Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 15.17.43A North East-based market leader in the burgeoning field of biometrics is aiming to expand the range and size of contracts it can take on with the help of new outside investment.

IEvo designs and develops devices which use individuals’ fingerprints to manage access to a range of controlled environments in different industries, and partners with some of the industry’s best-known manufacturers to create ‘readers’ which holistically address clients’ entry security needs.

IEvo’s systems are utilised in locations ranging from health clubs and construction sites to educational institutions and manufacturing facilities, and are suitable for use both inside and outside.

The company’s management team has worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to secure £200,000 from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund, which will be used as working capital for fulfilling both more and larger contracts.

The Growth Fund investment follows three rounds of funding provided by Northstar Ventures since IEvo’s launch in 2009, which have helped the North Tyneside-based firm fully establish itself and reach its present market position.

IEvo uses multispectral imaging technology to generate reliable fingerprint images, and its readers can even scan through some types of latex gloves.

It currently employs 12 people, but is already planning to take on a further five staff across operational, sales and marketing roles, and expects to recruit again as the company grows.

Managing director Shaun Oakes, who runs IEvo with partner Stuart Ging, says: “Entry systems based around cards are susceptible to them being lost, borrowed or stolen, but using biometric data takes away all those problems and ensures only those who should be gaining entry to a particular location can do so.

“We began by importing biometrics equipment from the Far East, but quickly saw that we’d be able to develop better products ourselves that were more suited to market requirements in the UK and Europe.

“We chose to partner with established industry-leading manufacturers like Paxton and Honeywell where we saw ways to use our technologies to enhance what they offered, and we’ve grown to achieve a multi-million pound turnover already through offering the most reliable, easy-to-use system on the market today.

“The demand for the type of products we supply is growing at home and overseas across a range of industries, and having more working capital available means we’ll be able to go after even bigger and better contracts.

“The supportive NEL team quickly understood our business plan and its requirements, and they and Northstar have worked together to ensure we were able to access this latest investment.”

Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “The IEvo management team clearly understands how to utilise external capital as a way of helping their business reach successive goals, and their future plans presented us with an excellent investment opportunity.”

Ian Richards, director at Northstar Ventures, says: “We have supported IEvo from its launch in 2009 and are really pleased with its positive growth over the years.

“The management team has done a fantastic job with the products, and I look forward to seeing the company continue its successful track record.

Aimed at regional businesses which are at a development and growth stage, the Growth Fund forms part of the wider Finance for Business North East Fund.

Managed by North East Finance, it will see £142m of investment capital injected into the region by the European Investment Bank and the European Regional Development Fund 2007-13.

NEL is looking to make around 130 investments from the Growth Fund, and is actively looking to speak to ambitious north east companies with robust business plans.

For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0845 111 1850.

The ERDF 2007-13 programme is bringing over £300m into North East England to support innovation, enterprise and business support.  It will help create and safeguard 28,000 new jobs, start 3,000 new businesses and increase the region’s productivity by £1.1bn per annum.