This post originally appeared on the Private Equity Wire here.
Foresight Group (Foresight) has made a GBP249,000 equity investment into Footfalls and Heartbeats Limited through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF).
Based in Nottingham, Footfalls has developed a revolutionary and proprietary process for manufacturing smart fabric, which uses nano-scale interactions within the textile to make the fabric itself the sensor. This technology can be used in medical applications such as bandages or within sports apparel and shoes, monitoring the pressure being exerted on a specific body part and transmitting data in real time, wirelessly to a receiver.
Investment from the MEIF will be used for continued development of product prototypes with several world leading commercial partners in the fields of healthcare and sports. Footfalls will also continue to develop its intellectual property, as well as purchase additional production equipment.
Footfalls was founded in 2012 by Simon McMaster, who has worked with the University of Nottingham (UoN) over a number of years. UoN is considered a world leading institution in the field of Fibre Optic Technology and has established a partnership with Footfalls to develop and exploit new technologies. The UoN has also invested in Footfalls and as a result is a major shareholder.
Footfalls Founding Director, Simon McMaster, says: “These are exciting times and we are delighted to have Foresight’s backing. With their investment we can move forward with our plans to bring more prototyping in-house with the purchase of a bespoke, one-of-a-kind, knitting machine and the employment of additional staff to join the existing, multidisciplinary team. This investment will allow Footfalls to deliver the various development agreements in shorter time frames. It will also help us to achieve our patent and commercial licensing goals.”
Jordan Lavender, Investment Analyst at Foresight Group, says: “This innovative game-changing textile manufacturing technology developed by Footfalls and Heartbeats is precisely the type of opportunity MEIF was created for, where funding from other sources is hard to come by. We look forward to seeing the Company develop and grow as we share the journey with this enthusiastic team.”
Grant Peggie, Director, at the British Business Bank, adds: “The Midlands Engine Investment Fund was set up to support companies such as Footfalls and Heartbeats to bring innovative new products to market. It is particularly good to see that the MEIF is working alongside the University of Nottingham to develop technologies that could have a global impact. Midlands’ universities are key drivers of innovation and growth across the Midlands Engine area and we would encourage all Universities across the Midlands to explore MEIF as a potential source of investment for small, innovative companies.”
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.