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.
Working in tandem with PhD student Robert Rudolf, Reuben developed the first instance of technology that will allow energy consumed by mains connected equipment to be measured without the need for a monitor between the equipment and the wall socket.
The technology uses state of the art sensors with elegant calibration and measurement algorithms.
This resulted in an innovative new device that is a non-invasive multi-core current clamp which can be fitted around a cable and removed with ease. This approach removes the need to access sockets and to power down equipment for the fitting process.
Reuben's spinout company, Joulo, was acquired in 2015 Quby, Europe’s leading develop of smart thermostats and energy displays.
Following the sale of Joulo, Reuben co-founded Future Worlds, an on-campus startup incubator helping aspiring entrepreneurs to change the world with their ideas at the University of Southampton.
“Being involved with the Hub has been extremely useful with its opportunities to network with experienced business owners and entrepreneurs, many of whom have experienced the difficult decisions we are facing numerous times before. There is no question that these opportunities are vital to developing business ideas and raising the profile of our technology.”
Major advances in fabrication techniques now allows the building of new materials and devices on an atomic or molecular scale. These engineered materials can offer great advantages such as increased energy efficiency, strength, antibacterial properties and more. Their potential is vast, and very exciting to a range of industry sectors from medicine to aircraft manufacture.
To use - and continue to advance - the possibilities of these nano-engineered materials requires tools that can efficiently measure and characterise their properties.
Oliver is working to transform high-speed atomic force microscopy (HSAFM) into a diagnostic and fabrication tool to do precisely this.
His work is up to the challenge posed by imaging nano scale structures over sample areas which are industrially relevant. HSAFM is capable of imaging areas several thousand times faster than conventional atomic force microscopy (AFM).
Oliver's research at the University of Bristol will provide a tool to produce terra-pixel sized 3D images of surfaces. It will also be capable of rapidly prototyping nano structures over centimetre-sized areas in a matter of hours.
Mapping, measuring and manufacturing nanostructures via high-speed atomic force microscopy is now a possibility!
Monolith AI Ltd has developed cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) software that allows design and engineering teams to collaborate, analyse and plan products much faster than before. It accelerates product development by applying machine learning to data generated during the engineering design process. Its online platform then helps to simplifies and provides context for the data and predicts future product behaviour.
In addition to making data-science accessible for engineers, Monolith AI has gone further, by developing machine learning algorithms for 3D simulations of complex systems. Combining simulation tools with AI has led to licensing contracts for its software with BMW, BAE Systems, Honda and Siemens. The company’s technology has applications in a variety of fields including automotive, energy, defence and aeronautics.
Dr Richard Alhfeld founded Monolith AI in 2016 and is its CEO. Richard joined the SME Leaders programme in 2021 and hopes the programme will “help me with my leadership and negotiation skills. I look forward to networking with fellow engineering leaders too.”
Monolith AI is is generating hundreds of thousands of pounds in recurring revenue. The company aims to raise Series A round funding at high valuation in the coming year. It is also rapidly expanding and intends to soon open offices in Germany, Japan and the US.
Ian is the Managing Director of TribeHive, a University of Sussex spin-out focussing on software to overcome the problem of poor smartphone data connectivity in crowded places.
His innovation lets individual smartphone apps crowd-share data bandwidth by building a network directly between the mobile devices. This network is then used as the basis for distributing information.
Using this technology, mobile apps can reliably deliver match-related content and social media feeds to football fans in stadiums.
The system is now in place in a large number of professional football clubs, and the commercial rights in the sports market have now passed on to the company InCrowd Sports. Working with TribeHive, Ian continues to develop other opportunities for the technology.
“The Enterprise Hub has provided me access to very high calibre mentors, who have considerable experience in the field. It is immensely useful to be able to bounce ideas off them, sanity check our plans, and discuss freely with an independent and smart mind how best to move the business forward.”
Developing new medicines takes an average of at least 15 years, costing more than £2 billion from discovery to patient. These efforts are often hindered by not being able to match the right compound to the right disease – 95% of chemical compounds being tested in the lab never make it to patient approval and use.
Micrographia Bio Ltd has built a deep-tech system that uses artificial intelligence to facilitate bio-image analysis. The application of computer-vision machine-learning algorithms enables rapid, scalable development of models and analysis. By combining these algorithms with autonomous microscopy and molecular biology, the total effects of small molecule compounds within human cells can be interrogated.
Dr Julia Fan Li is the Co-Founder and CEO of Micrographia Bio Ltd. Julia is responsible for providing the vision for the company and executing the financing and hiring. She joined the SME Leaders programme in 2021 and hopes the programme will provide her with additional operational knowledge that will help grow the company from seed stage to Series-A funding.
Micrographia Bio’s platform is generating an atlas for modern drug discovery by matching the right compound to the disease it is best suited to cure. Dr Julia Fan Li says “It is Micrographia Bio’s fundamental belief that all diseases deserve a cure.”
Julien has developed a 30-minute test for infections that could revolutionise the detection and treatment of significant diseases.
He is a co-founder of SAW Dx, which has designed a testing procedure that is completely automated and carried out on a low-cost handheld system. Significantly, it can be used to test and identify major diseases (including chlamydia, gonorrhoea and malaria) that require costly lab work and a stressful wait for the patient.
new test system allows the manipulation of microvolumes of
fluids, such as a finger-prick sample of blood.
Designed to be a completely integrated sample-to-answer diagnostic test for patients at the point of care, the technology overcomes the limitations that current solutions have handling complex samples such as blood or saliva.
“The Hub has been very beneficial for my work all round, and I expect to deepen the interactions with my fellow members and continue participating with the targeted workshops and seminars. The original interview process for the ERA award was also valuable, with a significant part of the process devoted not to simply grilling me on my project, but offering very useful advice on the best way forward.”
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.
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).