Yazan Khader, PredicTech

Yazan Khader, PredicTech

Yazan Khader, PredicTech

Yazan joined the IoT Engine in March 2022 and since then has been working on various product development cycles to enable him to launch his manufacturing analytics platform, PredicTech.

Hi Yazan. Tell us a little bit about you and your business…

I am a mechanical engineering graduate from the University of Sheffield, where my passion for the intersection of technology and manufacturing was ignited. My dissertation focused on ‘Industry 4.0 First Steps for SMEs’, which investigated the barriers SMEs encounter when accessing digital technologies and sought solutions to overcome these obstacles. This in-depth exploration gave birth to the idea of PredicTech. Further fueled by my selection for the first-ever University of Sheffield’s start-up accelerator programme, where I won an Innovate UK grant after competing against 20 other start-ups, PredicTech began to take shape.

PredicTech is now a full-fledged start-up dedicated to empowering manufacturing SMEs to harness the power of IoT and AI technologies. We aim to remove the barriers of access and usage, providing these businesses with tools to enhance productivity, anticipate maintenance needs, and reduce energy consumption. Our vision is to democratize advanced digital technologies, making them accessible and beneficial to all businesses, particularly SMEs that are often sidelined in the technological revolution.

What has been PredicTech’s greatest success?

One of our biggest wins at PredicTech has been getting our solution into the hands of several manufacturing SMEs – talk about validation! This has shown us that our product is not just cool tech, but it’s really making a difference out there in the real world.

Another highlight has been going from a one-person show to a full-on team. We’re a passionate bunch, all revved up about empowering SMEs with our digital tech.

On top of this, we managed to snag a spot at the UK’s largest manufacturing expo, getting loads of positive feedback and making some great connections. Plus, we aced a pitch that landed us an Innovate UK funding grant, which was a pretty big deal.

And let’s not forget the IoT Engine pre-accelerator programme – this has been our secret sauce, boosting us with top-notch mentorship and technical support from Rikki to supercharge our progress.

What about your greatest challenges?

Unraveling the complexity of integrating our technology with an array of different manufacturing machines has been our greatest challenge so far. You see, getting our sensors to communicate with technologically advanced equipment like a new CNC Saacke lathe is a completely different ballgame compared to dealing with a 1970s Colchester lathe. And yet, this is precisely what Predictech is all about.

Approximately 78% of all manufacturing SMEs rely heavily on these legacy machines. Too often, they are given advice that leans towards abandoning these old workhorses for shiny, expensive, new machines. However, we see things differently. We asked ourselves, ‘Can’t we breathe new life into these old beasts, making them smarter?’ And so, we set out to do just that.

Certainly, it has been a journey filled with head-scratching moments and tricky problems to solve. Yet, the payoff has been immense. Witnessing these legacy machines rise to the challenge, becoming smarter, enhancing productivity, and helping SMEs save money – that’s been a truly rewarding experience.

Why is IoT important to you?

IoT is important to us because it’s the backbone of what we do at Predictech. It’s the technology that allows us to connect, analyze, and transform ‘old’ machines into ‘smart’ ones. It’s the conduit that enables us to bring the benefits of Industry 4.0 to SMEs. IoT doesn’t just power our technology; it powers our mission to make a meaningful impact on the manufacturing sector.

What have your experiences on the IoT Engine been like?

Being part of the IoT Engine programme has been nothing short of transformational. From the hands-on validation and proof-of-concept support to the workshops and networking events, every bit of it has shaped Predictech. It’s provided us not just with a world-class facility but also with a community of mentors, peers, and industry leaders that continues to inspire and push us forward.

What’s next for PredicTech?

What’s next for us? We’ll continue to innovate and scale our solution, aiming to make it accessible for even more SMEs. We’re going to keep talking, learning, and above all, listening to our customers. Our journey has just begun, and the future looks bright!

