North-east start-up eyes growth after sales jump 34-fold

An Aberdeenshire technology start-up specialising in subsea scanning is targeting ambitious growth in 2019 after a major turnover jump during a 'momentous' year.
From left, Richard Drennan, Chris Harvey and Lynn Park of Viewpoint3. Picture: contributed.From left, Richard Drennan, Chris Harvey and Lynn Park of Viewpoint3. Picture: contributed.
From left, Richard Drennan, Chris Harvey and Lynn Park of Viewpoint3. Picture: contributed.

Ellon-based Viewport3 provides underwater photogrammetry services, using remotely operated vehicles or diver mounted cameras to capture 3D subsea data for operators or marine contractors, eliminating the need for time-consuming and costly diving campaigns and more hardware.

It uses cloud-scanning technology to provide highly accurate data, in a much shorter time-frame than conventional methods, and minimising project disruption and risk.

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The firm said that despite being in only its second year of trading, it has enjoyed turnover and growth “far in excess” of its projections. In the last 12 months, turnover has grown to more than £340,000 from £10,000, enabling it to grow floorspace and its team by three new roles with further scaling plans in place.

The update comes hot on the heels of Viewport3 securing a five-figure investment from Tom Bryce, co-founder of Scopus Engineering, which was sold to the Amec group in 2014. The entrepreneur now owns a 15 per cent stake in the firm.

Viewport3 also said it saved operators in excess of £6.6 million this year, mainly due to the reduced requirement for marine services, not just during the capture sessions themselves, but also during the follow-up engineering phase.

Earlier this year, it collaborated with service provider N-Sea Group to carry out subsea scanning of several locations at a North Sea based semi-submersible. Viewport3 said this was its “breakthrough” project, and created “significant” cost-savings for the client.

Another key project saw it work with BP to provide an “innovative” method of digital model construction for mooring line chains for a buoy located in offshore Angola.

Chris Harvey, one of the directors of Viewport 3, said 2018 has been “fantastic” for the firm. “Over the course of the year, our reputation for retrieving technical grade data with proven accuracies of under 1 millimetre via an efficient and cost-effective process has grown considerably.

“This year has also seen us expand our team.”

As for Viewport3’s “big plans” in 2019, one key area is converting video archives into 3D timelines, with Harvey along with director and co-founder Richard Drennan very enthusiastic to explore emerging technologies.

Drennan said: “We are currently at the vanguard of subsea scanning, but we know that continuous innovation is key to retaining that position.

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“Keeping abreast of a number of emerging technologies, such as development of photography solutions for the underwater autonomous vehicle sector, structure from light, and advanced 2D imaging, means we can always offer our clients the most accurate, cutting-edge subsea scanning service possible.”