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.
Losing your eyesight is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a person.
Some forms of vision loss that affect the retina, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), or diabetes can be treated. This requires monthly injections into the eye for at least five years. The treatment works well for most people but requires regular outpatient visits and there is a small risk of additional complications from the injection process itself.
There is a real need to make treatments better, safer and more convenient.
I-Daruma has developed a technology that takes the same treatment and makes it possible to deliver the currently injected drugs as eye drops instead. It works by creating short-lived nanoparticles that are mixed with the drugs. These then dissociate at the target tissues, releasing the drug. The nanoparticles are made from compounds that naturally occur in the body and are well-tolerated, giving the technology the advantages of nanoparticle delivery without the toxicity associated with current nanoparticles.
The eye drops will address several issues with the current treatment regime. While injections must be administered by trained healthcare professionals in a clinical setting, eye drops can be administered by the patient themselves anywhere, resulting in large healthcare cost savings.
Worldwide, there were 14 million intravitreal injections performed in 2018 and it’s a number that has been growing 20% year-on-year. The drivers of treatment are the ageing global population and metabolic disease such as diabetes. About one third of people living with diabetes will suffer from diabetic retinopathy. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is also a leading cause of vision loss in Europe and the US. Currently, 196 million people are estimated to be affected by AMD globally, a figure expected to hit 288 million by 2040.
In the next 12 to 18 months, Naa Dei anticipates applying for InnovateUK Grant funding and looks forward to completing pre-clinical trials and having a dossier for approval for clinical trials.
2020 – Awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Fellowship.
2020 – Piloting trials of technology with a pharmaceutical company.
“[The Enterprise Fellowship] has opened my eyes to what goes into turning a neat idea into a business and has equipped me with tools to do so. It’s an amazing network of people at different stages of their enterprises, and I’ve found it very supportive.”
Sustainable construction demands better management of social and environmental impact. To achieve this, reliable, efficient tools are needed to make sense of large volumes of data across the range of related fields.
Qflow is a cloud-based platform that enables construction projects to manage their environmental risk and stay compliant with environmental standards.
Qflow brings together machine learning and the Internet of things to capture and analyse environmental data, making it easier to identify and manage risk. This increases productivity and reduces cost while positively impacting the built environment.
The technology connects to existing, on-site systems to automate real-time data collection and analysis. This leads to better informed decisions, more accurate predictions and the ability to generate standardised reports. It reduces costs associated with delays and mitigation processes caused by unmanaged environmental risk.
Trials have shown that Qualis Flows’ solutions can improve data capture against existing competitors by over 100%. Four pilot programmes are scheduled for spring 2019 to further validate the technology’s use in monitoring aspects such as waste, noise, air quality and vibration.
Brittany Harris brings significant experience in civil engineering as she leads a multi-skilled team of engineers, environmental professionals and software architects as Qualis Flow brings its solutions to market.
The array of switches, buttons, wheels and controls that help us to interact with electronics all rely on bulky and complex networks of sensors that can cost a lot to create.
TG0 has developed a new technology for making interactive 3D controls that are ergonomic, intuitive and engaging. Its solutions replace complicated networks of electronic sensors with one uniform, flexible, touch-sensitive material.
Driven by artificial intelligence algorithms and advanced signal processing, TG0’s platform technology can accurately detect variations in touch across a single flexible surface. This allows its material to easily sense pressure, location, speed, direction and movement allowing users to engage in more intuitive ways.
As Co-Founder, Ming leads research and development for the technology’s hardware. TG0’s seamless, interactive surfaces can be used in a range of applications including tactile gaming controls, car dashboard controls and ergonomic computer peripherals such as keyboards, amongst many others.
TG0 is also exploring how its technology can be used to make interactive products that are more accessible for the visually impaired.
Since its launch in 2016, TG0 has worked with high profile brands and manufacturers in the consumer and automotive sector and built a patent portfolio with more than ten international patent entries to date. A rapidly growing team is helping the company to expand and target a range of industries including sensor-embedded industrial robots, wearables, gadgets and underwater electronics.
"Getting to grips with a whole new mechanism for sensing and control doesn’t come naturally when you’ve spent your life learning to use another system."
The flexible and printed electronics markets are working towards having speedy, defect-free manufacturing processes. To achieve this, they need new inspection systems that allow live testing and enable real-time quality assurance without stopping production.
