industrial markets.
Lightpoint Medical develops molecular imaging and sensing technologies to help surgeons detect cancer in real time during surgery. In spite of the technological advances in robotic surgery, surgeons still depend on their eyesight to detect cancer intra-operatively. As a result, surgeons sometimes leave cancer behind or remove more healthy tissue than needed.
The company’s award-winning SENSEI® technology, a miniaturised intra-operative cancer detection probe, gives surgeons a chance to fully remove cancer in one procedure, while retaining healthy tissue. It can be used across many major cancer types including stomach, colorectal, breast, prostate, and lung cancer.
Dr Kunal Vyas is the Head of Research at Lightpoint Medical, responsible for evaluating new technologies, overseeing research projects and developing the company’s intellectual property (IP) portfolio. Kunal joined the SME Leaders programme in 2021. He says “I hope that the programme’s strategic innovation management initiative will maximise my performance as we commercialise and scale-up. I will also benefit from access to workshops and speaker events on topics such as IP management and pitching.”
In 2021, SENSEI® received CE mark, enabling it to be sold in the European Economic Area. Lightpoint Medical has begun multi-centre clinical trials with the probe. The company will now transition from being an R&D-focused organisation into a commercial enterprise.
Loudspeakers are used in billions of devices worldwide including smartphones, laptops, tablets and smart speakers. For nearly 100 years, the dominant technology to reproduce sound has been the dynamic loudspeaker. One of the main mechanisms it uses is the voice coil transducer, a very simple device that also has significant drawbacks in terms of electrics, mechanics and acoustics.
Dominika Behounik is Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer of Arya Audio Labs. The company was formed with Arthur Marker to develop audio products. One of these was the AirBlade transducer. Instead of trying to incrementally improve a 100-year old imperfect design, it approached the problem from a different, disruptive angle.
Rather than using a heavy diaphragm with separate voice coil, the AirBlade transducer incorporates ultralight ring-shaped foil elements arranged in layers with conductive traces of aluminium bonded to it. When an electrical signal is applied, opposite layers of the diaphragm either move towards or away from each other depending on the direction of the current, thereby moving air and creating sound.
By distributing the diaphragm area over several layers and implementing a curved shape, AirBlade avoids the typical beaming problem of traditional drivers while achieving higher power handling, reduced distortion and better air coupling due to its large diaphragm surface area. The transducer’s radiation pattern can also be tailored to specific requirements of the application it is driving.
Arya Audio Labs has manufactured in-house since its inception. It uses advanced prototyping tools including 3D printing, 5 axis CNC machines and state-of-the-art measurement facilities. The company started shipping the AirBlade directly to customers at the beginning of 2020 and it proved a very popular seller. It is now looking for ways to improve and speed up the processes to help deliver highest quality products.
The audio market has been on the rise for the past couple of years, with an abundance of streaming services available as well as vinyl records experiencing a come-back. The company’s technology has been especially well received at the high end of the market and in the automotive audio sectors, two markets that are worth over £1 billion a year alone.
Dominika says of the Enterprise Fellowship: “I come from an academic background, where it’s natural to focus your efforts on developing technology and forget that you are actually trying to run a business! The Fellowship has given me an excellent opportunity to shift that mindset, and strike a good balance between the two.”
– Arya Audio Labs debuts at High End Munich as a Newcomer
2018 – First product, RevOpod, starts shipping
2019 – RevOpod receives Best of 2018 award by Mono and Stereo
2019 – AirBlade loudspeaker starts shipping to original equipment manufacturing partners
2020 – AirBlade loudspeaker becomes available for end customers
Visit their website: www.arya-audio.com
Grakn Labs have developed a system called Grakn, an open-source intelligent database. Grakn handles large amounts of complex data through knowledge engineering – commonly known as knowledge graphs. It is the world’s first database with a schema powered by a knowledge representation system and uses a query language called Graql to enable this.
Grakn’s database technology provides the knowledge base foundation for artificial intelligence systems used in various industries, including financial services, defence and security, life sciences, robotics and cyber security.
Tomás Sabat is the Chief Operating Officer at Grakn Labs, responsible for generating sales, marketing and finance. He develops strategic relationships with clients who can benefit from Grakn’s ability to easily model, query and analyse complex information in a simple and logical way.
Tomás joined the SME Leaders programme in 2018. He says: “The scheme has given us an introduction to investors and provided leadership and media training. It has also supplied us with networking opportunities with other engineering businesses in the UK.”
