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.
In order to detect potential machine failure, oil samples are taken from heavy machinery such as compressors, gear boxes, generators or engines, then analysed by laboratories. By analysing oil samples, owners and operators can tell how well the machinery is performing and when the machinery will break down. Undetected and unsolved lubrication degradation and contamination can lead to early failure of key components, with significant cost implications.
There is a large financial expense associated with sampling, and a risk that the machinery could breakdown before the sample results come back from the laboratory.
RAB-Microfluidics has developed microfluidic ‘lab-on-a-chip technology’ to enable real-time continuous testing and analysis of lubricating oil. Microfluidic technology allows the manipulation of small volumes of fluids to control chemical, biological, and physical processes that can be used for sensing.
The company combines hardware technology with machine-learning that analyses the big data generated from its hardware. This offers customers real-time continuous monitoring, early problem diagnosis, rapid decision-making, enhanced efficiency and cost savings.
Surakat Kudehinbu, Product Engineer of [PS1] RAB-Microfluidics, says: “We will transition businesses from reactive to predictive maintenance strategies with data from our hardware device and our predictive maintenance service.”
The company is focused on commercialising the technology, with paid pilot trials helping develop an understanding of the commercialisation requirements of the technology in target markets, with a specific focus on the maritime and wind sectors.
RAB-Microfluidics estimate that its technology can reduce maintenance costs by 25% to 30% and can lead to a reduction in downtime caused by break downs and maintenance by 35% to 45%. It is aiming for its first sale in the first quarter of 2021.
Surakat says that the Enterprise Fellowship programme has helped the company in a number of ways: “It’s given us access to high-level insightful industrial knowledge, has helped up develop appropriate business models for our market segments, and brought us closer to commercialisation.”
2017 – Energy Technology Partnership grant
2017 – Oil and Gas Innovation Centre Grant
2017 – UKRI Innovate UK Grants (Materials and Manufacturing – Round 3 )
2017 – UKRI Innovate UK Grants (Infrastructure systems - Round 3)
2018 – OGTC Tech X –BP technology prize
2018 – Scottish Edge award
2018 – Scottish Enterprise High Growth Ventures Programme
2019 – Surakat Kudehinbu was awarded an Enterprise Fellowship (1851 Royal Commission)
Visit their website: www.rab-microfluidics.co.uk
The analysis of proteins and small molecules for drug research and manufacturing involves slow and expensive testing. New processes that could speed up and enable high-sensitivity testing are needed.
Dr Ruizhi Wang’s expertise lies in the large-scale manufacturing of 2D materials – aka single-layer materials. He is a co-founder of The Hofmann Group spin out, HexagonFab. The company is using 2D crystalline materials to develop biosensors for medical applications.
The first sensor it has produced, called HelloProtein, will give drug development researchers the ability to characterise proteins and understand biomolecular interactions through a handheld device. The company says it is both faster and more reasonably priced than rivals operating in the same field.
Before HexagonFab, low-cost and large-scale
manufacturing of high-quality graphene was not possible. Only small amounts –
enough for research – were being made. The company’s ability to fabricate at
commercial-scale using chemical vapour deposition, along with related
atomically-thin materials, means that it can focus on generating very sensitive
and fast sensors.
HelloProtein is a field-effect transistor (FET) biosensor driven by graphene. Changes in the electrical charges in its environment affect the electrical properties of the graphene layer. This enables it to detect minute electrical charge changes allowing the detection of biomolecule-binding with high precision.
Dr Wang believes that such bioFET sensors could have a variety of other applications in the fields of medical diagnostics and industrial monitoring. The global market for drug development equipment is huge and HexagonFab is looking to acquire a significant portion of an attractive niche.
2018 HexagonFab founded
2018 Merck’s Displaying Futures Award ($50,000 financial backing plus collaboration)
2018 Winner of Materials and Enabling Technologies category of Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies
2019 InnovateUK grant
2020 AMS corporate challenge winner
2020 First evaluation kits shipped
Visit their website: www.hexagonfab.com
Time is of the essence when providing emergency medical support. Metix Medical has developed Coremed, a light, portable monitoring device that rapidly gathers a patient’s vital medical information, enabling first responders to quickly make decisions about treatment and the right place for care.
The Coremed device constantly monitors a person’s medical data and stores it both locally and in a remote monitoring platform in real time. This information can be exported automatically or on demand for further clinical review or record keeping. Metix Medical's platform can keep track of multiple patients simultaneously, ranking them based on severity with its heavily-automated patient scoring engines.
The company has raised
over £ 4 million in grants and funding since inception, which has enabled it to
continue developing its triaging technology. It is now looking to gain market
entry in North America and establish market clearance for its products
Julio says that the SME Leaders programme has “provided training that helped me to plan the right course of action both for our R&D activities and commercial decision-making. The regular roundtables with other SME Leaders also provide a safe space to discuss a variety of business issues.”
