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.
Dr Kai Yang has developed an everyday fabric-based electrode for wearable medical devices so that stroke sufferers and people in need of pain relief can get electrical stimulation treatment in a far more practical way than ever before.
Traditional electrodes (made from hydrogel) are not ideal for wearable applications as they are sticky, have a limited lifetime, need to be kept in a sealed bag to stop moisture evaporation, and are incompatible with clothing.
Dr Kai Yang's fabric electrode can be applied on the skin directly without using any gel. Everyday fabrics and clothing items such as an arm band or sleeve can have the electrodes added to suit various needs. The fabric-based electrode is comfortable to wear, easy to use, washable and unobtrusive.
The fabric electrode can be used to deliver Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) for stroke rehabilitation; TENS for pain relief (e.g. arthritis, back pain, neck pain) and health monitoring (e.g. ECG, EEG, EMG).
As a Principal Investigator, Kai has secured £1.1M research funding from the Medical Research Council for a multi-disciplinary team to develop a wearable FES training system for home based stroke rehabilitation using the fabric electrode together with advanced control and sensor technologies. The FES training system will enable stroke survivors to conduct rehabilitation activities without the need of a carer or therapist.
Daniel is the inventor of RHEON™ and CTO of RHEON LABS.
RHEON is a revolutionary mouldable material that is capable of absorbing high levels of energy in impact, tension and vibration. It uses a property known as strain-rate dependency to allow this material to be flexible in normal wearing, but to stiffen instantaneously and temporarily when subject to an acute energy input. It can be moulded directly onto clothing, incorporated into the fabric as a thread or coating, or laminated onto a material and is both breathable and washable.
Daniel has worked in the field of energy absorbing systems and their applications for over 15 years, including specialisation work in smart textiles for NASA and sitting on the London 2012 Olympic committee. During his PhD, the fellowship and throughout his work since has built up a significant portfolio of patents which are now being exploited for the sports sector through RHEON LABS Ltd.
The scientists, engineers and designers at RHEON LABS are already engaged with best-in-class brands across a wide spectrum of sports apparel, collaborating with some of the biggest names to integrate RHEON™ into their products to enhance the performance, comfort and protection.
Poised now for rapid growth, Daniel and RHEON LABS are building a team to widen the commercialisation of this exciting technology. Whilst the initial focus is on the sports-apparel sector, there are significant opportunities for applying this potentially life-saving technology in several other sectors such as electronics, healthcare and defence.
“For me, the opportunity to work for an extended period with one product and a single focus is very welcome. The highly relevant and focused mentorship, and the prestige of growing my business under the Academy scheme, is too good an opportunity to ignore.”
Cold, uncomfortable draughts prevent many from enjoying warmer, drier homes especially during winter months. Underfloor insulation is an effective solution, but applying it can be a challenge. However, engineers at Q-Bot have developed a novel way to do this, creating a more efficient method to keep older homes warm.
Q-Bot blends expert knowledge in energy-efficient buildings with robotics and artificial intelligence. The company’s world-leading technology is a small robot that can easily access the space between floorboards and building foundations. Once there, it can be operated remotely to apply layers of insulating material, to make draughty, older homes more airtight and energy efficient. In other words, they become cosier, warmer and its cheaper to keep them that way.
The technology has been continually developed with input from consumers, leading to a product that is both ready for market and more efficient. Q-Bot insulation can reduce heat loss through suspended timber floors by up to 90%. Supported by the SME Leaders Programme, Mathew Holloway, CEO, is now scaling up the company and rolling the service out with social landlords across the UK.
Q-Bot is also looking at how its expertise can benefit other areas of the construction industry, and Mathew’s vision is to strategically position the company as a leader in smart tools for the construction industry that empower workers and make them more productive.
Jon has developed software to help drug developers predict the effects of new drugs on auto-immune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
His software is capable of integrating far more data and concepts than the systems currently used by drug developers creating clinical trials of new products. The increased data input through Jon's system results in improved confidence in computer simulations, cost savings and quicker speed to market for new drug releases.
Jon is Professor of Intelligent and Adaptive Systems at the University of York, where his research focuses on building computer models of immune function in the human body. He is the founder of SimOmics, a spin out of the University of York, which is expanding on these developments.
Philip is the founder of Synaptec Ltd and is pioneering new photonic sensor and interrogator designs for complex modern energy systems like smart grids.
His technology eliminates the need to duplicate expensive measurement hardware. This is achieved by getting simultaneous measurements of electrical parameters from across the power grid, without bandwidth limitations and with minimal infrastructure.
Synaptec reduces electrical power transmission costs through reducing outages, preventing circuit damage, and minimising civil works. These low-carbon technologies are what will underpin electric power generation and distribution in the future.
He is also working with the industry to improve power system protection capabilities by removing the bottlenecks that often take place with present methods.
“It’s the combination of marketing, networking and training opportunities that makes the Enterprise Hub such a unique opportunity, and it would simply be impossible for me to focus on beginning to commercialise this technology without its support. The opportunities to access potential investors, mentors, and a community of academic entrepreneurial peers will be invaluable.”