Grakn Labs has doubled its staff in two years and raised £2.4 million of funding. It is now ready to produce at scale, both in terms of commercial adoption as well as scaling its technology.
MySense Ltd has created a wellbeing analytics platform for people with declining health, enabling them to live independently in their own homes. Its system uses a network of wearable and fixed sensors in a property. Using artificial intelligence and the internet of things, the platform learns a person’s pattern of behaviour, while building up an informed picture of a user’s health condition.
Thousands of data points track a user’s nutrition, hydration, independence, activity and overall sense of wellbeing. A smartwatch records heart rate and step count, while an easy-to-use dashboard displays the information, highlighting any unusual patterns and triggering a notification to a nominated responder.
MySense monitoring data doesn’t record video or sound as there are no cameras or microphones. The real-time data allows family members, friends, clinicians and care givers to stay informed about a person’s wellbeing. Detailed evaluations through use have shown significant reductions in GP appointments, 999 calls and unplanned hospital admissions.
Lucie Glenday is Co-Founder and Group CEO of MySense. Lucie joined the SME Leaders programme in 2021 and is looking forward to two specific programme initiatives. She says “Having a mentor will allow me to talk through decisions the company is making and how to position these in order to gain maximum impact. And I’m hoping that learning at one of the world’s top universities will further develop my leadership skills.”
MySense consists of data scientists, engineers, testers, clinical researchers and a commercially-experienced management team. The company is growing quickly and is now working on raising brand awareness, building a research partnership network and preparing its platform for international markets.
When Mohammed Belal became an SME Leader in 2019, he had already co-founded MIRICO, a company developing laser sensing technology for real-time gas sensing. Now, Mohammed is setting up a new venture, Celestial Eye, a spin-out from RAL Space.
Celestial Eye is developing innovative space-borne sensors deployed in a constellation to obtain global high-precision weather data. The project is working on providing high-resolution profiles of moisture and temperature across the atmosphere. This will improve the observation and forecasting of weather patterns as well as monitoring climate change.
Mohammed credits the SME Leader programme with honing his entrepreneurial skills, He says: “I gained valuable insights from other SME Leaders about startups and networking. It also helped me develop my management capabilities and the fundamental skills required to set up and scale businesses.”
Mohammed is responsible for setting up the venture and defining business strategy for the launch and development. He is currently focused on raising capital to build an engineering team and launch its first satellite. The mission will improve observations of weather systems, and more accurately forecast extreme events.
Jelly Drops are 95% water sweets, designed to help people with dementia stay hydrated. Initially developed by Lewis for his Grandma Pat, Jelly Drops turn something that can often be a difficult task into the highlight of the day.
Many people with dementia no longer feel thirst, don’t equate drinking with quenching thirst, or don’t recognise cups or have the dexterity to pick them up. To understand this better, Lewis lived in his grandma’s care home for a month. He realised that while many residents struggled to hydrate themselves independently, they all loved sweets.
Dementia is the leading cause of death in the UK, currently effecting more than 850,000 people. This is expected to reach over 1.5 million by 2040. Jelly Drops are bright, easy to pick up, vegan, sugar-free (with no laxative effect) sweets, that contain natural colours and flavours, and are shelf-stable. They enable people with dementia to hydrate themselves independently and with dignity.
The company has just launched and its main focus is to reach people with dementia that are suffering from dehydration. Jelly Drops will do this through care homes, but also via an online shop to serve people out in the community. Once established in the UK, Jelly Drops plans to ship the products abroad, and already has a waiting list of 35,000 in the US.
Jelly Drops hopes to diversify its product range to help a wider audience with hydration and other critical dietary requirements.
Jelly Drops was the first company accepted onto the Alzheimer’s Society Innovation Accelerator Programme and the project recently won the Outstanding Dementia Care Innovation Award at the Dementia Care Awards. Other awards include Pitch@Palace Global - Winner, European Investment Bank - Social Innovation Prize, EIT Food – UK Winner, EIT Health - Future of Health Award, Innovation Forum - IMAGINE IF! Global winner, Pitch@Palace 11.0 - Audience Vote and People’s Choice Award, Huawei - New Working Order Bursary and the Meaning-Centred Design - Student Healthcare Winner .
The Enterprise fellowship has provided us with invaluable support in helping us scale the business and create robust and sustainable systems for growth.
