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DIGIT Deal Roundup Column | August 2021 Edition

David Paul

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deal roundup
Our deal roundup for August has arrived! We see funding and deals from Reath, SnapDragon, Trojan Energy and Smarter Grid Solutions.

Investment and Funding

SnapDragon

deal roundup

Edinburgh-based SnapDragon Monitoring raised £1.2 million in a funding round last month as the firm looks to help brand owners tackle fake products online.

The round, which saw investment secured from ACF Investors, Mercia and Scottish Enterprise, brings the total raised to just over £3m.

SnapDragon said the cash injection will be used to further develop its tech capabilities and continue building the team as it expands globally. The firm has expanded its headcount by 25% in the last 12 months to support a growing client portfolio.

Commenting on the funding round, SnapDragon founder Rachel Jones said: “We are pleased to have successfully raised additional funding to enable further business development and growth.

“We are a female-led business, bucking the trend in terms of raising investment and being in the tech space – and delivering outstanding results to protect brands around the world.”

Jones added: “We are hugely proud of everything the team has achieved to date, not least preventing over £100m of fake goods being sold in the last 12 months, and look forward to future growth and success.”

Tim Mills, Managing Partner of ACF Investors, commented: “SnapDragon Monitoring is tackling a global counterfeit problem head on by safeguarding and protecting brands of all sizes from online threats and infringements, and we are delighted to support the company through its next phase of growth.

“The company has also been able to capitalise on the thriving Scottish tech scene, with access to an international workforce shown in its rapidly growing team.”

Want to find out more? Read the full article here.


Trojan Energy

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Clean energy firm Trojan Energy secured £2.2m in funding to support the roll-out of its on-street electric vehicle charging hubs.

The investment round, led by Equity Gap, includes pledges from Scottish Enterprise, SIS Ventures and Aberdeen-based angel investors Alba Equity.

Trojan Energy confirmed the investment will be used to further improve its charging technology, install additional charge points across the country and expand its team.

Ian Mackenzie, CEO of Trojan Energy, commented: “We specialise in EV charging without pavement clutter, and this investment allows us to commercialise further the technology and expand our business, creating more charging points on each street and making the technology accessible to more customers.”

Fraser Lusty of Scottish angel investors Equity Gap said: “This investment in Trojan Energy comes after an extremely successful year for the company, following our initial seed funding investment in 2020.

“The market potential for Trojan Energy is immense, and its technology is applicable worldwide. The technology is unique and, by enabling the team to further develop and refine its cutting-edge EV charging system, we expect to see Trojan Energy expand to other areas of the UK and rapidly gain market share.”

The latest funding round follows a successful period for Trojan Energy, which has grown its workforce from four employees to a team of 12.

Following the investment, it plans to increase the team size to around 20 by creating a range of new roles spanning engineering, project management and customer services.

Jan Robertson, Interim Director of Growth Investments at Scottish Enterprise, said: “It is fantastic to see this innovative company developing the solution to a problem that might otherwise slow down the UK’s transition to clean energy.

“The fact that the company’s founders hail from the oil and gas industry and now are leading the way in the energy transition is a fantastic example of pivoting the nation’s skills in this new era of clean energy.

“Scottish Enterprise is excited to support the progress that Trojan Energy is expected to make in the coming months and years.”

Want to find out more? Read the full article here.


GLORY and OneBanks

deal roundup

Japanese technology firm GLORY announced plans to invest in Scottish fintech startup OneBanks as the firm primes for a Series A funding round.

The plans will see GLORY become a “cornerstone” investor in the shared branch banking startup after acquiring a significant minority stake.

Toshimitsu Yoshinari, Chief Solutions Officer at GLORY Global Solutions, commented: “We have many decades of experience helping banks transform their physical branch networks using the latest technologies in response to changing consumer expectations.

“We are delighted to be making this investment in OneBanks as they seek to introduce, in partnership with the major UK banks, their new open banking-enabled approach to providing this service to communities across the UK through shared branches.”

The Scottish fintech has previously secured capital from angel investors, including Rupert Pennant-Rea, former deputy governor of the Bank of England. Other notable backers include former Conservative cabinet minister, Baroness Bottomley.

Duncan Cockburn, Founder and CEO of OneBanks, believes the support from GLORY will greatly benefit the firm as it continues to expand: “To have a leading global provider of banking technology solutions for the financial industry buying in so enthusiastically into our vision is immensely valuable – particularly at this stage in our development.

