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.
Sonobex uses acoustic metamaterials to control noise levels, usually for industrial applications. The Watford-based company has pioneered the development of acoustic panel technology, called NoiseTrap®, which can control low frequency sound and be tuned to focus, direct and manipulate sound.
Dr Daniel Elford is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Sonobex Ltd. He is responsible for leading aspects of the company’s research and development initiatives, including managing its property portfolio. He became an SME Leader in 2018 and says the programme has proved useful in a number of ways: “The positive approach of the peer group interaction and individual mentoring has helped us maximise our business potential. The dedicated training has enabled me to identify processes from our innovations that create a competitive edge and advantage in our sector.” As a result of his achievements, Dr Daniel Elford was awarded an Academy Silver Medal in 2019, for his outstanding contribution to UK engineering.
The company is launching two products in 2020. These products are new solutions to reducing airborne noise from low frequency noise sources using a series of tuned resonators – the NoiseTrap®Blox and NoiseTrap®Active. The Active technology has a sensor or microphone that monitors noise, connects to a feedback control system and speaker that generates a counter wave to cancel the outgoing and tonal issues. Daniel says that together with the company’s panelling, Sonobex is anticipating doubling its turnover in the coming year.
With support from his team at the University of York , Stephen has led a pioneering project to develop a quick, safe and easy means of diagnosing and monitoring neurodegenerative diseases.
The project uses evolutionary algorithms to recognise symptoms by monitoring data from unobtrusive matchbox-sized sensors worn by the patient.
Sufferers of conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s could have improved quality of life and faster care while hospitals would reduce the costs of what are often long-term treatment plans.
Stephen is a reader and researcher at the University of York’s Department of Electronics. His Fellowship award allowed him to focus on clinical validation of the technology at medical centres in the UK, USA and Australia.
“The scheme provided a highly effective, prolonged programme of training and mentorship that, over the course of a year, enabled me to make the transition from academic to entrepreneur,” Stephen says. “It continues to support me by providing a focus for seeking help, support and know-how from individuals with a wide range of engineering expertise.”
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.
Joshua is researching and developing ground-breaking automatic mixing tools for audio and music production. He wants to enable amateur DJs and unsigned bands to produce professional quality recordings without the need for an expensive sound engineer.
His project LANDR (formerly MixGenius) uses technology run in the cloud or on a computer. Advanced algorithms ‘listen’ to the music while applying knowledge of the human hearing system.
This works in real time to distinguish between multiple sounds (either from a live gig or during post-production) and creates a professional quality mix with an optimised blend of the sounds.
Joshua is co-founder and board member of LANDR and Head of Audio Engineering at the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary University of London.
Tangi0 Ltd (TGØ) has created a sensing technology platform that takes advantage of traditional mass manufacturing methods such as injection moulding to create truly 3D touch- and pressure-sensitive surfaces. Instead of embedding traditional metallic sensors, TGØ’s patented technology engineers the internal structure and surfacing geometry of one conductive material. It detects touch pressure and location via advanced signal-processing algorithms and machine learning methods. The resulting conductive surfaces can be used to make one-piece, fully-customisable, 3D touch-sensitive interfaces.
This technology has been used to create intuitive finger-tracking VR controllers for immersive user experience, is being developed for ergonomic automotive interiors and has the potential to produce soft and flexible sports and health-related consumer products.
Francesca Perona is the Chief Innovation Officer for TGØ and is responsible for the technical development of the company’s touch and pressure technology. Francesca became an SME Leader in 2020. She says: “I want to take advantage of the programme’s training and mentorship to devise an effective innovation strategy for TGØ. I also manage the IP portfolio of the company and want to acquire negotiation skills around intellectual property in a commercial context.”
TGØ is now aiming to expand its range of licensing and joint development contracts across a variety of industries. Because the possible uses for TGØ’s technology are so varied, the rapidly growing company has to ensure that its growing smart materials platform meets industry-specific aesthetic and functional requirements across a diverse range of products. The flexibility of its technology means that sensing interfaces can be miniature or large, both heat-resistant and waterproof. TGØ can work with clients to develop stylish and intuitive interactive surfaces made from one uniform material.
Fake products are a major problem affecting a range of commercial interests and industries, from designer goods to medicine.
While he was a Research Associate in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, Daniel and his team developed an innovative anti-counterfeiting and brand authentication technology using lasers printed by standard inkjet printers.
Using low-cost, scalable print processing this new printed laser technology created truly unique optical signatures that can be applied to products. The technology can be used in a number of ways and can even combine multiple security elements within the same printed packaging, whether it be overt or aesthetic features or more discreet elements.
