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.
Flexible, transparent electronics are increasingly in demand to support advances in electronic technologies. However, developments in materials science currently limits the availability of materials with the right properties.
Graphexe Nanotechnology have used graphene to create an ultra-thin, flexible and transparent material known as GraphExeter. The material has a distinctive combination of properties – it is as conductive as metal and as flexible as plastics. This creates new possibilities for advances in electronics in areas such as flexible lighting, foldable screens and other display technologies.
As a researcher with expertise in two-dimensional materials, Dr Liping Lu is helping Graphexe Nanotechnology to design integrated manufacturing processes for consistent and reliable production. The aim is to draw on the material’s properties to make it in a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable way.
Graphexe Nanotechnology is working in partnership with leading technology companies to refine and develop the use of its material in a range of new devices. This includes collaborations with Cambridge Display Technology, a leading developer of flexible lighting, and BOE, a global leader in manufacturing displays for mobile phones, tablets, televisions and other consumer electronics.
As Graphexe Nanotechnology grows in scale, with support from its partners its focus is to target the display technology and OLED-based lighting industry, which has a projected value of $10 billion by 2028.
Dr Lu was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to further develop Graphexe Nanotechnology.
Wood biomass is a clean alternative to unsustainable petrol-derived materials, fuels and chemicals, but its use is limited as it requires fractionation, a complex and costly separation process.
Chrysalix Technologies, an Imperial College London spinout, has developed a sustainable, cost-effective method for biomass fractionation - the process for separating wood components for use in other materials.
Chrysalix’s technology makes uses of low-cost ionic liquids to separate wood components. Known as BioFlex, the technology serves as a one-size-fits-all process for use with different types of biomass including waste wood, agricultural by-products and sustainably grown energy crops.
Over 1.6 billion tonnes of waste woody biomass are available globally in forms such as waste wood, palm residues and wheat and rice straw. This is a significant market that could make use of Chrysalix’s solutions to turn wood biomass into components, cellulose and lignin. These can then be used to make products including papers and films, bio-plastics and fine chemical and bio-derived adhesives.
Named as one of Europe’s most promising game-changers under 30 by Forbes, Dr Florence Gschwend has continuously engaged in entrepreneurial initiatives both during her PhD and since. Her interest in using engineering for societal and environmental benefit inspired the development of Chrysalix Technologies. Florence now leads the spinout in designing a pilot facility to refine its technology.
Dr Gschwend was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support her work in developing the BioFlex technology and the growth of Chrysalix as it prepares to bring its solutions to market.
Large scale farming operations have well established methods for converting farm waste into renewable fuel and natural fertiliser. Small farms need access to scaled-down, efficient waste management solutions to make sustainable processes more widespread.
EcoNomad delivers small scale technology for sustainable resource management and agricultural waste reduction. Its sustainable, affordable technologies enable waste recycling and management, empowering smallholding farms and rural communities to be more self-sufficient.
EcoNomad’s range of solutions include a biogas and nutrient recovery system, known as the BioNomad™, that can be used on small farms to turn agricultural waste into biofuels for heating and an enriched liquid fertiliser. The technology was tested and demonstrated to add value during a four-year trial at a farm in London.
Another solution is EcoNomad’s patented technology for low-cost solar water pumping and pasteurisation, which works using passive thermal principles, without the need for electricity or moving parts.
Dr Ilan Adler identified a need for scaled down technologies during work in Mexico that resulted in him setting up a non-governmental organisation and co-founding a social enterprise to promote eco-technologies in rural communities. This inspired later research in the UK that led to the development of EcoNomad.
Following the success of its pilot, EcoNomad has further trials planned in the UK and Mexico, aiming to bring its first products to market in 2019.
Dr Adler was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support him in making sustainable solutions for agricultural resource and waste management more widely available to smallholdings in the UK and Europe.
A lack of access to in-depth technical knowledge about embedded computing can limit many talented individuals and small businesses when creating products.
Bela is an integrated platform designed to make it easier for makers and artists to embed high-performance computing within products to enhance functionality. The technology comprises hardware designed, and suitably priced, for both prototyping and deploying at scale, and software that bundles all of the tools needed to build products. It has a particular focus on applications involving real-time audio processing.
The annual global embedded computing market is estimated at over $50 billion. Meanwhile there are more than 40 million adults in the US alone who identify as ‘makers’ – ambitious and creative individuals who want to build things to improve the world around them. 70% of these makers are involved in projects that require embedded computing but many do not have the technical skills to use it.
Embedded systems have low power consumption, small size and are low-cost. By making high-performance embedded computing more accessible, Bela’s solutions open horizons for businesses and makers to develop new, disruptive technologies.
Dr Liam Donovan draws on his expertise as a researcher at the Augmented Instruments Laboratory and as an artist to lead the development of the technology. He supports the project team at Bela to develop a small-scale demonstrator of its technology, targeted at sectors including digital musical instruments and wearable technology. The aim is to bring this to market in 2019, with a view to scaling up in the future.
Liam was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support him in developing a new technology at Bela and bringing it to market.
Drones can be used to significantly reduce time, cost and risk of structural surveying and inspection, but they generate large quantities of image-related data that can be costly and resource-intensive to process.
TRIK has developed software that makes drone use for surveying and inspection more accessible. It takes photos and videos captured by drones and automatically turns them into an interactive 3D model that acts as a twin of the real structure.