“Access to cash and the need for human interaction are still highly valued by many in our communities. We look forward to working together with our new partners to ensure that our concept of shared branch banking gains the widespread adoption to which we aspire.”

Want to find out more? Read the full article here.


Reath

deal roundup

Edinburgh-based Reath has secured £313,000 in pre-seed funding, which it said will be used to improve it’s systems and build its team.

In a bid to help fight climate change, the startup, founded in 2019, has created digital infrastructure to deal with packaging recycling.

VC firm Techstart and CVC Philanthropy led Reath’s investment round, which was also backed by Innovate UK, Tech Nation and other leading startup funds.

Commenting on the funding, Claire Rampen, the Co-founder of Reath, said: “We are so pleased to be partnering with Techstart and CVC Philanthropy on our Pre-Seed round.

“Our ambition was to find world-leading partners with expertise in early-stage companies, and connections to retailers globally. Together, Techstart and CVC cover both of those bases.

“We look forward to their support propelling us towards our goal of reducing waste and increasing the lifespan of items.”

Emily Rogers, the Co-founder of Reath added: “Reath was founded in response to the urgent need for waste reduction at an international, national and local level.

“The power of individual choice is immense, but as a consumer, there is only so much you can do when your choice is between something bad or something worse. Raising this current round of funding means Reath can continue to power the businesses who are giving consumers a better choice: to reuse instead of throwing away.

“TechStart and CVC understand this urgency and the need for innovation, so we are thrilled to have them as partners as we continue to develop our market leading product.”

Want to find out more? Read the full article here.


InidiNature

deal roundup

Sustainable construction materials business IndiNature  has established Scotland’s first factory producing carbon negative insulation after a £3m investment from the Scottish National Investment Bank.

The Bank’s investment will enable the business to scale up production at its new facility in Jedburgh and target new domestic and international markets.

It has also unlocked grant funding provided by Zero Waste Scotland (£803k) and South of Scotland Enterprise (£250k).

Eilidh Mactaggart, CEO of the Scottish National Investment Bank, said: “The Bank’s investment in IndiNature supports an innovative Scottish company to build its first factory and help to accelerate the transition of the construction industry to net zero.

“Decarbonisation of the industry is a critical element of Scotland’s journey to net zero.

“IndiNature’s innovative natural fibre insulation supports this journey in two clear ways, increasing energy efficiency of buildings and storing carbon within the insulating material itself.

“It was clear through working with IndiNature its products fundamentally supported the delivery of the Bank’s missions.

“The Bank’s patient capital can help the company to achieve its growth aspirations, with positive economic and environmental benefits for Scotland as a result”, Mactaggart adds.

Scott Simpson, Co-founder & CEO of IndiNature, said: “It feels great that we can move forward to create local Borders jobs and make insulation on scale in Scotland – insulation that’s good for people’s health and the planet.

“The demand for local, natural alternatives in construction is increasing.”

Simpson continues: “At IndiNature we love using crops from UK farmers – it’s so critical the world moves faster toward what’s known as the circular bio-economy by using plants in products, to reduce waste and naturally capture carbon.

“The fossil fuel era has to end – we can replace it with traditional natural materials and new cleantech innovations.”

Want to find out more? Read the full article here.


FlexMedical Solutions

deal roundup

Scottish diagnostics specialist FlexMedical Solutions gained £1m through a major investment in August.

The company doubled its revenue for the year ending 30th April 2021, hitting £3m. It is currently on track to make around £4.5m of revenue in the current year.

With around 70% of the FlexMedical’s revenue coming from outside the UK, the company plans to increasingly target the North American market in 2022.

CEO and co-founder Kevin Fallon said: “Human diagnostics is very much in the headlines due to the pandemic, with governments and investors alike having their eyes opened to the power of diagnostics, particularly around point-of-care, and we’ve seen that impact positively on the business.

“If you look at the UK alone, healthcare economics now demand that more people are managed at home to lower the chance of the NHS being overburdened.

“Other than an initial lockdown wobble, we have been very fortunate to see continuing sustained growth since the pandemic started.

“While the manufacture and development of Covid tests is a relatively small part of the business, and in fact we were growing as rapidly pre-pandemic, what we think is more important is that we are definitely seeing an indirect upside in terms of increased investor activity and a greater appetite and take-up of point-of-care technology in general.”

