Twelve new engineering innovators welcomed to the Hub's SME Leaders programme

22 Sep 2020

SME Leaders September cohort

(L-R Alex Kendall, Tomide Adesanmi, Francesca Perona, David Schottlander, are SME Leaders who will be joining the Hub this September) 

·        The Enterprise Hub welcomes 12 engineering innovators to receive remote support and £10,000 training grants to help scale up their businesses

·        The next round of the SME Leaders programme is currently open for applications – apply by 9 November 2020, 4pm.

Innovators developing technology that can predict the likelihood of a patient developing a heart attack, and software systems that can teach cars to drive autonomously, are among a new cohort of 12 SME Leaders joining the Enterprise Hub. On the programme, they will develop the skills and qualities needed to navigate the challenges of scaling up their companies.

This cohort will be completing the programme remotely with a tailored package of support, which includes a £10,000 training grant for leadership courses of their choice and virtual training sessions to help them scale up their startups. This consists of roundtables, workshops, personal development coaching and specialist mentoring from Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering, who have themselves run world-leading companies. They will also receive lifetime access to the Enterprise Hub’s Taylor Centre in central London, for use as a meeting facility, informal workspace, and private business meetings.

Since the programme started in 2016 the SME Leaders programme has supported over 75 people, who have gone on to achieve great success. Upon completing the programme, alumni have collectively raised £213 million and have increased their business valuations by £180 million in total.

Our current SME Leaders are also achieving remarkable feats - Raunaq Bose, Chief Technical Officer from predictive AI startup Humanising Autonomy, received an Innovate UK grant this summer to help inform the government’s Covid-19 response. The company is using its behavioural video analytics software in work with Transport for Greater Manchester to better understand social distancing implications and assess how passenger behaviour is affected by the pandemic.

Dr Giorgia Longobardi, Founder and CEO of Cambridge GaN Devices and SME Leaders alumnus, said:

“The SME leaders programme has been instrumental for my growth as a leader and consequently the growth of the company. The network of mentors and like-minded entrepreneurs is priceless… The coaching sessions has provided me with a safe space to share some of the challenges and to get a different perspective.”

Find out more about our newest SME Leaders:

Tomide Adesanmi - Co-Founder and CEO, Circuit Mind

Circuit Mind has developed intelligence software that automates the designs of electronic circuit boards. The company’s platform, ACE, can generate in seconds the design for a circuit board that would usually take days to create.

Tomide Adesanmi is the Co-Founder and CEO of Circuit Mind. Tomide joined the SME Leaders programme in 2020 and is looking forward to gaining technical advice from mentors with experience in deep technology businesses. He intends to use some of this knowledge to navigate the market landscape. Circuit Mind has already raised over £1 million in funding and will be using this to scale rapidly within selected markets.

Kelly Angood - Chief Marketing Officer, Vochlea Music Ltd

In 2019, Vochlea Music launched the Dubler Studio Kit. This is an artificial intelligence audio engine that enables users to create, control and manipulate music using their voice. The software and microphone combination allows musicians to use their voice to set off samples, control synthesisers, operate filters and manipulate effects in real-time.

Kelly Angood is the Chief Marketing Officer at Vochlea Music. Kelly feels that the SME Leaders programme will help shape her management style and give her added confidence in supporting the growth and development of the company. Vochlea is starting to evolve its product so that users can share their creations between devices and people.

Agnes Czako - Co-Founder and Managing Director, AirEx

AirEx has developed a smart ventilation control that can be installed in place of a home’s air-bricks. Its sensors measure temperature, humidity and air quality while its algorithms enable automatic air flow regulation, while taking into account local weather and air quality data. The resulting flexibility in airflow can amount to a 10% to 15% reduction in energy bills.

Agnes Czako is Co-Founder and Managing Director of AirEx. Agnes joined the SME Leaders programme in 2020 and is looking forward to tapping into a new network of peers, as well as benefitting from the leadership courses. She feels these inputs will help the company as it rapidly scales up its business in the coming years.

Alex Kendall - Co-Founder and CEO, Wayve Technologies Ltd

Wayve Technologies has created a software system that teaches cars to drive autonomously. Rather than use sensors and hand-coded rules, artificial intelligence and machine-learning are used to navigate city streets. The car learns to drive autonomously through this reinforced learning supported by cameras and GPS navigation.

Alex Kendall co-founded Wayve in 2017 and is currently CEO. He joined the SME Leaders programme in 2020 and feels that its wealth of engineering experience will be helpful to the company. Robotics, mechanical and software engineering will be crucial in further developing autonomous vehicles. Alex’s mission over the coming years is to advance the role of machine-learning for self-driving cars and plans to have vehicles using Wayve technology deployed across Europe.

