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.
The analysis of proteins and small molecules for drug research and manufacturing involves slow and expensive testing. New processes that could speed up and enable high-sensitivity testing are needed.
Dr Ruizhi Wang’s expertise lies in the large-scale manufacturing of 2D materials – aka single-layer materials. He is a co-founder of The Hofmann Group spin out, HexagonFab. The company is using 2D crystalline materials to develop biosensors for medical applications.
The first sensor it has produced, called HelloProtein, will give drug development researchers the ability to characterise proteins and understand biomolecular interactions through a handheld device. The company says it is both faster and more reasonably priced than rivals operating in the same field.
Before HexagonFab, low-cost and large-scale
manufacturing of high-quality graphene was not possible. Only small amounts –
enough for research – were being made. The company’s ability to fabricate at
commercial-scale using chemical vapour deposition, along with related
atomically-thin materials, means that it can focus on generating very sensitive
and fast sensors.
HelloProtein is a field-effect transistor (FET) biosensor driven by graphene. Changes in the electrical charges in its environment affect the electrical properties of the graphene layer. This enables it to detect minute electrical charge changes allowing the detection of biomolecule-binding with high precision.
Dr Wang believes that such bioFET sensors could have a variety of other applications in the fields of medical diagnostics and industrial monitoring. The global market for drug development equipment is huge and by mid-2020 the company had already made £35,000 of sales.
2018 HexagonFab founded
2018 Merck’s Displaying Futures Award ($50,000 financial backing plus collaboration)
2018 Winner of Materials and Enabling Technologies category of Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies
2019 InnovateUK grant
2020 AMS corporate challenge winner
2020 First product sales
Visit their website: www.hexagonfab.com
Julien has developed a 30-minute test for infections that could revolutionise the detection and treatment of significant diseases.
He is a co-founder of SAW Dx, which has designed a testing procedure that is completely automated and carried out on a low-cost handheld system. Significantly, it can be used to test and identify major diseases (including chlamydia, gonorrhoea and malaria) that require costly lab work and a stressful wait for the patient.
new test system allows the manipulation of microvolumes of
fluids, such as a finger-prick sample of blood.
Designed to be a completely integrated sample-to-answer diagnostic test for patients at the point of care, the technology overcomes the limitations that current solutions have handling complex samples such as blood or saliva.
“The Hub has been very beneficial for my work all round, and I expect to deepen the interactions with my fellow members and continue participating with the targeted workshops and seminars. The original interview process for the ERA award was also valuable, with a significant part of the process devoted not to simply grilling me on my project, but offering very useful advice on the best way forward.”
Sonobex Ltd develops engineering solutions to increase capacity for effective noise control in a range of environments. Its high-performance technologies help with tackling high levels of industrial noise pollution and other noises, such as road traffic, which accounts for over 90% of unacceptable noise level in the EU. Urban noise has a significant impact on well-being. Studies by the World Health Organization estimate that over one million healthy life years are lost each year from traffic-related noise in Europe.
Sonobex is an award-winning spin-out from Loughborough University. Its patent-protected acoustic panel technology, called NoiseTrap®, harnesses the capacity of interacting acoustic resonators to efficiently reduce the impact of airborne noise.
Daniel Elford, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, leads a team of acoustic engineers and is responsible for developing Sonobex's technical vision as the company enters a phase of high growth. First awarded an Enterprise Fellowship in 2011, Daniel joined the SME Leaders Programme in 2018 to focus on strategy development as the company establishes licence and distribution agreements to expand into global markets. Training and mentorship through the SME Leaders programme will also provide the real-world experience needed to further support the company’s growth.
With support from his team at the University of York , Stephen has led a pioneering project to develop a quick, safe and easy means of diagnosing and monitoring neurodegenerative diseases.
The project uses evolutionary algorithms to recognise symptoms by monitoring data from unobtrusive matchbox-sized sensors worn by the patient.
Sufferers of conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s could have improved quality of life and faster care while hospitals would reduce the costs of what are often long-term treatment plans.
Stephen is a reader and researcher at the University of York’s Department of Electronics. His Fellowship award allowed him to focus on clinical validation of the technology at medical centres in the UK, USA and Australia.
“The scheme provided a highly effective, prolonged programme of training and mentorship that, over the course of a year, enabled me to make the transition from academic to entrepreneur,” Stephen says. “It continues to support me by providing a focus for seeking help, support and know-how from individuals with a wide range of engineering expertise.”
Joshua is researching and developing ground-breaking automatic mixing tools for audio and music production. He wants to enable amateur DJs and unsigned bands to produce professional quality recordings without the need for an expensive sound engineer.
His project LANDR (formerly MixGenius) uses technology run in the cloud or on a computer. Advanced algorithms ‘listen’ to the music while applying knowledge of the human hearing system.
This works in real time to distinguish between multiple sounds (either from a live gig or during post-production) and creates a professional quality mix with an optimised blend of the sounds.
Joshua is co-founder and board member of LANDR and Head of Audio Engineering at the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary University of London.
