TRICAPITAL investee GSS wins Elektra Design Team of the Year

Congratulations to investee GSS for winning two prestigious Elektra awards, including Design Team of the Year! Glasgow-based Gas Sensing Solutions also scooped first place in the industry award’s ‘Medical’ category for outstanding medical design.

Judges at the glittering award ceremony in London praised the GSS team for being “a wonderful example of an inventive UK company doing outstanding work”. The GSS design team took the gong for its work on a miniature CO2 detector, the SprintIR6S. The product opens new possibilities in gas sensing, particularly for medical applications.

In the ‘Medical Design’ category, the judges awarded first prize to GSS’s N-Tidal, a portable CO2 breath analyser, describing it as a “fascinating application of LED technology and, potentially, a game‑changing solution to a real-world problem”.

TRICAPITAL Chairman Jamie Andrew said: ‘We’re delighted at this success by GSS! It’s great to see them going from strength to strength, and following their business journey. Innovation is at the heart of what GSS do, and it’s fantastic to see that rewarded.”

GSS were also runners-up in the ‘Passive & Electromechanical Product of the Year’ category. The awards were sponsored by BWW Communications and Caltest.

Read more about their success here on the Elektra Awards website.

 

JULIAN LIVINGSTON – Director

Julian Livingston TRICAP directorWith a background in law, Julian Livingston is a former director at Martin Currie with an extensive career working with international hedge funds. He has built a portfolio of non-executive and consultancy roles providing expertise in the fields of corporate governance, compliance and regulation, investment analysis, client service, and the development of asset management businesses.

Julian says: “Being part of TRICAPITAL, rather than investing on one’s own, offers access to a wider pool of expertise from a variety of fields which should in theory result in better decision making. Being part of a syndicate also allows one to diversify risk by investing in a variety of opportunities rather than having to cherry-pick a couple of opportunities. As a syndicate there is structure to the due diligence process and monitoring of investments at a level which would not be possible as an individual investor.”

Contact: julian.livingston@tricapital.co.uk

PAUL YUSKAITIS – Director

Paul Yuskaitis TRICAP directorPaul, runs his own interim-management and strategic consultancy service PGY Solutions and also holds a number of board level observer roles in TRICAPITAL investee companies. He joined TRICAPITAL in 2011 and has extensive experience in managing early stage companies both in the United States and Scotland.

He says: “TRICAPITAL gives me the opportunity to work with early stage businesses and enables me to have an impact on their success. An important part of my investment philosophy is that angel investors need to be willing to be involved and share expertise on the back of their investment in order to give the company the best chance for success and the investors the best chance for a successful exit with a meaningful equity gain.”

Contact: paul.yuskaitis@tricapital.co.uk

IAN BURTON – Director

Ian Burton TRICAP directorA born engineer, Ian began building electrical circuits and repairing engines at an early age; later moving on to creating functional model aircraft. In his teens he was given the opportunity by the RAF to fly gliders and light aircraft and this progressed to fast jet and aerobatic aircraft, with the Pitts Special still being his favourite.

After a brief flirtation with the RAF he decided that engineering and not flying was his career choice so he moved to the Royal Navy as a civilian contractor developing the passive and narrowband sonar systems for the Spearfish torpedo project. During his early engineering career it became apparent that Ian had a flair for problem solving, working on broken projects to turn them around. These early projects had a high software content taking him on another path to software engineering. During his software engineering career he worked on many projects including military, fulfilment, warehousing, call handling, ERP, navigation, eCommerce, eManagement, eBusiness.

His next career change was to management consultancy to turn the experience to date into a resource for many businesses rather than the few. Ian was attracted to TRICAPITAL to invest in interesting businesses and most of all enjoy the rewards of working with dynamic growing companies.

Contact: ian.burton@tricapital.co.uk

Training software developer Administrate inks US deals – The Scotsman

This article about TRI Cap investee company Administrate appeared in the Scotsman on 20th September 2017

http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/tech/training-software-developer-administrate-inks-us-deals-1-4565011

Training software outfit Administrate has secured fresh deals with two US companies as it prepares to host its latest education technology conference. The Edinburgh-based firm, which develops software to help clients such as “big four” accountant PwC and the University of York run online training programmes, has partnered with sales and marketing group Lead Liaison, headquartered in Texas, and San Francisco’s CloudShare, a provider of “virtual labs” for IT training and sales demonstrations.

Future Scotland CloudShare founder and chief executive Zvi Guterman said: “One of the primary applications for our solution is within the training industry, and our partnership with Administrate is a natural fit. Together with Administrate, we enable training organisations to spend much less time on technical and administrative details so they can spend more time creating and providing high-quality programmes.”

Meanwhile, Administrate said its tie-up with Lead Liaison would allow the Scots firm’s clients to target potential customers using a variety of methods, including emails, text messages and even postcards, to help generate more sales.

