Foresight invests £2.1 million into £2.9 million Series A investment round into energy tech pioneer Synaptec

  • Synaptec’s innovative technology can reduce downtime and allow easier and cheaper monitoring of the increasingly complex electric power grid
  • The Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund invested £2 million alongside £100,000 from the newly created Foresight Scottish Growth Fund
  • The funding will be used to scale-up production, grow international sales and exploit future data analytics opportunities

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Foresight Group LLP (“Foresight”) and Williams Advanced Engineering (“Williams”) are pleased to announce a £2 million investment as part of a £2.9 million growth round into the disruptive technology business Synaptec Ltd (“Synaptec” or the “Company”). The Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund led the round alongside £100,000 from the newly created Foresight Scottish Growth Fund financed by the Scottish Growth Scheme through a combination of Scottish Government funds and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and £800,000 from existing shareholders, including The Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, Equity Gap and the University of Strathclyde.

Synaptec was founded in 2015 as a spinout from the University of Strathclyde and is led by Philip Orr, Managing Director. The innovations developed by Synaptec are based on work Philip and his co-founders conducted at the University of Strathclyde’s Institute for Energy and Environment, one of Europe’s leading power engineering research groups.

Electric power grids are becoming increasingly complex to manage due to a growing proportion of energy being provided by renewable sources. New methods are required to measure and maintain a stable electricity supply for customers. Synaptec addresses this problem by passively monitoring the grid using existing optical fibre networks. It avoids expensive auxiliary equipment for communications, GPS or power at measurement locations and can operate over a range of 100km. Synaptec’s systems are safer to install, have a smaller footprint and lower environmental impact than alternative sensors.

Synaptec offers the first secure and scalable system for wide area fault detection, monitoring and analytics of electric power grids that is cost-effective at scale. It has already seen demand for its systems from international customers.

The investment round led by Foresight will be used to scale-up manufacturing, engineering and business development capabilities.

Commenting on the investment, Andrew Bloxam, Senior Investment Manager at Foresight said: “Synaptec offers a truly disruptive technology that addresses a global problem. The experienced management team has already achieved a considerable amount of success over the past three years of development and we are delighted to have the opportunity to support the business as it scales.”

Matthew Burke, Head of Technology Ventures, Williams Advanced Engineering, added: “With Synaptec combining innovation, technology and reduced environmental impact, it is a company that very much aligns with the objectives of Williams Advanced Engineering. We look forward to working with Synaptec to help commercialise their technology to enhance energy network performance and resilience.”

Philip Orr, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Synaptec, added: “The backing of Foresight and Williams Advanced Engineering brings both financial acumen and world-renowned expertise in engineering design and manufacturing to Synaptec. Their support is a significant moment in the continuing growth and success of our highly interdisciplinary engineering firm as we continue to disrupt the instrumentation market and revolutionise how critical electrical infrastructure is managed and controlled. The technical fit between Synaptec and Williams is excellent, and we will be drawing upon their know-how to scale up our manufacturing capacity and rapidly develop new product offerings. This investment represents an exciting new phase of growth and development for Synaptec and will enable us to make a positive and lasting impact on the global energy transition.”

Kerry Sharp, Director of the Scottish Investment Bank, said“Synaptec is a great example of an innovative Scottish company which has developed technology that brings solutions to challenges within the power industry. The Company has global growth ambitions and this investment round demonstrates the strength of belief in the technology and the team. Scottish Investment Bank is delighted to provide funding alongside co-investment partner Equity Gap and new investor Foresight Group and also to bring the wider support mechanisms from Scottish Enterprise to support the Company’s next stage of growth.”

Stuart Mackenzie, Commercialisation Infrastructure Manager at the University of Strathclyde, said: “The University is delighted to participate in this latest milestone in Synaptec’s growth.  Synaptec is a fantastic example of the contribution Strathclyde technologies can make to industry, and of the types of companies the University is looking to create and support through its role in the Glasgow City Innovation District, where Synaptec is based.”

ENDS

For further information contact:

Amy Smith, Communications Executive, Foresight Group asmith@foresightgroup.eu/020 3763 6978

NOTES FOR EDITORS

About Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund

Foresight and Williams announced the unique collaboration represented by the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund in November 2016. It combines the Williams Advanced Engineering team’s expertise with Foresight’s successful investment track record.

The Fund enables investors to qualify for relief under the UK Government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme (“EIS”) for investment into early stage UK SMEs with strong intellectual property in their own specialist fields.

The Fund plans to make investments of up to £3 million into at least ten qualifying UK SMEs per investor, supporting the next generation of engineering technology success stories in the UK.