Fake products are a major problem affecting a range of commercial interests and industries, from designer goods to medicine.
While he was a Research Associate in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, Daniel and his team developed an innovative anti-counterfeiting and brand authentication technology using lasers printed by standard inkjet printers.
Using low-cost, scalable print processing this new printed laser technology created truly unique optical signatures that can be applied to products. The technology can be used in a number of ways and can even combine multiple security elements within the same printed packaging, whether it be overt or aesthetic features or more discreet elements.
Daniel realised that this would be invaluable to industries affected by counterfeiting and fraud. He founded the spin-out ilumink to further develop new approaches for physical authentication using these breakthroughs in printable laser technology. Shortly after his Enterprise Fellowship, Damian's company ilumink was acquired by Tracerco.
“The Enterprise Hub will be a focal point for my future activities, even when the Fellowship’s direct support has finished. The wealth of experience and networks, for example, will continue to be invaluable.”
Damien has been researching and developing wearable neurotechnology hardware and software to non-invasively measure and translate brainwaves into control signals. These allow people to communicate and interact with computers without moving - using only their minds.
His project NeuroCONCISE aims to empower people with physical impairments caused by disease or injury.
Damien has conducted trials with spinal injury, stroke and traumatic brain injury victims, engaging in pioneering work with patients at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dublin, Ireland.
He has also developed a videogame, dubbed NeuroSensi. Described as a mind-controlled version of the Wii gaming platform, it helps patients improve their ability to modulate brain activity. It helps to motivate and challenge them whilst they learn to control neurotechnology.
NeuroSensi can also be used for ‘gamified’ training to help people recover hand control function after stroke. Plus it has attractive gameplay elements that may appeal to the general gamer and consumer.
The interpretation of brainwaves has a wide array of potential applications outside healthcare, too. From aiding covert communications to data analytics, neurotechnology can be used while humans scan enormous data sets to automatically flag items of interest by interpreting changes in their brainwaves, dramatically speeding up data analytics.
bento•lab is a personal laboratory that will allow anybody to carry out basic genetic experiments from the comfort of their own homes. The objective is to create products that enable everyone to work with biology safely, conveniently and creatively.
With bento•lab, Bento Bioworks is making learning and working with molecular biology orders of magnitude more accessible. The toolkit weighs only 3kg, fits on an A4 footprint, and contains all the equipment required to carry out basic research in molecular biology.
This has widespread implications for science and engineering education as bento•lab users will be able to engage hands-on with genetic engineering and could potentially contribute to large-scale research projects.
Speaker and writer Phillip Boeing is the co-founder of Bento Bioworks with Bethan Wolfenden. They are already taking orders after a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Daniel Thorpe is the Business Development
and Marketing Director at Spiro Control, a company that helps
factories to increase production rates and lower energy costs by using analytics.
Its expertise in advanced process control and optimisation helps manufacturers
turn data into action, using pioneering technology to increase reliability,
energy efficiency and profitability.
Spiro Control has delivered advanced control solutions to clients across the world, in a broad range of industries, including refining, petrochemical, energy, polymer, food processing and mining. Its device captures sensor data and feeds it to embedded data analytics tools, which make it easy to optimise processes by increasing reliability and production rates, reducing equipment damage and improving process stability. In the future, Spiro Control hopes to develop a solution that will work within the Industrial Internet of Things architecture.
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.
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.
Suranga has long experience as an engineer and entrepreneur. He founded Blinkx - an intelligent search engine for video and audio content - in 2004. He led Blinkx as CEO for eight years as well as taking it public in 2007. He is widely regarded as an expert on the convergence of the web, television and online advertising.
Before his work with Blinkx, Suranga was US Chief Technology Officer of Autonomy where he was mentored by Mike Lynch and led the effort to enable Autonomy’s software to work in highly distributed environments. Suranga joined Balderton as a General Partner in 2014.
An accomplished speaker and commentator on the overlap between technology and media, Suranga has been elected by the World Economic Forum as one of its Young Global Leaders. He was also included in the Top 10 leaders in Science and Innovation by The Observer’s Future 500 list, and was a recipient of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Silver Medal in 2012. Suranga was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2012.
“The real high-growth value companies are currently all in the tech space. In order for these businesses to reach their potential, it’s vital that they can benefit from the guidance of those with experience.”
Anne is a prominent venture capitalist and European technology investor who has been Chief Executive of Amadeus Capital Partners from 1997. As a co-founder in the organisation, Anne’s role combines her experience as a scientist, operating manager and venture capitalist.
Anne began her career in manufacturing with Cummins Engine Company before moving into investment as a business angel. She was also Chief Operating Officer of Virtuality Group, which had been one of her investee companies.
Anne has held a number of high profile advisory positions, having served as Chairman of the British Venture Capital Association in 2004, and as a non-executive director of the UK Technology Strategy Board from 2005-2012. In 2008 Anne led the establishment of the Glover advisory committee for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, reporting on government procurement from SMEs. She is also a member of the European Research and Innovation Advisory Board. Anne was awarded a CBE for services to business in 2006 and was elected an Honourary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2008.
