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.
For the growing number of industries reliant on more intelligent knowledge systems, advanced tools can help with making better sense of big data. GRAKN.AI achieves this with their knowledge graph technology that enables fast and efficient management of datasets that are too complex for current database systems.
Grakn’s database technology provides the knowledge base foundation for artificial intelligence systems used in various industries, including financial services, life sciences and cyber security. Having previously founded two businesses, Tomás draws from his experience to take the commercial lead as Chief Operating Officer in developing 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.
Rather than relying on large, highly-skilled teams of data engineers, Grakn’s intuitive and expressive database simplifies the knowledge engineering process whilst improving performance. It also responds to the nuances of processes in individual organisations and their data, making it easier for machines to rapidly model complex knowledge structures and helps with generating new insights, solutions and tools.
As the company grows and builds on success with the early-adopter market, Tomás will use the SME Leaders to support his development as a leader, through mentoring and guidance on management skills for effective expansion into larger, consumer markets.
Optical sensors developed by Oxsensis are meeting the challenge of taking precise measurements in harsh and hostile conditions. For industries that rely on high-accuracy measurements, Oxsensis’ sensors capture data and deliver it via optical fibres for use in monitoring systems.
With technology based on the micro-machining of super resistant materials such as single-crystal sapphire, Oxsensis optical sensor systems can optimise performance in a range of applications and industries. In aerospace, they can be used in flight systems to manage safe propulsion of aircraft. In oil and gas, they support efficient gas turbine monitoring to help with clean energy production.
Building on Oxsensis’ solid foundation in R&D, Ian Macafee, CEO, is leading the company’s transition as it becomes more firmly established as a manufacturer of optical sensors that track variables such as temperature, pressure and acceleration in real-time. As a non-electrical system, it can achieve this at extremely high-temperatures (over 1000°C), with immunity to interference from electromagnetic fields. This allows systematic observation in critical systems, leading to savings in size and cost, while improving safety.
Ian intends to use the SME Leaders programme to effectively build on his experience across engineering, sales and commerce. Insights gained through training will support the strategic, operational decision-making needed to deliver his vision for well-managed, long-term, sustainable growth.
A large part of improving transport involves using real-time data on commuter behaviour to design transport networks that can predict, adapt, respond and prevent congestion - before it happens.
Yang has developed an intelligent camera system that gives real-time insight into traffic and commuter behaviour. By combining machine learning with the latest advances in high performance computing, the system produces a unique method of classifying and identifying images in real time.
It is the first camera that can accurately identify cyclists among other traffic, enabling transport operators to observe how cyclists use a city. This means cities can effectively target investment in cycling and create cyclist-responsive smart traffic lights and smart signage.
It also has potential applications in everything from real-time traffic counting to crowd management and security. The technology is being used right now to map how commuters move around railway stations, how buses are really used and to generate insights from the humble car park.
His company, Vivacity Labs, is now working with several major transport operators and already has over 100 cameras in use across Britain.
The annual health cost to Europe is estimated at over €50 billion from exposure to emerging contaminants in contaminated water called Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Existing water treatment procedures either require excessive energy or hazardous chemicals and cannot filter out such micro-pollutants, including pharmaceuticals and pesticides.
Henrik Hagemann believes he has the key to resolving this and for treating over 300,000 hectares of land that is contaminated by water pollution in the UK.
His company Puraffinity (formerly CustoMem) is using material engineering to produce selective adsorbent media that can harness hazardous chemicals. They selectively filter out specific pollutants that currently can't be captured. This solution is 10 times cheaper to produce than competing advanced treatments and the adsorbent media can uniquely be regenerated on site using a safe liquid wash, leading to sustainable disposal of captured chemicals.
Puraffinity aims to sell granular adsorbent media internationally and fully engineered water treatment units in the EU, to major industries facing regulatory pressures such as airports and chemical companies. This would provide a cost effective, sustainable way to eliminate contamination from supply chains.
Puraffinity has already partnered with a global water engineering procurement company to remove PFAS from various sources and have executed successful in-house pilots with one of Europe’s busiest airports. The technology has raised over £4 million in grant and venture funding and a tech portfolio manager from Severn Trent has joined as full-time chief commercial executive. The firm has also won multiple awards at the world’s largest synthetic biology competition at MIT.
Many young children want to engage with and create music but can find it difficult to learn an instrument.
Coming from a musical family, Michael developed the technology to support children to enjoy and be creative with music. He felt that the challenge of getting sounds out of an unfamiliar instrument gets in the way of understanding how notes fit together to make music.
Michael’s solution uses ‘Bops’ - brightly coloured blocks that each play different musical notes when arranged on a board. The Bops can switch between different instrument sounds and be endlessly rearranged to create new tunes and even combined into chords when stacked together.
Designed for children aged three to six years old, Soundbops makes it easy and fun for children to create their own music, discovering as they go what works and what doesn’t.
