Scots plumbing entrepreneur wins backing to tap into huge new sales pipeline

A Scottish plumber turned inventor has secured financial backing to develop his innovative pipe repair product for global industrial markets.

Ross Dickinson, based in the Borders, initially came up his pipe repair clamp idea to quickly fix leaking domestic water pipes.

His Kibosh company has now secured funding from OGTC, the Aberdeen-based technology centre, to further develop his innovation for oil and gas, energy, and industrial sectors where it could have huge potential to reduce downtime.

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Together with backing from existing investors including Edinburgh-based investment syndicate Par Equity, the support will fund pre-field trial testing and certification by BSI, the leading global product standards assessor, and qualification of its industrial product range by Lloyds Register.

Plumber turned entrepreneur Ross Dickinson has developed a unique pipe repair solution which could have huge potential across industrial applications. Picture: Ian Jacobs
Plumber turned entrepreneur Ross Dickinson has developed a unique pipe repair solution which could have huge potential across industrial applications. Picture: Ian Jacobs

Galashiels-based Kibosh has sold more than 100,000 domestic clamps so far and in February supplied several thousand to assist the recovery effort in Texas after freezing conditions saw many houses there hit by burst pipes.

The firm’s increasingly high profile has led to growing interest from industry, with partners including Total, Harbour Energy, CNOOC International, and Hydratight recognising the potential of the clamps to temporarily repair damaged pipes and minimise any operational down-time.

A range of industrial clamps are now entering the final phase of research and development, with field trials due to take place in the North Sea over the next 18 months. This project will also be supported by University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), part of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland.

Dickinson, who is chief technology officer of Kibosh, said: “It’s great now to be working with some of the biggest names in the energy sector to develop products for a range of industrial settings. I knew pretty early in the process that if we could make the clamps effective for domestic use, we had a really good chance of applying the same basic solution in large-scale engineering and manufacturing environments.

“We believe our solutions have the potential to make a positive contribution to the net-zero journey and because these clamps have such huge potential for cross-sector compatibility in oil and gas and other industries we believe the market potential is in the billions of pounds range and, most importantly, can help save the planet and industry a similar amount too.”

In 2015, Dickinson – who left school aged 16 with no qualifications and was later diagnosed with dyslexia – secured funding to start the first phase of developing an industrial solution with the Oil & Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC) and Heriot Watt University.

In 2019, he secured funding from Par Equity, and the Scottish Investment Bank, which allowed him to focus on Kibosh full-time and to appoint a small team to help him grow the business, including chairman Keith Gibson, non-executive investment director Audrey Orhorn, and former Procter & Gamble executive Andy Peterson, who joined Kibosh as chief executive in July 2020.

Paul Atkinson, founding partner at Par Equity, said Kibosh is one of the most exciting businesses in its portfolio and that industrial scale applications for its products have “massive commercial opportunity”.

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