“There is a long-standing need for science to engage more proactively with policy-makers and business. The Enterprise Hub is playing a big part in addressing this, by bridging the gap between outstanding academic talent and influential figures in the industry to ensure the UK’s ongoing international success in science and technology.”
Chair of the Enterprise Committee and a long-standing Academy Fellow, Ian has played a prominent role in establishing the Enterprise Hub. His track record of helping businesses in the engineering and life science sectors transform their approach and improve their vision, ambition, business models and enterprise value is an invaluable resource.
Ian is currently Managing Director of contract R&D company Arcinova and is also the Managing Partner at investment and advisory firm Shott Trinova LLP. Prior to his specialist investment work at Shott Trinova, Ian was the founder and CEO of Excelsyn, which was sold to an American multinational in 2010. Earlier in his illustrious career he held numerous senior executive positions at multinational life science companies across the globe.
Ian has a wealth of experience with major industry bodies. He is currently the Chair of the UK government’s Leadership Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and a Governing Board Member of Innovate UK. Ian is also Visiting Professor at Oxford, Nottingham and Newcastle Universities.
“Apart from a deep-seated passion to change the entrepreneurial landscape in the UK and rediscover our legacy from the industrial revolution, I am highly excited by the prospect of engaging with new young talent and using my experience to accelerate and amplify their success. I’ve been involved in mentoring for over a decade but believe the Hub offers a very special opportunity to work with the brightest and best”.
Dick Whittington is a serial entrepreneur, business mentor and investor, focusing on the software industry and digital marketplaces, with over thirty years of experience in business. His experience has included co-founding a successful international software business recognised in UK through three Queen's Awards covering both Innovation and International Trade.
In 2012 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering where he plays an active role including as a mentor for early-stage technology startups and spinouts through its highly successful Enterprise Hub. From 2015 Dick has been Visiting and Honorary Professor of Business Innovation at the University of York, where he has developed and delivered a respected course in Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship for students and staff. He is also an active mentor and angel investor within several London and regional technology accelerator programmes.
Prior to pursuing business interests, Dick lectured in Computer Science at the University of York. He managed a successful research team and published a number of research papers and books, including Database Systems Engineering (1987), which became a standard text within many universities. He also contributed to several significant texts including The Software Life Cycle (1990) and the Software Engineers' Reference Book (1991).
"The concept of the Enterprise Hub resonated with me as a solid, practical initiative to benefit UK engineering through engaging the Academy’s extraordinary network of talent. The role of the Hub in launching and scaling such businesses is of enormous value to the UK economy and the engineering profession.”
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.”
Formerly the UK Innovation Director for Atkins, Elspeth is the CEO and Founder of IAND, a digital platform that helps major enterprises manage multiple suppliers.
Initially graduating as a chemist, Elspeth later turned her hand to transport and urban design, demonstrating business and technical leadership on over 100 transport planning projects both nationally and around the world.
Elspeth chairs the Enterprise Hub’s Innovators Network and is a judge for the Hub’s Launchpad Competition. She is also a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
In 2017, Elspeth was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her services to Engineering and Enterprise.
“I believe that collaboration within our industry is the key to driving innovation faster. I am so proud to be involved with the Enterprise Hub, as a Mentor, and as Chair of the Innovators Network and to support young entrepreneurs as a Judge on Launchpad competition.
It is rare to find a place which brings together startups and established companies to exchange ideas and learn from each other. We have a shared goal which is to fast track the growth of engineering enterprises in the UK. The Enterprise Hub has helped me grow my business and it is helping young engineers build the businesses of the future.”
Nigel’s career has involved working in the UK and the Netherlands for Unilever and Wellcome Research. While abroad, he built and operated the first large-scale Dutch facility for the manufacture of the genetically engineered protein alpha-galactosidase. Later, he led the process design for Wellcome’s WelGen interferon manufacturing plant in the USA.
Nigel has served as a co-founding non-executive director for two manufacturing SMEs, Cobra Biomanufacturing Plc (which was listed on AIM) and Angel Technology Ltd. The latter was awarded the Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2006 and the International Sial d’Or prize for the most innovative new UK nutritional product at the Paris International Food Conference 2004. Currently he is Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at Cambridge University.
Nigel was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2004.
“My relevant technical and personal experience was well-matched to Janice’s needs and I am pleased to be involved in such a positive initiative.”
Saeed is Technical Director at the prosthetic manufacturer Blatchford, winners of the 2016 RAEng MacRobert Award.
He has built a highly successful career based on outstanding innovation, product development and scientific research in the field of prosthetics. His work saw the company shortlisted for the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award in 2010.
Saeed has provided invaluable advice to emerging innovators in his field, such as negotiating with investors, creating new business cases and establishing alternative investment return strategies, IP issues, and how to identify new needs and opportunities in the market to develop a road map of future products.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2012.