Navitas Digital Safety Ltd (Navitas) has secured £745k of equity investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF).
Regional SME investor, Foresight Group (Foresight), one of three equity fund managers working with the MEIF, made the investment that will allow the firm to roll out its automated health and safety technology to food and hospitality outlets across the UK.
Based in Leicester, Navitas provides handheld devices that work with accompanying software to monitor appliances, check food temperatures and feed data to a cloud-based programme. A response to outdated paper-bound procedures and the introduction of tighter legislation around food safety, this digitalised system allows brands to avoid food safety issues and wastage that historically may have caused reputational damage.
Navitas plans to use the finance to bring its manufacturing in-house. By producing its unique hardware – smart probes, hubs and pods – in the UK, the firm will control its supply chain, allowing it to keep pace with the growing demand for new approaches to food safety.
Explaining the nature of the investment, Navitas Group CEO Ben Gardner, said: “We are a young, dynamic company, yet it can be difficult to source funds to support rapid growth. This injection of capital will allow us to realise our expansion plans by investing in manufacturing and R&D. By also strengthening our talented sales force we can ensure that Navitas’ technology is rolled-out to huge UK brands and international markets.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for Navitas and we’re delighted to be leading the way for many small businesses with big ambitions across the Midlands.”
The investment will also allow the firm to take on 10 new staff, increasing its headcount to 33 employees and building its sales team.
The opportunity for expansion follows new legislation from the UK’s food regulator, the Food Standards Agency (FSA), after launching a major initiative – ‘Regulating Our Future’ (ROF). Designed to modernise food production, these new protocols will increase the need for effective, cutting-edge food safety procedures.
Secretary of State for Communities, the Rt. Hon. James Brokenshire MP, said: “We’re committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the Midlands Engine and building a Britain fit for the future.
“The Midlands Engine Investment Fund plays an important role in realising this vision by supporting growing firms like Navitas, who have the ambition, but need additional investment. The growth and jobs created with help from the fund will benefit the entire Midlands – and, ultimately, the UK economy.”
Ken Cooper, MD at the British Business Bank, said: “Navitas had a great market opportunity, but it needed outside investment to progress to the next stage. The equity funds provided by the Midlands Engine Investment Fund are well suited to help companies like Navitas, that have huge potential, but require external finance. By ensuring that money is available for deals like this, we are helping Midlands companies attract the investment they need to grow.”
Commenting on the deal, Ray Harris, Midlands Engine Investment Fund principal at Foresight, said: “A company that could be instrumental to the digitisation of an entire industry should not be held back by lack of funding. Alongside the investment, we worked with the firm to appoint a new Chairman, Bryan Taylor. Bryan has 20 years of experience with venture-backed SME businesses mentoring executive teams through periods of sustained growth.
“Navitas perfectly represents the type of business the MEIF would like to back: a young, innovative organisation that needs a financial push to help realise its full potential.”
Kevin Harris, Chair of the Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership, said: “I am delighted that Navitas has been successful in securing the significant equity finance it needs. The MEIF enables ambitious companies like this to invest, innovate and grow.
“Bringing manufacturing in-house is great news for the potential jobs this could create. This is a great example of why the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) invested in and supports the Midlands Engine Investment Fund.”