Manchester hi-tech specialists back Lancaster business
Manchester Technology investment specialists, MTI Partners, has announced its latest investment through the UMIP Premier Fund (UPF) in North West start up CableSense Ltd.
The company has developed an innovative new approach to managing large scale, wide structured cabling systems, and MTI has made a £500,000 investment deigned to accelerate the delivery of its proposition to market.
CableSense’s solution is differentiated by being readily retro-fittable at a low cost to existing cabling installations. The system’s utilises CableSense’s proprietary technology for network cable monitoring, scanning and mapping.
This substantially reduces all the cost elements of maintaining and running a network, including the cost and complexity of moves, making additions and changes, fault indetificaion and diagnosis, inventory management and capital expenditure through the identification and re-use of redundant equipment and capacity.
Over recent years CableSense’s founders have collaborated with the University of Lancaster and the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Manchester with support from the high competitive TSB Technology Programme.
Lancaster based CableSense also received a £100,000 Proof of Principle investment earlier this year through UMIP’s well regarded technology transfer and incubation process, and has now graduated to a full UPF investment.
John Kelly, the founder and Technical Director of CableSense said: “MTI’s investment provides a fantastic platform for CableSense to deliver its product to the market and prove its business model.
John Continues: “Both MTI and UMIP have worked hard to help us put the corporate structure and commercial foundations behind this business, and with our technical approach I’m confident that we can fill a substantial gap we’ve identified in the market”
MTI Partners Investment Manager Mark Rahn said: “CableSense is living proof that it is possible to build high-tech, high-growth start-up companies through all North West corporate and multiple university collaborations.
“It also demonstrates that it is possible develop a healthy, commercially viable product and business model in less than a year via UMIP’s process.”
Mark concludes: “MTI knows that the future success of CableSense’s technology lies in its simplicity, and if positioned properly in the market, has enormous potential.”
CableSense forms part of the growing cluster of high-tech companies across the North-West region supported by MTI and the UPF fund.
A team led by Prof. Tony Peyton from the University of Manchester School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering has been shortlisted in The Engineer Technology & Innovation Awards 2009.
A submission by UMIP Licensing Manager Simon Clarke for the project ‘Advanced Microstructure Analysis using Induction Spectroscopy (AMAIS)’ was shortlisted by the judges in the Process & Production category.
The submission was based on the work to develop and commercialise the AMAIS project by a consortium of academic and industrial specialists from The University of Manchester, UMIP, the University of Birmingham, the steel producer Corus UK and technology provider Organised Technology Ltd.
AMAIS presents a solution for steel producers to the unsolved problem of continuously monitoring and controlling material properties during hot-rolling.
The novel, cost-effective solution which the team has developed involves the use of advanced signal processing and instrumentation, modelling and analysis of the effects of microstructure on the electromagnetic properties of steel during controlled cooling. It also has the possibility of applications in other fields.
Tony, Simon and the team now await the Awards ceremony lunch at The Royal Society in London on 4th December to find out if they have won. Good luck!
University of Manchester Professor, David Sandoz thanked UMIP recently when he collected the prestigious Sir Harold Hartley Medal from the Institute of Measurement and Control.
The medal is awarded by the Institute to a person whose contribution to the technology of measurement and control is considered to be of outstanding merit. The award to Professor Sandoz was in recognition of his long-standing involvement with control engineering and the exploitation of condition monitoring and control engineering methods for batch processes.
The University assisted Professor Sandoz in creating several successful spin-out companies which commercialised his engineering achievements including Predictive Control Ltd, Control Technology Centre Ltd and more lately Perceptive Engineering Ltd.
As he collected the award Professor Sandoz said: “None of this would have been possible without the long-standing support from The University of Manchester and in particular from the various University companies, Vuman, Manchester Innovation and finally UMIP – and I would very much like to thank the University for that.”
It was celebrations all round recently as UMIP enters its sixth year whilst sister firm UMIC celebrated the tenth anniversary of The Manchester Incubator Building and its own fifth birthday. The two organisations came together for a joint event at the CTF building on Grafton Street on September 23rd which was headed by Sir William Castell, Chairman of the Wellcome Trust.
During the event, UMIC and UMIP took stock of the achievements following five years of successful bioscience and technology commercialisation and incubation since the 2004 creation of the new University of Manchester. UMIP is widely recognised in the UK and beyond for the quality of its IP management, with the University investing over £1.5 million in ‘proof of principle’ bioscience projects alone.
UMIP Chairman Peter Sanderson addressed the delegates and said: “In addition to helping to secure over £35 million for various sources including share sales and IP grants, UMIP has built a share asset value of £9 million, represented by 20 spin-outs employing over 500 people. These spin-outs alone have an annual combined sales turnover of £17 million, and they’ve also placed about £2 million of research contracts with the University. We currently manage over 150 licence and patent cases, and there’s a very strong pipeline of more to come. UMIP working together with The University of Manchester and UMIC has certainly had five years of positive impact in the northwest region and beyond, and we are looking forward to the future.”
