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.
Contemporary architectural design requires smarter, more flexible materials to help buildings meet their environmental targets. Flexible plastic displays could provide a sustainable option for optimising indoor environments but only if they can be easily manufactured for use in materials such as glass.
Dr Chris Williamson, founded the start-up Flexypix to unlock the potential of flexible plastic displays that can be integrated into glass. His technology can be used to create windows that quickly switch from transparent to opaque, providing privacy or reflecting unwanted heat while consuming no continuous power.
Made using a liquid crystal-based material, Flexypix displays can rapidly switch and adapt on demand, within seconds.
These ultra-thin, plastic panels can also be seamlessly retro-fitted to existing surfaces, or integrated within materials such as glass during manufacture.
As CEO, Chris Williamson brings extensive experience in engineering smart tools and material for construction. He leads Flexypix in developing continuous mass-production processes so that the company can target the global commercial indoor window market, which was valued at $30 billion in 2015.
Chris was awarded a 2017 Enterprise Fellowship to spin out his business, continue testing and upscale the manufacturing process.
Despite being the most abundant form of renewable energy, solar energy does not have as high an international adoption rate as it could have.
The solar panels currently used to capture the sun’s energy are inefficient, cannot be bent or fabricated into custom shapes and have complicated disposal options at the end of life. That means that today’s panels are unable to make use of irregular spaces where the sun shines, especially in urban areas.
Dr Leonard Ng Wei Tat is the founder of DaVinci Future Technologies Ltd. He is also the inventor of the underlying patented system that enables nano-plated dispersions that allow solar panels to be printed using conventional printing machines.
Dr Ng Wei Tat’s technology will permit solar cells to be manufactured using standard industrial roll-to-roll printing at low cost and in large volumes. Solar cells processed in this way are flexible and can take on bespoke shapes and forms. The resulting photovoltaics are also more easily disposable at end of life.
Dr Ng Wei Tat says: “Although the growth of photovoltaics has been accelerating through the years, the average penetration of solar energy per country is only 2.5%. Our technology hopes to improve on this number. By mid-2020 we will have identified the markets we can be involved with and make an impact.”
He had originally proposed to use his innovation for another renewable energy use and says: “The Enterprise Fellowship enabled me to explore the market for my initial idea and then allowed me to effect a pivot from that original business concept. This acceleration of learning has put into perspective what is important about building a deep tech business and enabled me to find a new market.”
pre-seed funding from Cambridge Enterprise
2019 Dr Leonard Ng Wei Tat was Awarded an Enterprise Fellowship
2019 Patent awarded for innovation (WO2017013263A1)
2019 DaVinci Future Technologies Ltd registered with Companies House
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) is a debilitating lung disease that affects 1.2 million in the UK. Nearly two thirds of cases are thought to be undiagnosed and new methods are needed to improve both diagnostics and treatment.
InspiWave is a non-invasive monitoring device developed by medical innovator Dr Phi Anh Phan, along with Professor Andrew Farmery at the University of Oxford. With its ability to both monitor lung function and pulmonary blood flow, InspiWave has the potential to improve COPD diagnosis rates and allow for more efficient bedside monitoring throughout the treatment pathway.
InspiWave aims to improve patient’s comfort and experience by providing real-time bedside monitoring information in a non-invasive way. It can be used to support patients with a variety of lung conditions, such as intensive care patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.
Real-time monitoring ensures that clinician have the information needed to deliver the right treatment at the right time. The technology also provides vital information to improve fluid management for patients undergoing high-risk surgeries.
Medical trials are underway to demonstrate InspiWave’s effectiveness in a range of treatment scenarios, and help with targeting this device for use within the NHS.
Phi was awarded a 2017 Enterprise Hub Fellowship to develop InspiWave, and launch his start-up, Intelligent RespiLabs.
All sports fans will ask the question: if you can’t be at the game, what is the next best thing? Rob Oldfield, Co-Founder of Salsa Sound, has developed a next-generation sound production tool that transforms what viewers hear and creates a more engaging viewing experience for live broadcast sport.
