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.
COO and Co-founder, Open Bionics
Open Bionics have created the Hero Arm, an affordable, 3D printed, multi-grip bionic hand. Lightweight and durable, the Hero Arm is an empowering, medically-approved, myoelectric prosthesis for below elbow amputee adults and children aged eight and above.
Designed with customisation and comfort as priorities, the Hero Arm is lightweight and robust while also being breathable and adjustable. Embedded with special sensors, it intuitively detects muscle movement so that it can move and coordinate with life-like precision.
Developed by a rapidly growing team in Bristol, the award-winning technology is now available through prosthetic clinics in the UK and Europe with expansion into the US market planned soon. COO and co-founder, Samantha Payne leads Open Bionic’s product design, branding, communications, culture, HR and customer service. Samantha will use training and coaching through the SME Leaders Programme to strengthen leadership and management skills as the start-up scales internationally. Mentoring and coaching support will also help Samantha to further develop her design-thinking and gain a deeper understanding of the company’s commercial offering as it expands into new markets and develops new products.
Visit the Open Bionics website here.
Many young children want to engage with and create music but can find it difficult to learn an instrument.
Coming from a musical family, Michael developed the technology to support children to enjoy and be creative with music. He felt that the challenge of getting sounds out of an unfamiliar instrument gets in the way of understanding how notes fit together to make music.
Michael’s solution uses ‘Bops’ - brightly coloured blocks that each play different musical notes when arranged on a board. The Bops can switch between different instrument sounds and be endlessly rearranged to create new tunes and even combined into chords when stacked together.
Designed for children aged three to six years old, Soundbops makes it easy and fun for children to create their own music, discovering as they go what works and what doesn’t.
The technology’s ease-of-use encourages creativity and experimentation. It has strong educational value as it engages children in reading sheet music and composing songs without having to first master a complex musical instrument.
Michael plans to work with toy manufacturers and schools to capture a share of the £45 billion global educational technology market. In February 2018, Michael ran a successful crowdfunding campaign, raising over £50,000 to start manufacturing Soundbops.
Michael was the winner of the Hub’s 2016 Launchpad Competition and received the JC Gammon Award – a prize of £15,000 and Membership of the Hub.
CEO, Agile Analog
Agile Analog’s novel approach to the design of analogue semiconductors is transforming the electronics industry by making it easier to deliver customised solutions in electronic circuits.
As systems-on-chip and application-specific integrated circuits grow in complexity to meet digital demands, the demand for better analogue solutions has also increased. Current techniques in analogue design are based on older, manually-intensive methods that often lead to components that are restricted in use, inefficient and costly to change. Agile Analog uses artificial intelligence to automate the design and delivery of customised components that efficiently match customer’s requirements at the same time as driving efficiency in both power consumption and cost.
Tim Ramsdale, the company’s CEO, is developing a roadmap to support Agile Analog as it enters the next phase of growth. This includes raising additional funding, delivering first products to market and expanding their customer base. Tim will use training and development through the SME Leaders programme to strengthen skills in areas such sales and business development as the company targets a $2 billion market in analogue intellectual property design.
Visit Agile Analog's website here.
Transforming ideas and thoughts into digital three-dimensional (3D) models is currently done through 2D mediums. The traditional 3D design process can be a challenging and often requires training in complex, computer-aided design (CAD) programs.
A new software platform developed by Gravity Sketch pushes boundaries in design by allowing people to craft digital 3D content using gesture and touch.
Co-Founder and CEO, Oluwaseyi (Seyi) Sosanya, helped to create the technology to make it simpler for users to conceptualise their thoughts without the need to learn complex design software. Though the use of augmented reality, virtual reality and touch technologies, Gravity Sketch provides a fast, intuitive solution for developing 3D models and concepts.
Gravity Sketch tools are designed for seamless integration into real-world engineering workflows, helping design teams reduce the time spent in the initial design processes by up to 60%. It drives efficiency by allowing designers to create freely in 3D while ensuring that the right quality of information reaches technicians.
The product’s adaptability makes it a powerful addition anywhere that art, design and engineering intersect. Launched online in 2017, Gravity Sketch has a customer broad base including the automotive industry, computer-generated imagery and furniture design.
