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.
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.
Wluper is a London-based startup that has developed dialogue technology to create conversational artificial intelligence (AI) to power knowledge-based voice assistants. Most existing voice assistants understand commands, not conversations. They know a little about a broad range of subjects but few know a lot about a specific topic. Wluper builds intelligent-assistance technology for one domain at a time.
Wluper’s technology provides businesses with more advanced voice capabilities that are directly integrated within their existing services, and allows end users to interact with them in a more convenient and intuitive way. The company has created a system capable of handling dialogues that can return up to eight exchanges with the end user.
Hami Bahraynian is CEO of Wluper, which he co-founded in 2017. Hami is responsible for the company’s product strategy, business development and financial affairs. He joined the SME Leaders programme in 2021 and says “I would like to strengthen my communication skills to better convey goals, generate results and inspire trust. The programme has come at the right time as our company transitions from a research-driven business towards product application and market-adoption.”
Wluper has raised over $4 million from investors including Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures, IQ Capital, and Seedcamp. Now, the company is turning its conversational AI technology into scalable products with a focus on commercialisation over the coming year.
Joshua is researching and developing ground-breaking automatic mixing tools for audio and music production. He wants to enable amateur DJs and unsigned bands to produce professional quality recordings without the need for an expensive sound engineer.
His project LANDR (formerly MixGenius) uses technology run in the cloud or on a computer. Advanced algorithms ‘listen’ to the music while applying knowledge of the human hearing system.
This works in real time to distinguish between multiple sounds (either from a live gig or during post-production) and creates a professional quality mix with an optimised blend of the sounds.
Joshua is co-founder and board member of LANDR and Head of Audio Engineering at the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary University of London.
Bud Financial Ltd was launched in 2015 as a platform designed to improve users’ financial options. Now, the London startup is one of the leading exponents of ‘open banking’, which allows consumers to securely share financial information from their bank with other companies.
Bud’s technology gives banks the data intelligence and services they need to help customers manage their money more effectively. The company’s machine learning system uses lines of transactional data from a variety of banks to understand users’ preferences. It helps highlight where people spend, how they can save and what other financial services might be relevant.
Eloise Taysom is Head of Product at Bud, responsible for the company’s product development and strategy. She joined the SME Leaders programme in 2021 and hopes that the programme “will help me develop my leadership skills as we scale internationally and inspire new technical innovations. Bud’s next growth stage depends on making strategic product decisions, tactical hiring and successfully delivering our products in new markets.”
Bud Financial recently raised over $20 million in Series A round funding, gaining backing from several banks including HSBC, Goldman Sachs and ANZ. Now the company is aiming to rapidly scale-up its data services worldwide.
Tangi0 Ltd (TGØ) has created a sensing technology platform that takes advantage of traditional mass manufacturing methods such as injection moulding to create truly 3D touch- and pressure-sensitive surfaces. Instead of embedding traditional metallic sensors, TGØ’s patented technology engineers the internal structure and surfacing geometry of one conductive material. It detects touch pressure and location via advanced signal-processing algorithms and machine learning methods. The resulting conductive surfaces can be used to make one-piece, fully-customisable, 3D touch-sensitive interfaces.
This technology has been used to create intuitive finger-tracking VR controllers for immersive user experience, is being developed for ergonomic automotive interiors and has the potential to produce soft and flexible sports and health-related consumer products.
Francesca Perona is the Chief Innovation Officer for TGØ and is responsible for the technical development of the company’s touch and pressure technology. Francesca became an SME Leader in 2020. She says: “I want to take advantage of the programme’s training and mentorship to devise an effective innovation strategy for TGØ. I also manage the IP portfolio of the company and want to acquire negotiation skills around intellectual property in a commercial context.”
TGØ is now aiming to expand its range of licensing and joint development contracts across a variety of industries. Because the possible uses for TGØ’s technology are so varied, the rapidly growing company has to ensure that its growing smart materials platform meets industry-specific aesthetic and functional requirements across a diverse range of products. The flexibility of its technology means that sensing interfaces can be miniature or large, both heat-resistant and waterproof. TGØ can work with clients to develop stylish and intuitive interactive surfaces made from one uniform material.
Fake products are a major problem affecting a range of commercial interests and industries, from designer goods to medicine.
While he was a Research Associate in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, Daniel and his team developed an innovative anti-counterfeiting and brand authentication technology using lasers printed by standard inkjet printers.
Using low-cost, scalable print processing this new printed laser technology created truly unique optical signatures that can be applied to products. The technology can be used in a number of ways and can even combine multiple security elements within the same printed packaging, whether it be overt or aesthetic features or more discreet elements.