Daniel realised that this would be invaluable to industries affected by counterfeiting and fraud. He founded the spin-out ilumink to further develop new approaches for physical authentication using these breakthroughs in printable laser technology. Shortly after his Enterprise Fellowship, Damian's company ilumink was acquired by Tracerco.
“The Enterprise Hub will be a focal point for my future activities, even when the Fellowship’s direct support has finished. The wealth of experience and networks, for example, will continue to be invaluable.”
Methane leakage from a gas distribution network (GDN) has serious environmental and financial implications. Methane is 84 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2 and it causes an estimated the global loss in revenue of £16 billion. The most practical way of reducing leakage is through improved management of the pressures in networks. However, existing technology is time-consuming to install and needs constant manual intervention.
Utonomy has developed an innovative control system that includes a motorised actuator, which can be retrofitted to gas governors already installed across a GDN, and a cloud-based data platform. Utonomy’s grid-monitoring software and algorithms allow GDNs to better control and manage pressures on their network.
Claire-Elise Orleach is the Head of Business Development at Utonomy. She is responsible for the company’s stakeholder management across gas utilities and for its sales and marketing initiatives. Claire-Elise joined the SME Leaders programme in 2020 and says: “The training, mentorship and coaching offered by the programme will be a support to me and the company as we the transition to commercialisation. There will be significant opportunities in the UK as the gas grid is digitised and Utonomy aims to lead in this space with smartgrid solutions.”
Utonomy’s new technology has the potential to greatly reduce the global problem of methane leakage from GDNs worldwide. Following a series of trials, Utonomy is about to launch its first product. Its innovation should enable GDNs to achieve their environmental targets and improve their operational efficiency.
Damien has been researching and developing wearable neurotechnology hardware and software to non-invasively measure and translate brainwaves into control signals. These allow people to communicate and interact with computers without moving - using only their minds.
His project NeuroCONCISE aims to empower people with physical impairments caused by disease or injury.
Damien has conducted trials with spinal injury, stroke and traumatic brain injury victims, engaging in pioneering work with patients at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dublin, Ireland.
He has also developed a videogame, dubbed NeuroSensi. Described as a mind-controlled version of the Wii gaming platform, it helps patients improve their ability to modulate brain activity. It helps to motivate and challenge them whilst they learn to control neurotechnology.
NeuroSensi can also be used for ‘gamified’ training to help people recover hand control function after stroke. Plus it has attractive gameplay elements that may appeal to the general gamer and consumer.
The interpretation of brainwaves has a wide array of potential applications outside healthcare, too. From aiding covert communications to data analytics, neurotechnology can be used while humans scan enormous data sets to automatically flag items of interest by interpreting changes in their brainwaves, dramatically speeding up data analytics.
bento•lab is a personal laboratory that will allow anybody to carry out basic genetic experiments from the comfort of their own homes. The objective is to create products that enable everyone to work with biology safely, conveniently and creatively.
With bento•lab, Bento Bioworks is making learning and working with molecular biology orders of magnitude more accessible. The toolkit weighs only 3kg, fits on an A4 footprint, and contains all the equipment required to carry out basic research in molecular biology.
This has widespread implications for science and engineering education as bento•lab users will be able to engage hands-on with genetic engineering and could potentially contribute to large-scale research projects.
Speaker and writer Phillip Boeing is the co-founder of Bento Bioworks with Bethan Wolfenden. They are already taking orders after a successful Kickstarter campaign.
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.
Dr Supti Sarkar leads the Technology and Investments Group at PwC. She is responsible for the commercialisation of new tech ventures across the firm, and works with in-house entrepreneurs to get their products market ready.
Supti was formally a management consultant at PA Consulting, where she worked with international and regional governments to support their trade and investment strategies. She was also part of Mayor Sadiq Khan's 2016 delegation to Chicago and New York as part of her role in supporting high growth companies entering the US market for the first time. Supti holds a first class degree and PhD in engineering from University College London and is mum to an eight-year-old daughter.
Dr Douglas C Anderson OBE FREng FRSE has a 40-year business career covering almost every aspect, at every level, of healthcare technology product design and product commercialisation processes.
Having trained in industrial design engineering (Edinburgh Napier University 1974), Douglas progressed from hands on designer to the management of design in the high-tech arena.
Using his consulting company Crombie Anderson as a base for innovation and incubation, he subsequently spun out three other high-tech startup companies, two of which became publicly traded business operating in medical fields.