Dr Muhamedsalih has helped create a multi-wavelength polarising interferometer (MPI) for in-line surface metrology. It operates at the micro/nano-scale level and can be used for real time inspections of moving surfaces. The interferometer is combined with a software method to handle larger amount of data for surface analysis without direct interaction from the operator.
The system detects and characterises defects. This means that manufacturers will be able to understand what causes faults and take measures to correct them. Importantly, the technology is sufficiently robust to be used on the shop floor.
Hussam is now working to validate the MPI’s performance with world-leading manufacturers and research centres. His innovation is being tested by the UK Catapult National Centre for Printable Electronics – Centre for Process Innovation. His proof of concept system should reach Technology Readiness Level 9 before the end of 2021 and be ready to launch and available to buy soon after.
Analysts have forecast that the global metrology market will grow to over $600 million by 2023 in the traditional manufacturing market. Hussam’s technology also fits into the printed and flexible electronics markets, which are predicted to grow to $77 billion by 2023.
For Dr Muhamedsalih, the Enterprise Fellowship experience has: “allowed me to structure my business model and test it out by intensive direct interaction with industry and potential clients.”
Women deserve a better way of getting professionally fitted for bras. The lack of care and proper training within the bra industry means that bra-sizing confusion is a never-ending debate. Inefficient practices result in 80% of women wearing bras that don’t fit properly and billions of pounds lost every year in size- and fit-related exchanges and returns.
Combining state-of-the-art computer vision with data from real-life women (our co-creators), Brarista is bringing professional bra-fitting to bra-wearers’ homes. Its technology makes it possible for clients to find their best fit across product lines simply by using their phone camera.
Researching this technology to ensure its usefulness and accuracy is technically complex. Brarista is working hard to continue building, testing, and improving the current prototype before conducting technical trials.
The ongoing pandemic gave Brarista an opportunity to collaborate with Boost Innovations Ltd to apply its technology to fit breast prostheses online for breast cancer survivors (classified by the NHS as a higher-risk group). Research shows that getting bra-fitted using a tape-measure results in a 70% inaccuracy rate, but this is still the most popular method used by high street bra-fitters and online bra-fitting guides. Brarista hopes that its technology will improve the accuracy by at least 40% to be on par with professional bra-fitting by eyesight.
2018 - Won the Most Innovative Idea at the UCL Innovation and Enterprise Launch Programme
2019 - Team formation and acquired trial interests from the industry
2019 - Selected as a startup to be mentored by DeFine Network EU (a European Commission-funded FashionTech Community).
2019 - Selected as one of seven startups to join Women in AI & Data in Israel with InnovateUK
2019 - Highly Commended Award at the Academy’s Enterprise Hub Launchpad Competition Final
2020 - Crowdfunded successfully and matchfunded with NatWest Back Her Business
2020 - Acquired a new research client to apply its technology to fit breast prosthesis online
To find out more abut Brarista visit https://www.brarista.co/
“[The programme has helped by] providing the network of supporters, coaches and mentors that help me grow as an entrepreneur.”
For decades, satellites have been getting smaller but the rockets that launch them haven’t. Most active vehicles are still designed for historically large satellites and this is forcing a new generation of SmallSats to rideshare on enormous rockets in an expensive system of compromise.
Of the small satellites forecast to be launched between 2021 and 2030, 70% are predicted to fall in the under 250-kilogram weight class. However, launch vehicles that can operate at this weight lack appropriate propulsion systems. There is a clear market demand for dedicated launch vehicles that can take small satellites exactly where and when they need to go, but the fundamental technical challenge is that rocket engines and their associated pumps and turbomachinery are incredibly difficult to scale down. Attempts to scale down existing technology commonly result in spiralling costs and complexities.
Protolaunch believes that the right engine is the key to unlocking a successful microlauncher, and aims to supply that propulsion. It is developing an engine based around a novel thermodynamic cycle designed specifically for small payloads from the outset. This is possible because of its core engine technology, which acts as the enabler for a new type of launch vehicle.
The Protolaunch engine has three key advantages:
“Over the next 12 to 18 months, we look forward to working with the Royal Academy of Engineering as we build our long-term commercial strategy and start to engage with larger aerospace partners and customers.”
Better intraoperative guidance can help reduce patient morbidity and healthcare costs across surgical specialties. For example, brain tumour patients undergoing surgery have significantly improved outcomes and increased life expectancy if complete tumour removal is achieved. However, maximal resection needs to be balanced with the goal of healthy tissue preservation in order to minimise patient risk and neurological impairment. Yet, even with the most advanced current techniques, intraoperative decisions with potentially life-changing consequences are still based on the surgeon’s subjective visual assessment.