Administrate chief executive John Peebles said: “We believe training professionals are best served by a seamless training and administration experience, and integrations like these are key to that goal. “Excellent marketing is critical for any training company, and we’re really excited about this integration that links Administrate with one of the leading marketing automation platforms in the world.”

The deals came ahead of the two-day Administrate LITE conference, which kicks off tomorrow at the CodeBase technology incubator, where the software start-up has its headquarters. The firm, which employs more than 60 people, also has a US office in Montana and last year established a presence in Beirut, Lebanon.

 

Chairman’s report

I am pleased to report that following several deal completions in the first half of the year and continued valuable support from LINC Scotland TRI Cap was ahead of budget for that period both by way of anticipated income but also the generating of a surplus. It was also pleasing to note the very good turnout at the September members meeting. Members were in good mood and had obviously summered well!

 

In terms of activity the Board has been very busy in the first half of the year and continues to push ahead with a number of initiatives. Paul Yuskaitis is concentrating on getting the Proseeder (investment management) software up and running and I have been working on the first Portfolio Review document for the members (hopefully to be published in December). The new investment panel led by Douglas Needham is up and running, and looking at fresh opportunities for members and this has allowed Kathy Kinder to concentrate more on the management of the existing portfolio. The monitoring group under Ian Burton\s leadership continues to develop as an effective vehicle for assessing the performance of our invested companies via the collection and analysis of good quality information. Lastly, and after many months of hard work from Julian Livingston and Andy Purves the new ‘Power of Attorneyˆ legals were finalised and ‘Tricap Signatory Services Ltd’ became a reality.

 

That aside we continue to network and maintain/build our relationships with the other angel investment groups, Scottish Enterprise and LINC Scotland by attending the Angel Leaders Forum (ALF) meetings and also various industry events such as Engage Invest Exploit (EIE) 17 and the Young Company Finance Conference 2017 ‘Getting to exit: Trade Sales’.

 

Lastly, whilst we are looking to bring new opportunities to members we have to remain focused very firmly on supporting and nurturing the existing portfolio so that shareholder value can be realised within reasonable timescales. Indeed, the progress of the senior executives/ boards of your invested companies towards achieving a return of shareholder value is quite rightly a vital metric for the TRI Cap Board to monitor and consider.

Innovative sensor technology assists Nasa with vital wearable CO2 monitoring equipment

By Siobhan Molloy, SST Sensing & Rachael Barton, GSS

Within a self-contained system where humans are respiring, there will be a build up toxic CO2 levels over time. As a consequence, in any form of spacecraft where humans are present, effective mechanisms for removing CO2 and resupplying oxygen need to be implemented. However, operational necessities still dictate that these will only be efficient enough to keep the CO2 levels down to a certain extent.

As air moves differently in such locations, without the influence of gravity involved. Heat does not rise and this in turn leads to significantly less mixing of air taking place. The occupants onboard the International Space Station (ISS) are thus exposed to greater levels of CO2 during their time onboard than the rest of us experience. Down here on Earth it represents just 0.03% of the air’s content (equating to a partial pressure of 0.23 mmHg). NASA has set a long-duration spacecraft maximum allowable COconcentration that is more than double that figure, at 0.7% (a partial pressure of 5.3mmHg).

Though extensive terrestrial studies have shown that this increased level will have no effect on the continued good health of those exposed to it, there must be some acknowledgement of the fact that crew members onboard the ISS still regularly experience symptoms of acute CO2 toxicity – such as headaches or lethargy.

It is generally accepted that human adaptations to microgravity conditions will cause astronauts in space to become more sensitive to elevated CO2 levels. This can result not only in physical discomfort, but also impinge on their cognitive skills and reaction times – thereby potentially leading to safety risks. On average crew members stay on the ISS for a period of around 6 months, so having a good grasp of the ongoing implications is clearly of great value.

With operational practicalities meaning that it is not possible (either technically or financially speaking) to remove enough CO2 to replicate normal conditions here on Earth, the ISS has to function with relatively high ambient COconcentrations present in the air. Yet its occupants have to live and work in an acceptable environment.

NASA scientists have, for many years, wanted to embark on a thorough investigation of how elevated CO2 levels impact on ISS crew members’ ability to carry out their allotted tasks, but it has taken a long time for them to be in a position to employ a method for acquiring data to a high enough degree of precision. Given that, as already mentioned, air does not mix well without the influence of gravity, wall-mounted sensors had proved themselves to be an unsuitable means by which to get an accurate reflection of a crew member’s exposure to CO2. What was needed instead were wearable CO2sensors.

There were several key criteria that a wearable CO2 sensor would have to meet. These were as follows:

  • It would need to support a prolonged battery life – so that operation could be sustained for an extensive period without recharging being required.
  • For wearer comfort and convenience, the sensor would have to be compact and have a low mass.
  • A simple data interface would also be important, so as to make the information acquired easy to access, while at the same time keeping the system development process as short and uncomplicated as possible.

