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.
Wood biomass is a clean alternative to unsustainable petrol-derived materials, fuels and chemicals, but its use is limited as it requires fractionation, a complex and costly separation process.
Lixea, an Imperial College London spinout, has developed a sustainable, cost-effective method for biomass fractionation - the process for separating wood components for use in other materials.
Lixea’s technology makes uses of low-cost ionic liquids to separate wood components. Known as BioFlex, the technology serves as a one-size-fits-all process for use with different types of biomass including waste wood, agricultural by-products and sustainably grown energy crops.
Over 1.6 billion tonnes of waste woody biomass are available globally in forms such as waste wood, palm residues and wheat and rice straw. This is a significant market that could make use of Lixea’s solutions to turn wood biomass into components, cellulose and lignin. These can then be used to make products including papers and films, bio-plastics and fine chemical and bio-derived adhesives.
Named as one of Europe’s most promising game-changers under 30 by Forbes, Dr Florence Gschwend has continuously engaged in entrepreneurial initiatives both during her PhD and since. Her interest in using engineering for societal and environmental benefit inspired the development of Lixea. Florence now leads the spinout in designing a pilot facility to refine its technology.
Dr Gschwend was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support her work in developing the BioFlex technology and the growth of Lixea as it prepares to bring its solutions to market.
The construction industry sends millions of tonnes of waste to landfill each year, at significant cost to the industry and the environment. And new legislation requires that by 2025 at least 70% of all waste must be recycled.
These two factors are driving the construction industry to find alternative building methods and materials that reduce waste.
With help from the Innovation Fund of Zero-Waste Scotland, Sam founded the clean tech spin-out company Kenoteq to address this need.
Kenoteq has developed a patent-pending process using traditional earth-construction methods to make unfired bricks that do not use cement which have 90% of their content recycled from building and construction waste. Its unique production process and materials are classified as recyclable by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
As the new brick does not use gas firing, large manufacturers can eliminate the cost of gas-fired production and avoid additional carbon taxes under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). The bricks offer a high thermal mass and are ‘breathable bricks’, reducing the need for air conditioning and air quality controls inside buildings by providing relative humidity buffering.
Flexible, transparent electronics are increasingly in demand to support advances in electronic technologies. However, developments in materials science currently limits the availability of materials with the right properties.
Graphexe Nanotechnology have used graphene to create an ultra-thin, flexible and transparent material known as GraphExeter. The material has a distinctive combination of properties – it is as conductive as metal and as flexible as plastics. This creates new possibilities for advances in electronics in areas such as flexible lighting, foldable screens and other display technologies.
As a researcher with expertise in two-dimensional materials, Dr Liping Lu is helping Graphexe Nanotechnology to design integrated manufacturing processes for consistent and reliable production. The aim is to draw on the material’s properties to make it in a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable way.
Graphexe Nanotechnology is working in partnership with leading technology companies to refine and develop the use of its material in a range of new devices. This includes collaborations with Cambridge Display Technology, a leading developer of flexible lighting, and BOE, a global leader in manufacturing displays for mobile phones, tablets, televisions and other consumer electronics.
As Graphexe Nanotechnology grows in scale, with support from its partners its focus is to target the display technology and OLED-based lighting industry, which has a projected value of $10 billion by 2028.
Dr Lu was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to further develop Graphexe Nanotechnology.
Current joint replacement systems use a standardised one-size-fits-all approach, despite the fact that bone shape and size can vary enormously.
Susannah had the idea to create fully-customised parts for surgery. She is a co-founder of Imperial College London spin-out Embody Orthopaedic that now make unique instruments designed specifically for a one person’s surgical intervention.
Embody are pioneering low-cost instrumentation for orthopaedic surgery with a new type of 3D printed technology to revolutionise joint replacements. This approach decreases risk by creating instrumentation such as knee replacements that are unique to each patient. The minimally invasive devices are printed in nylon, a low-cost, robust material that can be readily sterilised.
instruments are now used in both everyday surgery and more
specialised cases, such as soldiers with lower
limb gunshot wounds. Using 3D printing technology enables a very
complex operation to be planned and undertaken in a much
reduced timeframe, allowing an entirely personalised surgical
approach at an affordable cost.
is expanding on 3D printing customisable implants. Furthering plans to
deliver a fully tailored joint replacement process, from surgical
planning to recovery, the company is also launching a web-based
surgical planning system. This allows surgeons to upload patient
scans and trial different surgical scenarios pre-operatively. Within
the next ten years, Susannah plans to apply the technology in other
fields such as maxillofacial, cardiovascular and dental surgery.