Douglas was the prime mover in these businesses by leading both the innovation and commercialisation processes, including raising over £40 million in private and institutional funding prior to floatation. Today he is internationally recognised for his innovation and entrepreneurial experience and is a regular keynote speaker at healthcare and business congresses around the world.
In 1990, his five-year-old son Leif suffered a spontaneous retinal detachment that went undetected until it was too late to treat. Douglas was struck by the limited capability of diagnostic tools available to practitioners to examine the retina and decided to address this issue. He built a dedicated research team, which led to the formation of Optos plc, a business funded by Archangel from the outset.
Optos succeeded in designing and patenting a scanning laser ophthalmoscope: the world's first ophthalmic device that enabled eye care professionals to capture a digital ultra wide-field image of the almost the entire retina in a single scan. The new method of examining the retina, marketed as the optomap® Retinal Exam, is now offered as the preferred standard of care by tens of thousands of eye-care specialists globally. Over 200 million optomap® retinal exams have been conducted worldwide and a number of novel diagnostic techniques added to improve the understanding and treatment of a wider range of conditions that have been historically difficult to manage.
In 2006 Douglas was awarded an OBE for services to healthcare. Douglas was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2013.
David is an investor and CEO with companies based on technology and innovation.
After a degree in electrical engineering at the Technion and an MBA from INSEAD, David worked his way to senior management and board level in a wide range of sectors including sustainability, construction, life sciences, manufacturing, mobile telephony, cyber security and software. His broad experience ranges from startups to public companies, from turnaround missions and crisis management to business development and growth.
David is deeply involved in the UK startup space, as a member of UKBAA, VCs, EIS funds and university angel groups, and is an active mentor with the Royal Academy of Engineering and Imperial College London’s IVMS programme. He also serves as a non-executive on the board of directors of Kerur Holdings (a public company), the board of governors of the Technion, as an advisor with the US accelerator Silicon Catalyst and the board of trustees of Hadassah UK.
He believes that success comes from a culture of excellence, a multidisciplinary approach, and that the boundaries between B2B/B2C and startups/LargeCo are increasingly blurred.
"Startups challenge and can defeat established companies. An explosion of new technologies will accelerate this trend. Large companies cannot afford to be on the defensive, they must proactively adopt a startup culture. But startups must also learn to be humble and pragmatic, build structures, communicate at a senior level, and strive to serve all their stakeholders, clients, staff, investors, and society as a whole. A fusion of cultures is now pivotal to success."
Richard joined sustainability investment focused Earth Capital Group in 2009 and has worked both on the group’s investment in investment managers and direct growth company investments, including most recently the fund’s investments in SoftIron and Propelair. He takes a leading role in promoting technology transfer opportunities across the group’s international offices.
Prior to joining Earth Capital, Richard was an Investment Director with IBIS Asset Management Ltd, a London-based captive advisor to a large Caribbean conglomerate. Richard was earlier a senior manager in the London office of L.E.K. Consulting, a global strategy consultancy. During his five years with LEK he provided due diligence advice, in numerous large cap and mid-market private equity deals, and advised corporate clients on corporate strategy, business unit growth strategy, process redesign and cost reduction programmes.
A chartered engineer, his early career included successful engineering, operations and customer support management roles with Ford Motor Company and Visteon Corporation. Richard holds an MBA with Distinction from INSEAD and MEng and MA (First Class) degrees in engineering from the University of Cambridge. He is a chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment, and a Chartered Member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and a Sainsbury Management Fellow.
Dr Andrew Hosty FREng is an international leader with over 15 years of non-executive board experience and 30 years of executive and management experience, spanning private equity, UK Plc and global blue-chip corporates. He is non-executive director of a companies including: RHI-Magnesita, the global leader in the manufacture and supply of refractories; James Cropper Plc, who create some of the world’s most distinctive and technically advanced paper products; and Rights and Issues Investment Trust Plc, a fund that focuses on small cap UK industrials.
Andrew is Non-Executive Chairman of mOm Incubators ltd, a pre-revenue startup developing low-cost baby incubators for crisis zones. He is also Non-Executive Chairman of Nexeon ltd, a company developing next-generation cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries. From 2016 to 2018 Andrew was the CEO of the Sir Henry Royce Institute, the UK's home of advanced materials research and innovation. He was Chief Operating Officer of Morgan Advanced Materials, and served on the Plc Board as an Executive Director from 2010 to 2016.
From 2013 to 2016 he served on the board
of Consort Medical Plc, a healthcare company focused on developing advanced
delivery technologies, formulation and manufacturing solutions for drugs. He is
a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, holds a PhD from the Faculty of
Engineering at the University of Sheffield and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy
of Engineering (2011).
