News (from Edinburgh Research and Innovation)

Old College Capital joins Mercia to invest in Edinburgh spin-out

  • 18 February 2016
Old College Capital joins Mercia to invest in Edinburgh spin-out

A leading UK technology investor has made its first Scottish investment into world-renowned solid particle technology from University of Edinburgh.

Mercia Fund Management (MFM), a leading technology investor with a focus on the Midlands, the North and Scotland, has completed its first investment into Scottish spinout Particle Analytics, which builds on world-renowned particle solids research from the University of Edinburgh.

The company incorporated in February 2015 and has very quickly gained traction in its target market of DEM (Discrete Element Method) for the analysis of solid particles, which is currently worth around £100 million.

Particle Analytics has now established itself as a disruptive technology, delivering significant efficiencies and business improvements to multi-national organisations that handle large volumes of particulate solids, such as the grain in combine harvesters, or the manufacturers of asphalt for roads.

The company already has a strong sales pipeline to a variety of market-leading companies in different industrial sectors, such as mining, pharma, chemical, or construction.  Existing blue chip customers include Procter & Gamble, Johnson Matthey, Pfizer and Astec Inc.

The Particle Analytics software provides pre-processing, visualisation and advanced analysis of DEM (Discrete Element Method) simulation data on the handling and processing of particulate and industrial bulk solids, and provides an exponential improvement to currently available solutions.

The software can integrate with all major commercial and open-source DEM software products, following a partnership with the market leading DEM software provider, DEM Solutions, in 2015.  This has allowed the company to engage with a number of companies in the US and UK as part of an early-adopter programme.

The investment, which was led by Dr Nicola Broughton with support from Investment Associate Alex Hoppenbrouwers, totals £140,000 in Seed EIS capital from MFM’s University Growth Fund and will be used to support Particle Analytics in building its team ahead of a full commercial product launch later this year.

Old College Capital, the in-house venture capital fund of the University of Edinburgh, jointly invested £150,000 into the company as part of this deal.

Dr Carlos Labra, CEO and Co-Founder of Particle Analytics, said:

“We are very pleased to be the first Scottish start-up to receive investment from Mercia Fund Management, which has a strong history of supporting university spinouts.  The capital will help us to grow the business and our team as we look to launch the full commercial version of our product later this year which will, in turn, provide huge cost savings and efficiencies for organisations across the world.”

Commenting on the investment, Investment Manager Paul Devlin, who heads MFM’s Edinburgh office, said:

“We’re delighted to have the chance to support the Particle Analytics team in realising this opportunity.  The start-up community in Scotland is vibrant and we look forward to helping to scale more companies in the near future.”

Andrea Young, Old College Capital Fund Manager, said:

“It was a natural fit for Old College Capital to co-invest with Mercia Fund Management in their first Scottish university spin-out investment deal, and hopefully one of many given the growing strength of Edinburgh’s tech community.”

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