The man who created FlexEnable is new CEO of Innovate UK
Technology entrepreneur Indro Mukerjee, who rooted out the true value of the former Plastic Logic business and created FlexEnable in Cambridge, has been appointed CEO of Innovate UK – the UK’s innovation agency.
At one stage Plastic Logic – a Cavendish Laboratory spin-out – thought it would be first to market in the then red hot ereader stakes but was beaten to the punch.
Russian investment alone was not enough to resuscitate the dream but Mukerjee was appointed as a low key but no nonsense troubleshooter and pivoted the global business around what was known as its FabEnable technology, enabling sophisticated electronics on low temperature flexible substrates.
FabEnable was a package of IP and services capable of transforming the economics of existing fabs – for example by targeting under-utilised capacity. The company worked with display makers to demonstrate the economic benefits of converting to this truly flexible array technology.
Mukerjee said at the time: “By bundling our profound know-how and experience in the industrialisation of flexible electronics, FlexEnable has created FabEnable, delivering significant returns to display makers through the upgrade of conventional FPD lines.
“We enable FPD manufacturers to upgrade and diversify their existing lines with truly flexible electronics, bringing transformational economics to the manufacture of plastic displays in general.”
Mukerjee is a highly experienced technology executive and business leader with a track record of leading innovation and technology commercialisation at businesses of all sizes across the world.
He has led publicly listed and multinational corporations to new venture and private equity backed technology companies.
He takes up the post immediately and will be tasked with transitioning Innovate UK from a grant funding body to an agency focused on driving economic growth. It will work with companies to de-risk, enable and support innovation, while unleashing private sector investment into research and development.
As part of this, he will develop and implement strategies for investments that promote the UK as a global leader in research and development and technologies of the future. This will help cement the UK’s place as a global science superpower.
The appointment comes at a time when innovation is being recognised as a key driver of the UK’s post-pandemic growth strategy. Innovate UK is set to play a strategically important role in this and build closer connections with industry.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “I want innovation to be at the heart of our efforts to build back better and to achieve this we need strong leadership from experienced innovators, with business know-how, who can help unleash the UK’s vast scientific and technological potential.
“Along with his passion for science and technology, Indro boasts impressive credentials having worked at the top tier of businesses of all sizes and across different industries.
“I look forward to working closely with him at the helm of Innovate UK, which will be a crucial vehicle in accelerating business-led innovation and technology, driving economic growth, creating high-value jobs and cementing the UK’s status as a science superpower.
“I also want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Indro’s predecessor Ian Campbell, who has left a fantastic legacy at the organisation to build upon in the years ahead.”
Mukerjee added: “Throughout my career, I have had a strong personal passion for the journey from scientific discovery through to innovation and ultimately commercialisation of technology.
“I have seen that journey at first hand across many settings, industries, countries and types of business. I will use this experience as I lead Innovate UK and work with the Secretary of State to deliver the Government’s innovation strategy.”