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.
Duvas Technologies has developed the DV3000, air quality monitoring technology that can analyse urban pollution by measuring the concentration of gas types to within parts-per-billion concentration. Using ultraviolet spectroscopy it can detect and monitor 14 hazardous gases simultaneously. Using patented technology, the DV3000 unit produces real-time atmospheric measurements of toxic gases including benzene, toluene, ammonia and formaldehyde.
Duvas works with environmental protection agencies around the world to monitor air pollution. The DV3000 is able to measure levels of urban pollution and track longer-term changes and trends.
Dr Phillipa Smith is the CTO at Duvas Technologies, leading the science team and overseeing its technical and manufacturing operations. Phillipa has been an SME Leader since 2018 and credits the programme with boosting her managerial abilities. She says: “The workshops, coaching and mentoring aspects have improved my confidence in my capabilities and provided additional tools to maximise my input to the business. The networking side of the business has provided a large range of peers from a variety of backgrounds and careers. I also chair the SME leaders general roundtable to facilitate peer support and discussion across different cohorts.”
Duvas Technologies has recently secured additional funding that will enable it to expand its sales reach and research and development. The company’s sensing and monitoring systems for air quality will be useful for the oil and gas sector and could have a legislative role to play in tracking air pollution worldwide.
Oxford Vision and Sensor Technology (OVST) is a University of Oxford spin-out that specialises in the design of 2D and 3D machine vision systems. These are transforming industrial manufacturing processes by allowing robots to recognise and identify objects for automatic operation.
OVST works closely with the automotive industry where high precision is essential at every stage of assembly. Its vision systems combine sophisticated software with innovative sensing technologies for robot guidance. The systems reduce costs and improve quality control by ensuring accurate results are consistently achieved in production.
The company has a strong customer base in the UK and Europe. Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, Ford, Honda, Ferrari and Maserati are among its customers in the automotive industry. Millions of vehicles have already been glazed by robots guided by the company’s core technology.
Fhon Supmak leads OVST’s commercial and technical strategy. Using training and support through the SME Leaders Programme, Fhon aims to build financial and entrepreneurial skills to guide OVST’s expansion into new international markets. This includes developing innovative products so that OVST remains competitive as it develops work through collaboration with subsidies in China and Thailand.
Gallium nitride (GaN) has been dubbed the silicon of the future. It has properties that can give it an edge in the market including better energy efficiency, higher power and frequency operation than any other semiconductor material.
However, to make GaN widely available and get it adopted by the semiconductor industry (which is built almost entirely on silicon), there has to be a lower manufacturing cost and improved product performance.
Dr Tongtong Zhu is as a member of the Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride, and a co-founder of Porotech. The company, a University of Cambridge spin-out, has developed a new production process to make ‘porous GaN’. Porous GaN is a composite of solid GaN semiconductor and air. The company can create GaN with nanoscopic holes in it, from which it can engineer a wide range of material properties such as optical, mechanical, thermal and electrical. Essentially, it is offering a brand new material platform for semiconductor devices to be built upon.
In April 2020, Porotech closed a £1.5 million seed round investment that will allow it to develop a pilot plant in Cambridge, from which to launch its first products, enable customer validation and evaluation. Its first targeted market is LEDs. The company will supply highly reflective GaN mirror wafers to the epiwafer market - the essential base material to make LED chips - which will reach $2.3 billion by 2021.
Its second market focus will be for high power GaN devices. The company will sell porous strain compliance technology and GaN-on-silicon wafers for the emerging GaN power device market.
Dr Zhu says: “The pilot plant will start with small-scale production to show that our wafers can be made in volume and then potentially produce thousands a year.” Eventually, Porotech could license out its technology.
Dr Zhu joined the SME Leaders programme in September 2020 with ambitious plans to scale up his business. He wants to let go of some of the technical development responsibilities at the company and take on more of the business and management duties. Tongtong feels that the mentoring scheme and entrepreneurial courses will give him the leadership skills needed to take Porotech into its next phase of growth.
Porotech will start raising Series A investment in 2021, which will enable the company to start manufacturing its own semiconductor devices and products and licensing to address the worldwide market opportunity.
2018 – Porotech won Cambridge Enterprise’s Postdoc Business Plan Competition 2018
2019 – Porotech won the
gold award of the fifth China “Internet Plus” Innovation and Entrepreneurship
2019 - Dr Tongtong Zhu was awarded an Enterprise Fellowship
2020 – Closed a £1.5 million seed round investment
Visit their website: www.porotech.co.uk
Time is of the essence when providing emergency medical support. Metix Medical has developed Coremed, a light, portable monitoring device that rapidly gathers a patient’s vital medical information, enabling first responders to quickly make decisions about treatment and the right place for care.
The Coremed device constantly monitors a person’s medical data and stores it both locally and in a remote monitoring platform in real time. This information can be exported automatically or on demand for further clinical review or record keeping. Metix Medical's platform can keep track of multiple patients simultaneously, ranking them based on severity with its heavily-automated patient scoring engines.
The company has raised
over £ 4 million in grants and funding since inception, which has enabled it to
continue developing its triaging technology. It is now looking to gain market
entry in North America and establish market clearance for its products
Julio says that the SME Leaders programme has “provided training that helped me to plan the right course of action both for our R&D activities and commercial decision-making. The regular roundtables with other SME Leaders also provide a safe space to discuss a variety of business issues.”