Fallon added that FlexMedical will remain self-funded in the immediate term, although he is not ruling out external investment or acquisitions in the medium term: “Our focus for the next twelve months centres on the significant growth opportunities we have in international markets.

“At the same time, if we spot value-adding growth by way of acquisition, then that’s certainly something we’re going to look at.”

Want to find out more? Read the full article here.


MEP Technologies

deal roundup

Dundee-based battery manufacturer MEP Technologies gave the green light on a government-funded project to produce new battery technology for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in August.

The partnership has secured nearly £250,000 of funding for the nine-month project, which will be driven by Composites Evolution, in collaboration with MEP Technologies, alongside the University of Wolverhampton’s School of Engineering and Carr Reinforcements.

Stuart Morrison, managing director of MEP Technologies, said: “We will be responsible firstly for collecting market research from existing and potential future customers, informing a detailed performance plan which will then be shared with our collaborators.

“In the later stages of the project, we will design, develop, prototype and test a working battery module, which will be capable of detecting and suppressing a thermal event – which is the industry term for a fire.

“Should this occur, our Battery Management System will react by flooding the battery segment to make safe and therefore mitigate a thermal runaway event.”

Want to find out more? Read the full article here.


University of Edinburgh and Scale Space

deal roundup

In August, £6.27m was raised by 15 innovative Edinburgh University startups.

They were selected to participate in the first AI for Post Covid Recovery Accelerator programme, building on previous activities, launched by the University of Edinburgh and Scale Space, the workspace community dedicated to scaleups.

The programme has been funded by the Scottish Funding Council and the DDI Programme.

Lenz Labs were awarded a contract for £343,000 as part of the First of a Kind competition by the Department for Transport [DIT], United Kingdom and Innovate UK

Reath secured a pilot of their technology with Marks & Spencer, helping to improve and track re-use of their packaging, whilst Zeg achieved their fastest ever raise following attendance at an investor event run during the programme.

Charlotte Waugh, Enterprise and Innovation Programme Lead, Edinburgh Innovations, said: “Edinburgh continues to be a place where entrepreneurs flourish and investment opportunities abound.

“The AI For Post Covid Accelerator demonstrates that AI is a key investor focus, successfully scaling 15 companies during a difficult year when new, AI technologies were needed to lead the post covid revolution.

“The companies have made good use of the expertise and support on offer and scaled in a very short time – a testament to their hard work, a great programme team and the thriving ecosystem The University, DDI and Scale Space are delivering through this cutting edge Accelerator.”

Jim Ashe, Director of Innovation, Bayes Centre, College of Science and Engineering said: “The University of Edinburgh is home to the largest centre for computing science and informatics in Europe.

“The AI Accelerator has delivered investment opportunities for our data driven AI cohort companies enabling business growth. The AI Accelerator is hosted at the Universities’ Bayes Centre, which provides a dynamic environment – enabling connections with investors, mentors and their peers.”

Want to find out more? Read the full article here.


DigitalBoost Fund

deal roundup

A fund aimed at helping businesses adopt digital technologies has received an additional £25m backing from the Scottish Government.

The DigitalBoost Fund, jointly led by Business Gateway and the Scottish Government, launched in January this year. The fund offers small to medium-sized businesses grants worth up to £25,000.

In a statement, the Scottish Government said the additional investment will allow businesses to adopt the tech and skills needed to increase their competitiveness, productivity and resilience.

Economy Secretary Kate Forbes commented: “The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated just how important digital technologies are for businesses. I am delighted that so many businesses have adapted to working with new technology and innovated how they work at great pace.

“This additional £25m investment in the DigitalBoost Fund will support even more businesses to invest in their digital capacity.”

Forbes added: “This 100-day Scottish Government commitment reinforces our determination to support businesses to improve their digital skills and technologies to ensure they can help drive forward our economic recovery and support net-zero.”

Councillor Steven Heddle, Chair of Business Gateway and COSLA spokesperson for the Environment and Economy commented: “Scottish local government is again delighted to welcome the DigitalBoost Development Grant Scheme.

“Together with the existing free expert advice and online support from both DigitalBoost and the wider Business Gateway service, available across Scotland as part of the business support councils provide locally, this grant will help Scottish businesses strengthen, advance and rebuild their platforms, processes, systems and people to help local economies thrive.”

Want to find out more? Read the full article here.


Deals and Aquisitions

Smarter Grid Solutions and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

deal roundup

University of Strathclyde spin-out Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) has been acquired by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation for an undisclosed fee.