The 2017 Enterprise Fellowship was awarded to Seyi, to help bring Gravity Sketch’s tools to market.
In 2019, Seyi joined the SME Leaders programme with a vision to strategically expand the company’s customer base and develop talented technical and sales teams to support this. Mentoring through the SME Leaders Programme will help him to lead a rapidly growing team while fostering a culture of creativity and innovation at Gravity Sketch.
“Not only has the Enterprise Hub opened me up to new professional networks, it has also helped me to readily access knowledge that is accelerating our efforts to bring our innovation to market."
Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Arctoris
Arctoris offers fully automated experiments-as-a-service that helps researchers to accelerate progress towards new discoveries. The service increases accessibility in cancer research by making cutting-edge techniques available using just a laptop and internet connection.
Current data generation methods in cellular and molecular biology are inefficient and yield poor quality data. Arctoris enables efficient data generation with a high degree of consistency, precision and reliability. Leveraging the power of robotic experimentation, Arctoris makes it easier for researchers and biotech entrepreneurs, in cancer research and other fields, to generate, analyse and visualise data. The cloud-based platform removes many of the financial, technical and geographic barriers to cancer research, improving the accessibility of leading techniques to all.
Arctoris co-founder, Tom Fleming, brings significant expertise as a chemist and experience in leading clinical research to the role Chief Operating Officer. He is responsible for overseeing daily operations and directing strategy and development of new capabilities and technologies.
Supported by the SME Leaders Programme, Tom has plans for the company to scale effectively and transition from small-team strategies to large-scale approaches for global distribution. Leadership training will help Tom to develop skills in measuring individual and team performance while creating an organisational culture that promotes collaboration, satisfaction and exceptional results.
Visit Arctoris's website here.
Since Bethan was 15 she has been fascinated by DNA, "I mean what could be cooler than understanding the code of life?" She wondered. Following her passion took her to University College London and gave her access to machines that could sample DNA - hugely expensive machines that only a few people could ever dream of using.
A college competition entered with friends started her on the road to creating the Bento Lab - a personal DNA lab that costs as much as a laptop and is not much bigger or heavier.
Now field workers can take their own kit with them rather than having to go back to their labs and anyone - not just professionals - with a passion for biology can sample their own genes or see what is in their beer. Or for the very brave, their burgers. Who knows what future Bethans armed with the Bento Lab will discover?
Her company, Bento Bioworks, is making learning and working with molecular biology orders of magnitude more accessible. The toolkit weighs only 3kg, fits on an A4 footprint, and contains all the equipment required to carry out basic research in molecular biology. This has widespread implications for science and engineering education as bento•lab users will be able to engage hands-on with genetic engineering and could potentially contribute to large-scale research projects. They are already taking orders after a successful Kickstarter campaign.
You can watch a video about bento•lab here.
“One of the challenges we all face is thinking that there’s a perfect time to start your own business. The harsh reality is that this mythical moment never arrives. There will always be challenges and excuses to delay making that decision, but at some point you need to get past those mental roadblocks and take the plunge."
CEO, Cambridge GaN Devices Ltd
Cambridge GaN Devices’ (CGD) new approach to designing high-performance Gallium Nitride (GaN) power electronic devices could transform the 600V semiconductor industry by offering a more efficient alternative to current silicon-based and GaN devices.
GaN’s physical properties mean it can operate at higher frequencies than silicon, resulting in circuits that are smaller, faster and more efficient. While GaN power devices already exist, CGD’s approach overcomes the stability issues associated with them, through use of a novel, patented transistor and adding smart functionalities. This new combination makes CGD’s solutions more accessible, allowing customers to leverage the benefits of GaN in a wider range of applications.
The University of Cambridge spin-out was co-founded by CGD CEO, Giorgia Longobardi who had a central role in engineering the core technology. Supported by the SME Leaders Programme, Giorgia is defining the company’s strategy while developing a rapidly growing staff. With an energy-efficient product that delivers from 5- to 10 times less power losses, Giorgia’s vision is to establish production partnerships and a customer-base that will allow CGD to target the £400 million GaN power device market.
Notpla is the name of both a material and a company that aims to significantly reduce plastic waste with a range of packaging solutions that naturally biodegrade in weeks.
