Aberdeen firm behind 'game changing' oil tech nets £2.2m to scale up and add jobs

An Aberdeen-based firm behind “game changing” technology that solves oil analysis problems is scaling up thanks to a seven-figure funding injection.

RAB-Microfluidics, spun out of the University of Aberdeen, has secured £2.2 million in equity funding led by Par Equity, marking a “huge moment” for the North-east business.

The company is led by chief executive Rotimi Alabi, a PHD graduate from Nigeria. It has developed and patented a microfluidic “lab on a chip” after identifying a gap in the market to radically improve oil lubrication analysis.

The technology diagnoses early signs of failure preventing costly machinery breakdowns in equipment such as main engines, gearboxes, and generators. The device will be formally launched later this year and is said to enable real-time analysis at sea up to 1,000 times quicker and “significantly cheaper” than static land-based laboratories.

The technology can be deployed on a variety of vessels including ferries, cruise ships, superyachts and tankers.

To drive growth, the firm is moving to larger premises at Aberdeen’s Energy Development Centre to kickstart manufacturing as well as for regulatory approvals. It is further creating eight new roles with the funding led by Par Equity and supported by existing investors, Eos Advisory, Newable Ventures and Scottish Enterprise.

The funding marks the second equity cash injection the company has received from the partners after it secured £1.25m in January 2021

Alabi said the company is winning new business and is aiming to hit a £2m turnover by 2024. He said growth will be driven by a strengthened team of engineers, scientists and sales professionals.

RAB-Microfluidics director of commercialisation Jamie Grant and CEO Dr Rotimi Alabi, pictured in Aberdeen.

“This is a huge moment for RAB-Microfluidics as we look to launch the technology and we must sincerely thank our investors for backing us and believing in our vision,” he said.

“The technology fills a big gap in the engine condition monitoring market. We’ll use the funding to catapult the business forward commercially with a stronger corporate, sales and marketing operation.

“We are actively looking to speak with ship owners worldwide. To raise awareness, we’ll be showcasing the technology at trade fairs globally starting at SMM in Hamburg in September.”

Jamie Grant, RAB-Microfluidics director of commercialisation and former general manager with V Group, said: “It is brilliant to receive this equity funding after proving the technology’s potential on pilot projects working with the likes of NorthLink Ferries.

“We know a major pain point in shipping is equipment failure, which is costly in terms of downtime and repairs. A ship out of service is a stranded asset not maximising revenue.”

Following its launch in the maritime industry, the company is planning to expand into other sectors including wind farms, manufacturing and mining working on gas turbines, gearboxes, generators, compressors and pumps.

Tom Croy, senior investment manager at Par Equity, said: “RAB-Microfluidics has developed a game changing and difficult to replicate technology in oil condition monitoring which is at the point of accelerating customer traction.

“We look forward to the journey ahead and helping RAB Microfluidics make an impact on Industry 4.0, across the global maritime industry before moving into new sectors.”

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