Working in tandem with PhD student Robert Rudolf, Reuben developed the first instance of technology that will allow energy consumed by mains connected equipment to be measured without the need for a monitor between the equipment and the wall socket.
The technology uses state of the art sensors with elegant calibration and measurement algorithms.
This resulted in an innovative new device that is a non-invasive multi-core current clamp which can be fitted around a cable and removed with ease. This approach removes the need to access sockets and to power down equipment for the fitting process.
Reuben's spinout company, Joulo, was acquired in 2015 Quby, Europe’s leading develop of smart thermostats and energy displays.
Following the sale of Joulo, Reuben co-founded Future Worlds, an on-campus startup incubator helping aspiring entrepreneurs to change the world with their ideas at the University of Southampton.
“Being involved with the Hub has been extremely useful with its opportunities to network with experienced business owners and entrepreneurs, many of whom have experienced the difficult decisions we are facing numerous times before. There is no question that these opportunities are vital to developing business ideas and raising the profile of our technology.”
Major advances in fabrication techniques now allows the building of new materials and devices on an atomic or molecular scale. These engineered materials can offer great advantages such as increased energy efficiency, strength, antibacterial properties and more. Their potential is vast, and very exciting to a range of industry sectors from medicine to aircraft manufacture.
To use - and continue to advance - the possibilities of these nano-engineered materials requires tools that can efficiently measure and characterise their properties.
Oliver is working to transform high-speed atomic force microscopy (HSAFM) into a diagnostic and fabrication tool to do precisely this.
His work is up to the challenge posed by imaging nano scale structures over sample areas which are industrially relevant. HSAFM is capable of imaging areas several thousand times faster than conventional atomic force microscopy (AFM).
Oliver's research at the University of Bristol will provide a tool to produce terra-pixel sized 3D images of surfaces. It will also be capable of rapidly prototyping nano structures over centimetre-sized areas in a matter of hours.
Mapping, measuring and manufacturing nanostructures via high-speed atomic force microscopy is now a possibility!
Ian is the Managing Director of TribeHive, a University of Sussex spin-out focussing on software to overcome the problem of poor smartphone data connectivity in crowded places.
His innovation lets individual smartphone apps crowd-share data bandwidth by building a network directly between the mobile devices. This network is then used as the basis for distributing information.
Using this technology, mobile apps can reliably deliver match-related content and social media feeds to football fans in stadiums.
The system is now in place in a large number of professional football clubs, and the commercial rights in the sports market have now passed on to the company InCrowd Sports. Working with TribeHive, Ian continues to develop other opportunities for the technology.
“The Enterprise Hub has provided me access to very high calibre mentors, who have considerable experience in the field. It is immensely useful to be able to bounce ideas off them, sanity check our plans, and discuss freely with an independent and smart mind how best to move the business forward.”
Julien has developed a 30-minute test for infections that could revolutionise the detection and treatment of significant diseases.
He is a co-founder of SAW Dx, which has designed a testing procedure that is completely automated and carried out on a low-cost handheld system. Significantly, it can be used to test and identify major diseases (including chlamydia, gonorrhoea and malaria) that require costly lab work and a stressful wait for the patient.
new test system allows the manipulation of microvolumes of
fluids, such as a finger-prick sample of blood.
Designed to be a completely integrated sample-to-answer diagnostic test for patients at the point of care, the technology overcomes the limitations that current solutions have handling complex samples such as blood or saliva.
“The Hub has been very beneficial for my work all round, and I expect to deepen the interactions with my fellow members and continue participating with the targeted workshops and seminars. The original interview process for the ERA award was also valuable, with a significant part of the process devoted not to simply grilling me on my project, but offering very useful advice on the best way forward.”
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.”
Mike is a leading Silicon Fen-based entrepreneur. He is best known as a co-founder of enterprise software company Autonomy and founder of Invoke Capital, which invests in promising British technology businesses.
A celebrated technologist with a proven track record of identifying and monetising fundamental technologies, Mike has been recognised as one Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs in the industry. The Times has referred to Mike as “the closest thing Britain has to its own Bill Gates”.
Mike studied Information Sciences, received a PhD and held a research fellowship in adaptive pattern recognition at Cambridge University. After co-founding Autonomy he served as CEO for over fifteen years, during which time it became one of the UK’s most successful technology companies on the FTSE100. His latest venture Invoke Capital has raised over $1billion since its launch in 2012 and made its first investment in the cyber-security firm Darktrace in 2013 ,now valued at $800m, other investment areas include machine learning to automate legal functions, augmented reality and genomics.
Mike has received a number of prestigious honours throughout his career. He was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 1999 by the Confederation of British Industry; presented with an award for Autonomy as a technology pioneer by The World Economic Forum in 2000, and awarded an OBE in 2006 for Services to Enterprise. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering from 2008.
“It’s vital that we encourage and support emerging UK technology businesses, and mentoring programmes are a great way of guiding those with fundamentally clever ideas to fulfil their potential. I’m proud to be a part of the Enterprise Hub, which is helping to ensure the next generation of talent keeps Britain at the forefront of science and innovation.”
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.”