Company using satellites to detect subsidence raises £1.5m
A company whose technology can detect subsidence from satellite data has secured £1.5m from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, and the Government’s Future Fund.
The latest funding round comes as Leeds-based SatSense is about to launch its new online platform which will be the first to give engineers and other professionals instant access to up-to-date information on ground movements at sites throughout the UK and beyond.
Subsidence data is widely used in conveyancing, mortgage lending and insurance to identify properties at risk of subsidence. SatSense has already secured a contract with environmental search provider Groundsure, which is now using the data in its reports.
However its platform can also monitor changing ground conditions on an ongoing basis and provide early warnings, for example where an embankment is showing signs of movement, or a reservoir or railway line may be under threat. Therefore it can help utility companies or asset managers to ensure the safety of infrastructure such as pipelines, power plants, mines and road and rail networks – as well as assess the stability of sites earmarked for future development.
SatSense was launched in 2018 by Professors Tim Wright and Andy Hooper from the University of Leeds, who had spent a combined 35 years developing the algorithms. The latest investment will allow it to further develop the product and boost its seven-strong team, creating six new jobs in the year ahead. It is the third funding round by NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance and brings the total raised by the company to almost £3m.
Matthew Bray, SatSense CEO, said:
“The SatSense founders have taken technology that was once only available to governments and research institutes and made it accessible for day to day business use. Our system is the only one that offers instant access to highly accurate, near real-time data over huge areas. The service will become all the more important given the impact of climate change. As hotter summers and wetter winters exacerbate seasonal changes in ground conditions, it will allow us to identify areas worst affected and provide warnings on infrastructure or properties at risk.”
Will Clark, Head of Equity at Mercia, said:
“Subsidence is not only a costly problem for property owners, it is also a major hazard. Landslips, the failure of bridges or dams and even sinkholes can result in widespread disruption and loss of life. SatSense’s technology marks a step change in our ability to monitor sites remotely and detect changes at an early stage. We believe it has potential for worldwide use to help reduce costs and prevent future disasters.”
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 was established to 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. The Future Fund, now closed to new applications, provides UK-based companies with convertible loans, on the condition that third-party investors at least match the Government’s commitment. The convertible loans are designed to convert into equity at the next qualifying funding round. The Future Fund is developed by government and delivered by the British Business Bank.