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£2.2 million funding for Southampton spin-out

Published: 20 February 2006

University of Southampton spin-out company Perpetuum has attracted £2.2 million in further investment. UK venture capital company Quester has committed £1.4 million in funding with additional investment coming from Top Technology Ventures and SULIS, a University Challenge Fund managed by Quester.

Perpetuum produces innovative micro-generators which harvest energy from vibrations, to provide power without batteries or external electrical supplies.

"The innovative microgenerators convert energy from existing vibrations to electrical energy which then powers monitoring sensors for all types of machinery. These self-powered sensor systems eliminate the need for large batteries or cumbersome electrical wires which can be difficult to access and expensive to maintain," commented Roy Freeland, Chief Executive of Perpetuum. "The technology addresses the rapidly growing and substantial market for wireless sensor systems used to monitor and control equipment and machinery. This new investment will enable us to complete development of our first commercial products."

The company which spun-out in 2004 has successfully demonstrated pre-production units in trial installations with three major international customers in military, water utility and petrochemical applications.

The company's patented technology was developed at the University of Southampton by a team of academics led by Professor Neil White of the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS).

Henry Sallitt, an investment director at Quester, added: "This is a very exciting opportunity in what is forecast to be a very substantial market. Perpetuum is a good example of the strong technology coming out of the UK's leading universities and is indicative of the increasing number of high quality early-stage investment opportunities we are seeing."

The University of Southampton works with the Universities of Bath, Bristol and Surrey in the SETsquared Partnership, and the SULIS seedcorn fund to create and support new businesses across Southern England. Perpetuum was founded by academics from the University of Southampton with funding from the SULIS seedcorn fund and a fund managed by the University of Southampton and IP2IPO, the intellectual property (IP) company that commercialises university technology.

Notes for editors

  1. Perpetuum provides unique solutions for self-powered sensor systems eliminating external wires or batteries. The concept is to harvest kinetic energy, usually vibration, which is then converted by its microgenerators into usable electrical energy to power sensors, microprocessors and transmitters.
    Perpetuum was founded in 2004 with venture capital backing by a team of researchers at the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton.
  2. The University of Southampton is one of the UK's top 10 research universities, with a global reputation for excellence in both teaching and research.  With first-rate opportunities and facilities across a wide range of subjects in science and engineering, health, arts and humanities, the University has around 20,000 students and 5000 staff at its campuses in Southampton and Winchester.  Its annual turnover is in the region of £274 million.
  3. Southampton is recognised internationally for its leading-edge research in engineering, science, computer science and medicine, and for its strong enterprise agenda.  It is home to world-leading research centres, including the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton; the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research; the Optoelectronics Research Centre; the Textile Conservation Centre; the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease; and the Mountbatten Centre for International Studies.
  4. Quester is one of the UK's leading venture capital companies and has been providing equity for growing technology companies for more than 20 years.  It manages over £200 million on behalf of major institutional investors, leading UK universities, and three quoted venture capital trusts. 
    www.quester.co.uk
  5. Top Technology
    Top Technology Ventures is a London-based venture capital company which specialises in providing equity funding for early stage UK technology businesses.
    Founded in 1986, Top Technology Ventures manages funds totalling approximately £43 million. Top Technology Ventures is a subsidiary of IP2IPO Group plc, the university intellectual property.
  6. The £9 million Sulis Seedcorn Fund is the largest University Challenge Fund in the country.  The Fund, owned by the Universities of Bath, Bristol and Southampton and managed by Quester, provides support for the early stage commercialisation of research generated by the academic communities of the universities through the formation of spin-out companies and the licensing or sale of intellectual property. The fund has been actively investing since 2000 and now has a portfolio of some 23 spin-out companies and a further 10 University IP investments.
    The SETsquared Partnership brings together the enterprise activities of the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey. With 8% of the UK's research budget, the Partnership is situated in one of the strongest economic areas. As a proven leader in the development of the UK's knowledge economy, the Partnership creates new technology businesses, supports the wider business community with access to the universities' knowledge base and mentors, and equips new entrepreneurs with the education to be the UK's enterprise generation. Heeding the UK government's call for strengthening of the economy through entrepreneurship, new business creation and accelerating company growth, the SETsquared Partnership aims to secure the UK as a global leader in new businesses and innovation.  www.setsquaredpartnership.co.uk

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