50% of plastic packaging is used once and thrown away and estimates suggest that plastics can take several centuries to decompose. Notpla is a sustainable plastic alternative that biodegrades naturally in 4-6 weeks. It is made from plants and brown seaweed, a fast-growing, naturally renewable resource.
Co-CEO, Pierre Paslier, had a central role in developing Notpla’s first product, the Ooho, an edible, biodgegradable packaging solution used for beverages and sauces. Ideal for on-the-go consumption, Oohos can replace plastic cups and bottles at festivals and sporting events. It was recently trialled for removing single use plastics from the Virgin Money London Marathon.
With Oohos gathering market traction, SME Leader Pierre is developing a strategy to support industrialisation, increasing sales and new product development. Notpla’s future packaging solutions include heat-sealable films, take-away containers sachets and nets. Training and mentoring will support Pierre as the company scales up with a view to reaching a production of 1 million Oohos per month by the end of 2020.
Visit Notpla's website here.
Best practice in patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) in research and technology is essential for healthcare researchers and institutions. Currently it relies on costly, manual and time-consuming processes, as well as unstandardised quantification practices that impact funding and research.
Approximately £6.3 billion is spent each year in the UK and USA on healthcare research and development (R&D) that requires PPIE. However up to 72% of funding applications are rejected for not meeting PPIE standards such as lacking in overall research quality or methodology that patient/public insights could have improved. There is no infrastructure for quantifying PPIE data and associated R&D impact to improve future outcomes.
Dr Amber Hill, a translational neuroscientist, software engineer and entrepreneur, has developed software called R.grid by , to streamline PPIE activities and quantify its impact in healthcare R&D.
R.grid software digitalises human-centred design and data in healthcare and engineering. It supports researchers and institutions with tools to create, manage and implement the delivery of PPIE activities that save money, increase efficiency, and improve research.
R.grid can support savings of up to 91% by reducing the levels of investment needed to develop high-quality PPIE (£30,000 to £70,000+ per research department and several million GBP for institutions). These funds can be reallocated or reinvested in key research protocols, while engaging stakeholders, improving further funding opportunities and improving research.
Amber draws on her experience across healthcare research, software engineering, digital strategy development and social engagement to accelerate the development and scale of R.grid technology in preparation for its public launch.
Dr Hill was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support her in developing and launching R.grid’s technology to the public.
What makes us different is the Academy’s Fellows and our wider Mentor network – an unrivalled community of the UK’s most successful industry leaders, technology experts and entrepreneurs. Find out more about our Mentors and their areas of expertise.
Dr Supti Sarkar leads the Technology and Investments Group at PwC. She is responsible for the commercialisation of new tech ventures across the firm, and works with in-house entrepreneurs to get their products market ready.
Supti was formally a management consultant at PA Consulting, where she worked with international and regional governments to support their trade and investment strategies. She was also part of Mayor Sadiq Khan's 2016 delegation to Chicago and New York as part of her role in supporting high growth companies entering the US market for the first time. Supti holds a first class degree and PhD in engineering from University College London and is mum to an eight-year-old daughter.
Dr Douglas C Anderson OBE FREng FRSE has a 40-year business career covering almost every aspect, at every level, of healthcare technology product design and product commercialisation processes.
Having trained in industrial design engineering (Edinburgh Napier University 1974), Douglas progressed from hands on designer to the management of design in the high-tech arena.
Using his consulting company Crombie Anderson as a base for innovation and incubation, he subsequently spun out three other high-tech startup companies, two of which became publicly traded business operating in medical fields.
Douglas was the prime mover in these businesses by leading both the innovation and commercialisation processes, including raising over £40 million in private and institutional funding prior to floatation. Today he is internationally recognised for his innovation and entrepreneurial experience and is a regular keynote speaker at healthcare and business congresses around the world.
In 1990, his five-year-old son Leif suffered a spontaneous retinal detachment that went undetected until it was too late to treat. Douglas was struck by the limited capability of diagnostic tools available to practitioners to examine the retina and decided to address this issue. He built a dedicated research team, which led to the formation of Optos plc, a business funded by Archangel from the outset.
