Machine learning engineer named UK’s most promising young tech entrepreneur

29 Sep 2017

Nick Schweitzer

The 25-year-old inventor of a machine learning tool to help brands uncover future ideas, has been named as the UK’s most promising young technology entrepreneur by the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub.

Nick Schweitzer, founder of Klydo, has received the JC Gammon Award, which provides £15,000 of funding and membership of the Enterprise Hub, as the winner of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Launchpad Competition – a nationwide search for the UK’s greatest entrepreneurs in the engineering and technology sector, between the ages of 19 and 25.

Up to 90% of attempted innovation in business fails. Nick aims to change this by creating a web tracking and machine learning technology that offers novel solutions to business problems, using the internet as its source of inspiration. It identifies what the future of an industry should be, helping business innovation succeed where it currently fails.

The current methods used by agencies to identify client problems and solutions – ranging from desk research to face-to-face interviews – are often slow and, if carried out incorrectly, prone to error. Nick’s technology brings creative intelligence to bear on these processes, establishing a new way to bring about positive change through the recombination of existing business intelligence and best practice.

Nick was chosen as the winner at a prestigious event in London last night, by a panel of judges comprised of the UK’s most successful engineering and technology business leaders. A separate People’s Choice Award was presented following an audience vote and online voting in the run up to the event. It was won by Brittany Harris for her technology Qualis Flow, a remote sensing and data management tool to help users to manage their resources more sustainably. Brittany will now receive £1,000 as well as membership of the Enterprise Hub.

Membership of the Enterprise Hub provides access to mentoring from the Academy’s prestigious Fellowship, and training and network opportunities to help entrepreneurs build the skills and contacts crucial to success. It also gives access to the Taylor Centre, a professional space for Hub Members and their Mentors to develop their ideas, meet investors, and take their work to the next stage.

David Gammon, CEO of Rockspring and a benefactor of the JC Gammon Award, said: “Every year, I am bowled over by the talent and ideas we see in the Launchpad Competition; they have the power to genuinely change the world, promising both social and economic impact. The package of support provided by the JC Gammon award and Enterprise Hub is designed to help fast-track these entrepreneurs, and help them get their innovations to market quicker. Nick and the Klydo team are ideal winners; with customers already on board and a track record of entrepreneurship amongst its founders, it is perfectly poised to continue its growth. Add to this the engineering expertise behind its machine learning and Klydo has a bright future ahead of it.”

Professor Andy Hopper CBE FREng FRS FIET, chair of judges for the Launchpad Competition said: “At the Enterprise Hub, we know that – particularly for young entrepreneurs – financial support is just part of the puzzle, and that the right skills and contacts, as well as a robust support structure, are key to starting a journey to a successful and sustainable business. It is immensely exciting to help entrepreneurs with such promise meet their full potential. This year’s cohort was stronger than we have ever had before and the judges have no doubt that all three finalists will go on to have fruitful enterprises in the future. Indeed, Nick was a finalist last year and shows that with a good idea, hard work and persistence, success naturally follows.”

Nick Schweitzer, founder of Klydo said: “Having quit my job and already been through one previous iteration of Klydo, it’s fantastic to receive this validation of our technology and idea. At the moment we are working with creative and innovation consultancies, but as a technology platform we can rapidly scale and the potential to open this up to many markets – financial services, FMCG – is vast. As winners of the JC Gammon Award, our membership of the Enterprise Hub gives us the mentorship and the expertise to achieve this scale, as well as a vital financial boost going into future funding rounds.”

The finalists for the Launchpad Competition were:

 

Nick Schweitzer, 25, Klydo – uncovering future ideas (winner of the Launchpad Competition)

Up to 90% of attempted innovation in business fails. Nick aims to change this by creating a web tracking and machine learning technology that offers novel solutions to business problems, using the internet as its source of inspiration. It identifies what the future of an industry should be, helping business innovation succeed where it currently fails.

The current methods used by these agencies to identify client problems and solutions – ranging from desk research to face-to-face interviews – are often slow and, if carried out incorrectly, prone to error. Nick’s technology brings creative intelligence to bear on these processes, establishing a new way to bring about positive change through the recombination of existing business intelligence and best practice.

