The North East is set to provide the launch pad for new market-leading miniaturised satellite technology thanks to a six-figure investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund.
e2E Satcom Ltd will be creating up to 19 North East jobs over the next three years as part of the commercialisation of its NEAT access satellite communications technology which has been designed with miniaturisation in mind and to support satellite communications from smaller airborne platforms.
The development of the NEAT access communications node takes the main equipment to credit card-size, as opposed to comparative lap-top sized alternatives on the market today.
Both the development approach and lead application has so far been sponsored under the European Space Agency ARTES Programme.
And now, as part of moving this technology towards commercial launch, e2E Satcom Ltd has worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to secure a £400,000 Growth Fund investment.
e2E Satcom Ltd has its North East sales hub in Gateshead and is now looking to secure larger premises in the region in order to gradually ramp-up the operations, maintenance and customer care activities.
It will also be looking to engage with the region’s universities to offer career opportunities for its best graduates.
A member of the firm’s management team will shortly be heading to the US as part of the UK government’s Space Mission Three for entrepreneurial small businesses, and a range of opportunities with large enterprises and government bodies are also being progressed both nationally and overseas.
The NEATaccess communications technology is ideal for use on a range of delivery platforms including airborne drones,High Altitude Platforms (HAPs) and latest satellite images for sale. The plan is to launch this technology into the market before the end of 2017.
e2E has a five-year plan in place which will eventually see it launching its own small satellites before the end of the decade in order to serve niche areas and clients with more affordable satellite communications.
Barry Ross, CEO at e2E says: “NEATaccess technology has huge advantages over anything else currently available in the marketplace in terms of size, weight and power, and this, together with our leading edge development approach will ensure we maintain market leadership in this area.
“The enthusiasm with which our work so far has been greeted by potential customers suggests there are major commercial opportunities out there for us to target.
“The North East has a growing reputation as a technology centre of excellence, as well as a skilled workforce and highly-regarded universities. It therefore provides the right type of environment in which to base our operations centre, which we plan to have up and running by 2019.
“While providing the right type of financial option to help us commercialise NEATaccess, NEL Fund Managers also provides a team that is working with us under a true partnership arrangement. This is benefiting us as a business and we’re very pleased to be onboard.”
Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “e2E Satcom’s technology is establishing a new benchmark in the satellite communications industry, and we’re excited about the terrific potential for growth that their business plan outlines.”
Established by holding fund manager North East Finance (NEF) in 2010, the £159.5m Finance for Business North East (FBNE) programme is a suite of seven venture capital and loan funds which provide investment for start-up and growing businesses in the North East of England. They will continue investing until 2016, and aim to support 950 companies and to create or safeguard almost 10,000 jobs.
NEL is actively looking to speak to more North East businesses about securing investment from it to help them put development plans into action.
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.