Upon completion, SGS will maintain operations in Glasgow while reporting to Mitsubishi Electric Corporation’s subsidiary, Mitsubishi Electric Power Products.

Commenting on the acquisition, SGS CEO Brent Marshall said: “We are thrilled to join Mitsubishi Electric and expand the reach of our energy management enterprise software to DER customers around the globe and – in turn – assist those customers to better manage DER assets as they strive to decarbonize their operations.”

Brian Heery, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Electric Power Products added: “We are very excited to bring SGS into Mitsubishi Electric. They are committed to the mission of decarbonizing electric power production and have spent the last decade developing world-class products and processes.

“We look forward to marrying their products with our suite of grid control products to help our customers respond to changes and still get the best performance from their electric grids.”

Since spinning out of the University of Strathclyde, the company has expanded significantly, opening offices in both Scotland the United States.

Noriyuki Takazawa, Group President of Energy and Industrial Systems Group at Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, said: “SGS offers innovative solutions that have helped power utilities in Europe and North America install, manage and optimize renewable energy resources, and we look forward to bringing that DER management core competency to new markets around the globe.

“The SGS solutions align with the Mitsubishi Electric Environmental Sustainability Vision to realize a decarbonized society by the year 2050 through reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”

Want to find out more? Read the full article here.


Legasea and Harbour Energy

deal roundup

Legasea has been awarded a contract for Subsea Services and Associated Goods, in support of Harbour Energy’s operations in the UKCS.

The contract will run for an initial five years. The award covers a range of electrical, mechanical and hydraulic engineering services, as well as consultation in relation to decommissioning and the circular economy.

Ray Milne, Operations Director at Legasea said: “We are delighted to be providing support to assist Harbour’s vital investment in the future of the North Sea.

“We look forward to developing our relationship with them further, by providing safe, efficient and sustainable delivery of goods and services.”


Virgin Money and Shot Scope

deal roundup

Virgin Money partnered with capital firm Shot Scope, providing a funding deal to help it scale globally.

Over the last six years, Shot Scope has grown to a team of 20 based at the company’s head office and raised more than £7m investment through key shareholders, which include Old College Capital and the University of Edinburgh’s in-house venture investment fund.

The firm said it plans to scale globally through 2022-23, initially targeting the US where it already has a commercial presence.

Finance director Dean Anderson said: “In Virgin Money, Shot Scope has found a partner that is supportive and aligned with the company’s vision for international growth.

“The funding package and support they have provided, combined with ongoing support from shareholders is key to global expansion of the company 2022-23.”

Usman Ali, senior director from Virgin Money’s growth finance team, added: “Shot Scope is one of the leading technology businesses within the golf market and they have seen significant growth over the last 12 months.”


TelcoSwitch and SureVoIP

TelcoSwitch, a leading software provider of unified communications and compliance solutions, announced the acquisition of Scottish-based firm SureVoIP in August.

The deal will add new infrastructure to enhance TelcoSwitch’s status as an enterprise network carrier, while also increasing resilience with data centres in both London and Edinburgh.

The SureVoIP acquisition is TelcoSwitch’s third in seven months and was made possible in part due to an additional growth capital funding round with Boost&Co. The deal will add valuable IP to the TelcoSwitch portfolio, specifically enhancing the company’s offerings for the SOHO/micro market.

It also creates the potential for more residential-based services further down the line, as the UK moves towards the PSTN switch-off in 2025.

SureVoIP founder and Managing Director Gavin Henry will join the TelcoSwitch Group as its newly appointed CIO.

Russell Lux, CEO at TelcoSwitch, said: “SureVoIP is a company we’ve paid close attention to for the last couple of years, and I’ve known the founder, Gavin Henry, for much longer. His team have built a product set we see as hugely valuable to TelcoSwitch, and a network behind that which will enhance the existing infrastructure within our group of companies.”

“I’m pleased we’ve been able to conclude this deal, our third of the year, and delighted Gavin and his team are joining the TelcoSwitch family.”

Gavin Henry, Founder & MD of SureVoIP, said: “TelcoSwitch have grown significantly over the last three years, not just in terms of partners and end-users but also across their product suite. Both companies share the same outlook on where our industry is heading, which is why TelcoSwitch is the ideal home for SureVoIP.

“We’re extremely excited to be joining Russell and his team in becoming part of the TelcoSwitch Group, and look forward to the opportunities this will offer for partners and customers.”

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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