Innovate UK Scaleup Pilot

Innovate UK Scaleup Pilot

We worked with Innovate UK to scale materials, manufacturing, mobility, clean growth and infrastructure systems companies.

The UK is one of the best places in the world to start a business.

But it’s important that the support doesn’t drop off a cliff once a business has taken off and started to grow. In fact, that’s exactly when we need to nurture them the most.

That’s why Plexal was commissioned by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to identify and support firms that have the potential to scale in specific sectors.

Our pilot focused on early-stage businesses in the materials, manufacturing, mobility, clean growth and infrastructure systems sectors. As well as creating jobs and economic growth, these companies are defining what we make, the way we move people or goods and how we power our cities.

And it’s these innovative businesses that have the potential to tackle our biggest societal challenges, from ageing populations to climate change.


Our pilot was aimed at understanding the needs of companies in specific sectors. Innovate UK is now using those insights to provide bespoke support that helps them address the biggest challenges.



The first stage was all about identifying the general and sector-specific challenges companies face when they scale. We used our selection methodology to understand the growth potential of each business, as well as the barriers they’re coming up against. We identified challenges across the sectors and stages of a company’s lifecycle. This data informed the practical support we offered during the programme, and helped Innovate UK learn more about how they can support growing businesses in the future. The information we gathered during this stage was anonymised and shared with all applicants.


The second part of the programme was the four-month support period, which launched on 6 November 2018. Each company received bespoke support, including mentorship, workshops one-on-one attention. We also helped the cohort make the right connections, from investors, academic institutions and industry to fellow scaleups or public and private sector organisations crying out for their service or product.


Connected Energy is a developer and supplier of energy storage systems that utilise second life electric vehicle battery packs, designed to be installed on industrial and commercial sites, reducing electricity costs, generating new revenue streams and increasing supply security.
CorrosionRADAR produces remote sensing technologies and advanced analytics systems for smart infrastructures. Their patent-pending distributed sensing approach to corrosion monitoring allows the move away from manual inspections to automated monitoring, and from reactive to predictive corrosion management.
HALO X-ray Technologies develops new and disruptive materials identification systems for aviation security, medical systems and process control applications. Identification occurs in real-time using commercial-off-the-shelf components and facilitates optimum and cost-effective solutions across all application areas.
Hexigone Inhibitors has developed a safer, highly effective alternative to hexavalent chromate, the commonly used corrosion inhibitor facing an EU ban in 2019. The replacement technology is a smart release coating which significantly outperforms current inhibitors.
SOMI Trailers has invented a way to save 1 in 4 journeys globally by incorporating the space underneath to carry 31% extra on trucks. The company has won the IGD Supply Chain Excellence Award, the Jaguar Landrover Innovation Award and the Innovate UK Women in Innovation Award.
The Shadow Robot Company is the world’s leading developer of hands for robots. Their technology is used globally in cutting-edge research labs to advance the state of the art in robotics. They are now moving the technology out of the lab and into the real world.
Spiro Control has developed dynamic optimisation technology, enabling consumers to manage distributed energy resources and equipment from batteries and locally generated renewables to commercial buildings and manufacturing processes. Their scalable solution lowers energy costs and maximises storage flexibility.
Water Fuel Engineering has developed an innovative on-board electrolyser, allowing conventional diesel vehicles to operate ‘clean’, reducing greenhouse gases by 80% by combusting fuel in an environment rich in HHO. This accelerates the burn, converting more of the carbon fuel into energy.


If you’ve got an innovation challenge, we can design a bespoke programme around your needs and connect you with our community