Hypervision Surgical has designed an AI-powered imaging system for wide-field tissue characterisation that attaches to and enhances existing surgical equipment. For the first time, surgeons will have real-time actionable information on tumour and critical brain structure margins during surgery. In addition, their system can monitor vital physiological tissue properties thereby increasing surgical precision and patient safety while optimising resection.
As a King’s College London spin-out, Hypervision Surgical is embedded in the St Thomas’ MedTech Hub and has close ties with King’s Health Partner hospitals. Further clinical studies are scheduled to develop and evaluate their technology to achieve commercial readiness.
Dr Ebner was awarded an Enterprise Fellowship award in 2020 to support him as he leads Hypervision Surgical in bringing its innovations to market.
Modern surgical implants use ‘press-fit’ and are hammered into place by the surgeon, creating friction that holds the implant in place. If the surgeon impacts the implant too rigorously, the bone may be over-stressed and fracture.
Bone fracture during hip replacement surgery affects between 2% and 8% of patients. If fracture occurs the patient is seven times more likely to need expensive revision surgery and twice as likely to die from complications.
Additive Instruments’ technology is a ‘smart’ surgical tool that can sense the force being applied to the instrument and adjust it to reduce the chances of fracture. By reducing the variation in impaction force, the technology also reduces the learning curve for new surgeons – reducing the likelihood of fracture through inexperience.
In the UK and US, 400,000 hip replacement procedures are conducted every year. If a conservative estimate of 2% of these surgeries were to result in fracture, 8,000 patients would suffer a painful and debilitating injury each year, most requiring revision surgery at great expense. These surgeries are estimated to cost £25 million every year.
Additive Instruments’ technology has been proven in the laboratory, so its next key milestone is to validate the product in a clinical environment, first with specimens and subsequently with live patients. Once the efficacy of the product has been proven, Additive Instruments will apply for a CE mark – a key achievement for any medical device.
Early laboratory development was supported by the Wellcome trust with a product translation award. Following the support of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Hub, Additive Instruments has been awarded an i4i (invention for innovation) award from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). This funding will help it achieve its goal of first clinical usage within the next two years.
“The real value of the Enterprise Fellowship is in the soft support I have received. Business coaching, workshops to develop interpersonal and planning skills, as well as brilliant insights from my mentor have all been hugely useful as Additive Instruments starts its journey into the commercial world.”
The morphology of hair is determined by the shape of the follicle. The curved follicle of afro hair result in strands with ellipsoidal cross section and tightly curled hair. This structure hinders the ability of scalp oil to travel along the hair strand, which makes it drier than Caucasian and Asian hair. As such afro hair requires regular moisturising and less washing. However, due to its structure it tangles easily making its manipulation painful and time consuming. Applying conditioner and detangling can take up to 50 minutes, which can be particularly stressful for mothers with young girls.
For centuries, this pain, the lack of representation of Black women and the stigma around afro hair placed a pressure on Black women to conform to European standards of beauty. Many chemically straighten their hair to fit the Eurocentric definition of beauty. In the 2000s, the natural hair movement empowered Black women across the globe to embark on a self-love and self-discovery journey. Many are giving up relaxers and are learning to care for their hair, but the challenges in caring for the afro hair remain.
Myana Naturals has developed a device for application of treatments such as conditioners. It is optimised for afro hair and aims to reduce the time and the pain experienced when caring for tightly curled hair. Its mission is to support Black women in their journey by reducing pain, making every haircare day a celebration of their beauty.
The natural hair movement has created a significant shift in the hair care market, with a decrease in chemical relaxer sales and an increase in products to care for natural hair. In a survey of more than 300 women with afro hair, 70% said they take more than 20 minutes to apply a conditioner. In the US, the market for shampoo and conditioner for tightly curled hair is worth $1 billion. The demand for styling tools targeted for use with afro hair increased from 220 million in 2013 to 268 million units sold in 2018.
Next, Myana Naturals will engage with women with afro hair to finalise the design, understand their hair care needs, consumer habits and the best way to communicate with them. This is essential in defining the brand personality and communication style. In 18 months, it hopes to successfully raise funds and launch the applicator in the UK, reaching a position to enter the US market.
“I am mindful that this will be my first leadership role. This fellowship offers the right training and support to help me define my leadership style, and the value of the business, both will be essential in creating a company with a healthy and inclusive environment to attract and retain competent employees. I am also looking forward to improving my understanding of finance and marketing.”
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).