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.
Autonomous vehicles promise to revolutionise mobility by reducing road accidents, removing mobility barriers for older and disabled people, and reducing traffic congestion. However, safely navigating autonomous vehicles is challenging. To date, approximately $1 billion has been invested but no imaging system has been able to accurately meet all key performance requirements.
LIDAR is an advanced vision technique used to navigate autonomous vehicles. An infrared detector enables the LIDAR system to see. Phlux has created a breakthrough detector technology that will drastically increase the measurement range of LIDAR systems enabling autonomous cars to see further, lowering rates of misdetection, and improving data quality and confidence. These all translate to safer navigation.
Over the next 12 months, Phlux will develop prototype detectors and demonstrate them in commercial LIDAR systems to validate its value proposition. In the next year, Ben is looking forward to establishing commercial partnerships and refining his business model.
The infrared sensors market is expected to experience rapid growth over the next few years, driven by the demand for LIDAR-based advanced driver assisted systems. The automotive infrared sensor market alone is predicted to reach £150 million by 2026, with 46% compound annual growth rate.
Phlux has been supported by the North by Northwest ICURe team, Innovate UK, Research England and the University of Sheffield.
“Being from a technical background I recognise that I need to develop new business skills if I am to fulfil my ambitions for Phlux. The Enterprise Fellowship is an incredible opportunity for me to develop the skills, network and confidence I need to become a successful entrepreneur.”
There is a need to manufacture new materials to produce lighter planes, cars and vehicles.
iCOMAT is a University of Bristol spinout that has developed a patented process for making advanced carbon fibre composites. These are lighter, stronger and more cost-effective than the current state-of-the-art processes used in the aerospace, automotive and marine sectors.
The sum of annual fuel bills for airlines globally can exceed $200 billion . iCOMAT’s technology can drastically reduce the weight of aerospace components (a 10% to 38% improvement over existing composite parts) and lead to significant economic and environmental benefits.
The next key milestone is to demonstrate the benefits of this technology through pilot projects the company has already secured. This will help develop and finalise our manufacturing technique, utilising unidirectional tapes laid upon part moulds prior to loading known as tape laying.
So far, iCOMAT has secured two grant-funded projects, which are currently underway with Innovate UK as well as privately funded development contracts with leading Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
“I look forward to the Enterprise Fellowship and the support that is provided by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The network of the Academy and the expert mentorship will be invaluable in scaling up iCOMAT and its offering.”
Co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Echion Technologies Ltd
Standard lithium-ion batteries take more than 30 minutes to safely fully charge. Echion Technologies, a spin-out company from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering, has been working to speed up this process without jeopardising safety and reliability.
The company replaces the graphite and lithium titanate anode materials currently used in battery cells. Batteries using these anode materials cannot safely fast-charge and retain high energy density.
Echion’s mixed niobium oxide technology enables superfast charging lithium-ion batteries that are safe, reliable and have a long cycle life.
The company’s materials work with standard and next-generation cathode materials in a variety of formats, as well as components commonly found in lithium-ion cells. Some of the world’s largest cell and equipment manufacturers are testing these cells in real-life applications today. In such trials, Echion’s technology has safely and consistently lowered the charging time to fully charge cells down to six minutes. This superfast charging is useful for a range of applications, from medical devices to commercial electric vehicles.
Dr Alex Groombridge is Echion Technologies’ Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer. Alex joined the Scale Up Accelerator programme in 2021. He says: “I expect that the advice from the mentors and supporting network who have gone through a similar process in scaling engineering businesses will prove invaluable. It’ll help me and my company avoid pitfalls, and have a more diverse set of opinions for the challenges to be faced.”
Echion has received UKRI and equity funding and has teamed up with international companies. The company aims to double its personnel and capabilities by the end of 2022. It will now need to rapidly scale up its capabilities in order to supply its increasing number of customers and partners.
For updates from Echion Technologies, you can follow their Twitter channel here.
CEO and Co-founder of Fa Bio (formerly FungiAlert Ltd)
The founders of Fa Bio (formerly FungiAlert) were undertaking their doctorates at Imperial College London when they had the idea for SporSenZ. SponSenZ is the first in-the-field early detection sensor for plant diseases in soil and water. Unlike other soil health analysis, the company’s handheld patented technology only detects living and actively growing microorganisms in a field.
This information allows farmers to understand the disease pressures within their soil. It collects microorganisms – pathogens and beneficials – associated with a crop in different field areas. The beneficials include natural predators to the crop pathogens and microbes that can increase yields. Fa BioAg identifies microbial biocontrol, biostimulant and biofertilisier elements, reducing the discovery phase of the development process for biological products.