You can find out more by connecting with Yazan on LinkedIn


Eva Galant, Founder & CEO of Hashiona

Eva Galant, Founder & CEO of Hashiona

Eva Galant, Founder & CEO of Hashiona

The next of the P4SY Accelerator Programme Founder interviews, is with Eva Galant, Founder and CEO of Hashiona, a femtech-focused digital platform for the management and treatment of Hashimoto’s disease 


Director: Eva Galant
Programme: P4SY
Sector: Precision Medicine
Location: Sheffield / London
Website: Hashiona – 1st Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Management App

Great to meet you Eva. Can you tell me more about Hashimoto’s?

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disorder. The immune system creates antibodies that are ‘self-attacking’ – which means they attach thyroid cells, as if they were bacteria or viruses, damaging the thyroid gland.

Many people with Hashimoto’s aren’t aware that they have the condition in the early stages as it progresses very slowly- there are 45 different symptoms (a lot!), but in the first few years these can be unnoticeable or attributable to other common conditions, for example hair weakness, nails breaking, dry skin, etc. Not pleasant, but they don’t affect daily life. 

However, when the thyroid gland is significantly underperforming and releasing low levels of hormones, particularly T4 (thyroxine), most people start noticing symptoms which significantly affect their health. The ‘big 5’ symptoms are – extreme fatigue, sleep problems, weight gain, depression and brain fog (difficulty concentrating, articulating thoughts and processing information). 

Hashimoto’s can be difficult to diagnose due to the range of symptoms. A clinician who knows that they are looking for can join the dots early, use a blood test for diagnosis and provide treatment, typically a medication called levothyroxine. I wasn’t as lucky – it took 8 years between my first symptoms and receiving a diagnosis. And it’s not just diagnosis which is an issue. In many cases, levothyroxine does make a difference, but our research taking to people with Hashimoto’s found that over 70% still struggle with symptoms and their quality of life is poor. 

Hashimoto’s affects more women than men – typically aged between 20 and 50 – however, data specific to Hashimoto’s is hard to find. According to US statistics, 1 in 8 women will have a thyroid issue in their lifetime (about 480 million women globally) – and up to 60% of these women are not aware they have the condition. The population diagnosed varies by country – many countries estimate 10% of the population (for example Germany, Spain, Italy, India) however in the UK the population estimate is 2-4%. My personal opinion is that this is an under-diagnosis. 

You mentioned that you also have Hashimoto’s. Can you tell me more about your own experience that led you to establish Hashiona?

My condition is genetic – I was very active as a teenager, but looking back to my childhood I can see that there were symptoms of hypothyroidism. At 18 years old my symptoms got worse – I needed to sleep all the time and I had problems losing weight. Medical opinion at the time was that my issues were due to my age and lack of vitamins so my only option was to adjust my lifestyle to cope – my quality of life wasn’t great but I managed.

However, as I progressed through my career, stress and lifestyle triggered by symptoms – they skyrocketed! I’d have 13 hours sleep and wake up exhausted and have brain fog. I googled symptoms and found out I had 38 symptoms of Hashimoto’s – so I went for a private test. That was my bingo moment. Of course I was upset to learn I had this condition – but I also felt relieved to have some answers about what I was dealing with. I was prescribed the medication and I thought ‘Yay, this will work and all will be fine’, but time passed and some symptoms just didn’t go away. 

So I searched for information. Read everything I could find for 8 months – including medical student books – to learn how to create my own lifestyle regime to be able to function normally. This worked for a time but I’d have remissions and take 6 months to regulate again, until I found the regime that worked for me. 

I’d worked in tech startups for years so I sought out technology solutions that would help me to manage my condition and maintain a regime – and I couldn’t find anything. I had the idea to create Hashiona for 6 years before we set up. I’d think about it constantly until I decided to make it a reality. I wanted to use the knowledge I had to support the Hashimoto’s community – many people spend 10-15 years trying to live a normal life. So, I found a co-founder, we financed ourselves to create an MVP and we had our first investor 9 months later.

Can you tell me more about Hashiona?

