THE TEAM
We have brought together a dynamic and experienced team of entrepreneurs, technical specialists and experts in investment, fundraising and design
MAT HUNTER
MANAGING DIRECTOR
Mat leads CRL’s team in developing our CRL Accelerator Programme, wider CRL offerings and helping to shape our long-term strategy. Alongside this building external partnerships across the private, public and non-profit sector, representing the CRL in the worlds of design, technology and public policy.
Mat’s career has focused on design innovation across a number of fields; working for IDEO in both San Francisco and London for 15 years, where he was made a Partner and head of the Consumer Experience Design practice, Chief Design Officer at the Design Council. Here he led the pioneering Design Challenges programme and the establishment of the Spark startup accelerator.
ERICA PURVIS
DESIGN AND IMPACT LEAD
Erica is an expert in sustainable design and as well as helping to set-up the CRL's community, her focus is on maintaining the vibrant and design-led culture of CRL and communicating our activities & startups progress. She supports our startups in building in positive design impact to their ventures through, User Research methods, Business Modelling, lifecycle and circular economy thinking.
A product design engineer herself, Erica has held previous roles at Philips, Waste Watch and Keep Britain Tidy and is an organiser of the Open Source Circular Economy days, People's Design Lab and more recently a startup business coach for the Climate KIC Summer School Journey.
ALEX PEET
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT LEAD
Having previously worked as Design Engineer - Assembly Lead at Dyson – Alex has now taken on the challenge of supporting our startup in our product development and design for manufacture workshops and one to one sessions. He also overseas the running of CRL’s prototyping workshop, helping our startups (as well as clients) produce high quality prototypes and accelerate the rapid iteration of their products.
ALICE JOHNSON
COMMUNITY & COWORKING LEAD
Alice works on growing the thriving community at CRL, developing the coworking space to fit the needs of its hardware focused members, as well as managing facilities and the day to day requirements.
Alice spent the first decade of her career working in community development across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, curating citywide events and facilitating exciting local projects. She subsequently spent a further five years supporting the business community in Peterborough, setting up one of the cities first start up hubs, 'Ignite Peterborough' now a central workspace for local startups. The project was also showcased internationally in 2015 as a leading example of the cities wider aims to become the first pioneering circular 'smart' city in the UK.
DONAL O'DONOHOE
WORKSHOP TECHNICIAN
As the CRL's in-house Workshop Technician, Donal runs, maintains and continually improves and develops the prototyping workshops at the CRL.
Coming from an industrial 3D printing background, Rapid Prototyping tech at Foster and Partners, he is now running the in house CNC machines, lathe and 3D printers. Alongside this as the CRL continually expands its capabilities as well as offerings for our accelerator startups and co-working members, he can be found developing and organising our material, machine and safety infrastructure and processes (the workshops are looking amazing), as well as investigating new techniques for prototyping products and packaging.
In his spare time he can often be found building and repairing racing drones.
MANDY NYARKO
ACCELERATOR PROGRAMME LEAD
As CRL's Accelerator Programme Lead, Mandy's focus is on delivering and developing a programme that accelerates the business growth of the entrepreneurs, leading them to build sustainable business models, and products that create positive impact. She supports the startups with the tools and collaborations they need to progress and execute their product, business, and market development, as well as their investment journey.
Her previous experience includes business coaching, investment readiness, pitching, and strategic planning. She also has a 9 year background in banking, mostly management and is an entrepreneur herself, owning a high end wig company.
GEUNHEE KIM
DESIGN AND COMMUNICATIONS
Kim is the CRL’s Design & Communications support having just completed her second year at Brunel University London, studying Industrial Design and Technology.
On placement with CRL for the next year working on a range of activities and initiatives. With great skills in both graphic and product design, she supports our start-ups and the CRL team to build and deliver a programme of exciting and practical design workshops and events, prototyping products and designing new features for our workspace, as well as exploring some of her own product ideas along the way.
OUR MENTORS & ADVISORS
Working alongside the CRL core team, we have expert mentors and advisors to support the startups here. They have rich experience covering entrepreneurship, product design, manufacturing and brand development and are passionate about helping our teams succeed.
BILL SERMON
MENTOR
Bill is a partner at Innovation specialist Viadynamics and has extensive experience of transforming startups, products, services and markets. He led the creation of Nokia Nseries, building a €10bn business. Furniture Maker, Product Designer at Philips, Director at Design agency Fitch, VP Design at Nokia, Trustee with Awesome Foundation and Honorary Fellow Ravensbourne College.
CHRIS THOMPSON
MENTOR
Chris is the Founding partner at innovation specialist Viadynamics has led over 200 assignments from start ups to corporates. Instrumental in integrating marketing and R&D at Unilever to form an innovation power house. Physicist, Chartered Management Accountant, COO and MD of Design agencies Fitch & PSD. Member of the Innovate UK Design Special Interest Group, Visiting Fellow Cranfield University.
JAMES NETTLETON
ADVISOR
James helped set up the CRL programme at U+I. First and foremost, that was about launching it at the Old Vinyl Factory Site in Hayes in 2015. He has also been involved in developing exciting new projects across the country inspired by the CRL the role that startup communities can play in transforming local economies and communities.
His expertise lie in setting up innovative new organisations of all shapes and sizes, where he has now joined InMotion from Jaguar Landrover running their accelerator programme operations
DANIEL CHARNY
NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Daniel has been developing the strategic vision for CRL from day one. He advises the operations team and helps to ensure CRL’s proposition meets the needs of London’s design and maker communities.
Daniel has worked in design education for over 20 years. He was a Senior Tutor at the RCA and is now Professor of Design at Kingston. His exhibition “The Power of Making” at the Victoria and Albert Museum attracted over 320,000 visitors. Founder/ Director of Fixperts, From Now On and the Maker Library Network.
BOARD MEMBERS
Our board is formed of members from the leadership team and from our key partners; U+I and Brunel University London.
ANDREW WARD
BOARD MEMBER
Andrew is our key partner with Brunel University London, where he is the Director of Corporate Relations. He works to increase opportunities for research, enhance student experience and support local and regional initiatives.
He sits as a member of the CRL board, alongside the rest of the management team and U+I partners, working to develop and grow CRL.
JOHN O'REILLEY
BOARD MEMBER
With a deep financial background, John provides CRL with his expertise on all budgetary and commercial matters.
Currently performing his role at U+I Group PLC as Director of Major Projects, he chairs the CRL Project Board and provides a link between CRL and the U+I Board.
John also contributes directly to all strategic decision making between the partnership between Brunel University London and CRL.
He is Royal Yachting Association ‘Offshore Yacht Master’ qualified and is also chairman of Holtspur Scout Group. John also enjoys playing tennis and running in his spare time.