Innovation from the edge

Our world’s full of big challenges, but at Plexal we think the solutions will come from organisations coming together and challenging each other.

This can only happen at the edge of your business: that unfamiliar, even occasionally unsettling place where you’ll encounter opposing views, new ideas and space to experiment – even fail.

We’re deliberately creating a diversity of thought by housing startups, scaleups, large corporations, charities and social enterprises from a spectrum of sectors side by side.

Through our programmes, we help clients access and nurture emerging ideas, or engineer the right conditions for them to test their hunches away from the comfort of their day-to-day business.

So step outside your four walls and join us to find your edge.


Our areas of focus


The home for industry-led cybersecurity innovation

Supporting innovators to scale, make the right connections and meet the need of industry.


Putting people at the heart of innovation in mobility

Convening ideas and infrastructure to solve our biggest urban mobility challenges.

Social Inclusion

Supporting solutions that include everyone

Plexal’s partnered with My Life My Say to launch the Social Inclusion Unit.

Our work

London RoadLab logo
Innovate UK logo
LORCA logo

Work with us

Contact our innovation team for an initial conversation about your innovation challenges and our work.

What we do

Through our programmes, we help clients access and nurture emerging ideas, or engineer the right conditions for them to test their hunches away from the comfort of their day-to-day business.

Accelerator icon

Innovation programmes like incubators and accelerators

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Live testbeds and
in-market experiments

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Convene stakeholders through forums and roundtables

Meet the team

Andrew Roughan

Andrew Roughan
Managing director

Andrew has spent the predominant part of his career in technology infrastructure sectors driving business transformation for enterprise clients and major cities.

He first got involved with Here East in 2011 as a founding member team and successfully acquired a 200-year lease from the London Legacy Development Corporation to transform the former Press and Broadcast Centres in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

His role as COO at Here East made him responsible for creating the ecosystem and community where large and small companies collide, allowing them to benefit from one another’s scale and creativity (while delivering on the legacy goals that Here East aspires to).

Andrew was appointed to be the managing director of Plexal to lead the innovation centre in convening a community that will solve some of the challenges that matter most to society.

Francesca Lavey

Francesca Lavey
Programme director (mobility)

Francesca specialises in making sense of the most important micro and macro trends while helping businesses respond to change and, if necessary, transform their entire strategy.

As head of innovation programmes, she’s responsible for delivering some of our highest-profile programmes, including a project Plexal is running for Innovate UK to help scale the country’s top startups in the manufacturing and materials sector.

She brings with her six years’ experience working across the business at Ernst & Young (EY), working in the Ventures team to reinvent the consulting business model, while solving some of the biggest market issues. Prior to that she worked closely with clients to help them identify and respond to the opportunities and threats created by disruptive and emerging technologies. Working closely with technology startups, scaleups and innovators, her work spanned everything from developing prototypes, products and platforms to horizon scanning, business strategy and crafting the right go-to-market approach.

Saj Huq

Saj Huq
LORCA programme director

Saj leads Cyber Innovation at Plexal and is the Programme Director for LORCA.

Prior to Plexal, he spent a number of years as a Management Consultant at Deloitte and PwC. He then moved into industry, leading strategic change at a PE-backed Property Finance firm where he helped them operationally scale towards achieving a UK Banking License, prepare for the incoming GDPR and improve their cyber and operational resilience in readiness for regulatory authorisation.

Saj started his career in the Royal Air Force, where he was a Commissioned Officer and Pilot. Outside of work, he is a keen runner; most frequently after his 2 young children, but also of the marathon variety too!

Russell Gundry

Russell Gundry
Head of innovation strategy

Russell blends the insight of 10+ years spent defining strategy and managing change, with in depth understanding of social research methods, design, and systems thinking. Russell has founded a service design business, worked with world leading healthcare technologies, held senior commissioning roles in the public sector, and built a consulting career within Capgemini and GE Finnamore.

Russell facilitates the design of better, more integrated services around the needs of people; achieved by enabling an effective dialogue between stakeholders with very divergent perspectives and interests, and translating it into action.

Folu Fabowale-Makinde

Folu Fabowale-Makinde
Innovation associate

As Plexal’s innovation associate, Folu immerses herself in the design and delivery of our innovation programmes for clients like Barclays, Innovate UK and Transport for London.

Before joining the Plexal team, she worked in the Advisory Ventures team at EY, a consultancy, to solve some of the biggest market issues across various sectors. This included everything from helping top tech startups scale with the Fast Growth Platform to developing new businesses and services by getting stuck into market research and sizing, opportunity assessment, financial modelling and competitor analysis.

Going even further back, Folu’s love of education and travel has seen her teach maths in the UK, Mexico and the US at a secondary school level.

These days, she’s most likely to be found on a long-distance run in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, organising themed games nights (organised fun is the best kind of fun, she tells us) and mourning the end of Game of Thrones.

Prashant Lagisetti

Prashant Lagisetti
Innovation lead

An entrepreneur himself, Prash is an innovation lead at Plexal – where he works with organisations to develop and deliver open innovation programmes. Whether he’s working with startups, corporates, academia, government organisations or a collaboration between them, he gains a deep understanding of their challenges before testing innovative solutions.

Before joining Plexal, Prash’s programme experience was developed by leading the running of the high-profile Arsenal Innovation Lab.

Diane Gilbert

Diane Gilbert
Social inclusion and innovation associate

Diane is the innovation associate for social inclusion at Plexal, and is passionate about using technology and innovation as a force for change and social impact. Her role involves working with corporate partners to help them identify and solve their inclusion challenges, as well as supporting OpenDoor: our accelerator programme for social entrepreneurs.

Before joining Plexal, Diane amassed over 10 years’ experience in project support, business development and executive assistance, working for organisations in the media, legal and accountancy sector – including News International, The Independent and C.C. Young & Co.

In her spare time, Diane enjoys running, yoga, trying out new restaurants in London and messing around on Cornish beaches with her children.

Tommy Ekman

Tommy Ekman
Innovation lead

Tommy is an Innovation Lead at Plexal, where he works with large corporate clients to develop and deliver open innovation programmes. He is passionate about funding and building innovative businesses, projects and products from “an idea on a napkin” to successful ventures.

Before joining Plexal, Tommy worked at venture capital firm and accelerator BlueChilli, where he assisted in establishing their office and investment portfolio in Brisbane. He is an advisor to tech startups, has founded and driven his own business, and is a guest lecturer on entrepreneurship.

Our clients and partners

Contact the team