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.
James identified one big problem with offshore wind generation: it costs way too much. If he can solve this, not only will he have a valuable stake in a huge market, he might just save us all.
A major barrier to widespread use of offshore renewable energy is the cost of generation and maintenance. It is estimated that offshore wind infrastructure is approximately 30% more costly than onshore wind and 40% more costly than gas generation.
After working in the wind industry in Germany and Denmark for three years, James started a PhD looking into the cost of wind energy at the University of Strathclyde.
He worked with Professor Bill Leithead on an offshore wind energy concept that aims to reduce the cost of generating energy from offshore wind turbines, making offshore wind more viable.
The resulting X-Rotor offshore wind turbine combines proven wind energy technologies in a manner that has never been done before, in order to save costs in manufacturing and maintenance of offshore wind turbines. It can reduce the cost of energy by approximately 30% in comparison to current offshore wind turbines.
The X-rotor development team is focusing on a proof of concept for the X Rotor Turbine and securing a patent. As soon as development partners are in place, the aim is to have the product to market in the next five years. The long term goal is to secure a 20% share of the new turbine market which is estimated to be 30GW (3,750 8MW turbines) between 2021 and 2023.
Traditional methods for storing and transporting gas require either compression or liquefaction - both of which are energy intensive and costly.
Dr Andrew Marsden founded his company, Immaterial, to commercialise a new technology for gas storage and separation. The technology makes it easy for gas to be stored at lower pressures leading to significant savings in cost.
Every year hundreds of billions of pounds are spent on storing, separating, and transporting gases using traditional technologies. Immaterial’s solution uses porous materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOF) that enable gas to be adsorbed and separated at the molecular level.
While MOFs have been around for many years, they are unusable in their natural, powdered form and it has been a challenge to find ways to use them on an industrial scale. Immaterial’s patented technology shapes MOF into marble-sized pellets, called ‘monoliths’, that can be used on an industrial scale where performance and mechanical stability are critical.
Launched in 2015, Immaterial works with customers to bring its solutions to a range of sectors including in power plants where it can be used as a cost-effective way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Andrew was awarded a 2016 Enterprise Fellowship to support him in growing his company, Immaterial.
Mark is interested in all aspects of energy conversion in chemical systems. In the first instance, this means using electrical, photochemical and sonochemical inputs to drive chemical reactions that might not happen otherwise. A cornerstone of his approach is using renewable (or potentially renewable) energy sources to drive unfavourable or slow chemical reactions to deliver fuels and other high-commodity substances.
Mark is the Group Leader of the Symes Group based in the School of Chemistry at the University of Glasgow, where interests lie primarily in energy conversion and small molecule activation.
The Group has developed PROMISE. a revolutionary platform technology with applications in energy storage that combines aspects of redox flow batteries, proton-exchange membrane electrolysers and fuel cells to give a single device that can produce hydrogen or act as a battery depending on the requirements of the user. As renewable power generation grows, grid operators are increasingly looking to adapt to variable generation loads.
The PROMISE breakthrough helps to meet these requirements and allows users to monetise intermittent renewable electricity by either storage and release to the electricity grid, or conversion to hydrogen for off-grid systems.
Nick is developing a pioneering system that combines the wearability and ease-of-use of EEG scanners with the imaging capabilities of MRI to enable mobile imaging of brain activity in real time.
The benchtop version of the technology, using near-infrared light to image the brain, is already selling well. It has many uses such as investigating the development of language in children, monitoring the response to pain in premature babies and discoveries such as that the lack of social awareness in autistic children develops much earlier than once thought.
The new generation of wearable technology will open up whole new fields of neuroscience research and a potential new approach to monitoring long-term neurological conditions.
Nick's company, Gowerlabs, has already developed a series of successful prototypes and has been awarded an Innovate UK Smart grant to commercialise these.
He is also working towards a consumer version of this innovative neuroimaging system that will empower users to monitor their own brain function in any environment using headsets that can capture real-time images.
Matthew has developed and patented Ultrafast Laser Plasma Implantation (ULPI) as a novel manufacturing platform with his product, Alpin.