Dr Angela de Manzanos is CEO and Co-Founder of Fa Bio. Angela joined the Scale Up Accelerator programme in 2021 and thinks “it will help me to become a more efficient negotiator to secure the best contracts for the company. I hope it’ll focus our strategy definition and execution plan and I’m sure it will prove useful in helping define a suitable growth scheme that will facilitate the scale up of our team and operations.”
Following a seed investment round that raised over £1 million, Fa Bio is validating a new business model and carrying out more microbial studies. The company aims to minimise agriculture’s environmental impact while sustainably increasing crop productivity through sustainable farming solutions that can restore the biodiversity of degraded soils.
Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, CytoSeek
Of the 20 million new cancer cases diagnosed each year worldwide, 85% are solid tumours. Unfortunately, solid tumours are resistant to cell therapies. CytoSeek Ltd, a spin-out from the University of Bristol, has developed artificial membrane-binding protein (AMBP) technology for the next generation of cell therapies that will target solid tumours.
In early 2021, the discovery-stage biotech company successfully raised a £3.57 million seed round. This will allow CytoSeek to expand its research programme and the operational team to address this unmet need.
Dr Ben Carter is Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at CytoSeek. Ben is responsible for running operations, project management, patenting matters, liaising with collaborators, and dealing with contracts and suppliers. He joined the Scale Up Accelerator programme in 2021 and says: “I look forward to networking with like-minded businesspeople, which will be useful in uncovering unknown-unknowns. In addition, there will be people with investment experience and that will allow me to further develop my negotiation skills.”
CytoSeek is developing a broad pipeline of therapeutics based on its patented AMBP platform. Its mission for cell therapies to treat cancerous solid tumours is well underway. When it closes its forthcoming Series A financing round, the company will proceed to clinical trials and scale up its manufacturing capabilities.
For updates from CytoSeek, you can follow their Twitter channel here.
Executive Product Development Manager, Novosound Ltd
Novosound Ltd manufactures advanced ultrasound sensors for non-destructive testing (NDT) of corrosion across industries including energy, aerospace and power generation. Traditional testing can be time consuming, owing to the need to shut down the supporting infrastructure, and costly because of the number of people needed to carry out the job. In addition, established technology has been hampered by poor signal conduction with sensors often unable to fit curved surfaces or work at high temperatures.
Novosound has found a way around existing problems by replacing conventional sensor materials with flexible piezoelectric thin-film technology. The company says that this patented technology has helped develop its primary NDT products: the Kelpie and Belenus. Designed to simplify complex inspections, the Kelpie’s flexible and low profile design facilitates the inspection of difficult geometries and hard-to-reach areas. The Belenus is the world’s first flexible NDT ultrasound ‘fit and forget’ tool that can measure corrosion at up to 400° C, with regular data capture and remote monitoring via cloud computing.
Daniel Irving is Novosound ‘s Executive Product Development Manager. Daniel worked his way up from being the company’s first full-time engineer to leading the technical and engineering team. He joined the Scale Up Accelerator programme in 2021 and will use it “to formalise my knowledge and skills in leadership and management”. He believes “the training and coaching will cement that skillset and the networking will guide and support me through the challenges of growing a technical company”.
Investors have shown confidence in Novosound’s technology for corrosion and erosion monitoring by supplying it with over £3 million in Series A funding. In the coming years, the company intends to move away from one-off sales to recurring revenues through data and licensing. It is also looking to diversify by developing biomedical technology in addition to its successful industrial products.
For updates from Novosound, you can follow their LinkedIn channel here.
CEO of Kinomica Ltd
On average, it takes 15 years to develop new drugs and can cost more than £2 billion from discovery to launch. Once launched, drugs can be hindered by not matching the right compound to the right patient at the right time. Precision medicine offers an alternative model by developing medicines that are personalised to the patient. It focuses on a deep, molecular knowledge of a particular person’s disease. This approach offers huge benefits not just to patients but healthcare bodies, as well as pharmaceutical and diagnostic industries.
Kinomica has a bioinformatics platform called KScan® that generates insights into the activities of the cell’s proteins and their complex signalling cascades, especially in cancer. KScan uses a database, patented algorithms and a protein activity ranking method to analyse diseased tissue and identify the best match of drug for each patient. This KScan approach offers a ‘hypothesis-free’ way of looking at which cell signalling mechanisms are driving diseases and how best to treat them.
Jane Theaker is the CEO of Kinomica Ltd. Jane is responsible for providing the company’s mission, raising finance to support its commercial aims and overall leadership. She joined the Scale Up Accelerator programme in 2021 and hopes it will provide her with additional leadership skills that will help grow the company from Series A to Series B funding, and eventually to a trade sale or stock market issue.
