An Edinburgh firm that aims to protect workers from “hand arm vibration” injuries caused by power tools has raised £700,000 in a funding round backed by its own staff.
Reactec, set up in 2001 as a spin-out from the University of Edinburgh, said its board, management and employees had invested £122,000 as part of the cash injection led by business angel syndicate Archangels, with co-funding from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.
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The fresh funding will be used to develop Reactec’s HAVwear personal monitoring equipment and reporting technology, as well as the recruitment of four sales and engineering staff, taking the firm’s total headcount to 27.
Chief executive Jacqui McLaughlin said: “I am thrilled that so many of our own people have chosen to invest their own cash in Reactec’s future, alongside Archangels and Scottish Investment Bank. This will help us to grow the business internationally and undertake further research and development.”
Sarah Hardy, chief investment officer at Archangels, added: “We are proud of our track record of follow-on funding for our investee companies. Reactec’s HAVwear product meets a clear customer need in protecting users from the debilitating effects of HAVS (hand arm vibration syndrome) and we look forward to seeing this product increasing its impact in this important area.”
HAVs, also known as vibration white finger, is one of the most common industrial diseases in the UK. Sufferers can experience a permanent loss of sensation in their fingers, causing difficulty in picking up and manipulating small objects, according to the Health & Safety Executive, which estimates that almost two million people are at risk of developing the condition.
SIB head Kerry Sharp said: “Reactec is a fine example of an ambitious, fast-growing Scottish company, whose focus on innovation has resulted in the development of a market-leading product.
“It’s great to know that this funding will allow the company to expand its reach, target new geographies and create new employment in Edinburgh and we look forward to working with Reactec to help it to build on the commercial success it has already achieved.”
Reactec shipped 10,000 HAVwear units in its first year, resulting in the company recording its first £1 million sales quarter.