COMPANIES: Metrasens to Otaq

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on July 2, 2018, 9:00 am in News, Other

IMAGE: courtesy of Skitterphoto on Pexels



sportswear - cancer drug - immune / inflammasome research - seal deterrent systems

- magnetic detection technologies - biometric authentication –

subsea cable protection - IFA back office services


Chester :: Cambridge x 2 :: Argyll :: Worcestershire :: Boston, US :: County Durham :: Huddersfield


Castore | Cellcentric | Nodthera |Otaq £4m | Metrasens £7.7m | Veridium | Tekmar £21.9m | Simplybiz £44.1m


News about 8 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace 24th – 30th June 2018:


CASTORE: sportswear - Chester

Beahon brothers’ sportswear brand Castore raises cash | Liam Kelly, The Sunday Times. 24 June 2018 

DZ profile: J.Carter Sporting Club Limited (Castore)

Business: sportswear brand which designs and sells men’s kit online

Launched: 2016

Location: Chester

Founders: Tom, 29 and Phil, 25 Beahon

Investment: investment of £3.2m to boost international expansion from Arnaud Massenet, the former husband of Net-A-Porter founder Natalie, and former Saatchi & Saatchi boss Robert Senior.


Andy Murray turns to the crowd — to back start-ups | Peter Evans, The Sunday Times. May 5 2019

1. £8m sponsorship deal with Sir Andy Murray signed earlier this year. It will see him sit on the company’s board and help design a line of tennis clothing. Murray’s AMC kit range will be launched this year and he will wear it on court next time he plays and for the rest of his career

2.  The Sunday Times Rich List last year put Andy Murray's fortune at £83m. …. he has invested in more than 30 start-ups through the crowdfunding platform Seedrs… he has invested in subsequent funding rounds for almost all of them, Seedrs says.   ...including the salad bar chain TOSSED, agricultural technology business HECTARE and the challenger bank REVOLUT. … the SEEDRS platform itself. …he is known to have had two exits — OPPO ice cream and BLOW, which offers mobile beauty services. When Oppo was sold last year to the family office of Swiss billionaire Hans-Peter Wild, early backers made a return of more than four times their investment. Also, he owns the five-star CROMLIX HOTEL near his home town of Dunblane.  …is the majority shareholder in 77 SPORTS MANAGEMENT, Murray is considering plans to coach or launch a tennis academy. …he has started investing in art and names the Suffolk painter and sculptor Maggi Hambling as one of his favourites.  



CELLCENTRIC: Cancer drug - Cambridge

New drug from CellCentric's Will West offers hope over prostate cancer | Sabah Meddings, The Sunday Times. June 24 2018

DZ profile: Cellcentric Limited

Business: Cambridge University spinout fighting to improve the prospects of patients given only a short time to live and is working with the INSTITUTE OF CANCER RESEARCH and London’s ROYAL MARSDEN HOSPITAL. It is hoped the drug, CCS1477, new drug for men with advanced prostate cancer, will address the growing problem of tumours resistant to existing anti-hormonal treatments.

Launched: 2003

Location: Cambridge

Founder: Dr. Will West, Chairman & CEO, co-founder



NODTHERA: immune / inflammasome research - Cambridge

£28m for arthritis test by NodThera | The Sunday Times. June 24 2018

DZ profile: Nodthera Limited

Business: biotech company with therapies for cancer, cardiovascular diseases and immune conditions. The company aims to combat the underlying inflammation associated with the conditions.

Launched: 2016

Location: Cambridge

Staff: led by Glaxo Smith Kline and Merck veteran Alan Watt

Investment: has secured £28m from investors including EPIDAREX CAPITAL and 5AM VENTURES. The funding injection will help NodThera develop its therapies for conditions such as arthritis.



OTAQ: seal deterrent systems - Argyll

Sonic seal scarer Otaq heading for float | Ben Harrington, The Sunday Times. June 24 2018

DZ profile: Otaq Limited

Business: makes high-tech alarms to scare seals and sea lions away from lucrative salmon farms. Using ultrasonic transmissions, the system creates an acoustic perimeter around fish cages that the company claims can, in some instances, completely eradicate predatory raids by the hungry mammals. Has sold more than 600 of its Sealfence protection systems to salmon farmers in Scotland, Finland, Chile and Russia since launching the product four years ago.

Launched: 2005, as a design consultancy

Location: Oban, Argyll

Founder: Richard Eldridge, 76, a former mechanical engineer and chartered accountant

Staff: Eldridge recently stood down as chairman and was replaced by Jag Mundi, former head of corporate finance at NUMIS.

Financials: expected to make pre-tax profits this year of between £1.25m and £1.7m from sales of about £4m

Investment: Property tycoon Nigel Wray, the owner of Saracens rugby union club, owns about 10% of the company. Other big shareholders include Steven Hemsley, chairman of Domino’s Pizza, and David Poutney, the former head of corporate broking at Numis, who now runs his own broking firm, Dowgate.