The technology’s ease-of-use encourages creativity and experimentation. It has strong educational value as it engages children in reading sheet music and composing songs without having to first master a complex musical instrument.
Michael plans to work with toy manufacturers and schools to capture a share of the £45 billion global educational technology market. In February 2018, Michael ran a successful crowdfunding campaign, raising over £50,000 to start manufacturing Soundbops.
Michael was the winner of the Hub’s 2016 Launchpad Competition and received the JC Gammon Award – a prize of £15,000 and Membership of the Hub.
Stress and anxiety are now a pandemic. 18.1% of Americans live with an anxiety disorder and the World Health Organization estimates the annual cost of workplace stress in the US has grown from $190bn in 2017 to $300bn in 2018. These complex and rapidly growing problems have few good solutions and are not only costly but have a huge impact on quality of life.
Jack co-founded the company, doppel, to create a wristband that seamlessly interacts with our bodies to help us achieve the optimal state of mind for whatever situation we find ourselves in.
The wristband creates a silent rhythmic pulse that you feel on the inside of your wrist. Its heartbeat-like vibration works naturally, within moments, to help you feel calm, focussed, energised or relaxed. Like listening to music, a fast rhythm helps you to feel more alert while a slower rhythm is calming.
Doppel’s wristband can be used to reduce stress and stay focused. Those in high-stress jobs use it to stay anchored and calm. It has been used to overcome nerves at important events, manage anxiety and by those with ADHD to stay focused.
The technology is inspired by psychophysiology - the study of the relationship between the mind and the body and has been shown to reduce stress in controlled, peer-reviewed tests. User trials have also shown that it helps with concentration over longer periods, remaining calm under pressure or maintaining motivation during fitness training.
The wristband offers an alternative to traditional energy supplements, meditation and music as a way to achieve calm, concentration and focus. Following a successful Kickstarted campaign, the company is now focused on delivering its technology more widely to impact the growing mental-wellbeing market.
Jack was awarded a 2016 RAEng 1851 Royal Commission Enterprise Fellowship to support doppel in manufacturing smart wearables and bringing them to market.
MediSieve helps doctors to rapidly target and remove infected cells from a patient’s bloodstream using a technique known as magnetic blood filtration. The new approach forms the foundation of the company’s device for targeting bacteria and pathogens.
MediSieve’s technology is currently being developed for use in treating blood-borne diseases such as Malaria, many of which can be fatal. Malaria causes six million people to be hospitalised globally each year, 120,000 of whom will die. The filtering device can also be used to treat sepsis or to target abnormal white blood cells caused by leukaemia and improve treatment and therapy options.
Cristina Blanco Andujar, Head of Research and Development, has responsibility for all aspects of product development from design to clinical trials and regulatory approval. With support from the SME Leaders Programme, Cristina is motivated to improve her commercial skills and establish a sales-to-market strategy that can adapt and respond to different audiences and markets.
MediSieve has generated significant funding to support product development. As the team grows, Cristina’s goal is to help MediSieve embed a shared vision to help the company thrive.
Loowatt designs and manufactures high quality, waterless flush toilets that could significantly improve access to adequate sanitation and hygiene where it is most needed. According to the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, 60% of the global population does not have access to safely managed sanitation, meaning that untreated waste from 4.3 billion people enters our environment every day. Loowatt toilets offer a safe and simple solution with a patented flushing technology that locks in odour and disease without using water or chemicals.
Virginia Gardiner, Founder and CEO, developed the technology and now leads the company in establishing a robust strategy and vision for growth. Loowatt has successfully generated revenue by operating toilets and waste processing in a range of contexts, from outdoor events in the UK to easy-to-install, outdoor toilets for homes in Madagascar. The company now aims to manufacture and sell universally-applicable, waterless flush toilets and sanitation solutions to a range of global markets.
Virginia aims to use training and support from the SME Leaders Programme to advance the company’s fundraising strategy as it develops plans to scale manufacturing processes and sell its products to international utilities.
Skin Analytics has developed a new screening technology that uses artificial intelligence to quickly and accurately detect melanoma skin cancer. The company’s machine learning algorithms can identify skin cancer from an image of a skin lesion captured with a specialist lens, helping clinicians to ensure that more cases of melanoma are caught at the earliest stage.
Since 2015, over 15,000 cases of melanoma skin cancer have been diagnosed in the UK. Skin Analytics’ technology can be integrated into mobile, internet-connected tools for rapid screening. This improves patient outcomes by making it faster and easier for people to get referrals for biopsies and other specialist support needed to help them survive the disease.
Jack Greenhalgh, Head of Artificial Intelligence, leads in designing and validating the machine learning algorithms behind the technology. With Skin Analytics core product moving from research and clinical validation into real-world use, Jack also has a role defining the company’s strategy for future research. Supported by the SME Leaders Programme, Jack’s ambition is to build a research team to explore how its technology might support diagnosis of other skin cancers along with skin conditions such as acne and eczema.
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.”
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.”