Strathclyde University spin-out eyes future after funding boost

Dr Philip Orr of Synaptec
Dr Philip Orr of Synaptec
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A university spin out company is set to break into the renewable and sub sea markets after securing funding from one of Scotland’s leading investor syndicates.

Synaptec, which has developed a new breed of fibre optic technology to reduce operating costs of power networks - has received a £370,000 investment from the Equity Gap business angel syndicate, Scottish Investment Bank and the University of Strathclyde.

Synaptec’s team and their business proposal are highly impressive

Stuart Mackenzie, commercialisation infrastructure manager at the University of Strathclyde

The firm already works with clients such as SSE and Scottish Power with the funding due to help growth, expand operations and broaden the scope of the business.

READ MORE: Five Scottish spin-out success stories

Dr Philip Orr, managing director and one of the founders of Synaptec, said a new member of staff had already been hired thanks to the investment.

Founded in 2014, Synaptec develops unique photonic sensing systems that use existing optical fibre network to monitor the health and capacity of power systems.

Dr Orr said: “Monitoring, protection and control of power networks is becoming more important than ever thanks to increased global electricity demand and the simultaneous move to greater penetration of distributed renewable energy sources.

“By improving network management through enhanced awareness, we provide multiple benefits to network operators and society including cost reductions, enhanced security of energy supply, and reduced emissions.

READ MORE: Scotland’s university spin-out companies lead the way in innovation

“Our technology and approach has the potential to deliver similar performance improvements for other markets including renewables and subsea systems. The investment from Equity Gap, the Scottish Investment Bank and the University will help us to capitalise on these opportunities and we have already hired a new member of staff to broaden our capabilities.”

The involvement of Equity Gap will also expose Dr Orr and his team to a team of experts in the energy, renewables and subsea fields.

Fraser Lusty of Equity Gap, said he was “delighted” to be supporting Synaptec.

He added: “Their proprietary technology impressed greatly and will allow them to scale in two key sectors where they can facilitate operational efficiencies, as well as reduce costs, for global corporate customers.”

Stuart Mackenzie, commercialisation infrastructure manager at the University of Strathclyde’s Research & Knowledge Exchange Services, said the university was pleased to have played a part in the evolution of the firm.

He added: “Synaptec’s team and their business proposal are highly impressive. We look forward to collaborating with the company to maximise the benefits it will bring to power network operators.”

Synaptec is a spin out from the University of Strathclyde’s Institute for Energy & Environment.

The company is also involved in a number of research projects with institutions including the European Marine Energy Centre on Orkney.

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