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.
All sports fans will ask the question: if you can’t be at the game, what is the next best thing? Rob Oldfield, Co-Founder of Salsa Sound, has developed a next-generation sound production tool that transforms what viewers hear and creates a more engaging viewing experience for live broadcast sport.
The Salsa Sound system exploits emerging developments in object-based audio to generate improvements in sound production. Initially developed for football, its intelligent tracking system allows each kick, header and blow of the referee’s whistle to be captured, wherever they happen on the pitch. By using algorithms for sound recognition, Salsa instantaneously brings a sharper focus to the sounds that matter. This gives viewers a more immersive and engaging sound experience, regardless of the device they are watching it on.
The advantages are not just for viewers. Salsa replaces broadcasters’ need for labour-intensive manual mixing, simplifying the process with algorithms for real-time sound location and mixing. It can also remove unwanted sounds, such as swearing or inappropriate crowd noises.
With no direct competitors, Salsa is well situated to bring its transformative techniques to the high-value sports broadcasting market, which continually invests in improving sports coverage. Working prototypes have already captured the interest of large broadcasting companies and there are plans to adapt it for other sports in the future.
Rob was awarded a 2017 Enterprise Fellowship to help develop his business plan and launch his startup company Salsa Sound.
“The Enterprise Hub has stewarded the growth of my startup, particularly helping me to develop my business strategy. It really understands the challenges for an academic starting a business.”
CEO and Co-Founder, Brill Power
Smarter battery design can lead to longer-lasting, more reliable performance. Brill Power has achieved this battery control and management technology that extends the life of multi-cell lithium-ion batteries by up to 60%.
Multiple cell lithium-ion batteries areused everyday on a broad scale, from the battery in your laptop to electric cars and grid-scale energy storage. In each case, energy-storage capacity is limited by the weakest cell in a battery pack. Brill Power’s solution improves performance by monitoring individual cells, identifying weak points and making adjustments to regulate the distribution of energy at every charge and discharge. This ensures each cell’s potential is fully achieved, extending battery-life in a safe and reliable way.
Christoph Birkl, CEO, helped develop the technology and now leads Brill Power in developing its commercial applications. Supported by the SME Leaders Programme since 2018, he has participated in training in finance, leadership and management to help the startup to scale. During this time his team has trebled in size to 12 staff, and Brill Power has received government grant funding from the Faraday Battery Challenge, the UK Energy Catalyst programme and Energy Entrepreneurs Fund.
Brill Power is now preparing to launch its first product, a battery management system for small-scale stationary energy storage. The company also plans to launch a pilot for commercial and industrial storage and it has established strategic partnerships to demonstrate the application of the technology in electric vehicles.
Supporting advances in research requires continuous innovation in the design and manufacture of equipment for gathering and analysing research data. Grant Instruments (Cambridge) Ltd. (Grant) is a global leader in this field, providing products and solutions for sample preparation, data acquisition and scientific analysis across life sciences and other industries.
In rapidly growing sectors, such as gene therapy and stem cell research, amongst many others, new demands are emerging for custom laboratory equipment. With a 65-year history of innovation, Grant is well-positioned to identify novel opportunities to produce reliable, high-quality equipment for customers across science, healthcare and industrial markets.
Today, a well-defined products and solutions strategy is enabling Grant to shape industry trends and innovation, future-proofing laboratory equipment specifications. As the company grows, it plans to create solutions that meet the needs of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, through unique applications and features, such as increased connectivity and secure remote data access.
Supported by the SME Leaders Programme, Alan is highly motivated to become a stronger and more influential technology leader by broadening the company’s innovation and reach, and building upon his existing knowledge and skills to develop professionally both as a technical expert and in the boardroom.
Smart systems for wastewater management have the potential to transform sewers, by reducing sewer flooding and environmental pollution. nuron has developed a dual-purpose fibre sensing technology that allows more efficient sewer management, whilst also creating opportunities for smarter cities by improving infrastructural capacity for fibre networks, including fibre to the premise (FTTP).
nuron’s fibre sensing technology acts like a nervous system. It extends through sewer pipes to provide real-time measurements on flow, depth, temperature and structural integrity, delivering remote visibility of sewer performance. This enables a preventative approach to sewer maintenance as information can be used to identify and manage blockages, highlight irregular use and give early indications of structural damage.
With over 25,000 serious wastewater incidents in 2017, costing the UK £214M, there are growing demands to reduce inefficiency in wastewater management. Managing Director, Claire, leads nuron in developing a customer test-bed and bringing their solutions for improving sewer performance to market.
Support from the SME Leaders Programme will create opportunities and access to training that will help Claire build on her experience in managing small businesses and embed good leadership as part of nuron’s planned trajectory for growth.
Collagen materials are critical for tissue engineering innovations,
medical devices and research. However, the supply of collagen presents several
issues including quantity and cost – it is usually produced in low volume and
has a high average price of over £2,000 a gram. Quality can also be a problem
with its solubility, clarity and purity often inconsistent. Because it is
usually obtained from animals it is also susceptible to associated disease
Dr Jonathan Widdowson’s PhD work in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine led him to him to question how the body generates materials and then develop biomaterials to recreate those elements in the lab. In 2018, he co-founded ProColl with Dr Chris Wright, a medical biomaterials company with a mission to empower research and medical device development.
The Swansea University spin-out has since developed and commercialised new technologies and produces affordable, research grade, soluble collagen – both animal and non-animal based. ProColl manufactures three different types of collagen. Its acid-soluble collagens are highly consistent, with inter- and intra-batch consistency of over 99%. These are produced in large batches, which makes the materials cost-effective and affordable for research that includes making artificial skin and organs.