The Salsa Sound system exploits emerging developments in object-based audio to generate improvements in sound production. Initially developed for football, its intelligent tracking system allows each kick, header and blow of the referee’s whistle to be captured, wherever they happen on the pitch. By using algorithms for sound recognition, Salsa instantaneously brings a sharper focus to the sounds that matter. This gives viewers a more immersive and engaging sound experience, regardless of the device they are watching it on.
The advantages are not just for viewers. Salsa replaces broadcasters’ need for labour-intensive manual mixing, simplifying the process with algorithms for real-time sound location and mixing. It can also remove unwanted sounds, such as swearing or inappropriate crowd noises.
With no direct competitors, Salsa is well situated to bring its transformative techniques to the high-value sports broadcasting market, which continually invests in improving sports coverage. Working prototypes have already captured the interest of large broadcasting companies and there are plans to adapt it for other sports in the future.
Rob was awarded a 2017 Enterprise Fellowship to help develop his business plan and launch his startup company Salsa Sound.
“The Enterprise Hub has stewarded the growth of my startup, particularly helping me to develop my business strategy. It really understands the challenges for an academic starting a business.”
CEO and Co-Founder, Brill Power
Smarter battery design can lead to longer-lasting, more reliable performance. Brill Power has achieved this battery control and management technology that extends the life of multi-cell lithium-ion batteries by up to 60%.
Multiple cell lithium-ion batteries areused everyday on a broad scale, from the battery in your laptop to electric cars and grid-scale energy storage. In each case, energy-storage capacity is limited by the weakest cell in a battery pack. Brill Power’s solution improves performance by monitoring individual cells, identifying weak points and making adjustments to regulate the distribution of energy at every charge and discharge. This ensures each cell’s potential is fully achieved, extending battery-life in a safe and reliable way.
Christoph Birkl, CEO, helped develop the technology and now leads Brill Power in developing its commercial applications. Supported by the SME Leaders Programme since 2018, he has participated in training in finance, leadership and management to help the startup to scale. During this time his team has trebled in size to 12 staff, and Brill Power has received government grant funding from the Faraday Battery Challenge, the UK Energy Catalyst programme and Energy Entrepreneurs Fund.
Brill Power is now preparing to launch its first product, a battery management system for small-scale stationary energy storage. The company also plans to launch a pilot for commercial and industrial storage and it has established strategic partnerships to demonstrate the application of the technology in electric vehicles.
Medovate commercialises innovative medical technologies created within the NHS. As the fifth largest employer in the world, the NHS plays a significant role in creating medical innovations that address unmet clinical needs, potentially creating revenue and impact. Medovate provides technical, management and financial support to develop medical devices through clinical trials, regulatory approval and commercialisation.
The first product Medovate is launching is SAFIRA (safer injection for regional anaesthesia), which enables a single operator to conduct a regional block at a safer pressure, reducing the risk of nerve damage and improving patient safety.
Alan Finnerty is primarily responsible for R&D at Medovate. He also leads on quality assurance, clinical trials, regulatory approvals and manufacturing.
Medovate has a portfolio of medical technologies covering anaesthesia, critical care, airway and surgery. The company has recently taken on development of a technology that has been awarded £1.3 million by the NIHR with Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The technology is called Endovac, an innovative negative pressure wound therapy device for the treatment of upper gastro-intestinal leaks. Early indications are that it will dramatically improve patient survival rates.
Alan says that the SME Leaders programme has been transformational: “I now feel truly comfortable in a leadership role. The training, mentoring and especially the networking opportunities, have helped me overcome strategic and operational challenges in my company.”
nuron Limited has developed a dual-purpose fibre-optic monitoring system that enables wastewater network operators to have a minute-by-minute insight into what is happening inside their sewers. It also enables fibre networks to be deployed faster and with less disruption. The company’s patented technology is continuously installed within sewer pipes, creating a nervous system for sewers. In real-time, it measures the flow, depth, temperature and structural integrity of the sewer network, allowing proactive and data-driven decision-making.