About the Foresight Scottish Growth Fund

The recently established £20 million Foresight Scottish Growth Fund under the Scottish Growth Scheme contributes up to £2 million of equity to investment rounds of up to £10 million in growing Scottish SMEs. Investing over the next five years, the Fund aims to support economic growth and job creation in Scotland, also attracting additional private sector investment, by backing exciting growth companies across a range of sectors.

The Foresight Scottish Growth Fund (Scottish Growth Scheme – Foresight Group Equity Finance LP) is financed by the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund from the 2014-20 European Structural Funds Programme in Scotland. It is part of the Scottish Growth Scheme, a £500 million package of financial support for Scottish businesses backed by the Scottish Government, which aims to help businesses grow.

About Foresight Group LLP (“Foresight”):

Foresight is a leading independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager which has been managing investment funds on behalf of institutions and retail clients for more than 30 years.

Foresight has £2.9 billion of Assets Under Management across a number of funds, including Listed Vehicles, Limited Partnerships, Enterprise Investment Schemes (EISs), Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Inheritance Tax Solutions using Business Property Relief (BPR).

Foresight’s Private Equity team, comprising 24 investment professionals, pursues four discrete but complementary investment styles: Venture, Impact, Growth and Replacement Capital through its growing regional office network.  

Foresight was voted ‘Best VCT Investment Manager’ at the 2017 Growth Investor Awards, having been previously awarded ‘VCT House of the Year’ at the 2016 Unquote British Private Equity awards.  Foresight was recently a shortlisted finalist in the 2018 Unquote British Private Equity Awards as Venture and Growth Capital House of the Year. Foresight was recently names ‘Fund Manager of the Year’ at the PLC Awards.

Foresight is headquartered in London with regional UK offices in Manchester, Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Leicester and Guernsey and international offices in Sydney, Rome, Madrid and Seoul.

www.foresightgroup.eu

About Williams Advanced Engineering

Williams Advanced Engineering Limited operates a technology and engineering services business and is part of the Williams Group.

In 2010, Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited began diversifying its operations, leading to the establishment of the Williams Advanced Engineering division, which has now become Williams Advanced Engineering Limited. Combining cutting edge technology and the industry’s best engineers with precision and speed to market derived from four decades of success in the ultra-competitive environment of Formula One, Williams Advanced Engineering provides world class technical innovation, engineering, testing, manufacturing and operational consultancy services to the automotive, motorsport, aerospace, defence, health and energy sectors. Working in close collaboration with its customers, Williams Advanced Engineering helps meet the sustainability challenges of the 21st century and improve performance, with its expertise in aerodynamics and thermodynamics, electrification, advanced lightweight materials, simulation and vehicle integration.  The Company was honoured with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation 2018.

For more information see www.wae.com, follow on TwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.

About The Scottish Investment Bank

The Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) is the investment arm of Scotland’s national economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise, operating Scotland-wide in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise.  SIB’s activities support Scotland’s SME funding market to ensure businesses with growth and export potential have adequate access to growth capital and loan funding.

SIB manages a suite of co- investment funds including the Scottish Co-investment Fund and the Scottish Venture Fund, and the Energy Investment Fund on behalf of the Scottish Government. SIB is also an investor in Epidarex Capital’s Life Sciences Fund and is a participant in the Scottish-European Growth Co-Investment Programme with funding secured from Scottish Government’s Scottish Growth Scheme alongside the European Investment Fund.

SIB also provides funding into LendingCrowd, Scotland’s marketplace lender providing loans to SMEs.  SIB’s team of Financial Readiness specialists help companies to prepare for new investment and access appropriate finance.

Sustainable Marine Energy closes £3.46 million Series A investment led by Scottish Investment Bank and

Tidal energy company Sustainable Marine Energy Limited (SME) has secured equity investment totalling £3.46 million to further develop its PLAT-I tidal energy platform system.

The Edinburgh-based business has closed its latest funding round, to which the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) has committed £1m on behalf of the Scottish Government via the latter’s Energy Investment Fund (EIF).

Marine propulsion and renewable energy company SCHOTTEL HYDRO GmbH (SCHOTTEL) has contributed £2.46m to the fund-raise.

SME undertook initial testing of the PLAT-I system near Connel, Argyll and Bute in 2018. The device was then transported to Grand Passage, Nova Scotia, where it generated power for the first time in February this year.

There it is continuing SME’s testing and demonstration programme in preparation for the build out of a larger project at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) located in the Minas Passage of the Bay of Fundy. 

Jason Hayman, Managing Director, SME said: “It is fantastic, and a great testament to the team for all their hard work to close this funding round. Securing new investment from the Scottish Investment Bank and commitment from SCHOTTEL for our work in Nova Scotia will enable us to take a significant step forward on our renewable energy journey.”