Brittany Harris, 25, Qualis Flow – environmental risk management through digital innovation (winner of the People’s Choice Award)

We need to develop our infrastructure to keep up with modern demands and challenges; always building new roads, homes, and railways. But construction has a significant impact on the local environment. Noise and air quality are major concerns for local residents, and impacts on water and natural resources are gaining greater attention. According to research, most rivers, lakes and groundwater in England will not meet legally binding EU water pollution targets by 2021.

Engineer Brittany Harris has developed Qualis Flow to allow the construction industry to automatically identify areas of environmental risk by using live monitoring and feedback techniques. Her combination of remote sensing technology and data visualisation platform enables users to manage their resources more sustainably, reducing costs and helping organisations to become innovators in protecting the environment for the benefit of wider society.

Jack Pearson, 25, EngX – automating complex manufacturing

Complex electromechanical products, such as robotics, are extremely difficult to assemble and wire, meaning production cannot be automated with current technology; manufacturers must rely on slow, costly and error prone hand labour. For custom products, these problems are compounded.

To solve this problem, Jack and his team have created a hybrid production process that automates 3D printing, assembly and wiring of these products, all within one machine and from a digital file. It is the first machine to ever do this, opening the door for companies to create products that were previously impossible through automated production.

 

The judges for the 2017 Launchpad Competition were:

Professor Andy Hopper CBE FREng FRS, chair of judges

Professor Andy Hopper is co-founder and Chairman of pioneering remote access software developers RealVNC. He is also Professor of Computer Technology at the University of Cambridge. Andy’s career in industry has involved co-founding over a dozen spin-outs and start-ups, three of which floated on stock markets. Andy served as President of the IET between 2012 and 2013, and in 2007 was received a CBE for services to the computer industry. Andy is a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Committee, and the chair of judges for the Launchpad Competition.

Paul Excell 

Paul is an entrepreneur and global executive leader with an impressive track record of delivering growth and transformation in start-ups, scale-ups and corporates. He drives a portfolio of award winning, high growth, disruptive technology companies (eg mytabsapp.com) which deliver sustained competitive advantage to companies large and small. He is also Executive Director at ScaleUp Group - unleashing companies to successfully scale up at speed. 

He was previously Chief Customer Innovation Officer, Group Technology Officer and VP Global Services at BT where he launched many global services/businesses - revenues >$4bn.  Paul is on the Board of the Engineering Council, various advisory boards and previously chaired BCS Entrepreneurs. He started his career as an Apprentice and is passionate about skills, diversity and inclusion.

Elspeth Finch MBE

Elspeth Finch is CEO and founder of Indigo&, a cloud platform that offers a marketplace where large companies can find and manage portfolios of expert suppliers. She was formerly UK Innovation Director for Atkins, one of the world’s leading design, engineering and project management consultancies. In 2000, aged 24, she co-founded the Intelligent Space Partnership, a tech led transport consultancy which was acquired by Atkins in 2007. In 2013 Elspeth was awarded the Academy’s Silver Medal for her achievements. 

David Gammon Hon FREng

David is CEO of Cambridge-based Rockspring, which focuses on developing early stage technology companies. He is a serial angel investor. David is also a non-executive director at Accesso Technology Group plc, Frontier Developments plc, Raspberry Pi Trading Limited, Funderbeam Limited and Group Strategy Advisor to Marshall of Cambridge (Holdings).

Ian Ritchie CBE FREng FRSE

Ian is Chairman of iomart plc, Computer Application Services Ltd, Krotos Ltd, and RedFox Media. He has also been active in venture capital as a director of Northern Venture Trust plc and as a member of the advisory board of Pentech Ventures from 2001. Ian was awarded a CBE in the 2003 New Year’s Honours list for services to enterprise and education.

Josh Valman

Josh is CEO of fast expanding supply chain firm RPD International. A former teenage millionaire, he built his experience as a manufacturing and engineering consultant while he was still at school and founded his first company aged 17. Josh now manages a global supply chain which helps companies efficiently develop products from design through to mass manufacture.

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