12/16/2005 - A spin out company formed by Imperial Innovations that produces energy-saving pipe technology based on the flow patterns of natural blood vessels has received £150k of venture capital funding from the Carbon Trust. The investment marks the first time that the Carbon Trust has invested commercially in a company developed within its low carbon incubators. The Carbon Trust's incubator programme was launched in April 2004 to bring low carbon technologies to market. The successful spin out - engineering design company HeliSwirl Technologies – has also been awarded a separate £100k R&D grant from the Carbon Trust.
Based on research at Imperial College London studying the natural structure of arteries, HeliSwirl's Small Amplitude Helical Technology (SMAHT) is designed to improve fluid flow, reducing energy use and spend within fluid-handling sectors, from petroleum production to food processing. The key benefits of SMAHT include reduced pressure losses as well as sedimentation and wear within pipes. The Carbon Trust's investment will help fund a test programme for HeliSwirl and its industrial partners, Thames Water and Wellstream International, to confirm the technology's commercial applications.
Jonathan Bryers, Investment Manager at the Carbon Trust, said "Our investment in HeliSwirl is exciting for two reasons. The company's innovative fluid flow technology has the potential to reduce energy costs across a number of sectors. Secondly, it marks the first time we have invested commercially, alongside Imperial Innovations and other investors, in a company developed within one of our low carbon incubators. In other words, our incubator programme is working in bringing new low carbon technologies to market."
Ross Waring, Chief Executive, HeliSwirl commented, "We are delighted that the Carbon Trust has chosen to award its first post-incubator investment to HeliSwirl. The support of the Imperial Carbon Trust incubator has enabled us to convert an exciting new technology into a viable business proposition. Our test programme will demonstrate how far SMAHT pipe technology can be used across a wide range of industries to improve fluid transport efficiency to commercial effect."
Susan Searle, Chief Executive of Imperial Innovations said, "HeliSwirl's business proposition has been developed in the Carbon Trust Incubator which we operate at Imperial Innovations and this is an exciting opportunity for us to act as a co-investor with the Carbon Trust. The technology behind HeliSwirl emanated from observations made by Professor Colin Caro whilst conducting research in the BioEngineering Department."
The investment of £150k from the Carbon Trust is part of a total seed round of £600k awarded to HeliSwirl that also includes £150k from Imperial Innovations and £300k from angel and other investors.
Imperial Innovations manages one of three incubators funded by the Carbon Trust in the UK through its low carbon incubator programme. Incubator services to research teams include advice on intellectual property, recruiting a suitable management team, training in business skills and support in developing a business plan to attract capital investment.
The Carbon Trust
The Carbon Trust works with UK business and the public sector to cut carbon emissions and develop commercial low carbon technologies. An independent company set up by Government to help the UK meet its climate change obligations, the Carbon Trust creates practical business-focused solutions to carbon emission reduction on energy efficiency, carbon management, and investment. The Carbon Trust's annual funding is in excess of £69m in grants from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Scottish Executive, the Welsh Assembly Government and Invest NI.
The Carbon Trust also promotes the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) Scheme for energy saving investments on behalf of Defra and manages the associated Energy Technology List. This ECA scheme is a tax relief that enables businesses to claim 100% first-year capital allowances on investments in energy saving equipment listed on the approved Energy Technology List. Further details on qualifying products and ECAs are available at www.thecarbontrust.co.uk/eca
For advice on energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions contact the Carbon Trust on 0800 085 2005 or visit www.thecarbontrust.co.uk/energy
Imperial Innovations is one of the UK's leading technology commercialisation companies with a strong value creation record having already generated revenues in excess of £30 million from spin outs and licenses since 1997. The company, together with Imperial's academic inventors, has established equity holdings in more than 54 spin out companies and completed a total of 100 licence deals. Over 1,000 jobs have been created through the spin out companies.
In April 2005, Imperial Innovations arranged a private placing of ordinary shares in the company through JPMorgan Cazenove. Imperial College now holds 71 per cent of Imperial Innovations and institutional investors hold the balance of 29 per cent. Imperial College London has agreed a 15 year pipeline agreement with Imperial Innovations which allows Imperial Innovations to commercialise technology originating from Imperial College's research activity.
Recent investments made by Imperial Innovations include £365k in spin out InforSense, a developer of integrated analytics products; £250k in NovaThera, a spin out which specialises in pioneering applications of biomaterials and stem cell biology for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering; £250k in NanoBioDesign; a spin out developing a new drug discovery tool which allows drug-P450 interactions to be measured faster; a £402k investment in deltaDOT, a developer of enabling technologies and products for bioscience research; and £250k in Future Waves, a company developing a Digital Audio Broadcast tuner chip.
Further spin out activity includes the acquisition of Toumaz Technology, a developer of low power and ultra low power integrated circuits and silicon chips by AiM listed NanoScience. Imperial Innovations is a shareholder in both AiM listed companies NanoScience and Ceres Power, a fuel cell technology spin out built on research from Imperial College's Department of Materials. Ceres Power listed on the stock market in November 2004 raising £21.6 million of which £16 million was for the company (£14.6 million net).
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