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.
Wearable electronics are often rigid and limited in flexibility because of how they are manufactured. Wearable components often do not bend and stretch with the clothes that they are added to and can have issues with durability, especially when washed.
Textile Two Dimensional is a University of Cambridge spin-out that makes electronic inks using graphene, which can be printed directly onto textiles. These inks can be layered to create bespoke, functional and wearable electronics. The electronics, and graphene’s electrical and thermal conductivity properties, are integrated into the textiles while remaining flexible and washable. They can be comfortably worn and re-used several times, meaning that they are also cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
The company is working closely with end-product manufacturers to explore development for a range of smart wearables in areas such as personal health, fitness and wellbeing, protection and fashion.
Dr Tian Carey initially explored the potential
for the technology during his PhD at the University of Cambridge’s EPSRC Centre
for Doctoral Training in Graphene Technology. As a result, Textile Two
Dimensional continues to work closely with the Cambridge Graphene Centre to
promote innovative research with an emphasis on application.
Dr Carey was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support him as the team at Textile Two Dimensional grows and the company develops from an ink manufacturer to a wearable systems manufacturer.
CEO and Founder, Snap Vision
Building on a background in computer vision, Jenny Griffiths developed Snap Vision, a company offering visual search-based solutions for the fashion retail and publishing industry.
Snap Vision fuses visual search with fashion to improve the shopping experience. Its solutions turn any image into the start of a search, allowing its users to ‘shop the look’ in a magazine or the real world, and instantly learn more or discover similar alternatives.
The technology combines mathematical rulesets and deep learning algorithms to understand user preferences, including colour, shape and pattern, making it easier for consumers to find items that they want. This results in a better shopping experience and helps retailers to increase conversion rates, improve customer engagement and generate additional revenue.
Jenny, CEO and Founder, leads product development at Snap Vision while also setting a strategy for sales and fundraising. As an SME Leader since 2017, Jenny has benefited from training at the London Business School alongside mentoring support. This has helped her strengthen skills for leading a growing business.
Since receiving the award, Jenny has developed a number of strategic partnerships and successfully secured additional equity investment. This will support Jenny’s goal to rapidly scale the company’s sales cycle in its next phase of growth.
mOm’s cost-effective, lightweight incubators could help to improve the survival rates of premature babies.
The World Health Organization estimates that there are 15 million premature births each year, and up to one million preventable neonatal deaths each year. Ensuring that babies are kept warm can help to prevent neonatal fatalities. mOm’s incubators are compact, robust and cost-effective so can be used in environments where conventional incubators are not available.
The incubators have been designed in close collaboration with clinical specialists including neonatologists, midwives and nurses to ensure that they are user-friendly and meet clinical quality standards. The resulting incubator provides a level of thermoregulation that meets the standards set for conventional incubators at a fraction of the cost.
James Roberts, CEO and Co-Founder, was inspired when he saw the issue highlighted in a documentary. He led the strategic development of the product and created the award-winning company behind it, with a vision of mOm increasing access to healthcare through affordable technology. The incubator is about to begin clinical trials.
James won the 2015 Launchpad Competition, and in 2019 was awarded a place on the SME Leaders programme.
Supported by the programme, James aims to strengthen his communication skills for effective leadership at all levels as the company moves towards rapid commercial growth and product realisation.
Oxford Space Systems' innovative structures, such as its novel large deployable antennas (LDAs), use both conventional and new materials. The LDAs offer significant savings in the build and launch costs of satellites and are lighter, less complex and can be stowed more efficiently than those currently in commercial demand. The development of a flight-worthy LDA is currently viewed as "strategically important" by the European Space Agency.
Although still in its early design stages, Oxford Space Systems is generating significant interest from satellite builders and operators globally and has gained investment from venture capital firms and various private investors.
Oxford Space Systems has the ambitious vision of establishing its position as the centre of excellence, making the UK the go-to supplier for large deployable antenna technology.
Shefali is one of the ten winners of our 2016 SME Leaders Programme.
Robots can be a useful educational resource to engage young people in science and engineering but they can be high in costs which prevents broader accessibility.
Founder of Robotical Ltd, Alexander, has created an affordable, working robot that can walk, dance, or even be programmed to play football. Targeted at young people from 10 to 18+, the robot is a fun, educational tool for both makers and educators.
Known as Marty, the 3D printable robot has a novel design. Unlike most two-legged robots, it uses fewer motors to control each of the robot’s legs, reducing production and retail costs significantly.
Designed with fun and engaging features, Marty can be used at home or in the classroom as a hands-on educational tool to help children build skills in coding and computational thinking.
Marty launched for sale online at Robotical in January 2018 and is now available worldwide. The company also creates and sells resources such as activities and lesson guides to promote digital skills and learning in STEM.
Sandy was awarded a 2016 Enterprise Fellowship to support the development of his affordable robot and to build his startup, Robotical.
Surgeons need accurate, objective information to support decision making during minimally invasive surgery. They regularly rely on sight for intricate processes such as placing stents - small metallic tubes - in blood vessels in brain aneurysm patients. Better information could improve patient outcomes and save millions of pounds from being spent on corrective surgeries.
