Reflections from members of our White City community. This month's spotlight is with Alex Bond, CEO, and John Simpson, CTO, FreshCheck.
What is your role at White City?
Our laboratory is based at White City, and it is in the Translation & Innovation Hub where we undertake the research and development that goes into our hygiene verification products. Our role in White City is not just limited to laboratory work though, as we use the I-HUB as a centre for business operations. The food hygiene industry requires a great deal of travel around the country to support manufacturers, so the connections and ease of transport from White City is ideal.
What do you enjoy about working at White City?
The collaboration between teams at White City is incredible. When companies aren't able to source large equipment or even need small samples of chemicals/materials everyone has been very willing to share. Besides the obvious benefits this provides to finances and delays with shipping, it creates an amazing environment for sharing ideas, customers and makes White City a really wonderful place to work.
We've also been able to work very closely with Imperial College and have been involved in many of Imperial's programs, including EVOLVE and the Enterprise Lab. The Advanced Hackspace is also great, but we don't have many products to test! It's fantastic to be able to offer expertise to developing start-ups but also useful for us to have access to work with us on reducing the risk of illness and excessive cleaning.
What are the main work challenges for you at the moment?
Our main challenges are sourcing plastic tooling and components. As focus on recycled materials increases and issues with global supply chains have been exposed it's never been more important to ensure we have reliable sources for development and manufacture. The White City and west London business area in general has such a wide range of businesses with connections to manufacturers, logistics and other useful tools that we've made the most of it. Regardless, sourcing reliable and responsible materials is a major target for us in the first half of 2022.
What's one thing - either industry-related or not - you learned in the last month?
We've learned the full extent of hygiene issues in pharmaceutical and hospitality industries. Without regular and reliable testing, operations can be halted and the situation can become tense very quickly. Fortunately, we've also seen a big uptake in new technologies, so we're hoping to lead the push to safer environments in these high-risk industries.