‘Digital twin’ pioneer raises £1.5m as it prepares for launch
Slingshot Simulations, the Leeds-based start-up which is a global pioneer in the field of ‘digital twin’ technology, has raised a further £1.5m of investment as it prepares to roll out its system to its first commercial customers.
The funding comes from existing investor NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), as well as the government’s Future Fund, and will help the business to scale its operations.
Slingshot’s technology allows businesses to create a virtual model of an object or a location to test new ideas – for example, to find the best layout in a building to reduce Covid-19 infections, or the most cost-effective route for goods from warehouse to delivery. It is already being used to explore ways to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution in Leeds, York and Hull as part of a government-backed trial which will be one of the biggest digital twin projects of its type.
Slingshot has already had interest from around 100 potential customers including construction firms and local authorities from as far afield as Canada and the US. It will start to deploy its technology from February, taking on small batches of new users at a time.
Slingshot’s CEO Dr David McKee, who also sits on the board of the global trade body, the Digital Twin Consortium, alongside top executives from Microsoft and Dell, says:
“Digital twins have huge potential to improve our lives – to cut costs, improve public health, identify risks and reduce accidents. However until now the cost of this technology has limited its use to large corporations. This funding will take us one step closer to our goal to make digital twins accessible to organisations of all sizes.”
Slingshot was first backed by NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance in 2019 as part of a £750,000 round which also included investment from the university.
Will Clark of Mercia said:
“David and his team have won international recognition for their work and their platform opens up new possibilities for businesses in areas such as construction, transport and logistics, product development and manufacturing. We are pleased to be able to fund them once again to help them launch their product into the market.”
Ken Cooper, Managing Director at the British Business Bank, said:
“With £500m of funding to back ambitious companies across the North, NPIF is committed to supporting ambitious businesses like Slingshot on their growth journey. This is an excellent example of an NPIF investee business growing in value, while driving innovation and creating new opportunities for the region.”
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.
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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 currently has c.£872million of assets under management and, since its IPO in December 2014, has invested over c.£106million across its direct investment portfolio.
The Group raises its own Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Funds and manages Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) 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
About the Future Fund
The Future Fund will support the UK’s innovative businesses currently affected by Covid-19. These businesses have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as CBILS, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. Initially, £250 million was made available by the government for investment through the scheme, to be matched by private investors, with the Treasury making clear the amount could be increased if needed. Due to the popularity of the Fund, more funding is being made available. Developed by the government and delivered by the British Business Bank, the Future Fund launched for applications in May and is open until the end of January 2021.