Hashiona is an all-in-one platform for people with Hashimoto’s disease, with the goal of improving our users’ quality of life by lowering the levels of antibodies in their blood.

Hashiona offers personalised nutrition plans, a symptom-tracking system, and a healthy dose of disease knowledge. Everything we do is data driven, to create an automated, highly personalised program that will guide our users back to health. Our Step by Step to Remission programme makes changing things simple – one major habit at a time. We monitor how patients are feeling, help them understand their blood chemistry and provide access to dieticians and the community of fellow patients. 

Hashiona’s mission is to make the lives of people suffering with Hashimoto’s disease more manageable. Our customised meal pans were designed to reduce inflammation in the body, while the symptom tracker assists in monitoring (and avoiding) negative triggers. We also provide a comprehensive guide to thyroid health, complete with interactive content to make learning enjoyable. 

What’s next for Hashiona?

We are gaining recognition nationally and internationally through media profile and the positive impact on our users. The personal stories we receive are amazing – it proves we are making a difference. We’ve had users telling us that Hashiona has changed their lives – you can’t ask for more than that to motivate us to keep doing what we’re doing! 

We’ve had good results from patient trials showing that implementing the regime is improving quality of life – a win for us, patients, and the wider scientific community. We want to prove that a diet modification approach can lower antibodies in the blood. There’s no research published in this are yet and we are the first company in the world trying to prove this. 

We were awarded Innovate UK Fast Start Funding in 2022 to form a partnership to integrate at home blood test kits to our service – establishing this partnership has been fantastic. 

We have ambitious goals. We want to form research partnerships globally with clinicians and experts in autoimmune conditions for patient trials.

We are looking for VC funding around £1.5 million to continue to grow. We are continually improving our platform – all of our uses have individual experiences so we are working on personalisation through algorithms, integration with IoT devices for more data, and the feedback loops for users. 

And finally, can you tell us about your experience of participating in the P4SY Accelerator Programme?

The P4SY programme has helped us in a variety of ways, from understanding our future path as a digital therapeutic solution, certification as a medical device, and most importantly, working with the NHS. 

We are very grateful to be in the programme, where we are getting a personalised experience and custom-made advice from the P4SY team, clinicians and experts from a variety of organisations across the country. I can strongly recommend every digital health startup to join the programme – the quality is outstanding. 

You can find out more about Hashiona here, watch demo content here, or by contacting eva@hashiona.com

Katie Steele, Cheribim

Katie Steele, Cheribim

Katie Steele, Cheribim

Cheribim make digital products and services for the heritage sector to make information management and data insights for historic buildings user-friendly and affordable

Hi, Katie. Tell us a little bit about you and your business…

We make digital products and services for the heritage sector with a primary focus of making information management and data insights for historic buildings user-friendly and affordable via our web-app, Cheribim. 

I started the company after working with volunteers responsible for church buildings for about five years. My background is in historic building conservation, and before that architecture and engineering. When I saw the huge variations in the systems which were being used for organising and sharing information relating to church buildings’ upkeep and adaptation – as well as how this was affecting decision making – I felt there was a real opportunity to help address some of the most common frustrations I was witnessing. 

Historic buildings can be complex and expensive to maintain – requiring specialist skills and knowledge. But volunteers bring an unbelievable amount of value to their management – often at significant cost – not least in time and energy, to themselves. Our products are designed specifically to make their lives easier, reducing the administrative burden of managing sometimes huge amounts of asset, project and stakeholder information, as well as providing additional automated sources of data to make their decisions more efficient and effective. 

What has been Cheribim’s greatest success?

At the end of last year, we were lucky enough to be awarded a Fast Start Grant by Innovate UK. The project has enabled us to develop additional building inspection features for our church and inspector user types, as well as pilot IoT sensors for environmental monitoring at diverse sites across South Yorkshire, and soon sites in West Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria. 