Sir William Castell’s plenary address took note of the global economic drivers for new technology and commercial opportunities in food security, bio-fuels and clean technology, with Manchester in good shape to capitalise on these opportunities through its business incubation and research commercialisation activities. Sir William also paid tribute to what UMIC had helped to achieve in the past ten years, pointing to the breaking on the day news of DxS’s £80m acquisition by German diagnostic testing giant Qiagen.
The Manchester Incubator Building provided the first dedicated facility for biotechnology firms starting up in the northwest region. Thirty three bioscience companies are trading from UMIC’s facilities, and have created more than 850 high-value jobs. Bioscience now represents a significant area of economic activity in the northwest, attracting in excess of £300 million in financing and investment deals. Dr Martino Picardo UMIC’s managing director commented: “The event has showcased to local and national audiences what vision, focus and hard work can achieve. From the vision in 1999 that Manchester should build and develop world-class biotechnology businesses and facilities to the numerous success stories and wealth creation that our bio-entrepreneurs represent to the city and to the northwest region.”
Sustainable power company ENER-G (www.energ.co.uk) is marking the 25th anniversary of its global combined heat and power (CHP) business, launched in 1984 following pioneering research and development work by Manchester academics.
Founded as Manchester’s first spin-out business, Combined Power Systems (CPS) has since become part of Salford-based ENER-G, which turns over £90 million and employs more than 700 staff worldwide.
The groundbreaking R&D work was carried out by a team at UMIST – now The University of Manchester – who developed remote monitoring and control systems that made low carbon CHP technology viable on a global industrial scale.
Since then, ENER-G has sold some 1,200 CHP units, reducing its customers’ carbon emissions by more than one million tonnes, and is a major player in the UK and European CHP market. Its Salford-designed and manufactured systems are used in hospitals, hotels, leisure centres, supermarkets and factories worldwide, and among its high-profile customers is the British Royal family at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
To mark the anniversary, ENER-G will host a special reception on Tuesday 8 September for original spin-out team member Clive Rowland, now head of The University of Manchester Intellectual Property (UMIP).
Clive will be welcomed to ENER-G’s research, manufacturing and administration headquarters in Daniel Adamson Road, Salford, by Alan Barlow, managing director of the group’s Combined Power business, and Tony Roscoe, who also worked on the initial spin-out and remains an ENER-G employee.
Alan commented: “Today’s CHP industry is one of the most important sustainable technologies in a rapidly expanding sector and it’s very much the result of innovative work carried out by the university and ENER-G – two of Greater Manchester’s leading technology organisations.
“It wouldn’t be an overstatement to compare the growth of the CHP industry with tiny acorns and mighty oaks and we wanted Clive to come along to see first hand what we are now achieving in terms of product development, energy efficiency and global expansion.”
ENER-G recently opened a third factory in Salford, enabling the company to increase production of its CHP and biogas generator units by 50% to meet orders from across the globe.
ENER-G’s CHP systems create electricity and heat simultaneously and reduce carbon emissions by around 20% while cutting electricity costs by approximately one third. Its biogas generation units convert methane, which is 21 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide, into green energy – harnessing harmful gases from coal mines, landfill sites, waste water and other organic waste.
Clive commented: “The evolution of the original spin-out business into the successful technology company is tremendously satisfying personally and demonstrates the university’s contribution to business and the environment.
“The development of remote monitoring and control for CHP was a crucial commercial breakthrough because it meant you could anticipate and resolve issues before they became problems. This meant lower operating costs and greater efficiency.”
Today, this means that ENER-G can provide 24/7 monitoring of its installed systems across the world, ensuring that they operate at peak performance.
CPS was born from a market opportunity developed by entrepreneurial investors on the back of R&D work by academic staff at UMIST into a remote monitoring and control system for an efficient combined heat and power unit. CPS was owned by a number of utility companies following the spin-out and was acquired by ENER-G in 1997.
Clive continued: “We had to get by from hand to mouth for many years to keep the dream alive. This was in the days before there was much interest by UK venture capitalists in university spin-outs. So developing these enterprise activities was very hard work – like climbing a new mountain for each new opportunity.
“We were among the first universities to explore the commercial potential of research and have also grown enormously since those early times. For example, the £32 million UMIP Premier Fund, set up in 2008, is the largest single university venture fund of its type in Europe – and a long way from the days when we were knocking on hundreds of doors to get investors interested,” added Clive.
Media information: Janet Kilpatrick, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 0161 487 3830, mobile: 07794 192 677.
Notes to editor:
ENER-G (www.energ.co.uk) develops, finances and delivers renewable and energy efficient power generation and management schemes – applying advanced technology to cost and greenhouse gas reduction.
ENER-G’s solid financial status and independence provides the freedom to finance capital projects to offer zero cost purchase options to customers with revenue generated via long-term energy purchase contracts.
The group provides a complete end-to-end solution for all commercial and industrial energy requirements. Its engineering and service solutions include every aspect of energy management, including procurement; metering; control; lighting and building management systems; combined heat & power (CHP) manufacture and operation (ENER-G has more installed CHP systems across the UK and Europe than any other supplier); geothermal technology; energy from digester gas; and new generation energy from waste.