Optos succeeded in designing and patenting a scanning laser ophthalmoscope: the world's first ophthalmic device that enabled eye care professionals to capture a digital ultra wide-field image of the almost the entire retina in a single scan. The new method of examining the retina, marketed as the optomap® Retinal Exam, is now offered as the preferred standard of care by tens of thousands of eye-care specialists globally. Over 200 million optomap® retinal exams have been conducted worldwide and a number of novel diagnostic techniques added to improve the understanding and treatment of a wider range of conditions that have been historically difficult to manage.
In 2006 Douglas was awarded an OBE for services to healthcare. Douglas was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2013.
David is an investor and CEO with companies based on technology and innovation.
After a degree in electrical engineering at the Technion and an MBA from INSEAD, David worked his way to senior management and board level in a wide range of sectors including sustainability, construction, life sciences, manufacturing, mobile telephony, cyber security and software. His broad experience ranges from startups to public companies, from turnaround missions and crisis management to business development and growth.
David is deeply involved in the UK startup space, as a member of UKBAA, VCs, EIS funds and university angel groups, and is an active mentor with the Royal Academy of Engineering and Imperial College London’s IVMS programme. He also serves as a non-executive on the board of directors of Kerur Holdings (a public company), the board of governors of the Technion, as an advisor with the US accelerator Silicon Catalyst and the board of trustees of Hadassah UK.
He believes that success comes from a culture of excellence, a multidisciplinary approach, and that the boundaries between B2B/B2C and startups/LargeCo are increasingly blurred.
"Startups challenge and can defeat established companies. An explosion of new technologies will accelerate this trend. Large companies cannot afford to be on the defensive, they must proactively adopt a startup culture. But startups must also learn to be humble and pragmatic, build structures, communicate at a senior level, and strive to serve all their stakeholders, clients, staff, investors, and society as a whole. A fusion of cultures is now pivotal to success."
Richard joined sustainability investment focused Earth Capital Group in 2009 and has worked both on the group’s investment in investment managers and direct growth company investments, including most recently the fund’s investments in SoftIron and Propelair. He takes a leading role in promoting technology transfer opportunities across the group’s international offices.
Prior to joining Earth Capital, Richard was an Investment Director with IBIS Asset Management Ltd, a London-based captive advisor to a large Caribbean conglomerate. Richard was earlier a senior manager in the London office of L.E.K. Consulting, a global strategy consultancy. During his five years with LEK he provided due diligence advice, in numerous large cap and mid-market private equity deals, and advised corporate clients on corporate strategy, business unit growth strategy, process redesign and cost reduction programmes.
A chartered engineer, his early career included successful engineering, operations and customer support management roles with Ford Motor Company and Visteon Corporation. Richard holds an MBA with Distinction from INSEAD and MEng and MA (First Class) degrees in engineering from the University of Cambridge. He is a chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment, and a Chartered Member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and a Sainsbury Management Fellow.
Dr Andrew Hosty FREng is an international leader with over 15 years of non-executive board experience and 30 years of executive and management experience, spanning private equity, UK Plc and global blue-chip corporates. He is non-executive director of a companies including: RHI-Magnesita, the global leader in the manufacture and supply of refractories; James Cropper Plc, who create some of the world’s most distinctive and technically advanced paper products; and Rights and Issues Investment Trust Plc, a fund that focuses on small cap UK industrials.
Andrew is Non-Executive Chairman of mOm Incubators ltd, a pre-revenue startup developing low-cost baby incubators for crisis zones. He is also Non-Executive Chairman of Nexeon ltd, a company developing next-generation cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries. From 2016 to 2018 Andrew was the CEO of the Sir Henry Royce Institute, the UK's home of advanced materials research and innovation. He was Chief Operating Officer of Morgan Advanced Materials, and served on the Plc Board as an Executive Director from 2010 to 2016.
From 2013 to 2016 he served on the board
of Consort Medical Plc, a healthcare company focused on developing advanced
delivery technologies, formulation and manufacturing solutions for drugs. He is
a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, holds a PhD from the Faculty of
Engineering at the University of Sheffield and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy
of Engineering (2011).
Chris McIntosh joined Methera Global as CEO in 2017. The company’s vision is to enable the delivery of digital applications to rural and underserved communities worldwide via a resilient constellation of Ka band MEO satellites. He previously spent seven years as CEO of ViaSat UK where he was responsible for the inception and growth of ViaSat’s UK satellite capabilities. Headquartered in the US, ViaSat are renowned as being one of the most disruptive players in the satellite communications and security domain.