The technology opens up new possibilities for engineers to visualise sites and structures. Its interactive 3D models can be used to generate insights and also double as a database. They can be used for fast and efficient search, measurement, analysis and comment without the need to visit the actual structure.
It can make drone photography more efficient with processes for auto-tagging images and mapping changes across time. This supports surveyors, asset managers and engineers by making it easier to detect structural changes, predict failure, evaluate risk and maintain sites.
Drone-related services are projected to grow dramatically in the next five years. For example, growth for drone software in asset monitoring and inspection is predicted to reach $7.5 billion by 2022.
Led by Dr Pae Natwilai, an innovator selected
for the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe Industry list in 2018, TRIK is working with
companies to scale its systems and impact the global market for drone software.
It aims to achieve this by making drone survey and inspection more accessible,
without the need for significant technical expertise.
Dr Natwilai was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support her in bringing TRIK’s solutions to market. TRIK is also funded by Zoopla founder, Alex Chesterman, and LoveFilm founder, Simon Franks.
Over 70% of the world’s coastlines experience erosion, which is increasing at an exponential rate due to climate change. Coral reefs provide valuable ecosystems that naturally prevent this erosion, but these are also rapidly being lost globally.
Zyba Ltd has developed CCell, a technology that uses wave energy to create artificial coral reefs in any shape or size. This can provide a long-term, ecological solution to coastal erosion, restoring fisheries and enhancing tourism in the process by creating new scuba dive sites.
CCell technology is an ultra-lightweight energy converter that uses ocean waves to generate electricity. This is used to power BioRock – a process of electrolysis that makes sea minerals form around a steel structure, effectively creating a reef. The process enables corals to grow up to five times faster than they would naturally.
Many coastal regions such as those in Indonesia, the Dominican Republic and Mexico rely heavily on tourist income. Governments and the hotel industry absorb the high costs of coastal protection and many current solutions are both temporary and, in some cases, can increase erosion rates over time.
CCell has gained significant interest in Mexico where local partners have been supporting pilot projects to demonstrate the benefits in this key market. Future plans include scaling up the technology to increase access to a market that is valued at £16 billion globally. Tara Massoudi leads Business Development at Zyba Ltd and is responsible for developing the partnerships that will support the growth of the company and the implementation of its core technology, CCell.
In 2018, Tara Massoudi was awarded an 1851 Royal Commission Enterprise Fellowship to support Zyba as it expands and brings its technology to market. Zyba Ltd has also been supported by Innovate UK as well as the EU Commission as part of a Horizon 2020 project.
There are 1.2 million wheelchair users in the UK and children are the fastest-growing user group. For many wheelchair users, comfort and independent use is restricted because of poor postural support.
Poor posture impacts a child’s ability to breathe, swallow and communicate, affecting physical health and deterring them from socially engaging with the world comfortably and independently. There are over 70,000 young wheelchair users in the UK and parents with a disabled child spend an average of £200 million annually on specialist equipment.
Aergo has developed responsive, postural support seating for young wheelchair users. It uses pressure-sensitive inflatable supports that react to a user’s position to reinforce posture.
Aergo’s cost-effective solution works by inflating or deflating separate cells to achieve a natural and responsive form of support. Controlled either by the user or automatically, the technology increases independence by reducing the need for manual repositioning.
Current solutions are bulky and expensive. Some use straps and wedges to fix users into a single position, which restrict movement. This can lead to poor blood circulation and an increased likelihood of developing pressure ulcers. For children with cerebral palsy, scoliosis and paraplegia, Aergo posture support is adaptable for use in a variety of chairs and buggies, and expands in width for longer-term use.
Working with a special educational needs school inspired Sheana Yu, Founder and CEO, to find better ways to support children to interact with their environment. This led to the development of the seating technology, Sheana now leads the startup in finalising designs to comply with safety standards. The aim is to launch Aergo seating to market by 2020.
Sheana Yu was awarded the 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to continue developing this technology and her startup Aergo.
Companies dedicate lots of time and resources to innovating breakthrough products, yet a large majority of consumer packaged goods product launches fail: estimates suggest up to 90%. Solutions for mapping markets, consumer patterns and their complex relationships can help uncover new insights and support the creative thinking needed for successful innovation.
Klydo has developed a tool that provides innovation insights using artificial intelligence (AI). Its platform provides consumer brands with the market intelligence needed to accelerate product innovation, by using algorithms that enable a quantitative approach in what is traditionally qualitative research.
The technology aims to support and enhance creative thinking in any team. It works by combining machine learning with data visualisation to bring existing online information to life in creative and user-friendly ways.
Current approaches to market research can be expensive and time-consuming, typically lasting two to three months. Klydo’s technology works in real-time to offer differentiating perspectives, reveal unmade connections, and expose patterns and trends. This helps companies to more easily and efficiently build new products, make smarter, strategic decisions and improve innovation roadmapping.
Nick Schweitzer, CEO and Co-Founder, got the
idea to develop the technology based on an interest in how to engineer the
creative spark behind innovation. Klydo’s technology brings together diverse
interests and expertise in fields such as design thinking, psychology and AI.
It currently sells to leading brands such as Unilever, with others in line to
trial the platform.
Nick Schweitzerwas awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to continue developing the technology and support a growing team at Klydo. Klydo is also supported by Venture Capitalists Episode 1 and True.
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.