Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund invests £2 million into energy tech pioneer Synaptec

13 May 2019

● Synaptec’s innovative technology can reduce downtime and allow easier and cheaper monitoring of the increasingly complex electric power grid
● The Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund invested £2 million alongside £100,000 from the newly created Foresight Scottish Growth Fund
● The funding will be used to scale-up production, grow international sales and exploit future data analytics opportunities

Foresight Group LLP (“Foresight”) and Williams Advanced Engineering (“Williams”) are pleased to announce a £2 million investment as part of a £2.9 million growth round into the disruptive technology business Synaptec Ltd (“Synaptec” or the “Company”). The Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund led the round alongside £100,000 from the newly created Foresight Scottish Growth Fund financed by the Scottish Growth Scheme through a combination of Scottish Government funds and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and £800,000 from existing shareholders, including The Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, Equity Gap and the University of Strathclyde.

Synaptec was founded in 2015 as a spinout from the University of Strathclyde and is led by Philip Orr, Managing Director. The innovations developed by Synaptec are based on work Philip and his co-founders conducted at the University of Strathclyde’s Institute for Energy and Environment, one of Europe’s leading power engineering research groups.

Electric power grids are becoming increasingly complex to manage due to a growing proportion of energy being provided by renewable sources. New methods are required to measure and maintain a stable electricity supply for customers. Synaptec addresses this problem by passively monitoring the grid using existing optical fibre networks. It avoids expensive auxiliary equipment for communications, GPS or power at measurement locations and can operate over a range of 100km. Synaptec’s systems are safer to install, have a smaller footprint and lower environmental impact than alternative sensors.

Synaptec offers the first secure and scalable system for wide area fault detection, monitoring and analytics of electric power grids that is cost-effective at scale. It has already seen demand for its systems from international customers.

The investment round led by Foresight will be used to scale-up manufacturing, engineering and business development capabilities.

Commenting on the investment, Andrew Bloxam, Senior Investment Manager at Foresight said: “Synaptec offers a truly disruptive technology that addresses a global problem. The experienced management team has already achieved a considerable amount of success over the past three years of development and we are delighted to have the opportunity to support the business as it scales.”

Matthew Burke, Head of Technology Ventures, Williams Advanced Engineering, added: “With Synaptec combining innovation, technology and reduced environmental impact, it is a company that very much aligns with the objectives of Williams Advanced Engineering. We look forward to working with Synaptec to help commercialise their technology to enhance energy network performance and resilience.”

Philip Orr, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Synaptec, added: “The backing of Foresight and Williams Advanced Engineering brings both financial acumen and world-renowned expertise in engineering design and manufacturing to Synaptec. Their support is a significant moment in the continuing growth and success of our highly interdisciplinary engineering firm as we continue to disrupt the instrumentation market and revolutionise how critical electrical infrastructure is managed and controlled. The technical fit between Synaptec and Williams is excellent, and we will be drawing upon their know-how to scale up our manufacturing capacity and rapidly develop new product offerings. This investment represents an exciting new phase of growth and development for Synaptec and will enable us to make a positive and lasting impact on the global energy transition.”

Kerry Sharp, Director of the Scottish Investment Bank, said: “Synaptec is a great example of an innovative Scottish company which has developed technology that brings solutions to challenges within the power industry. The Company has global growth ambitions and this investment round demonstrates the strength of belief in the technology and the team. Scottish Investment Bank is delighted to provide funding alongside co-investment partner Equity Gap and new investor Foresight Group and also to bring the wider support mechanisms from Scottish Enterprise to support the Company’s next stage of growth.”

Stuart Mackenzie, Commercialisation Infrastructure Manager at the University of Strathclyde, said: “The University is delighted to participate in this latest milestone in Synaptec’s growth. Synaptec is a fantastic example of the contribution Strathclyde technologies can make to industry, and of the types of companies the University is looking to create and support through its role in the Glasgow City Innovation District, where Synaptec is based.”