Dr James Gough is a former military and humanitarian aid doctor who has worked with the British Army and the International Committee of the Red Cross. In 2018, James set up One Shot Immersive to create virtual reality medical and situational awareness training to help save lives.
This new startup launched its first beta product in Yemen in January 2020. Funded by a Danish foundation, its 360° virtual reality (VR) experience is an interactive mass-casualty triage training tool for doctors and healthcare workers. The VR gives them an immersive experience of a traumatic conflict situation, enabling them to recognise injuries that vary in severity. It also shows how to clinically prioritise and treat them.
The vision for One Shot Immersive is to deliver virtual reality that empowers people to save lives. The company intends to become a leader in supplying virtual reality medical training to conflict zones and the world’s most remote and hard-to-access regions.
James says that the SME Leaders programme “gave me the confidence to share ideas and challenge my own, and other people’s assumptions, about them. It also played a key part in my transition from being an employee to starting my own company.”
Q-Bot Ltd uses robotics, 3D scanning, digital tools and AI to help contractors inspect, maintain and upgrade buildings. Uninsulated floor in a typical suspended timber floor home can be responsible for 20% of heat loss. Q-Bot’s patented small robots are placed under the floorboards, where they spray insulation on the underside of the boards to stop draughts and heat loss through the floor.
The result is a significant reduction in energy use and CO2 emissions. In 2020 the company’s work was recognised with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category. Q-Bot now offers a range of solutions that can identify the needs of individual properties, automate repetitive tasks, reach inaccessible areas and track the work done.
Mathew Holloway is Co-Founder and CEO of Q-Bot. He leads the company’s overall strategy, fundraising and team. He says that he benefitted from the SME leaders programme through the practical lessons it gives to solve real business challenges and the opportunities it gave him for personal development.
Q-Bot has a busy few years coming up. In 2019 it received financial backing from several investors, including the French multinational Saint-Gobain. The £3.6 million initiative will enable Q-Bot to extend its operations from the UK into France and the Netherlands.
Optical sensors developed by Oxsensis meet the challenge of taking precise measurements in harsh and hostile conditions. For industries that rely on high-accuracy measurements, its sensors capture data for variables such as temperature, pressure and acceleration and deliver it via optical fibres for use in monitoring systems.
With technology based on the micro-machining of super resistant materials such as single-crystal sapphire, Oxsensis optical sensor systems can optimise performance in a range of applications and industries. In aerospace, they can be used in flight systems to manage safe propulsion of aircraft. In oil and gas, they support efficient gas turbine monitoring to help with clean energy production.
Oxsensis is becoming firmly established as a manufacturer of optical sensors that track variables in real-time. As a non-electrical system, it can achieve this at extremely high temperatures (over 1,000°C), with immunity to interference from electromagnetic fields. This allows systematic observation in critical systems, leading to savings in size and cost, while improving safety.
Ian Macafee, CEO, has been an SME Leader since 2018 and has benefited from mentoring and an extended peer network, which help with managing the challenges of an expanding business. Since receiving the award, his team has grown to 32 employees, an increase of four staff. Oxsensis has also secured equity investment and opened a scale up finance round of investment. This will support the company’s vision for well-managed, long-term, sustainable growth.
CCm Technologies has developed patented technology that converts captured CO2 from industrial power generators and other waste streams into materials such as fertilisers, soil conditioners and plastics.
In 2019, the company applied this technology to its first full-scale fertiliser plant, which was deployed at a Viridor’s multi-waste site in Somerset the following year. This is capable of annually transforming 6,500 tonnes of anaerobic digestate cake into 13,000 tonnes of high-grade compound fertiliser. The excess heat from the exothermic operation is then used in the pasteurisation process.
CCm Technologies continues to break new ground. It has developed a fibre that absorbs large amounts of CO2, which can then be incorporated into a wide range of plastics, such as polypropolene, polythene and polyamide.
As CCm’s CEO, Pawel Kisielewski is responsible for all non-technical issues. He has helped oversee rapid growth in the company since he was enrolled into the SME Leaders initiative in 2018.
The company’s innovatory work has been recognised by the Carbon Trust and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which recently allocated £1 million for CCm Technologies and Severn Trent to explore new ways to recycle wastewater in the sewerage process and convert it into a commercial product.
CCm is one of the 16 founder members of the Sustainable Markets Council, a platform created in February 2020 by HRH The Prince of Wales with the support of the World Economic Forum to drive the transformation to sustainable markets – Build Back Better. The company is now aiming to expand internationally, especially in Canada and the US.
“The programme has provided access to a central London location and high-quality master classes – such as in media training and public speaking. One of the other positive spin offs from this scheme has been the chance to become part of a cadre of fellow engineering entrepreneurs.”
Wearable technologies are making a massive impact on society, beginning to blur the boundary between human and machine. It is also an exploding commercial market set to be worth $12.6 billion by 2018.
The next generation of lightweight, high performance machines will rely on technologies that are capable of bringing the user as close to a device as possible.
Peiman has created the first reported nano-display device that uses both optical and electronic property modulation in Phase Change Materials. Peiman’s company, Bodle Technologies, spun out of Oxford University in November 2015, to further advance this technology.
An entirely new class of ultra-thin, ultra-high resolution displays with nanosecond access speed and no power consumption in static mode is now under development by his team.
This revolutionary display will initially target the rapidly growing microdisplay market compact, projection based displays used in emerging near-eye applications like Google Glass. The first prototypes are currently under development, with a small working device set to be ready within the next 12 months.
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."