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.
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
Loudspeakers are used in billions of devices worldwide including smartphones, laptops, tablets and smart speakers. For nearly 100 years, the dominant technology to reproduce sound has been the dynamic loudspeaker. One of the main mechanisms it uses is the voice coil transducer, a very simple device that also has significant drawbacks in terms of electrics, mechanics and acoustics.
Dominika Behounik is Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer of Arya Audio Labs. The company was formed with Arthur Marker to develop audio products. One of these was the AirBlade transducer. Instead of trying to incrementally improve a 100-year old imperfect design, it approached the problem from a different, disruptive angle.
Rather than using a heavy diaphragm with separate voice coil, the AirBlade transducer incorporates ultralight ring-shaped foil elements arranged in layers with conductive traces of aluminium bonded to it. When an electrical signal is applied, opposite layers of the diaphragm either move towards or away from each other depending on the direction of the current, thereby moving air and creating sound.
By distributing the diaphragm area over several layers and implementing a curved shape, AirBlade avoids the typical beaming problem of traditional drivers while achieving higher power handling, reduced distortion and better air coupling due to its large diaphragm surface area. The transducer’s radiation pattern can also be tailored to specific requirements of the application it is driving.
Arya Audio Labs has manufactured in-house since its inception. It uses advanced prototyping tools including 3D printing, 5 axis CNC machines and state-of-the-art measurement facilities. The company started shipping the AirBlade directly to customers at the beginning of 2020 and it proved a very popular seller. It is now looking for ways to improve and speed up the processes to help deliver highest quality products.
The audio market has been on the rise for the past couple of years, with an abundance of streaming services available as well as vinyl records experiencing a come-back. The company’s technology has been especially well received at the high end of the market and in the automotive audio sectors, two markets that are worth over £1 billion a year alone.
Dominika says of the Enterprise Fellowship: “I come from an academic background, where it’s natural to focus your efforts on developing technology and forget that you are actually trying to run a business! The Fellowship has given me an excellent opportunity to shift that mindset, and strike a good balance between the two.”
– Arya Audio Labs debuts at High End Munich as a Newcomer
2018 – First product, RevOpod, starts shipping
2019 – RevOpod receives Best of 2018 award by Mono and Stereo
2019 – AirBlade loudspeaker starts shipping to original equipment manufacturing partners
2020 – AirBlade loudspeaker becomes available for end customers
Visit their website: www.arya-audio.com
Additive manufacturing (AM) has opened up new ways to make smart industrial products. However, the aeronautic and automotive industries often produce parts using design software that pre-dates 3D printing. New design software was required that would be flexible enough to keep up with ongoing advances in AM.
Dr Francesco Montomoli, a Reader in Computational Aerodynamics at Imperial College London, worked on the idea for new design software for AM with PhD students Audrey Gaymann and Marco Pietropaoli. After three years’ work they had made enough breakthroughs and generated sufficient interest to launch TOffeeAM Ltd to commercialise their code.
The company’s software uses innovative mathematical modeling to design and improve components used in aircraft and car engines. It is able to explore geometric complexities within systems and has already been used to develop new designs for heat exchangers, fuel nozzles and valves. The heat transfer capabilities of TOffeeAM allows the code to be robust and accurate for aerospace applications. The interactive capabilities of their system means that it can work up to 20 times faster than existing design tools. By making components more resilient, lighter and more robust it can make some products 40% more fuel efficient.
The company has already been used to make components for world-leading AM businesses like General Electric Aviation and Baker Hughes. TOffeeAM is now aiming to consolidate its place in aviation and automotive industries while seeing if other fields, such as oil and gas, will also exploit this new resource.
Dr Montomoli says: “The Enterprise Fellowship has given us a great opportunity to learn from experienced people in several fields, from marketing to IP. An added bonus is being able to engage with the other fellows, sharing common challenges and opportunities.
Accepted onto Imperial College London’s Techcelerate programme
2018 Co-founder Marco Pietropaoli made an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Doctoral Prize Fellowship
2019 Co-founder Audrey Gaymann made an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Doctoral Prize Fellowship
2019 AWS Programmable prize
2020 Entrepreneur First invest £80,000 to help launch the company
Visit their website: www.toffeeam.co.uk
For a lot of applications, biobased chemicals have enhanced functionality compared to chemically produced products. However, biochemicals produced by fermentation require large volume vessels to make them, owing to the slow conversion of raw materials with the microorganisms used. This makes them much more expensive to produce and so they tend to only be used for niche applications.
Dr Ben Dolman, Co-Founder and CEO of Holiferm, has helped develop gravity-based separation technology that dramatically reduces the cost of production of lipid bioproducts, particularly biosurfactants. Most surfactants used in the cosmetic industry are irritants, and many in the agricultural market are toxic endocrine disruptors, with bans coming into place for some of these surfactants.
Dr Dolman says: “By using gravity, Holiferm’s new technology requires less energy and no solvents. The new process allows us to recover insoluble lipids from the production vessel as they are produced, alongside major improvements in the fermentation process. This has enabled us to reduce the vessel volume fourfold, reducing production costs by more than 50%.”