ULPI can implant any glass with femtosecond-laser generated plasma – a highly charged and energetic gas, such as one containing optically active elements. This introduces visible or light-activated colouring (e.g. when exposed to UV) to glass.
Using a mask much like a stencil, ULPI can create a pattern upon the surface such as a barcode or branding.
This could have any number of applications such as an anti-counterfeiting measure, made unique for an individual batch or product. It could provide security and authenticity for diverse products such as pharmaceutical, alcohol and perfume bottles. The invention could add a unique selling point to a product as well as limiting the severe health and financial implications of counterfeiting.
Matthew founded Ultramatis Ltd as a spin-out of the University of Leeds to further expand the possibilities of this exciting technology.
Angus is working to ensure transport companies improve margins through better investment in efficiency solutions. An average heavy goods vehicle in the UK uses £42,000 of fuel annually. For haulage companies operating on extremely tight margins averaging between one to three percent, savings on fuel can have a huge effect on their profits.
There are a number of products available on the market designed to improve the efficiency of haulage vehicles, but a lack of evidence of savings on fuel has limited their uptake. Angus established his start-up Dynamon to address this lack of quantifiable data for the haulage industry.
Dynamon combines big data from vehicles with dynamic modelling and statistics in order to give hauliers tailored recommendations on the products that will help them make the greatest savings. It can also be used to help in gauging impact on air quality improvement programmes.
The company has two main products, both of which provide measurements that are far more reliable and accurate than MPG (miles per gallon) or litres per 100km.
The first product, Advanced Fuel Measurement, measures fuel savings from tracking aerodynamics, fuel additives, driver training and regenerative braking. Dynamon’s software links directly to vehicle telematics data and can measure vehicle performance without variables caused by driver behaviour, route, traffic, and vehicle weight.
Dynamon's second product is currently under development. The Fuel Saving Platform utilises a database of fuel saving products to recommend those that provide best return on investment (ROI) for a particular company. This ensures road transport companies invest in the correct fuel saving products based on how they use their vehicles.
Wayve Technologies has created a software system that teaches cars to drive autonomously. Rather than use sensors and hand-coded rules, it uses artificial intelligence and machine-learning to navigate city streets.
Initially, Wayve-vehicles are trained using simulated environments. This knowledge is then taken onto the road where a safety driver prompts and intervenes when needed. The car learns to drive autonomously through this reinforced learning supported by cameras and GPS navigation. Wayve Technologies’ vehicles have successfully negotiated roads they have never been on before without the need for an HD map of the environment.
Alex Kendall co-founded Wayve in 2017 and is currently CEO. When he joined the SME Leaders programme in 2020, his company had already generated £20 million of investment from interested organisations worldwide. Alex hopes that the networking opportunities the programme provides will help his company generate product strategies and promote organisational growth. The wealth of engineering experience within the programme will be relevant, as robotics, mechanical and software engineering are all crucial for developing autonomous vehicles.
Alex’s mission over the coming years is to advance the role of machine-learning for self-driving cars. He plans to have vehicles using Wayve technology deployed across European cities and wants the company to demonstrate that scalable autonomy can be achieved without the need for HD-mapping infrastructure or hand-coded behavioural rules.
Jack founded the innovative startup Massless to address the frustration of working with computers using existing devices.
Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) will move us far beyond just using the keyboard, mouse and touchscreen (2D) to new 3D mixed reality interaction with computers.
Massless is developing an interaction layer allowing people to experience new approaches such as using fingers, high precision devices and mobile devices.
This would affect user interaction in both work and play. High-quality Massless solutions can improve productivity for professionals such as developers, designers and engineers and also improve mobile VR interaction for entertainment.
RoboK Ltd is a Cambridge startup that produces 3D-sensing software for automotive and industrial applications. Its technology uses computer vision and deep learning to enable optimised perception on low-power computing platforms. The company’s technology provides in-depth spatial information to plan paths and avoid collisions.
This low-cost solution brings the safety benefits of machine-learning and decision-making to a wider public. RoboK’s technology is optimised for general-purpose and low-power computing platforms to enable efficient and fast real-time processing. Its perception module will detect and avoid objects for advanced driver assistance systems and is useful for automated navigation, for example automated forklifts and other automated-guided vehicles.