Chris McIntosh joined Methera Global as CEO in 2017. The company’s vision is to enable the delivery of digital applications to rural and underserved communities worldwide via a resilient constellation of Ka band MEO satellites. He previously spent seven years as CEO of ViaSat UK where he was responsible for the inception and growth of ViaSat’s UK satellite capabilities. Headquartered in the US, ViaSat are renowned as being one of the most disruptive players in the satellite communications and security domain.
Before joining ViaSat Chris was CEO of Stonewood Group, developers of state-of-the-art cyber products and services. He is a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the British Army and has worked within the challenging, high threat cyber and communications environment for over 30 years. He holds a BSc in computer science, MSc in design of computer systems and an MBA. He is a member of the UKspace trade association and the National Security and Resilience Consortium, and is a chartered engineer.
Roy Williamson has been helping companies see how their new innovations can disrupt markets for over 20 years.
For the past six years has been successfully helping early stage companies identify and define their strengths, enhance their uniqueness and develop their storylines to engage investors. Roy’s background is in engineering and cleantech and since 2013, he’s been supporting SMEs and entrepreneurs across a broad area of technologies and innovative business models.
Roy is an aeronautical engineer and started his career at Alstom, developing algorithms and models to estimate hardware costs of power generation gas turbines based purely on, often novel, thermodynamic cycles. He has assessed innovation ecosystems of the UK, published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. He has also co-authored guides to support technology developers in the UK automotive sector assess technology readiness levels and help those in the biofuels sector to review pathways for second generation biofuels. He’s appraised novel technology solutions for blue-chip clients, developed proof of concepts and carried out due diligence activities to support investor decision making. He is passionate about the UK and knowledge-intensive companies, from software to deeptech.
Roy is Head of Origination at the Department for International Trade with relationships across the department’s teams, government and the UK’s innovation and investment ecosystem.
Professor Mark Arthur Tooley FREng is the immediate Past President of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine. He was the Head of the Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering and Director of Research and Development at the Royal United Hospitals, Bath until 2017 when he retired from full-time NHS work. Since then, he has held several part-time roles. He is a specialist scientific advisor for NHS England, a digital clinical advisor for the West of England Academic Health Science network, and a healthcare technology consultant. He is a registered Consultant Clinical Scientist, an honorary professor at the University of Bath, and a visiting professor at the University of the West of England.
Mark completed his BSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Bath in 1979. He was sponsored by Westinghouse Brake and Signal company for the four years of the course. He then did an MSc and PhD in Medical Physics at the University of London. His MSc thesis was developing a EEG frequency analyser for anaesthesia. For his PhD research, Mark invented (with a cardiologist) an original method for rate-independent diagnosis of cardiac rhythm for implantable devices, which was patented. He spent the rest of his career in Medical Physics and Bioengineering departments, both in hospitals and academia, working along medical colleagues. He has worked at St Bartholomew’s hospital in London, Bristol University, United Bristol healthcare NHS Trust, and the Royal United Hospital, Bath. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal College of Physicians, the Institute of Engineering and Technology, the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, and the Institute of Physics. He is a chartered engineer and chartered scientist. Mark is on the peer-review college of EPSRC, has recently been a member of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Healthcare Technologies Strategic Advisory Team and the Royal Society Fellowship panel.
Mark has been a long-standing member of the Panel for Biomedical Engineering at the Royal Academy of Engineering (now called the healthcare policy topic group). He was recently a member of the biomedical engineering membership panel, the Policy Committee, and the working group for Systems thinking in healthcare. He has mentored on the enterprise scheme.
Mark’s research interests include innovations in medicine, physics applications in anaesthesia, simulation in medicine, physiological measurement, biological signal processing, measuring the depth of anaesthesia, blood pressure measurement and novel patient monitoring solutions.
Dr Liane Smith FREng founded Intetech Ltd in 1991, winning the Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2012 for its software. She sold the business to Wood Group in 2013 and in 2018 she left to form a new consulting engineering business, Larkton Ltd.
Liane is enthusiastic about the capability of digital technologies to transform businesses, bringing efficiencies, cost reduction, production control and increasing safety. In her last role as Senior Vice President Digital Solutions for Wood, she built the new global service line and defined its strategy roadmap and development plan. Her expertise is in various specialist branches of engineering in the industrial and energy sectors and in software product design and commercialisation, data management, data analysis, and analytics.
“I try to fill in gaps in mentees experience and give them confidence in their decisions. Typically we touch on building strong teams, role and task delegation, agile development, growing sales, exporting and strategy."