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.
Reach Robotics has developed MekaMon, a unique gaming robot that is transforming consumer robotics and creating new opportunities in education and entertainment. MekaMon engages users with lifelike, expressive movements and augmented reality. It currently retails in the US, Europe and Canada and sales have been growing since its launch in 2017.
Jonathan Quinn, Head of Software and Games, has a central role in delivering the company’s vision to engineer a range of technology that inspires, entertains and educates.
Supported by the SME Leaders Programme, Jonathan is focused on optimising development processes to help the startup remain agile and competitive at a time of rapid growth. The training will help him to empower a rapidly growing team and maximise its technical and creative potential.
Reach Robotics is building on a solid base of user-testing and feedback to create high-quality, entertainment and educational products. It is planning future product launches to impact several intersecting markets, including the educational and consumer robotics markets that are currently valued at $1.2 billion and $10 billion respectively.
Metis Labs' mission is to enable manufacturing engineers to improve the efficiency of their factories through intelligent software tools.
Its first product, Kelvin, increases the profitability of factories and processing plants by warning before inefficiencies occur and instantaneously recommending improvements. Like an experienced factory operator, Kelvin learns the unique characteristics of a wide range of manufacturing processes by continuously monitoring plant data and correlating how each variable affects performance.
Metis Labs’ products are easy to implement, affordable and scalable. The company is working with a range of customers, and aims for its software to drive efficiency within every digitised factory.
Alex Appelbe, Co-Founder and CEO, started Metis Labs to address specific challenges that he faced during a decade working in the manufacturing sector. Alex will use the SME Leaders Programme to help him refine his leadership, negotiation and financial skills to support effective decision-making, culture and progress within his rapidly growing business. He is also looking forward to meeting other technology leaders through the Royal Academy of Engineering and growing his network of UK manufacturers.
Oxford Vision and Sensor Technology (OVST) is a University of Oxford spin-out that specialises in the design of 2D and 3D machine vision systems. These are transforming industrial manufacturing processes by allowing robots to recognise and identify objects for automatic operation.
OVST works closely with the automotive industry where high precision is essential at every stage of assembly. Its vision systems combine sophisticated software with innovative sensing technologies for robot guidance. The systems reduce costs and improve quality control by ensuring accurate results are consistently achieved in production.
The company has a strong customer base in the UK and Europe. Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, Ford, Honda, Ferrari and Maserati are among its customers in the automotive industry. Millions of vehicles have already been glazed by robots guided by the company’s core technology.
Fhon Supmak leads OVST’s commercial and technical strategy. Using training and support through the SME Leaders Programme, Fhon aims to build financial and entrepreneurial skills to guide OVST’s expansion into new international markets. This includes developing innovative products so that OVST remains competitive as it develops work through collaboration with subsidies in China and Thailand.
Fusion, the energy source that powers the sun and stars, could also provide a clean, safe and abundant energy source on Earth. Energy can be generated by using fusion reactions to produce heat for electricity generation.
Tokamak Energy’s mission is to accelerate the development and commercialisation of fusion power by combining two emerging technologies: spherical tokamaks (a device in which controlled fusion can take place) and magnets made from high temperature superconductors. These two technologies will create a compact and efficient fusion power plant.
As part of Tokamak Energy’s leadership team, Steven McNamara is responsible for the company’s scientific development strategy. This includes planning for accelerated growth as the company demonstrates the viability of its approach with its latest tokamak.
Steven also co-leads the conceptual design for the company’s next-step, a spherical tokamak reactor, which will be the world’s first large-scale spherical tokamak capable of producing a significant amount fusion power.
Through the SME Leaders Programme, Steven aims to grow his networks and enhance his skills in leadership to support continued improvement and innovation at Tokamak Energy. This will help the company achieve its vision of bringing fusion energy to the grid by 2030.
The next generation of chemotherapies will target cancer cells more effectively than many current chemotherapies, which can cause unwanted side effects by attacking both normal and cancer cells.
Femtogenix is an established drug discovery startup specialising in the development of payloads - one of three key components in a group of targeted chemotherapies known as antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs).
Payloads are molecules that are toxic to living cells and kill cancer cells. When combined with antibodies to target cancer cells, and a linker to bring all these molecules together, it creates a highly effective, targeted cancer treatment that is less likely to cause side effects.
Femtogenix’s discovery platform uses computational chemistry and state-of-the-art synthetic chemistry methodologies to both design and synthesise payload molecules that can bind to DNA and effectively kill cancer cells at low concentrations.
Paul Jackson co-founded the company and helps lead its scientific and commercial strategy as it refines its core technology. With support from the SME Leaders Programme, Paul aims to learn from a network of entrepreneurs and strengthen his leadership skills as the company expands and establishes its technology to support the development of ADCs in this rapidly growing field.
Actuators are miniature motors that are typically responsible for moving a system. The key for modern consumer electronic devices is to deliver next-generation user experiences without compromising the product size, cost or weight. Cambridge Mechatronics Ltd’s (CML) actuators deliver high force in a small size and enable positioning to the accuracy of the wavelength of light.
CML’s platform technology is suited to device components requiring high levels of precision and force in a small size, such as cameras, haptics, facial recognition and augmented reality. The key component of CML's actuators is made from shape memory alloy (SMA) material in the form of a wire the size of a human hair.
CML has designed, developed and licensed actuators to provide autofocus and optical image stabilisation to a range of manufacturers. CML's licensees have shipped millions of SMA-based camera actuators into smartphones, wearables and drones. The company is developing technology for further applications in haptics, facial recognition and augmented reality.
