Smart Antenna Team reaches finals of national Discovering Start-Ups competition

A team from the School of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Birmingham working with the University’s technology transfer office, Alta Innovations Ltd, is hoping to impress the judges at the finals of the national Discovering Start-Ups competition later this month that will showcase 20 of the UK’s most exciting and innovative new technologies in the wireless and mobile industries.

Calling themselves Smart Antenna Technology, or SAT, the team will pitch to an impressive line-up of some 20 leading investors and industry figures from companies including Broadcom, RIM, Vodafone Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, Google, Orange, TTP Ventures, Cambridge Business Angels and Silicon Valley Bank.

Behind this aspiring new start-up opportunity are SAT team founders, Professor Peter Hall, Dr. Peter Gardner, and Dr Zhen Hua Sampson Hu. Together they have  developed a unique compact antenna which has a very low production cost and assumes the role of all existing and anticipated antennas required for current and next generation mobile devices. Originating from work funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) the concept has been refined and commercial proof of concept work undertaken following the further support of EPSRC (through both its Pathways to Impact grant and Institutional Sponsorship Fund) and the University of Birmingham through its Enterprising Birmingham Fund. Rick Hillum, the CEO Designate, an individual with over 25 years experience in the wireless and communications sector including CEO roles with Software Radio Technologies and Securicor Wireless Technologies, has been engaged to assist the University on the commercial proof of concept project. Rick will be leading the presentation at the Discovering Start-Ups event.

 “We are very excited to have the opportunity to present to such an influential and expert panel of judges from the wireless industry,” said David Coleman, Head of Spinout Portfolio at the University of Birmingham. “As well as the potential prospect of a trophy and prize we look forward in particular to their feedback and advice.”   

The Discovering Start-Ups competition is run by leading technology networks, Cambridge Wireless and Silicon South West. The pitch event on 21st November will be hosted at the flagship London headquarters of the legal firm Taylor Wessing and is also supported by Google, Rohde & Schwarz and SETsquared Partnership. 

“The quality and diversity of entrants this year is very impressive and shows that UK wireless innovation and creativity is alive and kicking,” said Soraya Jones, CEO at Cambridge Wireless. The SAT team has come up with a very innovative idea and we wish them every success in the finals.”

As well as prestigious Discovering Start-Ups trophies, the five winning start-up companies will receive a £500 cash prize sponsored by Qualcomm Ventures and a free delegate ticket to Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona provided by UKTI (UK Trade and Industry), along with the opportunity to present at the Future of Wireless International Conference next July and a year’s free membership to SETsquared - a total value of around £5,500.

For a full list of judges and finalists, please visit:

About Alta Innovations

Alta Innovations Ltd is the technology transfer Office of The University of Birmingham and is responsible for the commercialisation of research undertaken at the University. Alta Innovations links academic research with business through licensing and spinout activity, collaborative research and consultancy projects to generate the new ideas, technologies and processes required to achieve competitive advantage.

About Cambridge Wireless

Cambridge Wireless is a leading industry forum and vibrant community with a rapidly expanding network of companies actively involved in the development and application of wireless technologies. In addition to high level networking dinners and events, a strong educational programme and business development activities, Cambridge Wireless runs the annual Future of Wireless International Conference along with the prestigious Discovering Start-Ups programme and competition to support emerging, innovative wireless companies. Over 15 Special Interest Groups focused on specific technologies and market sectors, also provide opportunities for members to meet, form partnerships to exploit new commercial opportunities, and share knowledge and information about the latest industry trends and hot topics. Cambridge Wireless has partnerships with other leading industry clusters and organisations around the world to extend its international reach and to keep members up to date with the latest global developments and business opportunities.

For more information, please visit

About Silicon South West

The Silicon South West network provides regular networking events, news and national and international promotion for the South West of England’s world class microelectronics design cluster. Over 100 companies connected to the microelectronics sector are concentrated in a region which includes the key towns & cities of Bristol, Bath, Exeter, Plymouth, and Southampton & Swindon.

For further information please visit