Kinomica’s KScan platform and world-leading expertise in cell signalling can develop better drugs and diagnostic tests. Jane says: “At Kinomica, we are completely focused on saving patients’ lives, by getting this disruptive technology to the bedside as quickly as we can.”
For updates from Kinomica Ltd, you can follow their Twitter channel here.
Chief Product Officer, Riverlane
Quantum computers have the potential to scale up computing power considerably. This would allow algorithm and app developers to accelerate their research by making collaboration easier and reduce down-time in labs. Such a leap would drive innovation in a range of industries such as pharmaceutical, materials and energy.
However, the problem of how hardware and software interact while enabling the best possible performance of a quantum computer has been slowing down this development. In 2020, Riverlane, a University of Cambridge spin-out, released Deltaflow.OS. Deltaflow gives software developers access to all types of quantum computers at a high performance level. It provides a shared language for applications and quantum hardware development.
Riverlane’s rapid progress has helped it raise over £14 million in Series A funding and the first contract to supply quantum software to the UK’s National Quantum Computing Centre.
Dr Leonie Mueck joined Riverlane in 2019 and is its Chief Product Officer, responsible for product strategy and delivery. Leonie joined the Scale Up Accelerator programme in 2021 and is looking to further develop her communication skills. She says: “In addition, I want to improve my knowledge of good delivery practices, especially when it comes to growing a product and engineering organisation quickly.”
Riverlane’s mission is to build a quantum operating system that is high performance, portable across all qubit technologies and scalable to millions of qubits. The company already collaborates with 30% of the world’s quantum hardware companies with Deltaflow.OS. It is now looking to increase this and exponentially speed up computations in areas like drug discovery and new battery technologies.
For updates from Riverlane, you can follow their Twitter channel here.
Co-Founder, Head of Research, Xampla Ltd
Xampla Ltd is a spin-out from the University of Cambridge. The company has developed the world’s first plant protein material for commercial use. The material performs like synthetic polymers, but decomposes naturally and fully, without harming the environment. Xampla’s aim is to replace everyday single-use plastics like sachets and flexible packaging films as well as the less obvious, such as microplastics within liquids and lotions.
The material is made by using by-products of agriculture and food industries such as pea isolate protein. After concentrated vinegar, heat and energy have been added, Xampla engineers the plant proteins into a molecular structure similar to spider silk. This combination creates a material that is strong, flexible and transparent, much like conventional plastic.
Xampla has recently raised over £8 million in seed funding and is looking to rapidly expand. The company aims to ensure security of supply by identifying alternative plant protein sources and increasing production of its base material. It is also gathering evidence of its manufacturing potential using industry standard equipment.
Dr Marc Rodriguez- Garcia is a Co-Founder and Xampla’s Head of Research. He leads the technical development of the company’s new materials and their applications. Marc joined the Scale Up Accelerator programme in 2021. He says: “I feel that the training will help with strategic team development like managing talented and senior employees. That will help us achieve sustainable growth as we scale up. I’m also interested in finding ways of identifying new markets for our products.”
Microplastics are commonly added to fabric softeners, shampoos and cosmetics, AND agricultural and industrial products. Many end up in the ocean, where they are ingested by marine life. Xampla is helping the transition from traditional plastics to a high performance, non-synthetic alternative.
For updates from Xampla, you can follow their Twitter channel here.
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.
James uses storytelling to help innovative businesses reap the rewards of putting purpose at the heart of their business. Ranked in The Drum’s top 10 UK marketing influencers, he is a published author (Humanizing B2B), mentor and speaker. He’s passionate about helping technology and engineering companies achieve their potential to change the world for good.
James started out working in tech before moving into marketing, as he felt there was a real gap in the industry’s understanding of the fundamentals and potential of technology. After a prestigious grad role at Saatchi and Saatchi he joined Tidalwave in its newly formed strategy department, which shortly thereafter was ranked in the Financial Times’ Fasttrack top 50 fastest growing privately owned companies in the UK at the time. In two of his four years there he was recognised as the agency’s MVP.
He ran award-winning agency Mason Zimbler - recognised as ‘UK Agency of the Year’ by B2B Marketing, and then successfully sold it to a US marketing giant.
As Co-Founder of Rooster Punk, he helps ambitious companies achieve sustainable growth and profitability through a more human and meaningful approach to the way they build their brand. Rooster Punk works with startups like Currencycloud (now a unicorn), scale-ups, VCs and platforms like Crowdcube as well as corporates such as Tata and Samsung.
James is also an advisor, mentor and investor in several other businesses and charities.