SIB Director Kerry Sharp said: “SME has repeatedly proved its resourcefulness, culminating in the successful testing of its innovative PLAT-I platform and generation of first power. We’ve supported the company every step of the way since it relocated to Scotland in 2016 and have underlined our continued backing by contributing to its latest fund-raise.

“This investment could ultimately see SME further its commercial activity, placing the company at the forefront of the development of tidal energy technologies and further cementing Scotland’s position as a leading player in the global transition to a low-carbon economy.”

ENDS (17.04.2109)

CONTACT INFORMATION

Press Office
pressoffice@scotent.co.ukScottish Enterprise is Scotland’s national economic development agency and aims to deliver a significant, lasting effect on the Scottish economy. Our role is to help identify and exploit the best opportunities for economic growth. We support ambitious Scottish companies to compete within the global marketplace and help build Scotland’s globally competitive sectors. We also work with a range of partners in the public and private sectors to attract new investment to Scotland and to help create a world-class business environment.

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Verv raises over £6.5 million Series A for its smart hub tackling climate change with AI and Blockchain

April 10, 2019

Verv, the Google-mentored start-up behind a cutting-edge smart energy hub and green electricity sharing platform, today announced that it has raised over £6.5 million in its Series A round led by environmental fund Earthworm.

Earthworm has invested £5 million in Verv’s pioneering IoT and renewable energy trading technology that could drive down household electricity bills and carbon emissions by over 20%. Other investors in the round include European innovation engine for sustainable energy, InnoEnergy, Crowdcube and international energy and services company, Centrica.

Earthworm’s investment is an important backing of Verv’s vision to make millions of homes more green with a global network of smart hubs that offer a real-time breakdown of key appliance use and spend, as well as enable the trading of domestic renewable energy between communities.

Will Brocklebank, Head of Projects and Partnerships at Earthworm who has now joined the Verv board, said: “At Earthworm we are driven by sustainability and Verv represents a brilliant example of ‘enabling’ technology. Its energy metering, analytics and renewable energy trading platform will help millions to reduce energy consumption, to shift their demand to minimise cost and CO2.”

Verv will use the investment to continue its push into global markets, leveraging its growing footprint in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, supported by further development of its three-phase electricity smart hub which enables huge growth in reach by providing compatibility with even more buildings. Verv will also be scaling up its peer-to-peer energy trading pilots and taking its technology to new markets ready for commercial application, as well as expanding its internal home control system for the next generation of smart home energy management systems.

Verv’s customers include British Gas, PTT and Dubai Electricity & Water Authority. Verv conducted the UK’s first peer-to-peer trade of energy on blockchain technology last year at one of its pilot sites in Hackney, London where its cutting-edge energy trading platform is being brought to life.

Verv is Google-mentored having been one of a handful of UK startups selected to take part in Launchpad, Google’s global startup programme in 2017.

Head of Technology at Google, Mark Masterson, said of the Series A funding: “When I saw Verv pitch for a space on our start-up programme in 2017, I was extremely impressed by their vision and drive to push the boundaries of tech with their leading edge AI technology and blockchain. To see them bring this to life, expand their global footprint and achieve some amazing accolades like conducting the UK’s first trade of energy on the blockchain, I couldn’t be more proud. They are riding at the forefront of the energy industry to try and create positive change, and I wish them huge success going forward.

Established in 2015, Verv has raised over £10 million to date with investment from the likes of Innogy International Middle East, Scytale Ventures and equity crowdfunding. Centrica (British Gas), who had previously invested £1.9m into Verv through its social impact investment fund Ignite via a convertible loan, exchanged this loan for shares in the Series A round which is a huge testament to the Verv team and Centrica’s belief in them.

CEO & Founder of Verv Peter Davies said: “It’s vital to have investors that not only understand your vision and mission, but share your passion to deliver it. As our lead investor, Earthworm have huge expertise in the energy industry, as well as a strong foundation and network to help move us from start-up to scale-up. We couldn’t be more pleased to have them join our network of valued investors to help accelerate our traction. We are extremely excited for the next phase of our growth as we help to drive the transition to the decarbonisation of households.”

Sustainable accelerator InnoEnergy will support Verv with its impressive IP roadmap which already consists of 7 filed patents for its AI and blockchain technology, as well as connect the team to market and commercial opportunities across Europe.

Alexander Goos, Business Creation Manager at InnoEnergy, said: “Our industry connections and energy specific expertise will be a perfect fit with the needs of Verv. The solutions they develop potentially impact markets in ways that seem like fantasy today. Verv will not only generate efficiencies and insights for households but also enable new business models for energy providers, utilities and other industries.”

About Verv’s technology

Verv’s technology reads data up to five million times faster than a smart meter, enabling it to identify unique energy signatures and unlock real-time consumption and cost per appliance, amongst other smart home features, to help drive behavioural change in the home.

