Razorbill Instruments has recently outgrown their current facilities in the University of St Andrews and will be taking up residence from October in the Higgs Centre for Innovation a soon to open office and research complex housed at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, on the top of Blackford Hill overlooking the city of Edinburgh. The facility offers not just panoramic views, but state-of-the-art cryostats and assembly workshops as well as space for the company to grow into.
Today, the Mercia Fund, awarded Razorbill Instruments first place in their Q1 business pitch competition. The Mercia Fund is a west Midlands-based Venture Capital provider that has forged close links with a network of UK universities to provide early investment in technology driven start-ups and spin-outs. The business competition consisted of round 1, judged on an executive summary, followed by a final consisting of a pitch to the Mercia Fund’s investment panel.
Razorbill Instruments saw off some tough competition to be awarded the cash prize, which we will go towards the development of our first product, a robust and reliable nanopositioner for a wide range of industrial and academic nanotechnology uses. The competition win represented, not just a another validation of Razorbill Instrument’s business proposition but a unique opportunity to engage with major venture capital firm.
Alex Ward, Managing Director of Razorbill Instruments said “I am thrilled with this win and delighted the Mercia Fund have endorsed our vision of Razorbill’s future in the nanotechnology and research tool market. We are taking our first steps towards being a global player, offering high quality research tools to this large and growing market.”
Alex Ward, of Razorbill Instruments has been invited to talk at Applied Photonics CDT annual conference 2015 (http://www.cdtphotonics.hw.ac.uk) to talk about Razorbill Instrument’s recent successes in Converge Challenge and the transition from academia to the world of business.
The Applied Photonics Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) is the UK’s longest running centre that provides doctorate level training in the field of photonics. It is spread across 5 Universities in Scotland and has close links to numerous companies within the field.
If you happen to be attending the conference, that takes place at Heriot Watt on Friday 26th June, do drop by and say hello!
Alex Ward attended the photonics symposium SU2P, this year hosted by the University of St Andrews to give talk on his experiences at Converge Challenge and in founding a start-up company. Alex is a regualr at the symposium having been an invite speaker in the previous year as well.
Though the main thrust of the talk centred around scotland premier accademic business competition, Converge Challenge, he also found addition time in his slot to promote the Razorbill Positioner product launch in spring 2015 and to appeal for beta testers. His well-attended talk generated a lot of interest and stimulated several questions from the predominantly accademic audience. The full details of SU2P can be found at http://www.su2p.com/
Razorbill Instruments have placed in the top three applicants in a UK-wide business competition for start-ups in the electronics and hardware, advanced materials, and engineering and specialised manufacturing sectors, administrated by the Mercia Fund. In the final, Alex Ward will be pitching to the Mercia Fund investment team.
Mercia Fund Management is one of the leading technology investors in the UK. They specialise in early stage technology start-ups, providing early stage, development and growth capital to young companies whilst being strategically positioned to allocate follow-on capital to these businesses once they have a proven track-record.
Scottish Enterprise have awarded Razorbill Instruments Ltd £94,000 to develop their new nanopositioner system. The project will take approximately 18 months and will be supported by a further £45,000 of private investment. Alex Ward, Managing Director of Razorbill Instruments and main author of the grant application says “This money will be invaluable to Razorbill Instruments in getting our unique product to the market. We are very appreciative of Scottish Enterprises support for technologically innovative projects such as this one…”.
During the course of the project, Razorbill Instruments will be developing a product, control box and will be set to launch the finished product in June 2016.
Razorbill Instruments placed third in Scotland's foremost business competition beating off competition from 111 other candidates and securing themselves cash and in-kind support to contribute towards their seed funding.
The technology behind the company, and for which they won the award, is a nanopositioner – a device which can move with minute detail, especially useful in the manufacturing of microchips, and in physics and biomedical research.
Alex Ward explained:
“We were up against some really strong opposition so were absolutely thrilled to place third. The prize money will offer us a chance to develop our prototype into a product that will be a useful tool to wide range of nanotechnologies.
“It will be a nano-'tractor', a robust and versatile tool used in a wide range of nano-technologies, and can move a sample with precision smaller than a thousandth of the width of a human hair.
“On top of the cash prize, the lawyer and accountancy services will be hugely useful as we get the company on its feet.”
Professor Malcolm MacLeod, Vice Principal Enterprise and Engagement at the University of St Andrews said:
"This is a fantastic achievement and we wish Alex and his colleagues well in developing Razorbill. We hope that this will be the first of many such success stories in engaging Enterprise at St Andrews."
The award was presented at a gala dinner at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University last week, which included an address from the Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission, Professor Anne Glover CBE.
Professor Glover said:
“Yet again, the spirit of academic innovation and enterprise emanating from the university campuses in Scotland reinforces how students and academic staff are engaged with Converge Challenge.
“For five years now, Converge has been a shining beacon of academic flair and entrepreneurship, giving participants an opportunity to crystallise their research and inventions.”
Razorbill Instruments was one of 111 entrants from across Scotland to apply for the competition, undergoing a rigorous selection process including business plans, a number of pitches, and a Dragon’s Den style Q&A with a panel of judges.
The the Royal Society of Edinburgh have awarded the managing director of Razorbill Instruments, Alex Ward, an Enterprise Fellowship. According the RSE the award is "...designed to encourage and enable the development of a new business based in Scotland around a technological idea developed by the Enterprise Fellow... ".
This award will pay Alex's salary for a year from October 2014 as well as providing a further £10,000 expenses towards developing the business. Importantly the award also includes month training days delivered by Scotland's foremost enterprise training centre; the Entrepreneur Business School. Congratulations to Alex for winning this award.