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About Us

Meet

About Us

The Team

At Ultrahaptics we create tactile sensations in mid-air. No controllers or wearables are needed: our patented “virtual touch” technology uses ultrasound to project shapes and textures directly onto the user’s hands. Controls can be operated without touching a surface, gestures can be enhanced with tactile feedback, and users can interact in a natural way with virtual objects.

Ultrahaptics was founded in 2013 based on technology developed at the University of Bristol, UK. In 2014 we secured seed funding, in 2015 we raised an A round of funding of £10.1m ($15m) and received a European Commission Grant of €1.49m ($1.8m), and in 2017 we closed a B Round of £18.9m ($23m).

Ultrahaptics is currently engaged with blue-chip clients from multiple markets including automotive, digital signage and location-based entertainment. We also support the international academic community through a program designed to accelerate haptics research and development.

Steve Cliffe President and CEO

Steve has 30 years of experience in the technology industry encompassing significant exposure to global markets, senior management positions and commercial roles. He joined Ultrahaptics from Plessey Semiconductor, where he was Business Development Director. Prior to that role, he was CEO at Provision and Xintronix. He also brings extensive commercial experience to the role from previous appointments. He was VP of Sales and Marketing at eoSemi and Sales Director at Dialog Semiconductor.

Tom Carter CTO

Tom started exploring ultrasound technology during a study in the final year of his Master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Bristol. He further developed the initial concept to form the basis of his PhD studies, during which time he published numerous papers and filed various patents. Recognising the technology’s commercial viability, Tom founded Ultrahaptics in November 2013.

Michael Tobin OBE Chairman

Michael Tobin joined Ultrahaptics as Chairman in January 2015. Previously, he held the position of CEO of TelecityGroup plc, a major FTSE250 technology company, where over the past decade he has led the business from a market cap of £6m to Europe’s leading Data Centre operator worth over £1.5Bn. Also on the board of tech companies Pacnet in Asia and DataPipe in the USA, in 2014 he was awarded an OBE by the Queen for Services to the Digital Economy.

Mark Reilly IP Group

Mark has extensive experience in the information and communications technology sector, working with a broad spectrum of organisations from blue chip multinationals and NGOs to early-stage start-ups. His technical expertise ranges from software and web applications to optics and electronics. Prior to joining IP Group, Mark was the founder and Managing Director of Remarkable Innovation, a successful Singapore-based technical due diligence company with a range of international Fortune 500 and national government clients. Mark holds a PhD in Engineering from the University of Cambridge, UK.

Sir Hossein Yassaie Non Executive Director

Sir Hossein Yassaie graduated from the University of Birmingham with a PhD in electronics and communication, before embarking on his career working at Inmos, STMicroelectronics and Videologic, which later became Imagination Technologies in 1999.
Hossein received a knighthood in the 2013 New Year Honours in recognition of his services to technology and innovation.

Steve Cliffe President and CEO

Steve has 30 years of experience in the technology industry encompassing significant exposure to global markets, senior management positions and commercial roles. He joined Ultrahaptics from Plessey Semiconductor, where he was Business Development Director. Prior to that role, he was CEO at Provision and Xintronix. He also brings extensive commercial experience to the role from previous appointments. He was VP of Sales and Marketing at eoSemi and Sales Director at Dialog Semiconductor.

Tom Carter CTO

Tom started exploring ultrasound technology during a study in the final year of his Master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Bristol. He further developed the initial concept to form the basis of his PhD studies, during which time he published numerous papers and filed various patents. Recognising the technology’s commercial viability, Tom founded Ultrahaptics in November 2013.

Anders Hakfelt Global VP Product and Marketing

Anders has over 20 years’ experience in strategy, marketing and innovation. Over the past seven years Anders has been at the forefront of digital innovation and customer experience transformation, creating and delivering new propositions for a wide range of blue chip clients. He joined Ultrahaptics from Accenture, where he was a Director and member of the management team in their Digital Design and Innovation company, Fjord. Prior to Accenture, Anders was head of Strategic Business Development, EMEA, for frog Design. He has also worked in commercial and strategic roles in a variety of companies, from automotive and gaming to tech startups and strategy consulting. Anders has also been a business mentor for the Prince’s Trust.

