Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Scottish maritime firm receives £2.2million equity injection to scale up oil analysis device

Fast-growing Scottish maritime technology company RAB-Microfluidics, is scaling up manufacturing of a disruptive new oil analysis device after receiving £2.2million in equity funding led by Par Equity.

Aberdeen headquartered RAB Microfluidics is led by CEO Rotimi Alabi, a PHD graduate from Nigeria. The company has developed and patented a microfluidic ‘lab on a chip’ after identifying a gap in the market to radically improve oil lubrication analysis. The technology diagnoses early signs of failure preventing costly machinery break downs in equipment such as main engines, gearboxes, and generators. The device will be formally launched later this year and enables real-time analysis at sea up to 1000 times quicker and significantly cheaper than static land-based laboratories.  The technology can be deployed on a variety of vessels including ferries, cruise ships, superyachts, and tankers.

To drive growth RAB-Microfluidics is already moving to bigger premises at Aberdeen’s Energy Development Centre to kickstart manufacturing as well as moving towards regulatory approvals for CE marking, ISO 9001, and marine type approval. It is further creating eight new roles with the funding led by Par Equity and supported by existing investors, Eos Advisory, Newable Ventures and Scottish Enterprise. It is the second equity cash injection the company has received from the partners after it secured £1.25million in January 2021. 

Dr Alabi said the company is winning new business and is aiming to hit a £2million turnover by 2024. He said growth will be driven by a strengthened team of engineers, scientists, and sales professionals. 

“This is a huge moment for RAB-Microfluidics as we look to launch the technology and we must sincerely thank our investors for backing us and believing in our vision,” he said. “The technology fills a big gap in the engine condition monitoring market. We’ll use the funding to catapult the business forward commercially with a stronger corporate, sales and marketing operation. We are actively looking to speak with ship owners worldwide and urge ship managers to make contact. To raise awareness, we’ll be showcasing the technology at trade fairs globally starting at SMM in Hamburg in September.”

Jamie Grant, RAB-Microfluidics director of commercialisation and former general manager with V Group, said a big benefit of the technology is maximising vessel reliability and availability.

“It is brilliant to receive this equity funding after proving the technology’s potential on pilot projects working with the likes of NorthLink Ferries,” he said. “We know a major pain point in shipping is equipment failure, which is costly in terms of downtime and repairs. A ship out of service is a stranded asset not maximising revenue. We can solve that difficulty by preventing break downs ever happening with quicker, cheaper analysis. RAB-Microfluidics technology can further integrate its data with existing asset management technologies to maximise efficiency.”

Following its launch in the maritime industry, RAB-Microfluidics is planning to expand into other sectors including windfarms, manufacturing and mining working on gas turbines, gearboxes, generators, compressors and pumps.

RAB Microfluidics will be exhibiting in the UK Pavilion at SMM.

Tom Croy, Senior Investment Manager at Par Equity, said: “RAB-Microfluidics has developed a game changing and difficult to replicate technology in oil condition monitoring which is at the point of accelerating customer traction. We look forward to the journey ahead and helping RAB Microfluidics make an impact on Industry 4.0, across the global maritime industry before moving into new sectors.”

Kerry Sharp, Director of Entrepreneurship & Investment at Scottish Enterprise, said: “RAB-Microfluidics is a significant early-stage, high-growth company with much to offer to a wide range of industries globally. We have worked closely with the company over several years, helping it commercialise its cutting-edge technology. We are pleased to continue our support for RAB by participating in this latest funding round as the company goes from strength-to-strength.”

BACKGROUND

RAB-Microfluidics is building a solid track record in industry after receiving funding from a variety of sources including the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, run by Innovate UK on behalf of the Department for Transport. 

Dr Alabi was further awarded a £90,000 Enterprise Fellowship by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, building on £65,000 of grant funding from the Oil and Gas Innovation Centre and Energy Technology Partnership. RAB-Microfluidics has also completed the Oil and Gas Technology Centre’s TechX Pioneers accelerator programme. The company has further won the University Start-up World Cup in Copenhagen, defeating 70 other entrants. This is in addition to receiving 70% grant support form Scottish Enterprise and Innovate UK for projects worth £475,000 and £232,000 respectively to further advance its technology development.

About Par Equity

Par Equity is a leading venture capital firm, based in Edinburgh, investing in innovative technology companies with high growth potential in the North of the UK. Since it was founded in 2008, Par Equity has invested more than £130m across 71 companies, leveraging a further £215m of capital from third-party investors. Par Equity is also one of the founding members of ESG_VC, a pan-European initiative to improve the ESG credentials of early tech companies. 

Past successes include Current Health, DeltaDNA, Symphonic Software, ICS Learn and Dukosi, whilst its existing portfolio is made up of rising stars such as Cyacomb, Speech Graphics, Nova Pangaea Technologies, Miralis Fuuse and Cumulus Neuroscience.

About Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s national economic development agency. We’re committed to growing the Scottish economy for the benefit of all, helping create more quality jobs and a brighter future for every region.

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