News: is preparing to float on the AIM market this autumn. The planned float is being handled by DOWGATE, with a predicted valuation of between £10m and £12m. Dowgate has soared in prominence recently, having orchestrated the fundraising for Sir Martin Sorrell’s new venture, S4 CAPITAL.



METRASENS: magnetic detection technologies - Worcestershire

There’s no hiding anything from this detectorist | Liam Kelly, The Sunday Times. June 24, 2018

DZ profile: Metrasens Limited

Business: sells detectors that are used in hospitals to detect metal in scanning rooms and to guard against physical data theft from high-security premises. More than 70% of sales are in America. Traditional metal detectors emit electromagnetic signals, but the Metrasens system monitors distortions in the earth’s magnetic field caused by metals.

Launched: 2005

Location: Malvern, Worcestershire

Staff: 65

Founder: Dr Simon Goodyear, 52, (after an MBA at the Open University) with Dr Mark Keene and Matt Wooliscroft - colleagues at defence contractor QinetiQ - where Goodyear worked on making submarine trackers and landmine detectors.

Financials: pre-tax profits of £631,000 on sales of £7.7m in 2016

Investment: The founders funded the business for two years before raising £250,000 from local angel investors. OCTOPUS VENTURES invested in 2010 and 2013. The founders own 25%, with a further 10% shared among the staff.

News:  has won a spot on this year’s Sunday Times SME Export Track 100 of companies with the fastest-growing international sales.



VERIDIUM: biometric authentication – Boston, US

City veteran Michael Spencer invests millions into a biometric fintech startup | Emily Nicolle, City A.M. 29 June 2018

DZ profile: Veridium Ltd.

Business: biometric fintech and leader in user authentication through biometric technology such as fingerprint and face scanning. Though it cannot reveal the names of its customers, Veridium has said that it recently cut a deal with a multinational Swiss bank to replace its passwords, tokens and swipe cards in favour of using biometric tech for its employees.

Launched: 2013

Founder: Hector Hoyos. Hoyos Labs rebranded as Veridium in 2016.

Location: US - Boston (HQ) / New York; UK - London / Oxford; Romania – Bucharest; Benelux - Houten

Staff: James Stickland, CEO

Investment: Founder of NEX GROUP and serial entrepreneur Michael Spencer has led a $16.5m series B fundraising round, with additional investment from CITRIX SYSTEMS and financial services investor Michael Powell. The funding will help to accelerate product development into biometric scanning and behavioural analysis and expand in Europe, Asia and the Americas.



Aim flotations brush off Brexit uncertainty | Chris Tighe and Andy Bounds, FT. June 30, 2018                  


TEKMAR: subsea cable protection - County Durham

DZ profile: Tekmar Group Plc

Business: designs and manufactures cable protection systems for the power transmission cables that run under the sea from offshore wind turbines. Its patented TekLink system has a 74 per cent market share across all installed offshore wind farm assets in Europe. The company also makes subsea protection for the oil and gas market.

Launched: 1985. Tekmar Energy incorporated June 2007, Tekmar August 2011.

Location: Newton Aycliffe, County Durham

Founder: Founded by two commercial divers in Norway

Staff: 100+. Chief executive James Ritchie is one of the youngest on Aim, at 28

Financials: Group revenue in the year to March 31 was £21.9m, with adjusted ebitda of £4.9m

Investment: Tekmar’s flotation on AIM last week raised £61.8m gross and allowed ELYSIAN, main backer of a management buyout in 2011, to exit. The placing price was 130p, giving a £65m market capitalisation.



SIMPLYBIZ:  IFA back office services - Huddersfield

DZ profile: The Simplybiz Group Plc

Business: provider of back office services to independent financial advisers - runs compliance and regulatory systems for more than 3,400 advisory firms. It also works with 135 financial institutions to create and market proprietary products.

Launched: 2002

Location: Huddersfield

Founder: Ken Davy, Non-Executive Chairman, who retains a 40 per cent stake

Staff: 400+. Matt Timmins and Neil Stevens, joint chief executives

Financials: Adjusted pre-tax profit in the year to 2017 was £6m on £44.1m revenue. Strong revenue growth forecasted, as more regulation creates more work and the financial advice industry grows.

Investment: floated on AIM, April 4. Brokers - ZEUS CAPITAL.


Simplybiz acquires financial adviser platform Defaqto for £74m | Jessica Clark City A.M. 20 March 2019

1. Simplybiz has acquired financial adviser fintech firm DEFAQTO for £74.3m. The combination will create a single fintech and support services group, and the acquisition is expected to enhance earnings during the first year, the company said. Defaqto chief executive Zahid Bilgrami.