Before joining ViaSat Chris was CEO of Stonewood Group, developers of state-of-the-art cyber products and services. He is a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the British Army and has worked within the challenging, high threat cyber and communications environment for over 30 years. He holds a BSc in computer science, MSc in design of computer systems and an MBA. He is a member of the UKspace trade association and the National Security and Resilience Consortium, and is a chartered engineer.
Roy Williamson has been helping companies see how their new innovations can disrupt markets for over 20 years.
For the past six years has been successfully helping early stage companies identify and define their strengths, enhance their uniqueness and develop their storylines to engage investors. Roy’s background is in engineering and cleantech and since 2013, he’s been supporting SMEs and entrepreneurs across a broad area of technologies and innovative business models.
Roy is an aeronautical engineer and started his career at Alstom, developing algorithms and models to estimate hardware costs of power generation gas turbines based purely on, often novel, thermodynamic cycles. He has assessed innovation ecosystems of the UK, published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. He has also co-authored guides to support technology developers in the UK automotive sector assess technology readiness levels and help those in the biofuels sector to review pathways for second generation biofuels. He’s appraised novel technology solutions for blue-chip clients, developed proof of concepts and carried out due diligence activities to support investor decision making. He is passionate about the UK and knowledge-intensive companies, from software to deeptech.
Roy is Head of Origination at the Department for International Trade with relationships across the department’s teams, government and the UK’s innovation and investment ecosystem.
Professor Mark Arthur Tooley FREng is the immediate Past President of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine. He was the Head of the Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering and Director of Research and Development at the Royal United Hospitals, Bath until 2017 when he retired from full-time NHS work. Since then, he has held several part-time roles. He is a specialist scientific advisor for NHS England, a digital clinical advisor for the West of England Academic Health Science network, and a healthcare technology consultant. He is a registered Consultant Clinical Scientist, an honorary professor at the University of Bath, and a visiting professor at the University of the West of England.
Mark completed his BSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Bath in 1979. He was sponsored by Westinghouse Brake and Signal company for the four years of the course. He then did an MSc and PhD in Medical Physics at the University of London. His MSc thesis was developing a EEG frequency analyser for anaesthesia. For his PhD research, Mark invented (with a cardiologist) an original method for rate-independent diagnosis of cardiac rhythm for implantable devices, which was patented. He spent the rest of his career in Medical Physics and Bioengineering departments, both in hospitals and academia, working along medical colleagues. He has worked at St Bartholomew’s hospital in London, Bristol University, United Bristol healthcare NHS Trust, and the Royal United Hospital, Bath. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal College of Physicians, the Institute of Engineering and Technology, the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, and the Institute of Physics. He is a chartered engineer and chartered scientist. Mark is on the peer-review college of EPSRC, has recently been a member of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Healthcare Technologies Strategic Advisory Team and the Royal Society Fellowship panel.
Mark has been a long-standing member of the Panel for Biomedical Engineering at the Royal Academy of Engineering (now called the healthcare policy topic group). He was recently a member of the biomedical engineering membership panel, the Policy Committee, and the working group for Systems thinking in healthcare. He has mentored on the enterprise scheme.
Mark’s research interests include innovations in medicine, physics applications in anaesthesia, simulation in medicine, physiological measurement, biological signal processing, measuring the depth of anaesthesia, blood pressure measurement and novel patient monitoring solutions.
Dr Liane Smith FREng founded Intetech Ltd in 1991, winning the Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2012 for its software. She sold the business to Wood Group in 2013 and in 2018 she left to form a new consulting engineering business, Larkton Ltd.
Liane is enthusiastic about the capability of digital technologies to transform businesses, bringing efficiencies, cost reduction, production control and increasing safety. In her last role as Senior Vice President Digital Solutions for Wood, she built the new global service line and defined its strategy roadmap and development plan. Her expertise is in various specialist branches of engineering in the industrial and energy sectors and in software product design and commercialisation, data management, data analysis, and analytics.
“I try to fill in gaps in mentees experience and give them confidence in their decisions. Typically we touch on building strong teams, role and task delegation, agile development, growing sales, exporting and strategy."