Physicist and technology business founder - Alison Sawyer

From: USA
UK degree: Researcher in Biological Physics at the University of Leeds

Allison’s business Rebellion Photonics was named Wall Street Journal’s Start-up of the Year.

WhAT IS Rebellion Photonics?

Rebellion Photonics aims to make the oil and gas industry safer and cleaner. The company has saved many lives by catching gas leaks before they explode on oil rigs and in refineries using our unique optics technology. We use special cameras that can identify gas leaks that cause explosions and emissions. The technology is the first of its kind and is set to revolutionise safety within the oil and gas industry by minimising catastrophic accidents.

Rebellion has raised nearly $15 million. As well as our award from the Wall Street Journal, we have featured in Forbes, Fortune and Inc. Magazine.

Why did you choose to study in the UK?

I did my bachelor’s in the USA but I chose to continue my studies in applied physics in the UK because I knew I wanted to run an international technology company. For this, I would need an international perspective.

The course I chose also gave me the chance to learn about other industries, such as the oil and gas industry.

What effect did your UK education have on your success today?

My time in the UK was crucial to widening my horizons

My time in the UK was crucial to widening my horizons and forcing me to consider a global perspective. I now work with customers and engineers on five different continents. To that extent, my time in the UK and the multicultural environment I studied in truly met and exceeded my expectations. When I returned to the USA, I started Rebellion Photonics. I still regularly visit the UK, partly because our first customer was none other than British Petroleum!

Allison Sawyer was the winner of the British Council, Alumni Award for Entrepreneurship, USA, 2016.

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