Dr James Gough is a former military and humanitarian aid doctor who has worked with the British Army and the International Committee of the Red Cross. In 2018, James set up One Shot Immersive to create virtual reality medical and situational awareness training to help save lives.
This new startup launched its first beta product in Yemen in January 2020. Funded by a Danish foundation, its 360° virtual reality (VR) experience is an interactive mass-casualty triage training tool for doctors and healthcare workers. The VR gives them an immersive experience of a traumatic conflict situation, enabling them to recognise injuries that vary in severity. It also shows how to clinically prioritise and treat them.
The vision for One Shot Immersive is to deliver virtual reality that empowers people to save lives. The company intends to become a leader in supplying virtual reality medical training to conflict zones and the world’s most remote and hard-to-access regions.
James says that the SME Leaders programme “gave me the confidence to share ideas and challenge my own, and other people’s assumptions, about them. It also played a key part in my transition from being an employee to starting my own company.”
Q-Bot Ltd uses robotics, 3D scanning, digital tools and AI to help contractors inspect, maintain and upgrade buildings. Uninsulated floor in a typical suspended timber floor home can be responsible for 20% of heat loss. Q-Bot’s patented small robots are placed under the floorboards, where they spray insulation on the underside of the boards to stop draughts and heat loss through the floor.
The result is a significant reduction in energy use and CO2 emissions. In 2020 the company’s work was recognised with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category. Q-Bot now offers a range of solutions that can identify the needs of individual properties, automate repetitive tasks, reach inaccessible areas and track the work done.
Mathew Holloway is Co-Founder and CEO of Q-Bot. He leads the company’s overall strategy, fundraising and team. He says that he benefitted from the SME leaders programme through the practical lessons it gives to solve real business challenges and the opportunities it gave him for personal development.
Q-Bot has a busy few years coming up. In 2019 it received financial backing from several investors, including the French multinational Saint-Gobain. The £3.6 million initiative will enable Q-Bot to extend its operations from the UK into France and the Netherlands.
It is estimated that a third of the food grown worldwide, around 1.3 billion tonnes, is not eaten and goes to waste at a cost approaching £1 trillion. In the UK, the cost of food waste from households totals £9.7 billion, while in the hospitality and food sector businesses alone it has been evaluated at £2.5 billion.
To avoid the negative impacts from food waste including huge greenhouse gas emissions and lack of sufficient landfill spaces, London is aiming to be a zero-waste city by 2026 with no biodegradable or recyclable waste sent to landfill. Scotland has a target to ban food waste to landfill or sewer by January 2021. Overall, the UK’s target date is 2030. With existing solutions, these targets cannot be met.
Ifeyinwa Kanu is the founder and director of IntelliDigest Ltd, a start-up company from Heriot-Watt University. At IntelliDigest, Ifeyinwa is combining biotech and deep-tech software to develop a user-friendly, odour-free and patented ID Box and IntelliTrade platform that can be used at home, in the work place and within the hospitality sector to convert food waste to climate friendly chemicals.
Using the ID Box can eliminate exposure to long-term health problems such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. These can arise from the bioaerosols from microorganisms growing quickly and degrading food waste during collection, handling and composteing.
The ID Box uses artificial intelligence and embedded sensors to characterise food waste, then optimises the enzyme dosing that breaks it down producing bio-chemicals. The biochemicals are analysed using embedded sensors and the information is then made available on IntelliDigest’s blockchain trading platform, where it can be purchased by registered businesses and converted into biodegradable packaging or 3D printed items.
Ifeyinwa says: “My vision for IntelliDigest is to be the go-to-market solution that enables a more environmentally-friendly and holistic way of dealing with food waste at home, work and hospitality outlets. Our technology will help repurpose inedible food waste by creating high value climate-friendly chemicals, thereby boosting the bio-economy without adverse impact on the environment.”
Marriott Hotels, Radisson Hotels and the InterContinental Hotels Group have signed up for paid trials of IntelliDigest’s ID Box technology and the company is now looking to secure £500,000 investment by the end of 2020 to complete manufacturing and commence commercialisation.
2016 – Created
2017 – Winner of the Institution of Engineering and Technology Innovation Award
2018 – Established a partnership with Bosch for subcontracted commercial manufacture of ID Box
2019 – Joined Telefonica/Wayra AI & Blockchain Accelerator
2019 – Awarded an Enterprise Fellowship
2019 – Company signs trial contracts in the UK with Marriott Hotels and Radisson Hotels
2019 – Accepted on the Novozymes' HelloScience innovation hub
2020 – Accepted on Mayor of London’s Better Futures programme
Visit their website: www.intellidigest.com
External medical devices that attach and apply pressure to the skin, such as prosthetics, orthotics and respiratory masks, often do not fit properly, leading to pain and injury for the user. An average of nine clinical visits is usually required before a comfortable fit is achieved for a prosthetic limb after amputation. The lack of analytical tools can result in the fitting of these bespoke devices becoming a lengthy and frustrating process.
