Untitled Design

Paul Hodges, Chairman of NiTech

Sustainability is becoming one of the key drivers for the global economy. NiTech’s advanced manufacturing technology supports this new direction. The Heriot Watt University spin-out designs reactors and crystallizers with huge implications for multiple manufacturing sectors. NiTech’s technology has the potential to reduce cost and improve safety while fueling the circular economy. Here, Chairman Paul Hodges shares the company’s story so far.

Tell us a bit about NiTech

NiTech’s advanced manufacturing technology enables companies to reduce CO₂ emissions while also reducing costs and increasing their flexibility and product quality.

We began life as a spin-out from Heriot Watt University and we are focused on the supply of modern reactors and crystallizers to replace traditional stirred tank reactors.

How has the company developed over time?

Our technology has the potential to play a critical role in many manufacturing sectors, from specialty chemicals and personal care to renewable energy, pharmaceuticals and Cannabidiol (CBD).

It has taken many years to perfect the technology, and to complete the trials needed to give companies the confidence that it will meet their needs. Over this period, we were in developmental mode, understanding market needs in the sectors in which we planned to operate, and developing the technology to successfully meet these needs.

What is the ethos behind the company?

Our focus has always been on understanding market needs. First, it was to inform our development process, and now, it’s to rapidly scale our business in our target sectors.

What’s the business’s USP?

Our technology is safer, greener, faster and cheaper than traditional reactors and crystallizers currently on the market.

Tell us about the investment you have sourced for the business and how it has helped you to go further?

We started with Angel financing in Edinburgh. Then we were supported by Braveheart, which had been specifically set up to support spin-out companies with lengthy development lead times.

We received investment from Scottish Enterprise and Partnerships UK (PUK) which was the UK Government-funded body set up to support companies like us.

Unfortunately, the future funding we expected from 2011 onwards disappeared due to the combination of the financial crisis and the closure of PUK. So, the directors and our lead angel investor self-funded the business for seven years.

Our belief in NiTech’s potential proved justified when, in 2018, Oxford Investments invested to support our scale-up plans.

What is the most important thing to remember when applying for funding/investment?

Always have answers to these four key questions:

  • Why does this investment make sense?
  • What are you going to do with the money raised?
  • How are you actually going to deliver the promise?
  • When will it all happen?

Can you give us an example of an impactful collaboration your business has been involved in?

Our of our early partnerships was with Croda, a leading UK specialty chemical company. It involved joint work on an Innovate UK-funded trial with CPI. We have since developed a number of other key partnerships with companies in Europe and the USA. These have proved successful in accelerating our development, due to the fact that we spend time and energy on developing strong relationships with all the relevant stakeholders. This then creates confidence that the ambitious goals for each partnership can be achieved.

How is NiTech informing and responding to the world around it?

Our proven technology responds to the key challenges of our times – climate change and sustainability.

We focus on creating competitive advantage for our clients by providing them with affordable crystallisation and mixing technology that operates safely at the scale they need.

What has been your company’s greatest achievement?

Over the past year, we have signed major licence deals with two of the world’s leading chemical and pharma companies. We are also moving forward with a number of other leading companies, and are planning a major launch into the fast-growing CBD isolate market.

What is your business’s short and long-term plans?

We are focused on three main growth pillars – specialty chemicals, green methane and reshoring of generic medicines. We have proven technology for all these key applications and we are now looking to scale-up rapidly to exploit the opportunity that we have developed.

 

Key takeaways

  • NiTech design affordable and sustainable reactors and crystallizers with the potential to play a significant role in multiple manufacturing sectors.
  • The Heriot Watt spin-out company is focused on providing manufacturers with a safer, greener and cheaper solution to that which is currently on the market.
  • NiTech are currently looking to scale-up and roll out their technology across the manufacturing market.

 The Go Further Investment Index is an opportunity to engage, showcase and celebrate progressive businesses who are pushing through and achieving their aspirations through access to investment, impactful collaborations, and the foresight to inform and respond to the changing world around them.

 

It is open to Northern Powerhouse and Scotland-based businesses of all sizes and from all sectors, but we are particularly interested in businesses operating within bio-science, health tech, clean energy, decarbonisation, circular economy, data and digitisation, space and satellite, tech, AI and advanced manufacturing.

For more info visit www.gofurtherindex.co.uk

 

Alison Cowie
Article by Alison Cowie
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