Hao Zheng is the co-founder and CEO of RoboK and is responsible for business and commercialisation. Hao joined the SME Leaders programme in 2020 and is looking forward to participating in topical round-tables and workshops. She says: “I am particularly interested in the training courses and coaching from experienced mentors. The training programmes will help us develop team building and improve commercial negotiations.”
The company is hoping to grow its list of customers and partners. It wants to expand its market range for both automotive and industrial uses to include commercial and agricultural applications.
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.
Former Inaugural Chair of the Enterprise Committee and a long-standing Academy Fellow, Ian Shott CBE FREng 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 the Founder and former Executive Chair of contract pharmaceutical development and manufacturing company ARCINOVA, which he sold to Quotient Sciences in February 2021 and continues as Senior Advisor to the board. Ian is also the Managing Director at investment and advisory firm Shott Trinova. 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 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 formerly 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”.
Andy’s career in industry has involved co-founding over a dozen spin-outs and start-ups, three of which floated on stock markets. Virata floated on NASDAQ and at its peak had a market capitalisation of $5 billion.
His most prominent successes have come through RealVNC, which won the prestigious MacRobert Award in 2013, and Ubisense plc. Collectively, these two organisations have received five Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.
In academia, Andy heads the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory and is an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall and Corpus Christi College. Elsewhere, he served as President of the IET between 2012 and 2013, and in 2007 received a CBE for services to the computer industry.
Andy is co-founder and Chairman of pioneering remote access software developers RealVNC and is also Professor of Computer Technology at the University of Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1996.
“My own career experiences have demonstrated just how important it is that the bridges between academia and industry are present and robust, and also what can be achieved when the relationship works to its potential. The Enterprise Hub offers an invaluable opportunity for exceptional academics to work with experienced industry figures and bring truly exciting new technology businesses to fruition.”
Naeem Alvi is an award-winning brand strategist and the founder of Notepad. After years of helping fast-growth SMEs and big brands such as Nike, Adidas and RBS Natwest to better leverage their brand, Naeem founded Notepad to connect big brand experience with ambitious tech companies that want to define and scale up their brands effectively and affordably.
Recent achievements include:
John is Professor of Optoelectronic Systems and Dean of transnational Education at the University of Glasgow.
He moved to Glasgow in 1986, where he established an internationally leading research group addressing linear and nonlinear integrated optoelectronic systems. He developed new integration technologies for photonic integrated circuits based on quantum well devices and quantum well intermixing, which ultimately led to the formation of the spin-out company Intense Ltd in 2000.
Intense developed the world’s most advanced integrated laser systems, bringing monolithic laser arrays together with electronic ASICs and optics for precise energy delivery in a range of applications from printing to material processing. The monolithic laser arrays pushed reliability and manufacturing yields to new levels.
John has extensive experience of operating in both academic and high-technology industrial environments, and as a result has an excellent understanding of spinning out IP and creating commercial value from an academic base.
He has been involved with several start-up companies including Kelvin Nanotechnology Ltd (1997-2000); Compound Semiconductor Technologies Ltd (1999-2000) and Intense Ltd (now Intense Inc) (2000-2009).
John was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2007; Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) in 2000; Fellow of IEEE (FIEEE) in 2000 ‘for contributions to development of integrated optics based on semiconductor quantum well devices’; and Fellow of the Optical Society (FOSA) in 2016 for ‘for contributions to quantum and photonics technologies and systems in III-V compound semiconductors’.
Alastair is Head of Analytics and Machine Learning at MDRxTECH, Mishcon de Reya's digital transformation consultancy.
Alastair is a UCL Computer Science PhD with a background in computer vision, analytics, machine learning, blockchain, strategy, and technology innovation. He is an experienced manager and entrepreneur who has built teams in both large and small organisations. He is regularly called upon to audit, evaluate and provide guidance to large scale technology programmes for MDRxTECH clients. An entrepreneurial and dynamic problem solver, Alastair co-founded Satalia, which builds and applies AI technology to solve efficiency problems for organisations such as Tesco and PwC. He also co-founded the venture backed WeArePopUp.com, and helped establish the IDEALondon innovation centre with Cisco Systems.