The IoT pilot has created a super exciting addition to our product range, and the enthusiasm and interest it’s been met with has exceeded all of our expectations. Historic buildings are constructed and behave differently to the modern buildings which we are often accustomed to – as well as the expectations of comfort and maintenance requirements they create. Equipping church building managers with live readings of temperature and humidity in different spaces allows them to, for example, understand in much more detail how the mechanical and natural heating and cooling of their buildings is working and make changes accordingly to address issues affecting occupants’ comfort or the buildings fabric.

What about your greatest challenges?

Definitely navigating all of this as a solo ‘non-technical’ founder! But there are so many amazing programmes and networks in Sheffield and I have ad so much support – from advice for business and accounting, to an amazing space to work out of at Sheffield Technology Parks whilst I’ve participated in the Cooper project, complete with friendly, familiar faces to say hello to in the morning! As well as the fantastic graduate recruitment programme RISE, which Awais, our Data Management Executive joined the company through…and of course, IoT Engine!

I can’t overstate how important these initiatives have been to Cheribim – or how grateful I am to everyone involved. 

Why is IoT important to you?

It aligns so strongly with everything we’re trying to do!

It’s afforable, easy to set up and provides accurate – and most importantly, useful – data to the people who need it on the ground, completely automatically. It facilitates the churches we support to take control of the information they need to make decisions about how they’re managing their buildings. For example to make adjustments to their heating and see real-time the effects this has so they can alter and reduce their energy consumption patterns, or longer term monitoring the effects of interventions to improve thermal efficiency. It stops them being priced or ‘expertised’ out of the market on readily-available technology which could help them achieve sustainability in all its senses – but not least in terms of working towards the ambitious net-zero targets many have committed to.

IoT can not only help raise the baseline on upkeep and sustainable management of many of the UK’s most important historic buildings, but it can also help transform the way data and information management is thought about in the heritage and built environment conservation sectors through empowerment of some of its most influential actors. 

What have your experiences on the IoT Engine been like?

Brilliant! Having Rikki there to support both me and Awais as we’ve grappled with implementing our pilot, me with the logistics and Awais with the tech, has been invaluable. And of course the location and fantastic facilities in Barnsley have also been greate – just a short train ride from Sheffield, and helpfully a stone’s throw from some of our pilot sites in surrounding villages!

Meeting Lauren and Ceri and having them cheer us on and make introductions at the amazing IoT and DMC events is something I’m so grateful for too, and has definitely made a huge difference to our productivity and the impact we’ve managed to have with our pilot. Our introduction to Steve Jubb and the Urban Flows Laboratory at the University of Sheffield is just one example of how their help has brought a whole new dimension to the work. 

The support and enthusiasm for what we’re trying to do has been so unexpected and wonderful, and I’m incredibly grateful.

What’s next for Cheribim?

We’ve got SO MANY plans for the data we’re gradually collecting – both from sensors and information stored on the Cheribim platform – and ideas for practical applications which could be absolutely transformatice to our users; from predictive inspection features to net-zero intervention insights – watch this space!

Rowan Easter-Robinson, TrackMyMachines

Rowan Easter-Robinson, TrackMyMachines

Rowan Easter-Robinson, TrackMyMachines

Rowan is the founder of TrackMyMachines, a startup that aims to supercharge productivity for manufacturers of all kinds.

Hi Rowan. Tell us a little bit about you and your business…

I left school to do a manufacturing apprenticeship at the age of 16, and I have been working in and around engineering since then. I spend more of my time touring manufacturing facilities and managing my business, TrackMyMachines.

TrackMyMachines is a startup based in Sheffield that aims to supercharge productivity for manufacturers of all kinds internationally. We work with machine shops of any size from 1 to 100 machines to find out how they can improve their efficiency. 

What has been TrackMyMachines’ greatest success?

In our first six months, we managed to save one manufacturer a projected £85,000 through shift optimisation and intelligent workholding and tooling investments that save tens of hours production each week

What about your greatest challenges?

Building a software company from scratch isn’t easy. TrackMyMachines has been running since 2021 and was built solely by me. I’ve been working on it whenever I can and putting in late hours – much like most manufacturing engineers!

Why is IoT important to you?