The value of lost productivity due to knee osteoarthritis is estimated to be $100 billion annually in the US alone. Efforts need to be made to improve recovery from osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal injury.
Zappt coordinates targeted neuromuscular activation with the patient’s movements to enable joint offloading in osteoarthritis and dynamic bracing in musculoskeletal injury. Joint offloading involves shifting pressure within the joint away from a region of damage towards a healthier portion whereas dynamic bracing involves selectively applied support in situationally specific load cases.
It plans to carry out user trials with the Royal Dutch Football Association, the KNVB, in the Netherlands. This will be the first major field trial of its novel prototype. Zappt hopes to use the insights gained to hone the product and make sure it performs as partners require.
“[The Enterprise Hub has helped us] by providing access to a network of invaluable support, and by forcing us to refine our ideas about the product and our business model.”
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.
Phil is an active Cambridge-based angel investor where he chairs, coaches, invests in and helps communications, software and device companies. He is a frequent speaker on a broad range of entrepreneurial topics and an advisor to universities on the commercialisation of their IP.
In 1999 Phil co-founded the spin-out Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) and as managing director, helped to grow CSR plc from a startup of nine people into a highly successful FTSE 250 listed fabless semiconductor company. In 2003, CSR plc had become the largest global market supplier of Bluetooth chips. By 2015, they had shipped three billion chips, employed more than 2,000 people in 23 locations and was acquired by US-based Qualcomm for $2.5 billion.
Phil has been a research fellow at AERE, a chief research engineer at Standard Telecommunication Laboratories, UK Alvey & CEC ESPRIT project manager and a telecoms practice manager at Arthur D Little’s Cambridge Consultants, from which he spun-out CSR plc.
Phil was a recipient of the MacRobert Award in 2005 along with CSR colleagues, for the world's first high-volume single chip Bluetooth device. He was elected as a Royal Academy of Engineering Fellow in 2017 and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Essex.
“I believe that the commercialisation of IP and the engineering of high-volume products is integral to a vibrant and healthy society. The Enterprise Hub has created an effective mechanism for enabling Fellows to become coaches and mentors to the next generation of engineering entrepreneurs and I am honoured to be in a position to help contribute to its success.”
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.”
Dr Hermann Hauser KBE FREng FRS is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of the Silicon Fen cluster. He is a co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners, alongside Anne Glover CBE HonFREng. He has been involved in several successful startups 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 Microcomputer, which led to the development of ARM Holdings, now a global microprocessor 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 has subsequently commissioned to write a report on technology and innovation in the UK by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. In 2015 the then business secretary Sajid Javid bestowed upon Dr Hauser an honorary KBE, in recognition of his valuable services to engineering and industry.
He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2012, recognising his contribution to the translation of science into business. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Royal Academy of Engineering from 2002 and holds honorary doctorates from Bath, Loughborough, Anglia Ruskin, Strathclyde, Glasgow and York universities.
“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.”
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.”
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.”
Professor Richard Brook OBE FREng is an experienced angel investor with technology expertise in the field of measurement, instrumentation and control systems. He has over forty years of experience in developing new instrumentation and applications for use in various sectors including manufacturing, space and defence.
He was co-founder and a director of the investment company
E-synergy, which invested in over a hundred startup and early stage growth
companies. He is a past chairman of a number of advisory boards and committees
for policy development and funding oversight in the UK’s innovation, space and
academic research sectors and was until 2015 a non-executive director of NPL
Management Ltd (running the UK’s National Physical Laboratory).
He is currently a board member and executive president of The Association of Innovation, Research and Technology Organisations (AIRTO) and a board director of the Satellite Finance Network.
Richard is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2007) and was appointed OBE in 2004 for services to higher education and the UK space industry.
“During my time at E-Synergy, I have invested a significant amount of time in mentoring entrepreneurs and preparing companies for investment. The mentoring support I’m providing at the Academy is a natural extension of this, and I’m looking forward to helping some fascinating projects to reach their full market potential.”
David Gammon founded Rockspring in 2002 after 17 years of investment banking experience.
Rockspring provides advice and capital to disruptive technology companies from seed through scale up. His family are the benefactors of the JC Gammon Launchpad Award run by the Enterprise Hub.
David is a non-executive director at Raspberry Pi
Trading Limited, Accesso Technology Group plc and Frontier Developments plc. He is on the Advisory Boards to IQ Capital Partners LLP and
Thought Machine Limited. He is a member of the Scale Up Institute.