Daniel realised that this would be invaluable to industries affected by counterfeiting and fraud. He founded the spin-out ilumink to further develop new approaches for physical authentication using these breakthroughs in printable laser technology. Shortly after his Enterprise Fellowship, Damian's company ilumink was acquired by Tracerco.
“The Enterprise Hub will be a focal point for my future activities, even when the Fellowship’s direct support has finished. The wealth of experience and networks, for example, will continue to be invaluable.”
Oxford Ionics is looking to revolutionise industries ranging from drug discovery to material design by building quantum computers. This new type of computer harnesses the power of quantum physics to solve problems that would be too challenging for a conventional supercomputer. Oxford Ionics has developed novel, electronically-controlled, trapped-ion technology, is setting a new standard for high-performance computing.
Dr Tom Harty co-founded Oxford Ionics in 2019 as a spin-out from the University of Oxford. Tom is the company’s CEO and joined the SME Leaders programme in 2021. He is looking forward to working with a mentor that has experience in scaling up high-tech engineering companies.
Over the coming year, Oxford Ionics will be bringing its first generation of quantum computers online and demonstrating the scalability of its technology.
Methane leakage from a gas distribution network (GDN) has serious environmental and financial implications. Methane is 84 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2 and it causes an estimated the global loss in revenue of £16 billion. The most practical way of reducing leakage is through improved management of the pressures in networks. However, existing technology is time-consuming to install and needs constant manual intervention.
Utonomy has developed an innovative control system that includes a motorised actuator, which can be retrofitted to gas governors already installed across a GDN, and a cloud-based data platform. Utonomy’s grid-monitoring software and algorithms allow GDNs to better control and manage pressures on their network.
Claire-Elise Orleach is the Head of Business Development at Utonomy. She is responsible for the company’s stakeholder management across gas utilities and for its sales and marketing initiatives. Claire-Elise joined the SME Leaders programme in 2020 and says: “The training, mentorship and coaching offered by the programme will be a support to me and the company as we the transition to commercialisation. There will be significant opportunities in the UK as the gas grid is digitised and Utonomy aims to lead in this space with smartgrid solutions.”
Utonomy’s new technology has the potential to greatly reduce the global problem of methane leakage from GDNs worldwide. Following a series of trials, Utonomy is about to launch its first product. Its innovation should enable GDNs to achieve their environmental targets and improve their operational efficiency.
Damien has been researching and developing wearable neurotechnology hardware and software to non-invasively measure and translate brainwaves into control signals. These allow people to communicate and interact with computers without moving - using only their minds.
His project NeuroCONCISE aims to empower people with physical impairments caused by disease or injury.
Damien has conducted trials with spinal injury, stroke and traumatic brain injury victims, engaging in pioneering work with patients at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dublin, Ireland.
He has also developed a videogame, dubbed NeuroSensi. Described as a mind-controlled version of the Wii gaming platform, it helps patients improve their ability to modulate brain activity. It helps to motivate and challenge them whilst they learn to control neurotechnology.
NeuroSensi can also be used for ‘gamified’ training to help people recover hand control function after stroke. Plus it has attractive gameplay elements that may appeal to the general gamer and consumer.
The interpretation of brainwaves has a wide array of potential applications outside healthcare, too. From aiding covert communications to data analytics, neurotechnology can be used while humans scan enormous data sets to automatically flag items of interest by interpreting changes in their brainwaves, dramatically speeding up data analytics.
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 Robert Sansom FREng is an experienced angel investor and mentor to technology-based startup businesses in the UK and US.
He is the founder of the Cambridge Angels, a group of expert technology and biotechnology entrepreneurs who invest in and mentor technology startups across the UK.
Robert serves on the board of several startups including Arachnys Information Services, Cambridge Communication Systems, CRFS, Featurespace, IQGeo plc, Myrtle Software, and Netronome Systems. Prior to becoming an angel investor, he co-founded FORE Systems, a leader in high-speed data communications, where he was Chief Technical Officer. Fore Systems went public on NASDAQ in 1994 and was sold to Marconi plc in 1999.
Robert was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2010.
“Through my career I’ve built up considerable experience taking knowledge-based technology business from initial idea through to becoming successful businesses. I’d like to help a new generation of technology entrepreneurs do the same, and the Enterprise Hub is an excellent platform for me to do this.”
Steve is a leading expert with over 35 years of experience.in the fields of semiconductor device research, nanotechnology and millimetre-wave integrated circuit design.