Owen Nicholson - Co-Founder and CEO, SLAMcore Ltd

SLAMcore Limited uses algorithms to generate reliable mapping intelligence for robots on low-power, cost-effective hardware. SLAMcore’s technology can calculate an accurate and reliable position without the need for GPS. Its software can enhance the capabilities of off-the-shelf sensors to enable commercially-viable solutions for applications such as warehouse robots, inspection drones, delivery and service robots.

Owen Nicholson is co-founder and CEO of SLAMcore. Owen hopes that the SME leaders programme will provide a mentor, coach and advice that will help the business transition “from a team with great tech to a company with a great product!” SLAMcore is now gaining commercial traction and aims to provide thousands of robots with its spatial AI software.

Claire-Elise Orleach - Head of Business Development, Utonomy

Methane leakage from a gas distribution network (GDN) has serious financial and environmental implications. Utonomy has developed an innovative actuator that can be retrofitted to gas governors already installed across a GDN. The company’s grid-monitoring software and self-learning algorithms provide continuous measurement of grid data and asset conditions. This should enable more cost-effective planning and result in lower operation and maintenance costs.

Claire-Elise Orleach is the Head of Business Development at Utonomy. Claire-Elise joined the SME Leaders programme in 2020. She is looking for mentorship and coaching to support her and the company in the transition to commercialisation. Following testing, Utonomy will be launching its first commercial product in 2021.

Francesca Perona - Chief Innovation Officer, Tangi0 Ltd (TGØ)

Tangi0 Ltd (TGØ) has created a sensing technology platform that turns injection moulded plastics into elegant 3D touch- and pressure-sensitive surfaces. TGØ’s patented technology has been used to create intuitive finger-tracking VR controllers, is being developed for ergonomic automotive interiors and has the potential to produce sports and health-related consumer products.

Francesca Perona is the Chief Innovation Officer for TGØ. Francesca wants to use the SME Leader programme’s training and mentorship to form an effective innovation strategy for the company and to acquire negotiation skills around intellectual property in a commercial context. TGØ is now aiming to expand its range of licensing and joint development contracts across a variety of industries.

Camille Rougié - Co-Founder and CEO, Plural AI

Plural AI is creating a new way to navigate industries by building a rich map of the world’s corporate landscape. Using natural language processing and machine learning, it mines and links web data such as websites, filings and news sources to create an understanding of what companies do, their ecosystems and how well they are performing. Clients can access Plural AI’s proprietary knowledge graph to gain bespoke financial insights and analysis.

Camille Rougié is Co-Founder and CEO of Plural AI. Camille is looking forward to the SME Leaders programme’s one-to-one mentoring and coaching. She also feels that the peer mentoring and support will bring insights into business techniques and actions that will benefit the company as it aims to rapidly scale up in the coming years.

Dr David Shottlander  - CTO, Caristo Diagnostics Ltd

Caristo Diagnostics has patented a test that analyses CT heart scans for signs of inflammation in the coronary arteries, which is a key process in the lead up to heart attacks. The company uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to detect biomarkers in a patient’s CT scan and predict the likelihood of that person having a heart attack.

Dr David Schottlander is the Chief Technical Officer at Caristo, responsible for research, development and system operations. David joined the SME Leaders programme in 2020 and hopes to use the mentoring and training it provides to help maintain the high-performance culture across the R&D team as it scales to support the company’s growth.

Aurelien Trichet - Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Oxford HighQ

Oxford HighQ is developing next-generation chemical and nanoparticle sensors. They have created a process that gives the precise control required for manufacturing high precision, optical microcavities in large quantities, opening up the potential to manufacture optical microcavities on a commercial scale and subsequently, the enhancement of signal strength for a wide range of applications.

Aurelien Trichet is the Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer at Oxford HighQ and is responsible for R&D at his startup. He joined the SME Leaders programme to use the mentoring and training it provides to help his business transition from a heavy R&D startup to an innovative scientific instruments manufacturer. 

Hao Zheng - Co-Founder and CEO, RoboK Limited

RoboK Ltd is a Cambridge start up that produces 3D-sensing software for automotive and industrial applications. The company’s technology provides in-depth spatial information to plan paths and avoid collisions. Its low-cost solutions bring the safety benefits of machine-learning and decision-making to a wider public.

Hao Zheng is the co-founder and CEO of RoboK and is responsible for business and commercialisation. Hao is looking forward to participating in topical roundtables and workshops. She feels the training programmes will help the company develop team building and improve commercial negotiations. RoboK is now looking to expand its market range for both automotive and industrial uses to include commercial and agricultural applications.

Dr Tongtong Zhu - Co-Founder and CEO, Poro Technologies Ltd

Porotech has developed a new production process to make ‘porous GaN’ – a composite of solid GaN semiconductor and air. From this, it can engineer a wide range of material properties such as optical, mechanical, thermal and electrical, with the potential to provide a new platform to build semiconductor devices on. Dr Tongtong Zhu is co-founder and CEO of Porotech. 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.


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