Lisa has been building productive teams, driving change and helping people get organised for twenty-five years, working in multi-national corporates and investment banks before starting her own coaching business in 2017. She has extensive experience of hiring, managing and retaining great people and now works with founders and business owners across multiple sectors and industries to help them create inclusive cultures and strong, diverse teams.
Lisa is the bestselling author of The REAL Entrepreneur: How to simplify, grow and enjoy your business, and believes passionately that people management is a core skill for today’s entrepreneur. From her experience working with fast-growing businesses, she’s learned that while you can build a product without a team, it’s impossible to build a business without understanding how to build an inclusive culture and get the best from a diverse group of people. As an operational business coach, Lisa’s focus is always on the fundamental building blocks of business: people and processes.
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.”
Benedikt started his entrepreneurial journey during his undergraduate and has since built multiple companies across renewable energy, enterprise software, deep tech, drug discovery, and healthcare. As an experienced entrepreneur, he has raised millions in venture funding, scaled winning teams across multiple geographies, and closed over 100 deals, including with some of the largest global organisations.
Benedikt also supports several early stage companies, where he helps with fundraising, company strategy and founder journeys. He has mentored more than 50 early stage companies, many during a trip across the African continent.
In his latest venture, Sanome, aims to build a human digital twin to help people understand and maintain their health.
Lavaniya currently works as a Marketing Partner at bp Launchpad, where she serves as a strategic and tactical marketing advisor for portfolio companies.
Though her expertise and experience cover brand marketing, sales enablement and to marketing automation, she is most passionate about content, creative campaigns, and implementing blue ocean strategy. Whether the budget is small, big or non-existent, Lavaniya is able to adapt and utilise available resources to their highest potential and counts herself lucky to have learnt her craft through small failures rather than big successes.
After emigrating to Sweden, Lavaniya started her own media production company at the age of 21. She worked on feature films that never saw the light of day, TV programmes that did, and has produced around 2000 educational YouTube videos for a charity that teaches mathematics after school.
Lavaniya has worked with a diverse range of clients and businesses, spanning private and public sectors, and has lived in six countries across four continents.
After completing her MBA at HEC Paris, she worked in eSports (Fnatic), SaaS, and Telecommunications (at Croatia’s first unicorn company, Infobip) before jumping into the new world of Energy and tackling the energy transition. Outside of work, she’s writing her novel, participating in charity runs, and volunteering as a Trustee at the RSPCA in North London.
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”.
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.
Formerly the UK Innovation Director for Atkins, Elspeth is the CEO and Founder of IAND, a digital platform that helps major enterprises manage multiple suppliers.
Initially graduating as a chemist, Elspeth later turned her hand to transport and urban design, demonstrating business and technical leadership on over 100 transport planning projects both nationally and around the world.
Elspeth chairs the Enterprise Hub’s Innovators Network and is a judge for the Hub’s Launchpad Competition. She is also a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
In 2017, Elspeth was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her services to Engineering and Enterprise.
“I believe that collaboration within our industry is the key to driving innovation faster. I am so proud to be involved with the Enterprise Hub, as a Mentor, and as Chair of the Innovators Network and to support young entrepreneurs as a Judge on Launchpad competition.
It is rare to find a place which brings together startups and established companies to exchange ideas and learn from each other. We have a shared goal which is to fast track the growth of engineering enterprises in the UK. The Enterprise Hub has helped me grow my business and it is helping young engineers build the businesses of the future.”
James Ashe first graduated in electronics and electrical engineering from the University of Glasgow. His postgraduate education was sponsored by The General Electric Company and he spent five years as Principal Research Engineer at the GEC-Marconi Research Centre. His research interests included: high-power, high-performance VLSI structures and devices, monolithic microwave integrated circuits and electronic interconnection and packaging.
He then joined Cambridge-based Anamartic (A Tandem Computer and Fujitsu Company) working on fault tolerant WSI (Wafer Scale Integration) devices. Jim was one of the first employees of Xaar PLC and was heavily involved in IP Licensing and fundamental in developing Xaar’s microfabrication facility on the Cambridge Science Park. He helped found Intense Photonics (a spin out based on IP in the field of quantum well intermixing - owned by the University of Glasgow) where he led the commercial activities. Intense Photonics raised over £56 million in private venture funding. Prior to joining the University of Edinburgh School of Informatics as Director of Commercialisation and Industry Engagement, he led the commercial activities in IP Licensing at the commercial arm of DSTL (Defence Scientific and Technical Laboratories). Jim is also the Director of Innovation at the Bayes Centre – the University of Edinburgh's innovation hub for data science and artificial intelligence.