Construction pioneers raise £250k for digital ‘game changer’
Two UK construction experts who aim to revolutionise the industry through the use of digital technology have raised £250,000 to bring their smart building software to market.
Ian Yeo and Scott Pilgrim launched Bimsense four years ago after becoming frustrated by the traditional approach to building design, construction and management. The Hull-based consultancy has advised on major developments throughout the UK and internationally and has now developed its own operations and maintenance software, Operance.
The funding from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, will allow it to commercialise the system and create 10 new jobs over the next two years.
Bimsense specialises in building information modelling (BIM), which allows construction projects to be created digitally before they are built to address issues normally identifiedon site or after completion. This helps save time and money, improve quality and reduce potential safety risks. The data it provides also enables building owners to operate and maintain the building efficiently over the long term.
BIM is widely accepted as the best way to achieve the government’s aim of reducing construction and operating costs by a third, and is in line with the Grenfell Tower report’s recommendation to create a digital lifecycle record. Operance help meets this challenge by creating a ‘golden thread’ – a digital audit trail covering the entire history of facilities, enabling better decision making and increased accountability.
Ian Yeo, CEO at Bimsense, said: “We’re delighted and excited to secure this investment to deliver our long-term ambition of digitising and ‘humanising’ building information to help create safer, healthier places for people to live, work and spend their leisure time.
“We know the devastating effects that poor, mismanaged information and ill-informed decisions can have on people’s lives. This funding helps us to tackle these issues, by enabling project teams to develop better quality information for end-users to access in a really easy, user-friendly way.”
Maurice Disai, Investment Associate at Mercia said:
“Although construction and property management is the fourth biggest contributor to GDP, it is one of the least digitised sectors. The Operance system could have a huge impact in terms of reducing costs and improving safety and quality of life for building users.
“The proof of concept version of this software has already generated a great deal of interest within the industry by showing the cost and performance benefits of using a digital building information platform. The funding will allow Bimsense to further enhance the product and bring it to market.”
Stephen Parnaby OBE, Chair of the Humber LEP, said:
“We are delighted to see another Humber business benefit from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, which continues to bring vital finance to the region’s businesses. This funding will not only create additional local employment and opportunities within the supply chain, but will also help many other construction companies through its innovative software.”
Mark Wilcockson at British Business Bank, said:
“Since its launch in 2017, NPIF’s impact on businesses has been wide-ranging, providing funding to launch new products, employ new staff, enter new markets and acquire new facilities. We are pleased that NPIF is continuing to unlock the Humber’s growth potential by supporting small growing businesses with vital investment, particularly those that have the potential to revolutionise their respective sector.”
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.
For more information, please contact:
+44 (0) 161 860 6063
+44 (0) 780 163 9816
About Mercia Asset Management PLC
Mercia is a proactive, specialist asset manager focused on supporting regional SMEs to achieve their growth aspirations. Mercia provides capital across its four asset classes of balance sheet, venture, private equity and debt capital: the Group’s ‘Complete Capital Solution’. The Group initially nurtures businesses via its third-party funds under management, then over time Mercia can provide further funding to the most promising companies, by deploying direct investment follow-on capital from its own balance sheet.
Mercia has a strong UK regional footprint through its eight offices, 19 university partnerships and extensive personal networks, providing it with access to high-quality deal flow. Mercia has almost £0.8billion of assets under management and, since its IPO in December 2014, has invested over £90.0million across its direct investment portfolio.
The Group raises its own Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Funds and details about open offers can be found through Mercia’s website.
Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC” and includes the following wholly owned subsidiaries –
- Mercia Fund Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 524856
- Enterprise Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 183363
- EV Business Loans Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 443560
About The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund
- The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will invest in Microfinance, Business Loans and Equity Finance sub-funds which will offer financing ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.
- The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.
- The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company.
- The NPIF covers the following LEP areas: Tees Valley Combined Authority, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Liverpool City Region, Lancashire, Humber, Leeds City Region, Sheffield City Region, York, North Yorkshire and East Riding
- The project is receiving up to £140,359,192 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
- The funds in which Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in, Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West and Tees Valley.
- The British Business Bank has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). The guide, which impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses and provides links to support available at a regional level, is available at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb
Business Information Modelling (BIM) consultancy Bimsense ( www.bimsense.com ) was launched in 2016 by Ian Yeo and Scott Pilgrim, who had become frustrated at the traditional, analogue way of designing, building and operating facilities.
Driven by a passion for digitising construction processes, Bimsense’s vision is no less than to organise the world’s building information.
Based at Hull’s Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) tech hub, Bimsense aims to revolutionise the use of BIM in construction projects with simple and affordable services and innovative software products.
Bimsense’s Operance software is a smart, user-friendly building information platform. It enables teams to define, structure, validate and access information to provide greater ownership and accountability in order to design, build and maintain safer, more efficient buildings.
For more information please contact:
Chief Product Officer
+44 (0) 7939 808441