Britain’s great at supporting startups, but as a company grows the kind of help it needs changes. And as it stands, the OECD ranked the UK in 13th place for scaleups last year – something Ian Meikle, director, clean growth and infrastructure at Innovate UK has called “fairly poor for a G7 country”.
With that in mind, Innovate UK, the innovation agency, has appointed Plexal to deliver the Innovate UK Scaleup Pilot. The programme is aimed at scaling materials, manufacturing, mobility, clean growth and infrastructure systems companies. Businesses operating in these sectors are a central part of the government’s Industrial Strategy and are creating technology solutions that will shape our environment, cities and lives.
After partnering with Earlymetrics, specialists in rating businesses, we’ve chosen eight amazing businesses to make up our first cohort (and to understand the unique sector-specific challenges they’re facing). We’ll be working closely with them over the coming months to help them grow by attracting the right skills, finance and partners as well as taking full advantage of the scaleup support already out there.
But finance isn’t the only challenge: once off the ground founders find themselves grappling with new tasks like marketing, securing talent, managing people and connecting with the right corporate partners. Commenting on how companies with highly technical products can struggle to communicate their value proposition, Francesca Lavey, Plexal’s head of innovation programmes, said: “It’s about raising yourself out of weeds of how the product works and actually thinking about the problem it’s solving and how do I convey that in a meaningful way.” These are just some of the areas we’re looking to support our cohort members with, and we look forward to sharing more news from the programme as it unfolds.
Meet our cohort
Connected Energy is a developer and supplier of energy storage systems that utilise second life electric vehicle battery packs. These packs are designed to be installed on industrial and commercial sites to reduce electricity costs, generate new revenue streams and make the supply more secure.
CorrosionRADAR produces remote sensing technologies and advanced analytics systems for smart infrastructures. Its 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 and 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 that significantly outperforms current inhibitors.
SOMI Trailers has invented a way to save one in four 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. Its technology is used globally in cutting-edge research labs to advance the state of the art in robotics. The company is now moving its 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. Its scalable solution lowers energy costs and maximises storage flexibility.
Water Fuel Engineering has developed an innovative on-board electrolyser that allows conventional diesel vehicles to operate in a more clean way and reduce 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.