James Howarth leads the team developing new actuators and manufacturing processes. He has ambitious plans to support the company’s development as it expands into new areas and explores different business models, including manufacturing. Networking and mentoring through the SME Leaders Programme will support James in strengthening his leadership skills as he negotiates new commercial agreements to increase the company’s growth.
Accurate gas sensing enables better environmental monitoring and can be used in advanced process analysis in industrial settings. This allows companies to optimise processes and drives environmental efficiency in industries including oil and gas, petrochemical and environmental science.
MIRICO has developed a new laser sensing technology for real-time gas sensing. Its high-performance solutions accurately measure a range of gases, providing tools to better quantify emissions, enhance processes and improve safety across facilities through reliable detection of harmful molecules.
MIRICO’s platform can remotely detect, localise and quantify emissions of gases such as methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide that causes more than $2 billion in lost revenue due to product loss from accidental emissions.
Its technology offers advantages over current methods, many of which rely on large, fragile instruments that are costly to maintain. MIRICO’s solutions can be fitted in situ or used remotely and perform well in challenging environments such as fog and snow.
With MIRICO gaining traction, Mohammed Belal, Co-Founder, has a central role in leading business development. Supported by the SME Leaders Programme, Mohammed aims to develop skills for leading a strong sales team, negotiating new business partnerships and mapping the market for new products to help MIRICO’s growth.
Flexible, touch-sensitive materials could enhance usability in a range of electronics. TG0 has developed a new technology for interactive 3D controls that are ergonomic, intuitive and engaging.
TG0’s technology is driven by artificial intelligence algorithms and advanced signal processing to accurately detect variations in touch across a single flexible surface. The material can easily sense pressure, location, speed, direction and movement.
TG0’s seamless, interactive surfaces replace complicated networks of electronic sensors with one material. It can be used in many applications including tactile gaming controls, car dashboard controls and ergonomic computer accessories such as keyboards. It could also be used for accessible interactive products for visually impaired people.
Dr Liucheng Guo, Chief Technical Officer, co-founded the company and leads innovation in TG0’s software and hardware co-design. Supported by the SME Leaders Programme, Liucheng wants to increase the company’s customer base and expand its product portfolio. Liucheng will use training and development through the programme to guide him in leading a rapidly growing software and hardware team, as TG0 extends into a range of industries including sensor-embedded industrial robots, wearables, gadgets and underwater electronics.
Globally, one in 10 people do not have access to clean drinking water, and over 2000 people die from a diarrheal disease caused by bacteria every day. Current water testing systems are complex, require considerable training and are prone to human error.
WaterScope, a Cambridge-based spin-out, has developed an easy-to-use, bacterial testing system. The technology enables anyone to rapidly conduct a test and has been designed for increased accessibility in low-resource areas that cannot easily access labs for testing.
WaterScope’s technology uses a disposable cartridge that automates sample collection and processing, while guaranteeing the integrity of a test. It allows anyone to carry out a test without extensive training. The cartridge includes a portable microscope that can count bacterial colonies as they grow inside. The microscope automatically uploads results to a database for mapping, dissemination and cross-checking.
NGOs and governments conduct between five to ten million tests per year in the developing world and demand is expected to increase. WaterScope’s solution will allow more tests at a faster rate. Depending on the level of contamination, it can identify bacterial presence in under six hours, four times faster than current methods.
Dr Alexander Patto, Co-Founder and CEO, has led the team in developing the technology and conducting field trials to demonstrate its effectiveness. Supported by Oxfam and Unicef, WaterScope has carried out field trials in India and Tanzania to gather user feedback to inform design.
The technology has the potential to impact the developed world too. WaterScope is exploring how its solution could be a cost-effective alternative for water testing and field work in Europe where large bacterial testing laboratories carry out over 500 tests a day on a variety of water sources, including sewage and drinking water.
Dr Patto was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support him as he leads WaterScope in finalising its product design and starting small scale manufacturing.
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.”
Mike is a leading Silicon Fen-based entrepreneur. He is best known as a co-founder of enterprise software company Autonomy and founder of Invoke Capital, which invests in promising British technology businesses.
A celebrated technologist with a proven track record of identifying and monetising fundamental technologies, Mike has been recognised as one Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs in the industry. The Times has referred to Mike as “the closest thing Britain has to its own Bill Gates”.
Mike studied Information Sciences, received a PhD and held a research fellowship in adaptive pattern recognition at Cambridge University. After co-founding Autonomy he served as CEO for over fifteen years, during which time it became one of the UK’s most successful technology companies on the FTSE100. His latest venture Invoke Capital has raised over $1billion since its launch in 2012 and made its first investment in the cyber-security firm Darktrace in 2013 ,now valued at $800m, other investment areas include machine learning to automate legal functions, augmented reality and genomics.
Mike has received a number of prestigious honours throughout his career. He was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 1999 by the Confederation of British Industry; presented with an award for Autonomy as a technology pioneer by The World Economic Forum in 2000, and awarded an OBE in 2006 for Services to Enterprise. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering from 2008.
“It’s vital that we encourage and support emerging UK technology businesses, and mentoring programmes are a great way of guiding those with fundamentally clever ideas to fulfil their potential. I’m proud to be a part of the Enterprise Hub, which is helping to ensure the next generation of talent keeps Britain at the forefront of science and innovation.”
Formerly the UK Innovation Director for Atkins, Elspeth is the CEO and Founder of Indigo&, 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.