Alastair continues to maintain an active teaching role in the UCL School of Management (MSc Business Analytics) and Peking University, Beijing (MBA Technology Strategy). His research interests include technology strategy, blockchain, smart contracting and computational law.
Brewster Barclay has been selling, marketing and product managing for more than 40 years in a wide variety of high technology industries including printed circuit boards, both manufacturing processes and capital equipment, 3D circuit boards, online advertising, optical sensors, military chip packaging, radar tubes and software engineering services. Brewster has worked at Zuhlke Engineering, e2v technologies, Clicktream Technologies, Orbotech and PCK Technology Kollmorgen.
The experience of launching new products and almost six years running an internet advertising startup led to Brewster giving back in the form of mentoring early stage and growth startups. He identified a massive gap in business development, sales support and strategy that angels, accelerators and VCs give to startups. He has focused solely on sharing his experiences in business development sales, sales techniques and the practicalities of day to day sales and lead generation.
He has mentored at the Royal Academy of Engineering for the past seven years as well as for Accelerate Cambridge, Seraphim Space Capital and many other groups.
Vida is a behavioural change coach with over seven years’ experience helping people think differently and positively change lives. She helps people to build connection and balance in order to create a sustainable future for themselves, others and the world. Vida does this as a speaker, trainer and coach, focusing on wellbeing, self-care, belief change, and motivation.
Having worked in prisons and schools as well as the public sector with non-clinical NHS staff and private sector for companies such Telefónica and Wavin, she has a unique insight to share.
Professor Alison Noble is the Technikos Professor of Biomedical Engineering, in the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, and Associate Head of MPLS Division. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society (2017), the Royal Academy of Engineering (2008) and the President of the Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Interventions (MICCAI) Society, the international society in biomedical image analysis.
Alison’s research interests are in computer analysis of clinical and biological images and the development and translation into clinical practice of novel methodologies that provide new diagnostic and therapeutic image based biomarkers and software tools for image-based quantification and decision-making. Her research group works in close collaboration with clinicians and industry players. She is also a Founder and the Chief Technology Officer of a university spin-out company that is commercialising research from her laboratory (Intelligent Ultrasound Ltd).
She returned to Oxford as a University Lecturer in 1995 to set up a biomedical image analysis group. Biomedical image analysis has since grown to be the largest biomedical engineering activity in Oxford.
Alison has played a leading role in setting up the biomedical engineering undergraduate and postgraduate biomedical engineering teaching and training (MSc and CDT) programmes at Oxford over the last decade. She is a member of both the Oxford University’s Research and Education Committees (from Oct 2013), and has served or currently serves on a number of committees of the Royal Academy of Engineering and other national organisations as well as numerous research funding agency panels.
Bill is a leading scientist worldwide in the field of Medical Materials. His major research contributions have been recognised by numerous international awards, medals and memberships.
He has been the Professor of Medical Materials at the University of Cambridge; served as Director of Cambridge Pfizer Institute for Pharmaceutical Materials Science; Cambridge Director of CMI Interdisciplinary Research Cluster in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering and Director of University of London Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC) in Biomedical Materials. He has been Head of Department, Dean, and Governor at Queen Mary University of London.
He has been the editor of the Journal of The Royal Society: Interface, the Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine, the Journal of Materials Science, and of the Journal of Materials Science Letters.
Bill is Emeritus Professor of Medical Materials in the University of Cambridge. He is internationally recognised for his pioneering research contributions to biomaterials for medical devices, with awards including the Royal Academy of Engineering Prince Philip Gold Medal; the Royal Society Armourers and Brasiers Company Medal; the Kelvin Medal; the European Society for Biomaterials George Winter Award; the Japanese Society for Biomaterials Medal; the Institute of Materials Griffiths Medal and Chapman Medal; the UK Society for Biomaterials President's Prize; the Acta Metallurgica H.H. Holloman Award and the International Union for Physical Sciences and Engineering in Medicine Award of Merit.
Professor Bonfield's exceptional interdisciplinary contribution has been recognised by his election to all three UK National Academies as a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci).