From the left are Sean Hutchinson, Pete Harding, Joe Handsaker and Ashwin Kumaraswamy
An Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider for small and micro manufacturers has secured £250,000 to support its growth from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.
The funding will help Elements Technology Platforms to develop its headquarters, staff base and product portfolio. Founded last year in Sheffield by Dr Joe Handsaker, Elements is developing software solutions that re-purpose consumer technologies for use in manufacturing, with a specific interest in exploring opportunities for wearable technologies in the sector.
Elements’ revenue model is to sell low-cost hardware, including smartphones and off-the-shelf proximity sensors for tagging manufacturing materials and to then charge a monthly subscription service fee for the products. This platform will enable small-sized manufacturers to improve their productivity without huge expenditure or the burden of an overly-complicated Material Requirements Planning system.
The company is already on the path to elevating its business; in March 2018, it won the ‘Digital Catapult Hack and Pitch’ competition at the Industry 4.0 Summit and has since met with the directors of the Rolls Royce EcoSystem and IoT divisions, in a bid to improve supply chain transparency.
The £250,000 funding will support the company’s product portfolio by creating advanced prototypes and validating its market offering. The NPIF investment, which is the only external finance that the company has raised to date, will also be used to secure a premises in Sheffield and hire four new technical and sales staff members.
Ashwin Kumaraswamy, Investment Director at Mercia Fund Managers, said: “Small and micro firms make up 90 per cent of the UK’s manufacturing capacity. Joe and his team of young entrepreneurs have found a way to help them deploy the latest technology to digitize production and enhance quality and productivity.”
Sean Hutchinson, Senior Manager at British Business Bank, said: “Elements is a truly unique and impressive business that is exploring opportunities for wearable technologies in the manufacturing sector. The company is already on the path to success, having won an Industry 4.0 Summit award and liaising with high profile businesses such as Rolls Royce.
“We’re delighted that NPIF has supported Elements in its mission to target UK based companies with IoT solutions, that will help save costs and improve productivity by providing an insight into consumer behaviour and enhance consumer interactions.
“This investment will support the future of the business as it looks to boost headcount and open a new headquarters in Sheffield and I look forward to seeing this northern-based business grow in the coming months.”
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.