“The Enterprise Hub has given me access to opportunities that have played a big role in my progress, particularly being able to take time out from my research to focus on the project, and receiving business training. The events organised by The Enterprise Hub have also enabled me to meet some very experienced people in the industry who gave me their views on my project from a completely different perspective, which was invaluable.”
Balancing electrical supply with consumption is a challenge for power grids. An added difficulty is maintaining the balance across different timescales – from milliseconds to seasons. Sustainable grid management solutions need to manage intermittent supply from sources, including renewables. New technologies with long-term durability are needed to manage these demands.
Gyrotricity Ltd, a spin out from City, University of London, has developed a new technology for kinetic energy storage. . The technology is based on a flywheel, a steel rotor that stores energy that can be converted to electrical energy and released quickly on demand.
Gyrotricity’s flywheel is made using thin layers of laminated steel. As a result, it is more durable and safer than single-mass steel flywheels, as any potential damage can be easily contained. The company has also designed an electrical motor generator that lasts for up to 25 years, and is used for transmitting and retrieving power from the flywheel. Combined, the systems provide a lightweight and cost-effective solution to energy storage in the grid.
The Gyrotricity flywheel has two to four times greater energy density than conventional steel flywheels. High power, at the megawatt scale, can be provided by having flywheels connected in banks in containers. Gyrotricity is currently designing and testing these in the laboratory and at customer sites.
Professor Keith Pullen, Chief Technical Officer,
holds the patents for the laminated flywheel technology. He draws on over
twenty years of expertise in the field as he supports Gyrotricity in bringing
its solutions to market.
Professor Pullen was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support him in refining Gyrotricity’s flywheel technology and bringing it to market.
Simulations can provide insights and analyses that transform and optimise businesses across sectors. Yet creating simulations is a highly specialised task that requires expensive software and hardware as well as expertise in network analysis, physics and software engineering. This means that many companies find it challenging to access.
Slingshot Simulations aims to make simulation and data analytics more accessible through its user-friendly simulation service. The automated, integrated cloud-based service is a fast, cost-effective route to accurate simulation.
Slingshot uses a patent-pending optimisation technique for automated analysis of big data. The technology is based on over a decade of research and development, in close collaboration with industry. It can quickly handle large amounts of data to create real-time simulations for use in forecasting and analysis.
Dr David McKee was closely involved in the development of the technology as the company’s Lead Technological Architect while at the University of Leeds. As CTO, David leads the company as it extends its scalable platform for companies in sectors including logistics, real estate, city planning, sustainable design and insurance.
The insights gained by more cost-effective, readily-accessible simulation services have been shown to improve clients’ market share by 2% to 3%. With such potential to influence business, Slingshot simulations is well placed to impact the global simulation market, currently valued at $6.5 billion.
Dr McKee was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to further develop University of Leeds spin-out, Slingshot Simulations.
Over 70% of the world’s coastlines experience erosion, which is increasing at an exponential rate due to climate change. Coral reefs provide valuable ecosystems that naturally prevent this erosion, but these are also rapidly being lost globally.
Zyba Ltd has developed CCell, a technology that uses wave energy to create artificial coral reefs in any shape or size. This can provide a long-term, ecological solution to coastal erosion, restoring fisheries and enhancing tourism in the process by creating new scuba dive sites.
CCell technology is an ultra-lightweight energy converter that uses ocean waves to generate electricity. This is used to power BioRock – a process of electrolysis that makes sea minerals form around a steel structure, effectively creating a reef. The process enables corals to grow up to five times faster than they would naturally.
Many coastal regions such as those in Indonesia, the Dominican Republic and Mexico rely heavily on tourist income. Governments and the hotel industry absorb the high costs of coastal protection and many current solutions are both temporary and, in some cases, can increase erosion rates over time.
CCell has gained significant interest in Mexico where local partners have been supporting pilot projects to demonstrate the benefits in this key market. Future plans include scaling up the technology to increase access to a market that is valued at £16 billion globally. Tara Massoudi leads Business Development at Zyba Ltd and is responsible for developing the partnerships that will support the growth of the company and the implementation of its core technology, CCell.
In 2018, Tara Massoudi was awarded an 1851 Royal Commission Enterprise Fellowship to support Zyba as it expands and brings its technology to market. Zyba Ltd has also been supported by Innovate UK as well as the EU Commission as part of a Horizon 2020 project.
During ‘last mile’ journeys, vaccines can be exposed to temperatures that are too high or too low, meaning they arrive damaged.
