Merger creates digital imaging firm to take on global market

Two Scottish digital archiving specialists are aiming to unlock the burgeoning global market after joining forces and securing a six-figure investment boost.

Michael Howell, founder and director of iMetafilm, which has patented technology to rapidly digitise film. Picture: Julie Howden

Glasgow-based iMetaFilm and Hamilton firm UK Archiving have merged their operations and unveiled plans to target the growing international film digitisation industry on the back of equity funding from investment syndicate Kelvin Capital and the Scottish Investment Bank.

The £300,000 cash injection will allow the combined business to invest in new technical resources and boost headcount, as it aims to accelerate the commercialisation of iMetaFilm’s “disruptive”, patent-protected technology, which facilitates the rapid digitisation of traditional moving film archives.

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It will also allow the Glasgow firm to take advantage of the overseas client base currently served by UK Archiving, a still image specialist which operates at the high end of the international digital archiving market. Clients include Historic Environment Scotland, National Library of Scotland, Glasgow School of Art and Tower of London, along with key players in the flourishing online genealogy market such as Ancestry.com and findmypast.co.uk.

Angus Hay, director of Kelvin Capital, hailed the merger as a “game-changer” for the industry, saying: “iMetaFilm’s technology is truly disruptive and a world-first with a global patent portfolio.

“Combined with the outstanding client base and highly experienced management team of UK Archiving, we are looking at a true step-change for this industry, providing a cost effective and significantly improved end product which requires zero preparation of the original film material, and that is a real game changer for the market.”

Under the deal GT4 Group, former owner of UK Archiving, has taken an equal shareholding in iMetaFilm. Former UK Archiving managing director David Knox and three other members of GT4 Group’s executive team will join iMetafilm’s board, with Knox also taking on the role of MD at iMetaFilm.

Based at UK Archiving’s current premises, the combined business will retain all 14 staff and continue to trade under two separate brand names.

Michael Howell, founder and director of iMetafilm, which was already part of Kelvin’s portfolio, said: “With everyone craving more and more digital content for use across countless media platforms, as well as a desire to protect and save film archives for future generations, iMetaFilm’s patented technology now unlocks and commercialises these archives for a wide range of existing and new markets of, literally, millions of hours of film of enormous commercial and cultural value.”

Knox added: “People across the world have an endless interest in their past and the richness of content available through digitising film adds a fantastic dimension to the experience.”