Michelle Hook People Operations

Michelle holds a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management from the University of the West of England. She has extensive experience in collaborating with business leaders to develop and grow business and achieve objectives.

Abby Atkinson Financial Controller

Abby joined Ultrahaptics in early 2016 from Tribal. A CIMA qualified Management Accountant, She holds a BSc in Economics and Accounting, with Italian, from the University of Bristol.

Barry Dennington Chief Operating Officer

Barry joined Ultrahaptics in February 2016. His career started as an apprentice at Philips Electronics in London and advanced his career with roles in Business Management at AMI Inc in California, ST Micro and Mitel in Europe until he returned to Philips and California in 2000 as Vice President leading a $450m Computing Business serving customers such as Apple, Cisco and HP. Four years later he transferred to Philips HQ in Eindhoven as Senior Vice President leading global Product Businesses and Services Groups. Barry went on to become Managing Director NXP UK Ltd and participated in a number of industry Boards. Most recently he was Chief Operating Officer at Plessey.

Alex Driskill Smith VP North America

Alex joined Ultrahaptics as Vice President of Business Development (North America) in 2016. He heads the sales, marketing, engineering and research teams based in Ultrahaptics’ Silicon Valley office which opened in April 2017. Previously, he was Senior Director of Strategy and Business Development at Samsung, where he led a team supporting innovations and investments in semiconductors, displays, datacenter architecture, digital health, internet of things, human-computer interaction, augmented and virtual reality, and autonomous machines and robotics. He joined Samsung in 2011 through Samsung’s acquisition of Grandis, a semiconductor memory start-up, where he served as Vice President of Business Development. Earlier in his career, he held engineering positions at IBM and Hitachi. He holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from the University of Cambridge, U.K., an M.B.A. degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and 8 issued and pending patents.

Chris Olds Chief Financial Officer

Chris is Chief Financial Officer of Ultrahaptics. Prior to becoming CFO in October 2018, Chris was the Capital Markets Partner at IP Group, a FTSE250 venture capital firm and investor in Ultrahaptics. During his eight years at IP Group Chris led the technology focussed corporate finance advisory team, was responsible for UK portfolio investor targeting and relations, sat as alternate on the technology and cleantech divisional investment committees, had primary oversight of two managed venture capital funds, and was non-executive director and part-time finance director of a portfolio company Cloud Sustainability. Prior to his capital markets role, Chris was the Group Financial Controller at IP Group. Chris is a Chartered Accountant and will complete his MBA from Oxford University in 2019.

    Awards & Recognition

  • Royal Academy of Engineering Colin Cambell Mitchell Award
  • Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation
  • WCIT Judges Award for Innovation
An image of the Ultrahaptics team accepting an award

Meet

Investors

Our Investors

Cornes

Cornes strives unceasingly to deliver the highest level of quality and service to its customers and takes pride in being a bridge for ideas and innovation from the rest of the world to Japan.

Dolby Family Ventures

Dolby Family Ventures is an early stage venture firm focused on building great technology companies. They partner with best-in-class innovators, and work actively with entrepreneurs to implement best practices in operational finance, strategy, and board development processes.

IP Group

IP Group is a leading intellectual property commercialisation company which focuses on evolving great ideas, mainly from its partner universities, into world-changing businesses. The Group has pioneered a unique approach to developing these ideas and the resulting businesses by providing access to business building expertise, capital, networks, recruitment and business support.

Woodford

Woodford Investment Management LLP is a fast-growing asset management company built on a founding philosophy of transparency and simplicity. Launched in May 2014, the company has more than £12.5bn assets under management.

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