Radii Devices aims to improve the fit of external medical devices and increase the quality of life for patients. Dr Joshua Steer formed the company as a spin-out from the University of Southampton’s Bioengineering Sciences Research Group in 2019. It exploits the biomechanical modelling and analysis he has developed to give clinicians more accurate predictions of fit during the prosthetic socket design process.
Imaging techniques, such as laser and MRI scanning are used to capture the shape of the individual’s limb. This enables Radii Devices to track shape change over time, generate computational models to predict pressure at the limb-prosthetic interface, and compare results across the population to forecast the comfort of a particular socket. Healthcare professionals can then view this analysis to support their choice of optimal socket.
The World Health Organization estimates that 30 million people worldwide are in need of prosthetic and orthotic devices. This number is due to rise, driven by an ageing population and increasing incidence of diabetes, which is the leading cause of amputation.
As an engineer, Joshua wants to solve real-world problems. His technology could be applied to any external medical device that applies pressure to the skin such as ankle-foot orthoses, wheelchair seating, and footwear. The company is running clinical pilots of its software in 2020 aiming to achieve full product launch soon after. Radii Devices is simultaneously working on collaborative projects for other medical devices such as respiratory face masks for intensive care, to help manufacturers improve the quality of fit.
Joshua says: “The Fellowship has given Radii Devices the best possible launchpad to translate our research into clinical and commercial use. It has provided us with the skills, expertise and support to refine our business model, raise our first funding round and commence clinical pilot studies.”
2015 Institute for Mechanical Engineering (iMechE) Vicon
2019 Dr Joshua Steer was awarded an Enterprise Fellowship
2019 Radii Devices spun out of the Bioengineering Sciences Research Group at University of Southampton
2019 Secures £100,000 of investment at Future Worlds Dragons’ Den event
2020 Launched at the Consumer Electronics Show
2020 Commences pilot studies of the software with clinicians
Visit their website: www.radiidevices.com
Optical sensors developed by Oxsensis meet the challenge of taking precise measurements in harsh and hostile conditions. For industries that rely on high-accuracy measurements, its sensors capture data for variables such as temperature, pressure and acceleration and deliver it via optical fibres for use in monitoring systems.
With technology based on the micro-machining of super resistant materials such as single-crystal sapphire, Oxsensis optical sensor systems can optimise performance in a range of applications and industries. In aerospace, they can be used in flight systems to manage safe propulsion of aircraft. In oil and gas, they support efficient gas turbine monitoring to help with clean energy production.
Oxsensis is becoming firmly established as a manufacturer of optical sensors that track variables in real-time. As a non-electrical system, it can achieve this at extremely high temperatures (over 1,000°C), with immunity to interference from electromagnetic fields. This allows systematic observation in critical systems, leading to savings in size and cost, while improving safety.
Ian Macafee, CEO, has been an SME Leader since 2018 and has benefited from mentoring and an extended peer network, which help with managing the challenges of an expanding business. Since receiving the award, his team has grown to 32 employees, an increase of four staff. Oxsensis has also secured equity investment and opened a scale up finance round of investment. This will support the company’s vision for well-managed, long-term, sustainable growth.
CCm Technologies has developed patented technology that converts captured CO2 from industrial power generators and other waste streams into materials such as fertilisers, soil conditioners and plastics.
In 2019, the company applied this technology to its first full-scale fertiliser plant, which was deployed at a Viridor’s multi-waste site in Somerset the following year. This is capable of annually transforming 6,500 tonnes of anaerobic digestate cake into 13,000 tonnes of high-grade compound fertiliser. The excess heat from the exothermic operation is then used in the pasteurisation process.
CCm Technologies continues to break new ground. It has developed a fibre that absorbs large amounts of CO2, which can then be incorporated into a wide range of plastics, such as polypropolene, polythene and polyamide.
As CCm’s CEO, Pawel Kisielewski is responsible for all non-technical issues. He has helped oversee rapid growth in the company since he was enrolled into the SME Leaders initiative in 2018.
The company’s innovatory work has been recognised by the Carbon Trust and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which recently allocated £1 million for CCm Technologies and Severn Trent to explore new ways to recycle wastewater in the sewerage process and convert it into a commercial product.
CCm is one of the 16 founder members of the Sustainable Markets Council, a platform created in February 2020 by HRH The Prince of Wales with the support of the World Economic Forum to drive the transformation to sustainable markets – Build Back Better. The company is now aiming to expand internationally, especially in Canada and the US.
“The programme has provided access to a central London location and high-quality master classes – such as in media training and public speaking. One of the other positive spin offs from this scheme has been the chance to become part of a cadre of fellow engineering entrepreneurs.”
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).