IoT start-up that helps reduce gas leaks raises £500,000

Aiming to help curb the impact of methane gases on our planet, Southampton-based Utonomy will use the funds to complete product development

Utonomy, an Internet of Things (IoT) start-up that helps prevent gas leaks, has raised £500,000 after receiving backing from the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund.

Using cloud-based software, its IoT solution automatically optimises gas distribution pressures through electro-mechanical actuators – helping to minimise gas leaks in gas distribution networks.

Founded in early 2015 by Adam Kingdon, the start-up is based at the University of Southampton Science Park and looks to be available commercially in 2017

With its product being able to be retrofitted to existing network equipment, the start-up claims payback for utilities is typically less than three years.

The leakage of methane from gas distribution networks is a massive global problem with over 300 billion MWh of this potent greenhouse gas lost from networks around the world each year.

Estimated to cost consumers more than £5bn per annum, the leakage of methane also has a serious impact on the environment, releasing the equivalent of 1.7 billion tonnes per annum of CO2 into the atmosphere – more than four times the total emissions of the UK.

The Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund enables investors to qualify for relief under the UK government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme (“EIS”) for investment into early stage UK small businesses with strong intellectual property in their own specialist fields.

Foresight and Williams announced the unique collaboration in November last year to combine the Williams Advanced Engineering team with Foresight’s investment track record.

Kingdon said:

“We are delighted to receive investment through the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund. This will enable us to complete the product development, certification and customer trials of our innovative solution for reducing methane emissions.

“We are very pleased to get the chance to work with Williams Advanced Engineering to develop our technology further and to have the support of Foresight to  grow Utonomy into a world leading company.”

Bernard Fairman, chairman of Foresight, said:

“We are delighted to announce in collaboration with the Williams Advanced Engineering team, the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund’s first investment. Utonomy offers a truly exciting proposition that addresses a global problem.

“The experienced management team has already achieved a considerable amount of success over the past two years in terms of development and we now have the opportunity to support the business as it looks to capitalise on global opportunities.”

“Through the Fund we will continue to look to support high-quality disruptive technology leaders seeking EIS funding in order to develop and commercialise their proposition.”