After her PhD at Oxford in Biomedical Engineering, Katerina Spranger has founded Oxford Heartbeat – a start-up company that has developed a medical device that accurately simulates the behaviour of medical devices inside patient’s brain during surgery.
Engineered to achieve extremely high levels of accuracy, the device improves surgeons’ ability to choose the correct stent for every individual patient. This aims to reduce surgery times, improve patient outcomes, decrease the likelihood of repeat surgeries, and save costs for hospitals and wider society.
The technology has been designed for easy and intuitive use by surgeons. By combining accessibility with precision, this virtual platform has the potential to become an essential tool for minimally invasive brain surgery. The start-up’s plans include exploring the use of its technology to optimise other types of surgery in the future.
Katerina was awarded the 2017 Enterprise Fellowship to continue developing this technology and her start-up, Oxford Heartbeat.
When Disabled Student Allowance funding for transcription services and note-takers was abolished in 2016, universities scrambled to find ways of supporting disabled students. Existing transcription services were prohibitively expensive and disabled students were at risk of missing out on hours of lectures each week.
Dr Yunjia Li and Professor Mike Wald founded Synote to address the need for accessible lecture videos. Synote is designed to deliver videos that are less costly and produced quicker than traditional methods. The system automatically generates an interactive transcript and captions from a video or audio copy of a lecture, and can integrate with university lecture-capture systems.
Synote can process the many tens of thousands of lectures given at universities each year, and users can quickly search through their transcripts for specific topics. The system even creates screenshots for each part of the lecture which can be printed with the transcript. Synote can also be used to automatically translate lecture transcripts into other languages, which can open up university education to a much broader base of international students. A unique ‘feedback loop’ enables students to correct speech recognition transcription errors to continually improve the transcript’s accuracy as the system ‘learns’ how to match new words with sounds.
Southampton University has invested significantly in Synote and other leading universities have expressed great interest. The ability to improve the learning experience of all students and particularly students with difficulties hearing or understanding lecturers, taking notes or attending lectures is of great value and significance to these institutions.
Although Synote was originally developed for universities, it can reduce the cost of captions and transcriptions in any business where video or audio recordings are used.
When grains like wheat and barley are stored in sheds and silos for long periods of time, there is a risk of damage from insect infestations and mould. Long-term storage losses can be up to 20% and there is currently no single way to verify the moisture and temperature of grains being held.
Existing grain-monitoring solutions measure only one variable and have limited reach. Crover Ltd’s remote monitoring device provides real-time data across a range of measurements including temperature and moisture through the whole silo. It does this by using sensors in a small robotic device called a Crover. Similar to a drone’s wings in air, or a boat’s rotor in water, it uses a patented method to move through solid grains and build up a map of conditions within the grain storage unit.
Lorenzo Conti, founder of Crover, made his breakthrough when researching his doctorate in granular physics at the University of Edinburgh. He developed a method for moving through groupings of solid particles like sand, grains and powders. His company patented the core technology for locomotion in bulk solids and is now developing a version of the probing device that can be tested and reviewed by potential buyers.
Lorenzo’s robot system will allow customers such as farmers, brewers, cooperatives, as well as grain merchants, to identify adverse conditions in their stock. The potential for the technology is substantial. In one year, one Crover could save up to 380 tonnes of grain from damage.
Crover has won a dozen prizes and competitions in the last couple of years and as well as seed funding. The company now has five full-time members staff and an international Patent Corporation Treaty application pending. Potential future applications for the innovation include subterranean exploration and the recovery of underground objects buried in terrains like desert sand and the Moon’s lunar soil.
Lorenzo says: “Looking back over the last 12 months I can see how I’ve made the steps from being a researcher to becoming an entrepreneur. The Enterprise Fellowship and Higgs Centre for Innovation, Edinburgh, have made sure that I had a clear path to follow.”
2018 – Shell Livewire – ‘Smarter Future’
2018 – Climate Launchpad Global – third place (highest UK team placement ever)
2019 – Started first on-site tests
2019 – DR Lorenzo Conti was awarded with an Enterprise Fellowship
2020 – Chivas Venture global award
2020 – UK patent covering the core technology for locomotion in bulk solids granted (GB2567898)
Visit their website: www.crover.tech
Christine Boyle was working as the managing director of her family roofing business when she realised that there was huge potential for the collection of solar heat energy on the large commercial flat roofs that her company constructed. Solar thermal is a renewable energy that is 70% efficient, produces the lowest carbon emissions, and is easily generated on site, but had not been widely used because of its expense, weight and inflexibility with existing architecture.
Christine set up Senergy Innovations to create the next generation of solar thermal panels. She worked with Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster to produce the product, ensuring that the renewable energy panels addressed the problems that previous solar thermal panels faced as well as making panels that appealed to consumers and architects.
Senergy Innovations’ solar thermal panel is made from 100% polymer plastic, making it 50% cheaper to manufacture and install than existing products. The panels incorporate carbon nanotube materials that enhance the thermal performance and mechanical strength, which ensures that they are durable. The module panels are lightweight, and allow integrations with both existing and new buildings, so that renewable thermal energy can be easily generated on site.
Senergy’s solar thermal panels are affordable, durable and easy to integrate, creating a renewable energy solution that is competitive with gas and oil.
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."