The Internet of Things is the single most important part of my business. Without the automated data gathering opportunities it offers, I would have to ask machines operators and engineers to spend their precious time doing manual data gathering. This is just not possible since these companies need to spend their time as effectively as possible.

What have your experiences on the IoT Engine been like?

The whole IoT Engine team has been both delightful to work with and really useful in a surprisingly short amount of time. Lauren’s management and Rikki’s technical knowledge helped to upgrade my startup from hobby to production-ready.

What’s next for TrackMyMachines?

I’m growing gradually in the UK and soon hopefully expanding into India and UAE. I’m further strengthening the software with the insightful assistance of Rikki. 

Adam Yusuf, Active Legs Ltd

Adam Yusuf, Active Legs Ltd

Adam Yusuf, Active Legs Ltd

Adam is the founder and director of Active Legs, and has developed the ‘Footrocka’ devices to stretch and strengthen muscles, ligaments and tendons, and increase blood circulation.

Hi Adam. Tell us a little bit about you and your business…

I am the founder and director of Active Legs, and I have developed the FootRocka devices. I have in-depth knowledge of managing companies and organisations as well as prior experience running businesses in the UK and abroad. In the last 25 years, I have worked at various levels and capacity in the voluntary, statutory and private sector in Sheffield. 

I had the idea for Active Legs when I was squashed in economy class for seven and a half hours, travelling back and forth form Manchester to Dubai several times a year, and unable to do any kind of exercise. I wanted to create a way of exercising the legs and feet using a small, portable device people could take with them on a plane, where weight and space is at a premium. 

While the initial and predominant target market for the product is long haul passengers, the AMRC have also supported us to explore further potential markets such as the elderly and less mobile, and those undergoing physiotherapy or rehabilitation. The device is currently awaiting a semi clinical trial with Sheffield Hallam University.

In collaboration with the iForge at the University of Sheffield, with the expertise of university students Shamoil Khomosi (Robotics and Mechatronics) and Alex McNab (Msc, Bioengineering), Active Legs proceeded to the next stage and added digital functionality, including wireless communication and a proof-of-concept app was released as a result of this next phase of product development.

What has been Active Legs’ greatest success?

We have developed 3 different types of FootRocka devices: FootRocka, PocketRocka and DigitalRocka. We have produced a professional business plan, pitch deck and case studies to prove proof of concept. We have worked in collaboration with both Sheffield University an Sheffield Hallam University, acquired funding from the Sheffield Innovation Programme, and worked with the AMRC regarding product development phase, acquiring professional support and expertise.

What about your greatest challenges?

Being the sole director of the company, I have yet to assemble a team that would assist and support the company to move forward, and especially to build the brand of FootRocka under the Active Legs entity. The other challenge is attracting relevant crowdfunding and equity funding. Overall, new start-ups have a huge mountain to climb and prove their worth in order to be taken seriously, and hence it can be challenging at times to maintain the momentum.

Why is IoT important to you?

IoT is important to Active Legs to expand our expertise and knowledge. The IoT Engine practically helped us to develop the digital FootRocka device further and Dr Rikki Coles was very understanding and spent his valuable time to understand our requirements and expectations, ultimately delivering the end product to our satisfaction. Finally, he also suggested ideas of the way forward and referred us to a number of other relevant electronic companies to enhance the product further.

What have your experiences on the IoT Engine been like?

Overall, it has been a good environment of welcoming people, great facilities at the DMC, and expertise in various capacities. As a new startup, we felt that this was the right place to come for advice, support and guidance. The IoT team instilled confidence and made us believe that our product is worthwhile pursuing, which was empowering and was critical in the early stages of product development for startup companies.

What’s next for Active Legs?

To assemble a team who can assist me in various capacities looking at the product, validation, cost of production and marketing. Also, working on validation and scaling the product. Finally, to create a successful commerical FootRocka product that has potential and is impactful in a positive way.

You can read more about Active Legs here: Exercise device rocking on with AMRC | AMRC