Business age: 2.5 years. The business really took off following seed funding in November 2014.
Number of employees: 40
Length of time in the Enterprise Zone: We were initially based in the SETSquared incubator at Engine Shed, but we moved in April 2016. Then, we were 25 people; we’re 40 now. The Enterprise Zone offered great incentives for us: proximity to the station and reduced business rates were both important in the decision. None of our employees drive to work, so the local public transport links, the cycle path, the local and national trains, and the regular bus services are all important to our employees.
How would you describe what Ultrahaptics does to someone who’s never heard of it? Ultrahaptics is working to create the most remarkable connection between people and technology. By using ultrasound to project sensations onto a hand in mid-air, Ultrahaptics is allowing people to feel and control technology like never before. From invisible buttons and dials that you feel when you need them, through to tangible interfaces that track your hand. This elegant and simple technology was created using complex mathematics yet is based on human nature. It’s technology as it should be.
How did Ultrahaptics come about? The technology came out of Tom Carter’s undergraduate studies at the University of Bristol. He wanted to explore whether it was possible to manipulate ultrasound to create touch sensations in mid-air. His studies developed into the basis for his PhD. Then, in 2013, recognising the commercial potential of the technology, Tom, along with his Professor and a fellow researcher, span out the research as Ultrahaptics, with Tom taking the position of Chief Technical Officer (CTO). Seed funding of £600k was received in 2014, which quickly led to the team hiring experienced CEO, Steve Cliffe, and launching their first product in the form of an evaluation kit.