Foresight Williams Technology EIS fund invests £1.5 million into innovative ultrasound technology company Novosound

16 Dec 2019

Edinburgh, 16 December 2019: Foresight Group and Williams Advanced Engineering are pleased to announce a £1.5 million investment as part of a £3.3 million round into award-winning novel thin film ultrasound technology company Novosound Ltd.  The Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund led the round, investing £1.5 million alongside £500,000 from the 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 £1.3 million from existing shareholders including Par Equity, Kelvin Capital, Gabriel Investments the University of the West of Scotland, and the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.

Novosound was established in 2018 by Dave Hughes, CTO, and Richard Cooper, CEO, as a spin-out from the University of the West of Scotland, where Hughes invented its core IP during his time as a Research Fellow.  Cooper brings industry expertise as a successful technology entrepreneur.

Ultrasound sensors produce sound waves with frequencies above human range which transmit through an object to measure or image internal features. Commonly known for its use in maternity wards and other hospital departments, ultrasound imaging is also extensively applied in industrial settings as a safe Non-Destructive Testing (“NDT”) technique for revealing below-surface deformities, cracks or corrosion. 

Utilising the latest thin film deposition techniques, Novosound’s patented innovation represents a turning point for ultrasound sensor technology.  Operating in a high growth market valued at £35 billion, the Company has developed a unique thin film core material which eliminates limitations associated with existing ultrasound sensor solutions.

The new sensor technology has enabled the company to produce higher resolution imaging, ‘fit and forget’ sensors that can operate continuously at high temperatures, and the world’s first truly flexible ultrasound sensor.  Whilst the technology will allow the company to develop products for the healthcare and wearables markets in future, at present, applications of the technology centre around the NDT market. Novosound’s flexible sensors can significantly improve the inspection of curved surfaces in aerospace, automotive and industrial applications. Its ‘fit and forget’ sensors, with the ability to withstand high temperatures and be permanently installed, enable completely new applications such as the real-time monitoring of high value oil and gas assets, to predict necessary maintenance and greatly reduce downtime.

The investment will allow the Company to match fund a £1.0 million R&D grant for product development from Scottish Enterprise and pursue its ambitious expansion plans into global markets and new industries.  The Company will draw on Foresight’s track record of supporting the growth of early stage, innovative technology companies, and Williams’ extensive expertise in ultrasound NDT techniques currently applied by its F1 team.

Andrew Bloxam, Senior Investment Manager at Foresight, commented: “Novosound is a brilliant example of the type of disruptive technology and team that we look for. Its early traction in NDT really stood out to us. There is also huge potential for other markets that it has not yet pushed into, which makes it a really exciting opportunity.”

Matthew Burke, Head of Technology Ventures, Williams Advanced Engineering, said: “Our technical specialists were excited to see Novosound’s game changing NDT technology and immediately realised potential applications within our operations and industry sectors. With this investment we look forward to applying our product development and manufacturing capabilities to support the growth of Novosound.”

Dave Hughes, Founder and CTO of Novosound added: "This investment is really exciting for the team at Novosound as it will help us scale our operations and launch our advanced sensors for industrial monitoring and inspection. We are delighted to be working with the Foresight and Williams who have proved themselves thus far as the ideal partners for our growing technology business."