After founding and leading the Nanoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Glasgow, he co-founded and became Technical Director of Intellemetrics Ltd. His enterprising spirit continued with the foundation of Kelvin Nanotechnology Ltd in 2001.
Steve became Vice-Principal for Research and Enterprise at the University of Glasgow in 2005 where e is responsible for the University’s research strategy and policies. These includes key relations with research sponsors and strategic partners. He also heads up the University’s enterprise activities which has a strong focus on research links with industry and the promotion of spinout companies.
Steve was awarded an OBE for services to the field of nanotechnology in the 2002 Jubilee Honours List and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2007.
“Encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in technology and engineering requires a genuine link up and sharing of knowledge between research partners and industry. The Enterprise Hub is a key part of this, sharing enterprising expertise with individuals who have an incredible amount of technical talent, and providing the links to springboard their success in the industry.”
Paul Excell is an award-winning entrepreneur, investor and global executive leader with an impressive track record of delivering growth and transformation in startups, scale-ups, global corporates and is passionate about social mobility. He is Chief Operating Officer and Non-Executive Director at ScaleUp Group™️, providing tech scaleups with unique insights from successful entrepreneurs with over $4 billion in exits plus patient equity/debt growth funding (£2 million to £20 million). He has six tech clients in the growth portfolio, and his clients have raised £30 million to date.
In addition to this, Paul is Co-Founder and Chair of Global iLabs, Founder and CEO of Excelerate™️ and Non-Executive Director with Knowledge Gateway (University of Essex). He acts as a judge and mentor for the UK Enterprise Awards and the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Launchpad Innovation Award and SME Leaders.
Paul was previously Chief Customer Innovation Officer, Chief Operating Officer/Group Technology Officer, SVP[PS1] Global at BT, Chair/member of several business Boards (UK and Spain, Nordics, AsiaPac) and sat on BT Group Board committees on Technology, Risk and Diversity. He was an Engineering Council Board member and acted as advisor to UN Secretary General on sustainability, technology and innovation.
He started his career as an apprentice and is now a chartered engineer (CEng), Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (FIET), the Chartered Institute for IT (FBCS) and Court Liveryman, Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.
Suranga has long experience as an engineer and entrepreneur. He founded Blinkx - an intelligent search engine for video and audio content - in 2004. He led Blinkx as CEO for eight years as well as taking it public in 2007. He is widely regarded as an expert on the convergence of the web, television and online advertising.
Before his work with Blinkx, Suranga was US Chief Technology Officer of Autonomy where he was mentored by Mike Lynch and led the effort to enable Autonomy’s software to work in highly distributed environments. Suranga joined Balderton as a General Partner in 2014.
An accomplished speaker and commentator on the overlap between technology and media, Suranga has been elected by the World Economic Forum as one of its Young Global Leaders. He was also included in the Top 10 leaders in Science and Innovation by The Observer’s Future 500 list, and was a recipient of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Silver Medal in 2012. Suranga was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2012.
“The real high-growth value companies are currently all in the tech space. In order for these businesses to reach their potential, it’s vital that they can benefit from the guidance of those with experience.”
Anne is a prominent venture capitalist and European technology investor who has been Chief Executive of Amadeus Capital Partners from 1997. As a co-founder in the organisation, Anne’s role combines her experience as a scientist, operating manager and venture capitalist.
Anne began her career in manufacturing with Cummins Engine Company before moving into investment as a business angel. She was also Chief Operating Officer of Virtuality Group, which had been one of her investee companies.
Anne has held a number of high profile advisory positions, having served as Chairman of the British Venture Capital Association in 2004, and as a non-executive director of the UK Technology Strategy Board from 2005-2012. In 2008 Anne led the establishment of the Glover advisory committee for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, reporting on government procurement from SMEs. She is also a member of the European Research and Innovation Advisory Board. Anne was awarded a CBE for services to business in 2006 and was elected an Honourary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2008.
“There is a long-standing need for science to engage more proactively with policy-makers and business. The Enterprise Hub is playing a big part in addressing this, by bridging the gap between outstanding academic talent and influential figures in the industry to ensure the UK’s ongoing international success in science and technology.”
John is a highly experienced executive and senior consultant across the oil and gas, renewable energy and digital technology sectors, as well as a member of many international boards. He has significant interest in the commercial and technology challenges that energy transition presents, especially as these intersect with corporations’ digital transformation.
