The first spin-out company set to emerge from University of the West of Scotland has closed its seed investment round, raising £1.5 million.
novosound, the winner of the 2017 Converge Challenge, has developed and patented a ground-breaking technique to mass-manufacture printable ultrasound sensors. The revolutionary method overcomes the limitations of existing technology, improving a manufacturing process, which hasn’t majorly changed in more than 40 years.
- Par Equity, the Edinburgh-based venture capital firm which has a strong track record in investing in early stage companies, is the lead investor
- Kelvin Capital, the Glasgow-based venture capital firm are co-investing
- further investment was secured from Gabriel, the Scottish Investment Bank, the EOS Technology Investment Syndicate and Investing Women
The investment will drive novosound’s growth plan, allow it to expand its already-experienced team, and bring its cutting-edge ultrasound sensors to market.
Utrasound sensors & novosound
Commonly known for its use in maternity wards and other hospital departments, ultrasound imaging can also be extensively applied in industrial settings as a safe non-destructive testing (NDT) technique.
In the oil and gas industry, for example, novosound’s new, low-cost, “fit-and-forget” sensors will be fixed along a pipeline to detect potential cracks and faults before they become critical; a problem that has been well-publicised recently for operators in the sector.
These sensors can operate at very high temperatures (above 250 °C) meaning that, in nuclear power stations and petrochemical refineries, crucial inspection of critical infrastructure can be carried out without the need to cool down pipes – a setback that currently costs the industry billions of dollars per year.
During a recent visit to the US, novosound met with large-scale industrial companies, and after receiving positive feedback, the team is working to convert these opportunities into development contracts and production orders.
Once established, novosound plans to enter the lucrative medical imaging market with its ultrasound sensors, which can provide MRI-quality imaging without the associated costs.
The company, which developed its sensors at the Institute of Thin Films, Sensors and Imaging at University of the West of Scotland, has already received £550,000 of Scottish Enterprise grant funding and was presented with the 2017 Converge Challenge award by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, an accolade which celebrates academic innovation in Scotland.
novosound was co-founded by Dr Dave Hughes and Richard Cooper. Dr Hughes is Chief Technical Officer, former project lead at University of the West of Scotland and leader of the Ultrasonic Imaging team within the UWS Institute of Thin Films, Sensors and Imaging. Richard Cooper, an independent consultant, supported Dr Hughes and the project over the last two years and is now novosound’s Chief Executive Officer. He was a co-founder of Cascade Technologies, Strathclyde University’s biggest exit to date, which was sold to US-based engineering firm Emerson in 2014.