Foresight's investment into Promethean Particles

Foresight have invested £749,000 in Promethean Particles, through our Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF).

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, European Investment Bank, UK government and Local Enterprise partnerships, and managed by the British Business Bank, MEIF's investments aim to support new and growing SMEs, create jobs and attract additional private sector funding.

Promethean Particles came about after nanotechnology research at the University of Nottingham resulted in a major breakthrough, which the MEIF team have helped to commercialise and bring to market.

Investment Manager, Adam Huckerby describes the breakthrough as "a genuinely unique way of designing and manufacturing high specification nanoparticles”. In this video above Adam explains, in plain English, how the technology works and why this investment is so important.

Click here to view the transcript for this video

I’m Adam Huckerby and I’m an Investment Manager in the private equity team at Foresight Group. I am based in Foresight’s Nottingham office, largely focused on the Midlands Engine Investment Fund.

Midlands Engine Investment Fund

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund, or MEIF as we call it, is a Fund which is focused on SMEs based in the East and West Midlands. It’s managed by the British Business Bank.

The total pot is £250 million and Foresight’s slice of that if you like is £35 million and we’re investing in businesses based in the East and South East Midlands, that are looking to raise equity between £250,000 and £2 million.

We came about Promethean through our relationships with the University of Nottingham and the British Business Bank. This is a University that we work quite closely with, we recently invested in one of their other spin-out companies called Footfalls and Heartbeats.

There’s some really interesting and innovative businesses that are coming out of the University.

We worked with Promethean over a number of months in the run up to the investment. In particular, we helped them refine and talk through their business plan, and that is part of the role and responsibility we have as a lead investor.

We worked alongside the University and other investors to contribute to the round that we completed earlier in the year.

Promethean has developed a genuinely unique way of designing and manufacturing high-specification nanoparticles or chemical dispersions.

When you go into the office and you pick one up, it is a test tube of tiny particles. A lot of them look the same to me, but I have been told they are different.

The main differentiator they have is that they developed a way to manufacturer them on a continuous basis, meaning they can make them at scale.

How much did MEIF invest into Promethean?

We invested £749,000 from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund that Foresight manages, and it was part of a larger round of £1.25 million.

How will the company use the investment?

There are facilities there to manufacture the product at large scale, and some of the funds will go into supporting that scale-manufacture.

There is some kit there, some bits of metal, but equally there’s hires; this is really important to us, that there will be new and technical jobs that are going to be created in their base in Nottingham. Which is just around the corner from the University, and helpfully just down the road from our offices as well.

A lot of their customers are based overseas, particularly in East Asia, and also Europe. We’re giving them the ability and the resources that they need to meet the requirements of their customers and introduce their really innovative products to the market.

What does the future look like for Promethean post investment?

Promethean has a really high growth potential, and already we are having conversations at the board meetings around introducing private finance to continue to support the company and that’s really down to the purpose of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund.

We are there to provide support to companies which haven’t quite got the resources or the traction, or number of customers, to be able to attract finance from a bank. With our support, and the support of the other investors, we’ve been able to already get Promethean to that stage where we’re now talking to the mainstream lenders about what facilities might be able to support Promethean in pursuit of its own growth plans, which so early into the investment is really pleasing.