Pictured from left are Sheffield City Region LEP vice-chair Nigel Brewster, Ken Cooper of the British Business Bank, Libertine founder Sam Cockerill and Ashwin Kumaraswamy of Mercia
Libertine FPE Ltd – the Sheffield-based company which is developing ‘smart engines’ for electric vehicles - has raised a further £770,000 investment.
The latest funding round was led by NPIF - Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), and included investment from Envestors and ShadowFoundr as well as several existing shareholders including Sir Robin Saxby. It will remain open to new investors until the end of June and brings the total raised by the company to over £4.8m.
The new capital will enable the company to build and demonstrate a number of prototype ‘intelliGEN’ smart engine modules incorporating its e-machine and control technology, engage with automotive manufacturers, and further develop the business in preparation for a Series A investment round in 2020.
Founded in 2009 by Sam Cockerill, an engineer with a background in the biofuels industry, Libertine makes smart engines for electric vehicles and distributed power generation. A smart engine has the crankshaft replaced by software-controlled electrical machines that govern piston motion to optimise the combustion process. Smart engines could produce at least 30% more power from the same fuel input whilst being cleaner, quieter and more compact than today’s power generators. Libertine currently employs seven staff and expects to create a further five jobs in the year ahead.
Sam Cockerill, CEO of Libertine, said: “This new investment comes at a very exciting time for Libertine. Successfully completing this first close represents an important milestone for us as we work to bring our smart engine technology to market.”
Libertine raised £500,000 from NPIF - Mercia Equity Finance in 2017, which marked the first NPIF equity investment in Sheffield City Region. Ashwin Kumaraswamy, Investment Director at Mercia, said: “Libertine is enabling a revolution in engine performance with its proprietary electronic piston motion control and high-performance linear machines. Smart engines using this technology will play a major role in global transport and power generation, with the market estimated to be worth over US$100 billion by 2025. This second round of funding will take the company one step closer towards its goal.”
Grant Peggie, Director at British Business Bank, said: “We are pleased that NPIF continues to support high-growth and innovative businesses in the North, providing vital funding to recruit new staff and for expansion into new markets. This investment demonstrates how this funding can make a real and measurable difference to businesses across the Northern Powerhouse region, which helps create a more prosperous regional economy.”
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.