Claire Fenwick is the Managing Director of nuron, and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business. As part of the SME Leaders Programme, Claire chose a leadership course that benefitted her whole management team.
The company’s growth has been swift, with staff numbers increasing from three to 16 in the two years since Claire joined the scheme. In that time, nuron has started to transition from a purely development company to a revenue-generating business. It has deployed its first installation in a live sewer where the data and insight proved beyond expectation. It has raised £3 million through raising equity and innovation loans and grants and is now focused on ramp-up for its first scale deployment. Claire thinks that the company’s technology will allow water companies to be both proactive and predictive in their wastewater operations.
“Doing the course together helped us bond as a management team. We became more self-aware and jointly developed a clear vision, mission and values before we started to grow. This enabled us to become a cohesive and effective management team with an excellent company culture and high employee retention.”
Collagen materials are critical for tissue engineering innovations,
medical devices and research. However, the supply of collagen presents several
issues including quantity and cost – it is usually produced in low volume and
has a high average price of over £2,000 a gram. Quality can also be a problem
with its solubility, clarity and purity often inconsistent. Because it is
usually obtained from animals it is also susceptible to associated disease
Dr Jonathan Widdowson’s PhD work in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine led him to him to question how the body generates materials and then develop biomaterials to recreate those elements in the lab. In 2018, he co-founded ProColl with Dr Chris Wright, a medical biomaterials company with a mission to empower research and medical device development.
The Swansea University spin-out has since developed and commercialised new technologies and produces affordable, research grade, soluble collagen – both animal and non-animal based. ProColl manufactures three different types of collagen. Its acid-soluble collagens are highly consistent, with inter- and intra-batch consistency of over 99%. These are produced in large batches, which makes the materials cost-effective and affordable for research that includes making artificial skin and organs.
ProColl also produces a single-chain collagen, which is highly soluble in aqueous conditions and has many applications in regenerative medicine. In addition, the company is bringing to market a vegan recombinant human procollagen, produced in yeast that displays high consistency, reliability, and in vivo biocompatibility.
In 2018, the collagen market was valued at $4.27 billion with an addressable market for ProColl of over £1 billion, covering areas such as healthcare, cosmetics, research and nutraceuticals.
ProColl is currently building a distribution supply network and aims to have agreements worth over £1 million in 2020. It is also working with researchers and nutraceutical manufacturers to bring game-changing innovations and products to market.
Two significant reasons have accounted for the rapid commercial success of ProColl: the support of Swansea University’s AgorIP, which helped grow the enterprise from a research idea to a commercially viable spinout; and the Enterprise Fellowship, which has helped the company gain crucial funders and support. The funding has also allowed ProColl to grow and connect with new customers and gain traction in areas it was previously unable to access.
2018 ProColl founded
2019 ICURe funding secured
2019 Dr Jonathan Widdowson was awarded an Enterprise Fellowship
2020 Signed nutraceutical supply agreement with Trinsic Collagen Ltd
Visit their website: www.procoll.co.uk
Grakn Labs has invented a new database called Grakn: a logical database to organise large and complex networks of data as one body of knowledge – commonly known as knowledge graphs. It is the world’s first database that enables engineers to tackle a higher order of complexity in knowledge engineering.
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 and robotics.
Haikal Pribadi is the Founder and CEO of Grakn Labs. Haikal has drawn on expertise in robotics, optimisation theory, and intelligent systems to build a new logical database that serves as the knowledge-based foundation of cognitive and intelligent systems.
Haikal, a computer scientist, is the designer and lead engineer of the technology system built at Grakn Labs. He joined the SME Leaders programme in 2018 and is focusing on scaling the company’s technology to cloud distribution.
The pioneering community developed with Grakn has grown to thousands of engineers around the world. The community is spread across a dozen countries with a mission to solve the world’s most complex problems through knowledge engineering.
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."