The World Health Organization estimates that between two to three million children die each year from vaccine-preventable disease. In 2018, 20 million children still lacked basic vaccinations. Current vaccine carriers last for hours whereas ‘last-mile’ journeys can take up to seven days. The wastage can be up to 85%, which increases when journeys exceed the current vaccine carrier’s capacity.
Ideabatic’s solutions target the last-mile cold-chain issues with SMILE, a smart last-mile vaccine cooling system. It helps to preserve vaccines so that they remain effective in the last few miles of delivery and arrive safely.
Vaccines are often transported by foot, bike, canoe or donkey. ‘Last-mile’ journeys can last up to seven days with little infrastructure or electricity available to help preserve vaccines. SMILE has a last-mile capacity of three to five days without external power and can carry vaccines for over 500 people. Using the technology requires minimal training, supporting its aim to reduce vaccine wastage to below 5%.
The technology keeps vaccines within the right temperature range without an external power source. It uses a self-closing door that minimises human error and heat damage, and an extraction system that ensures that remaining vaccines are not exposed to excess heat when others are removed.
Kitty Liao has over ten years’ experience in multi-disciplinary system design and low-temperature research and development. She is leading Ideabatic as it conducts field trials in Africa and prepares for launch in 2020. The startup works with field experts and the Centre for Global Equality, and welcomes collaboration to accelerate the launch of SMILE.
Kitty Liao was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support her work in refining the technology, trialling its use and bringing it to market.
Large scale farming operations have well established methods for converting farm waste into renewable fuel and natural fertiliser. Small farms need access to scaled-down, efficient waste management solutions to make sustainable processes more widespread.
EcoNomad delivers small scale technology for sustainable resource management and agricultural waste reduction. Its sustainable, affordable technologies enable waste recycling and management, empowering smallholding farms and rural communities to be more self-sufficient.
EcoNomad’s range of solutions include a biogas and nutrient recovery system, known as the BioNomad™, that can be used on small farms to turn agricultural waste into biofuels for heating and an enriched liquid fertiliser. The technology was tested and demonstrated to add value during a four-year trial at a farm in London.
Another solution is EcoNomad’s patented technology for low-cost solar water pumping and pasteurisation, which works using passive thermal principles, without the need for electricity or moving parts.
Dr Ilan Adler identified a need for scaled down technologies during work in Mexico that resulted in him setting up a non-governmental organisation and co-founding a social enterprise to promote eco-technologies in rural communities. This inspired later research in the UK that led to the development of EcoNomad.
Following the success of its pilot, EcoNomad has further trials planned in the UK and Mexico, aiming to bring its first products to market in 2019.
Dr Adler was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support him in making sustainable solutions for agricultural resource and waste management more widely available to smallholdings in the UK and Europe.
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.
David Gammon founded Rockspring in 2002 after 17 years of investment banking experience.
Rockspring provides advice and capital to disruptive technology companies from seed through scale up. His family are the benefactors of the JC Gammon Launchpad Award run by the Enterprise Hub.
David is a non-executive director at Raspberry Pi Trading Limited, Accesso Technology Group plc and Frontier Developments plc.
Suranga has long experience as an engineer and entrepreneur. He founded Blinkx - an intelligent search engine for video and audio content - in 2004. He led Blinkx as CEO for eight years as well as taking it public in 2007. He is widely regarded as an expert on the convergence of the web, television and online advertising.
Before his work with Blinkx, Suranga was US Chief Technology Officer of Autonomy where he was mentored by Mike Lynch and led the effort to enable Autonomy’s software to work in highly distributed environments. Suranga joined Balderton as a General Partner in 2014.
An accomplished speaker and commentator on the overlap between technology and media, Suranga has been elected by the World Economic Forum as one of its Young Global Leaders. He was also included in the Top 10 leaders in Science and Innovation by The Observer’s Future 500 list, and was a recipient of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Silver Medal in 2012. Suranga was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2012.
“The real high-growth value companies are currently all in the tech space. In order for these businesses to reach their potential, it’s vital that they can benefit from the guidance of those with experience.”
Anne is a prominent venture capitalist and European technology investor who has been Chief Executive of Amadeus Capital Partners from 1997. As a co-founder in the organisation, Anne’s role combines her experience as a scientist, operating manager and venture capitalist.
Anne began her career in manufacturing with Cummins Engine Company before moving into investment as a business angel. She was also Chief Operating Officer of Virtuality Group, which had been one of her investee companies.