ProColl also produces a single-chain collagen, which is highly soluble in aqueous conditions and has many applications in regenerative medicine. In addition, the company is bringing to market a vegan recombinant human procollagen, produced in yeast that displays high consistency, reliability, and in vivo biocompatibility.
In 2018, the collagen market was valued at $4.27 billion with an addressable market for ProColl of over £1 billion, covering areas such as healthcare, cosmetics, research and nutraceuticals.
ProColl is currently building a distribution supply network and aims to have agreements worth over £1 million in 2020. It is also working with researchers and nutraceutical manufacturers to bring game-changing innovations and products to market.
Two significant reasons have accounted for the rapid commercial success of ProColl: the support of Swansea University’s AgorIP, which helped grow the enterprise from a research idea to a commercially viable spinout; and the Enterprise Fellowship, which has helped the company gain crucial funders and support. The funding has also allowed ProColl to grow and connect with new customers and gain traction in areas it was previously unable to access.
2018 ProColl founded
2019 ICURe funding secured
2019 Dr Jonathan Widdowson was awarded an Enterprise Fellowship
2020 Signed nutraceutical supply agreement with Trinsic Collagen Ltd
Visit their website: www.procoll.co.uk
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 (Grakn) achieves this with their knowledge graph technology for knowledge engineering that enables fast and efficient management of datasets that are too complex for current 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. Founder and CEO, Haikal has drawn on expertise in robotics, optimisation, complex networks and data intelligent systems to help create a database that can 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.
Building on success with the early-adopter market, Haikal leads the technology’s continued development. As CEO, Haikal will use support, guidance and mentoring through the SME Leaders Programme to define Grakn’s strategy for steady, stable growth. This includes developing a consistent commercial engine with proven value for a wider market.
The financial markets are complex and, for many in the industry, a significant challenge lies in working with large-scale, highly dynamic data sets in rapidly evolving contexts. BMLL Technologies (BMLL) offer a range of solutions to make this easier. Rather than trudge through the complexities of different data structures, different trading rules, dirty or missing data and the technical challenges of working with big data and its constantly changing tools, BMLL’s technology enables companies to focus on what is important – generating insights from data.
Hugh directs research that supports BMLL in developing solutions that are used by customers ranging from tier 1 US investment banks to hedge funds and trillion-dollar investment managers. For researchers and data scientists at these companies BMLL’s platform brings clarity and ease to data management and analysis. This enables them to lever their statistical skills and add value by quickly and efficiently investigating the problems their organisation faces.
The SME Leader’s Programme will help Hugh to develop leadership and management skills to assist the research team in making strategic advances as BMLL expands, through the design and provision of API exposed algorithms for customers in diverse fields from transaction cost analysis to market surveillance.
Demand side response technologies financially incentivise customers to lower or shift their electricity use at peak times. This is creating opportunities for smart, more efficient energy grid management that meets the challenge of managing fluctuating energy demand. Metronome Energy Ltd (Metronome) is helping to achieve this with low-cost hardware that seamlessly integrates with its customers’ power-consuming assets to generate live data on energy usage.
Josh Burton, Founder and CEO, leads Metronome as it refines and markets a technology that offers benefits to all customers, from homes and small businesses to larger industries such as farms and supermarkets. Metronome helps customers make informed, data-driven choices when purchasing energy and assists with monitoring the performance of their assets, so that anything irregular can be quickly spotted. Metronome is also generating revenue by selling flexibility to the grid to improve its energy balancing capacity. Finally, the technology can be integrated into products, making them more efficient and able to contribute to a smarter grid.
Josh aims to use training and guidance from the SME Leaders Programme to become a more efficient leader and gain insights into the best ways to help the professional development of his team as Metronome grows and expands into new markets.
Batch reactors are used to manufacture a variety of products in the fine chemicals industry: vitamins, pharmaceuticals, polymers, dyes, fragrances and agrochemicals. A lot of the batch reactors operational time is spent in reactor cleaning, recharging and discharging; operations that produce no product but incur labour costs.
Dr Nikolay Cherkasov founded Stoli Catalysts as a spin out company from the University of Warwick to develop catalyst-coated tubes for use in continuous flow reactors. The patented technology could convert hydrogenation reactions, which make up 10% to 20% of reactions in the fine chemicals industry, from batch to continuous flow chemistry, substantially cutting production costs.
When compared with other common continuous flow reactors, such as fixed bed and flow slurry, Stoli’s catalyst-coated tube reactors offer high-mass, better heat transfer rates and tighter control of reaction parameters. The company can develop bespoke catalysts for gas-liquid and gas-phase reactions. In addition, the company’s reactor designs use 100 to 1,000 times less precious metals.
There has already been commercial interest with international customers commissioning development projects. Besides cutting production costs, Stoli’s technology is more sustainable, using less energy and generating less waste than existing methods.
The company has received significant funding from Innovate UK and the European Innovation Council. Stoli Catalysts is now developing and demonstrating 100 kilograms-a-day production of fine chemicals and looking to scale-up the company’s manufacturing facilities.
Dr Cherkasov says: “For us, the Enterprise Fellowship was the key step in focusing the business on customer value generation while helping provide essential training for staff.”
Research Council Proof of Concept grant to demonstrate the concept of
2016 Stoli Catalysts founded and Innovate UK £500,000 grant secured
2018 European Innovation Council €1.2 million grant secured to build a pilot prototype
2019 Dr Nikolay Cherkasov was awarded an Enterprise Fellowship
Visit their website: www.stolicatalysts.com
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.