Taking the smart home one step further, Verv has created a peer-to-peer renewable energy trading platform based on blockchain technology. The trading platform allows homeowners with renewable energy generation like solar panels to sell surplus energy directly to their neighbours at the best economic value for both parties. This enables green energy to become more readily accessible and affordable to the masses and also incentivises the uptake of renewable energy by offering owners a return on their investment, a particularly important point given the end of the feed-in-tariff.

Verv’s blockchain-based platform is currently being implemented at a social housing community in London where Verv executed the UK’s first peer-to-peer trade of energy using blockchain in April 2018. Centrica have joined the second phase of the trial which will focus on bill consolidation.

Ozo Innovations secured £600k Grant funding from UK Government

Oxford, UK, January 30 2019: Ozo Innovations (Ozo) announces that it has secured over £600,000 project funding from the Department of Business Energy Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator (IEEA) Programme managed by the Carbon Trust and Jacobs.

The IEEA aims to lower costs and increase the number of available energy efficient technologies for a range of industrial sectors, through demonstration of near to market innovations. This will help to reduce carbon emissions and improve the competitiveness of UK industry. The funding will enable Ozo to substantiate the significant energy savings that could be achieved by implementing Ozo’s eloclear® hygiene process.

The project hopes to demonstrate that it is possible to:

  • remove hot water from the food factory hygiene process;
  • reduce the total volume of water used; and
  • achieve robust high-quality hygiene outcomes.

The food industry’s reliance on hot water for hygiene means that it is an energy intensive process, yet it is often an unrecognised hygiene cost, as utilities spend is managed separately from hygiene chemicals, labour and testing costs.

Ozo substitutes cold electrolysed water for hot water, which requires significantly less power to produce. Using “cold water” for hygiene further benefits food processors that operate in chilled environments as it reduces condensation and removes the energy costs associated with re-chilling spaces that become warm when cleaned with hot water. The business has been working with leading UK food companies to optimise the technology and help businesses be more sustainable and competitive.

This demonstration project will compare the energy saving benefits of eloclear over the current industry standard of hot water based, multi-step chemical cleaning, across a number of standard hygiene procedures. Results will be published once the project is complete, in around 18 months’ time.

The trial site chosen is a leading maker of sandwiches, recognising that the “food-to-go” standards are some of the most demanding in the food industry.

“Consumers are recognising that their food choices are putting the planet under pressure. We use 70% of our fresh water for food production. Hygiene is an area, which offers an opportunity to save energy and water whilst maintaining or improving standards. This is good for everyone, as better hygiene means we can achieve longer shelf life, reduce food waste and maintain the safety of our food. We are delighted to have the support of Carbon Trust and Jacobs to demonstrate the energy credentials of eloclear,”

said Rowan Gardner, CEO of Ozo.

Paul Huggins, Director Innovation, the Carbon Trust:

“This exciting technology could have a major impact throughout the food industry, radically simplifying the way the sector carry out their hygiene processes. We are looking forward to working with Ozo, and scrutinising both the technical performance and energy saving credentials of the technology.”

About Ozo Innovations  

Ozo develops and markets novel products for effective cleaning and disinfection, and food safety applications. The company’s systems transform food grade salt and water into powerful disinfectants using electrolysis. The company works with leading food companies, authorities and retailers to prove the safety and efficiency of their approach. Ozo delivers benefits that are significant and quantifiable and add competitive advantage to the food industry:

  • Additional production capacity – saving time cleaning and achieving more robust hygiene outcomes delivers more time for production
  • Resource savings – Reducing energy, water, effluent and manpower spent on food hygiene and facilities cleaning and disinfections
  • Significant new value opportunities – through process innovation, product quality and risk reduction

Ozo’s products are in situ biocides for the purposes of EU (528/2012) Biocide Product Regulations (BPR). The company is listed on Article 95 as a provider of active substances.

eloclear® is a registered Trade Mark of Ozo Innovations Ltd.

About IEEA 

  • The IEEA is four-year, £9.2m programme funded by BEIS. The Carbon Trust and Jacobs manage the programme, in addition to providing project management and incubation assistance to the participating companies. The IEEA is designed to support partnerships between developers of innovative energy efficient technologies and industrial companies willing to test technologies on-site. The programme is open to projects from all UK industry sectors that can demonstrate either a novel technology (targeting Technology Readiness Level 5-8), or the use of an established technology in a novel way.
  • The BEIS IEEA allows promising innovators to demonstrate their technology in an operational environment and increase confidence from potential users. The BEIS IEEA also provides forward-looking industrial companies with an opportunity to implement pioneering technologies with decreased risk and capital cost.

For further information, please contact:
Lisa Holloway
Marketing Manager
Ozo Innovations
Email: pr@ozoinnovations.com
Tel: +44-(0)-1865-891012