Anne has held a number of high profile advisory positions, having served as Chairman of the British Venture Capital Association in 2004, and as a non-executive director of the UK Technology Strategy Board from 2005-2012. In 2008 Anne led the establishment of the Glover advisory committee for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, reporting on government procurement from SMEs. She is also a member of the European Research and Innovation Advisory Board. Anne was awarded a CBE for services to business in 2006 and was elected an Honourary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2008.
“There is a long-standing need for science to engage more proactively with policy-makers and business. The Enterprise Hub is playing a big part in addressing this, by bridging the gap between outstanding academic talent and influential figures in the industry to ensure the UK’s ongoing international success in science and technology.”
Chair of the Enterprise Committee and a long-standing Academy Fellow, Ian 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 currently Managing Director of contract R&D company Arcinova and is also the Managing Partner at investment and advisory firm Shott Trinova LLP. 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 illustrious 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 currently 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”.
Dick Whittington is a serial entrepreneur, business mentor and investor, focusing on the software industry and digital marketplaces, with over thirty years of experience in business. His experience has included co-founding a successful international software business recognised in UK through three Queen's Awards covering both Innovation and International Trade.
In 2012 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering where he plays an active role including as a mentor for early-stage technology startups and spinouts through its highly successful Enterprise Hub. From 2015 Dick has been Visiting and Honorary Professor of Business Innovation at the University of York, where he has developed and delivered a respected course in Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship for students and staff. He is also an active mentor and angel investor within several London and regional technology accelerator programmes.
Prior to pursuing business interests, Dick lectured in Computer Science at the University of York. He managed a successful research team and published a number of research papers and books, including Database Systems Engineering (1987), which became a standard text within many universities. He also contributed to several significant texts including The Software Life Cycle (1990) and the Software Engineers' Reference Book (1991).
"The concept of the Enterprise Hub resonated with me as a solid, practical initiative to benefit UK engineering through engaging the Academy’s extraordinary network of talent. The role of the Hub in launching and scaling such businesses is of enormous value to the UK economy and the engineering profession.”
Phil is an active Cambridge-based angel investor where he chairs, coaches, invests in and helps communications, software and device companies. He is a frequent speaker on a broad range of entrepreneurial topics and an advisor to universities on the commercialisation of their IP.
In 1999 Phil co-founded the spin-out Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) and as managing director, helped to grow CSR plc from a startup of nine people into a highly successful FTSE 250 listed fabless semiconductor company. In 2003, CSR plc had become the largest global market supplier of Bluetooth chips. By 2015, they had shipped three billion chips, employed more than 2,000 people in 23 locations and was acquired by US-based Qualcomm for $2.5 billion.
Phil has been a research fellow at AERE, a chief research engineer at Standard Telecommunication Laboratories, UK Alvey & CEC ESPRIT project manager and a telecoms practice manager at Arthur D Little’s Cambridge Consultants, from which he spun-out CSR plc.
Phil was a recipient of the MacRobert Award in 2005 along with CSR colleagues, for the world's first high-volume single chip Bluetooth device. He was elected as a Royal Academy of Engineering Fellow in 2017 and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Essex.
“I believe that the commercialisation of IP and the engineering of high-volume products is integral to a vibrant and healthy society. The Enterprise Hub has created an effective mechanism for enabling Fellows to become coaches and mentors to the next generation of engineering entrepreneurs and I am honoured to be in a position to help contribute to its success.”
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.”
Nigel’s career has involved working in the UK and the Netherlands for Unilever and Wellcome Research. While abroad, he built and operated the first large-scale Dutch facility for the manufacture of the genetically engineered protein alpha-galactosidase. Later, he led the process design for Wellcome’s WelGen interferon manufacturing plant in the USA.
Nigel has served as a co-founding non-executive director for two manufacturing SMEs, Cobra Biomanufacturing Plc (which was listed on AIM) and Angel Technology Ltd. The latter was awarded the Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2006 and the International Sial d’Or prize for the most innovative new UK nutritional product at the Paris International Food Conference 2004. Currently he is Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at Cambridge University.
Nigel was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2004.
“My relevant technical and personal experience was well-matched to Janice’s needs and I am pleased to be involved in such a positive initiative.”
Saeed is Technical Director at the prosthetic manufacturer Blatchford, winners of the 2016 RAEng MacRobert Award.
He has built a highly successful career based on outstanding innovation, product development and scientific research in the field of prosthetics. His work saw the company shortlisted for the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award in 2010.
Saeed has provided invaluable advice to emerging innovators in his field, such as negotiating with investors, creating new business cases and establishing alternative investment return strategies, IP issues, and how to identify new needs and opportunities in the market to develop a road map of future products.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2012.