John is currently Chair of the Gresham House Energy Storage Fund Board, which specialises in the commercialisation of grid-level storage investments. The company is now the largest energy storage fund in the UK and is the market leader. In November 2018, the company listed on LSE at £100 million and at the end of 2020 had a market cap of around £250 million; it is on a strong growth trajectory and should double in size over the next 24 months.
Until April 2019, John was an advisor to the Board of ACWA Power International (Riyadh), the largest independent power producer in Saudi Arabia. Until December 2017, he was on the Board of the ASX-listed Carnegie Clean Energy, based in Perth, WA. He is also an investor and Board member of Global Integrity, a cybersecurity software and cyber consultancy firm based in Washington DC.
John spent more than 25 years working at BP, the last 10 of which were spent at the corporate executive level in various roles including:
In his early career, John worked on the design and construction of nuclear power generation plants in UK.
Since leaving BP, John has been active as a senior advisor to blue chip global consultants specialising in the energy sector, energy transition and corporate digital transformation.
John serves on the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Committee.
Professor Norman Apsley OBE FREng recently retired from 18 years as founding Chief Executive of Catalyst Inc (formerly Northern Ireland Science Park), steering the organisation from idea to reality. The NI Science Park was a key first step to transform the near derelict H&W shipyard into the innovation district for Belfast. He had spent the previous two decades at the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (now QinetiQ Malvern), where he had researched a wide variety of microwave and optical devices, publishing some 70 scientific papers and patents during his scientific career. He joined management in 1990, rising to Director Electronics and Site Director for the Malvern cluster in the then Defence Research and Evaluation Agency by 1995.
In 2011, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, just as he finished his term as Vice-President (Business and Innovation) of the Institute of Physics. He has been an active Enterprise Committee member from the beginning and continues to contribute to its various programmes as reviewer, mentor and on steering groups, most lately the SME Leaders’ Award.
Norman also supports the international work of the Academy. In 2018, he became Chair of the Academy’s Newton-funded project, Leaders in Innovation Fellowships (LIF), which works in all 16 Newton Fund countries. Alongside in-country partners, LIF helps innovators with technology to tackle their country’s sustainable development goals launch startups. Over the past few years, LIf fellows have been built into a thousand strong, peer-to-peer support group across the world.
At home, Norman chairs the Local Economic Development Company serving South and East Antrim and consults occasionally for both public and private sector. In 2012, Norman was awarded an OBE for his contributions to science and economic development. In 2019, the honorary degree of Doctor of Science (Econ Sci) was conferred by Queens University Belfast. In the same year, he was awarded the Max Rainey Medal for service to the Polymer Industry of Northern Ireland. He is looking forward to Belfast becoming the first (of many) spokes to the Enterprise Hub.
"(Engineering) entrepreneurs are typically rich with ideas, energy and enthusiasm but cash poor. They cannot afford the quality help they need to find the right business model for their idea, discovery or invention. Pro Bono support from Fellows from their experience and from their “black books” helps speed the process and leads to increased innovation.”
Professor Neville Jackson FREng has spent nearly 40 years in industrial R&D, primarily in transport and energy systems. He has experience in managing complex R&D portfolios and spinning out new technologies into commercially funded startups.
He currently chairs both the RAC Foundation and the Institute of Digital Engineering Advisory Board and is also a non-executive director of the UK Advanced Propulsion Centre. He also chairs the Royal Academy of Engineering’s steering group for the Increasing engineering business R&D investment project. He has been a member of the UK Automotive Council since it was formed and is a member of the Strategy Team, chairing the R&D/Horizon Scanning working group.
From 2009 until 2019 he was Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for Ricardo plc. He has co-ordinated and authored a wide range of technology roadmaps at national and European level, defining the potential, and technology pathways for transport energy, propulsion systems, future vehicle electrical/electronic architectures and digitalisation/virtual product development.
A graduate of Imperial College London, he is also a visiting professor at the University of Brighton. His past roles have included Chairman of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, a six-year term as a member of the EPSRC Strategic Advisory Network, Vice Chair of the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC) and a member of the Industry Delegation for the European Green Vehicles Initiative (EGVI). He is also a Fellow of the US SAE and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2011.
Saeed is Technical Director at the prosthetic manufacturer Blatchford, winners of the 2016 RAEng MacRobert Award.
He has built a highly successful career based on outstanding innovation, product development and scientific research in the field of prosthetics. His work saw the company shortlisted for the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award in 2010.
Saeed has provided invaluable advice to emerging innovators in his field, such as negotiating with investors, creating new business cases and establishing alternative investment return strategies, IP issues, and how to identify new needs and opportunities in the market to develop a road map of future products.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2012.