Holiferm recently agreed its first technology license with a leading surfactant company. The company is now raising investment to build its first commercial plant producing over 1,000 tonnes of biosurfactant a year.
Dr Dolman says: “The financial contribution from the Enterprise Fellowship has enabled us to accelerate Holiferm’s growth and provided the financial security required for raising our first venture capital investment round. The business support has also helped to solidify our commercialisation plans, moving towards the construction of the commercial production facility we are currently fundraising for.”
2018 – Dr Dolman and Dr James Winterburn awarded £10,000 for winning the ‘Early Career’ category of the BBSRC’s Innovator of the Year awards
2018 – Technology demonstrated at pilot scale at three commercial collaborator sites
2018 – First commercial license of Holiferm technology
2019– £200,000 follow-on funding from Innovate UK
2019 – ICOS Capital confirm investment in Holiferm
2020 – Multiple joint application development projects with financial contributions from major surfactant producers and formulators
In the future, every vehicle manufactured will have some degree of autonomy and they will all need to ‘see’ the world around them. The leading solution for machine vision is light detection and ranging (LiDAR), which uses laser pulses to build a 3D model of the environment around the vehicle. However, lasers travel in a straight line and need rotating mirrors to guide them in the right direction. The moving parts for these systems make them bulky and expensive.
Dr Richard Taylor is the founder of the University of Glasgow spin out Vector Photonics. He has invented photonic crystal lasers that push the boundary of what is possible with semiconductor lasers. He has developed a laser that can be electronically steered in two dimensions. Instead of doing the steering with conventional moving parts, it can do it electronically. This removes the need for the LiDAR set up to have mirrors, reducing both system size and cost.
Vector Photonics has had two patents granted and has demonstrated that it can make lasers in a laboratory. The company has also made lasers in a commercial foundry to show that they can also be created in an industrial setting, not just a university laboratory.
Dr Taylor says: “We now have to focus on making them for customer specification. We have another 18 months of development work before we can start selling them at scale. We’re now looking to raise investment for that phase of things.”
He continues: “The Enterprise Fellowship was important for me as it provided useful business training while giving me the time to work on developing the company’s business case.”
2014 Dr Taylor gains the Institution of Engineering and Technology
postgraduate scholarship award for his work with lasers
2018 Kickstart business competition finalist
2018 Secured funding from ICURe
2019 £70,000 of funding from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and £30,000 from a Glasgow company to support that award
2020 RBS six-month accelerator programme providing training, mentorship and office space
Visit their website: www.vectorphotonics.co.uk
Grakn Labs have developed a system called Grakn, an open-source intelligent database. Grakn handles large amounts of complex data through knowledge engineering – commonly known as knowledge graphs. It is the world’s first database with a schema powered by a knowledge representation system and uses a query language called Graql to enable this.
Grakn’s database technology provides the knowledge base foundation for artificial intelligence systems used in various industries, including financial services, defence and security, life sciences, robotics and cyber security.
Tomás Sabat is the Chief Operating Officer at Grakn Labs, responsible for generating sales, marketing and finance. He develops strategic relationships with clients who can benefit from Grakn’s ability to easily model, query and analyse complex information in a simple and logical way.
Tomás joined the SME Leaders programme in 2018. He says: “The scheme has given us an introduction to investors and provided leadership and media training. It has also supplied us with networking opportunities with other engineering businesses in the UK.”
Grakn Labs has doubled its staff in two years and raised £2.4 million of funding. It is now ready to produce at scale, both in terms of commercial adoption as well as scaling its technology.
The annual health cost to Europe is estimated at over €50 billion from exposure to emerging contaminants in contaminated water called Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Existing water treatment procedures either require excessive energy or hazardous chemicals and cannot filter out such micro-pollutants, including pharmaceuticals and pesticides.
Henrik Hagemann believes he has the key to resolving this and for treating over 300,000 hectares of land that is contaminated by water pollution in the UK.
His company Puraffinity (formerly CustoMem) is using material engineering to produce selective adsorbent media that can harness hazardous chemicals. They selectively filter out specific pollutants that currently can't be captured. This solution is 10 times cheaper to produce than competing advanced treatments and the adsorbent media can uniquely be regenerated on site using a safe liquid wash, leading to sustainable disposal of captured chemicals.
Puraffinity aims to sell granular adsorbent media internationally and fully engineered water treatment units in the EU, to major industries facing regulatory pressures such as airports and chemical companies. This would provide a cost effective, sustainable way to eliminate contamination from supply chains.
Puraffinity has already partnered with a global water engineering procurement company to remove PFAS from various sources and have executed successful in-house pilots with one of Europe’s busiest airports. The technology has raised over £4 million in grant and venture funding and a tech portfolio manager from Severn Trent has joined as full-time chief commercial executive. The firm has also won multiple awards at the world’s largest synthetic biology competition at MIT.
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."