After a comprehensive survey of what products were on the market, the scientists working in NASA’s Technology Transfer Program decided on the best option. A solution from Scottish sensor manufacturer SST Sensing Ltd developed with its long-established engineering partner Gas Sensing Solutions (GSS) was specified accordingly. The two companies liaised with NASA during the prototyping phase, providing detailed performance information on the industry-leading CozIR CO2sensor so that this device could be used with maximum effectiveness in space agency’s personal CO2monitors.

Once they had been supplied, the NASA team charged with execution of the project then constructed a custom-designed baseboard around each CozIR sensor. This hardware provided all the necessary power regulation, processing, data storage and wireless connectivity. The team also designed a housing that could be 3D printed and easily clipped on to crew member’s clothing (with the sensors being worn on the back of their collars).

Thanks to the highly advanced optoelectronics employed by the CozIR gas sensors, these low power, high speed non-dispersive infra-red (NDIR) devices can cover measurements down to ppm CO2 levels (with a range of 0 to 5000ppm and a ±5% sensor accuracy). They comfortably support an operational lifespan of 10 years. Pivotal to their suitability for this application was their power saving capabilities – with devices just drawing 3.5mW at 2 samples/sec acquisition rates. This means that they are 50 times less power hungry than standard NDIR sensor options currently on the market. Another advantage was the ease of connectivity – with a convenient serial connection facilitating data transfer.

Through these personal CO2 monitors, it will be possible for simple and unobtrusive tracking of the astronauts’ individual CO2 exposure to be undertaken over an extended period of time. Astronauts will be able to view their own data straight away via a custom iPad app. Furthermore, all the datasets obtained from crew members will subsequently be compiled together and utilized by researchers to get a better understanding of the long-term effect of heightened CO2 exposure during space travel. Not only could this prove highly beneficial to the ISS crew, but also for potential future missions to Mars.

The personal CO2 monitors that were developed for this project were transported to the ISS back in the spring, with the crew completing proof-of-concept demonstrations soon after. The process of gathering data is now underway, with initial analysis due to take place towards the end of the year.


TRICAPITAL member profile – Moray Martin

1. Where is home?

I am originally from Elgin and have lived for extended periods in Aberdeen, Newcastle, London, Manchester, Jakarta and Singapore. Since moving back to the UK in 2010 my home has been in rural Northumberland.

2. What was your first job?

Coming from a modest background, as a child if I wanted anything I had to find the money myself. So I have been working from age 8 on a wide range of jobs. My first ‘real’ job was when I left university to join Royal Insurance in Aberdeen as a fast track trainee.

3. What part did your education play in deciding your future career?

Initially not much. Like a lot of people of my vintage I fell into university with a limited understanding of what I was letting myself in for. Later though I was given the opportunity to do a company sponsored MBA at INSEAD. That gave me the necessary width of vision, confidence and understanding. There is no doubt that my career accelerated after that.

4. When did you join TRI Cap and what motivated you to become a member?

I joined TRICAP shortly after I returned from Asia. I had crossed swords with a past member on another investment and he introduced me to Rob Dick. Rob’s common sense and enthusiasm convinced me, a confirmed ‘non-joiner’, that TRICAP was for me.

5. What keeps you involved?

I like the people.

6. What are the key elements that attract you to particular investee companies?

A coherent and thought through business plan backed by a credible team.

7. What annoys you in life?

My own shortcomings and weaknesses.

8. How do you relax?

What’s that?

9. Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?

No.

10. What advice would you give to any aspiring young business people who are just starting out?

Think before you act.

Ryboquin raises £1.8m for drug development in gene therapy and strengthens board

July 2017

       Latest funding round attracts two prominent new investors: – Brian Kennedy and Sir Brian Souter

 

Ryboquin Limited, a Scottish Borders based  pharmaceutical company, announces that it has closed a £1.8m equity fund raising to accelerate product development in gene therapy.

 

In addition to support from existing shareholders, including Borders business angel group, TRI Capital and the Scottish Investment Bank (the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise), funding has also been provided by Brian Kennedy, the highly successful Scottish entrepreneur and Sir Brian Souter, the founder and Chairman of Stagecoach.  Brian Kennedy will also join the Board.

 

Founded in 2013, Ryboquin is a privately held, pharmaceutical company focused on commercialising patented intellectual property in the area of delivering gene therapy primarily in the field of human cancer medicine.  Ryboquin is in partnership with Nanogenics to promote the targeted nucleic acid delivery system LipTide.

 

The funds being raised will be used to further scientific development as well as providing funding for corporate expansion.

 

Paul Murray, Executive Chairman, Ryboquin, says:

 

“The support from existing shareholders and the investment by Brian Kennedy and Sir Brian Souter, two esteemed leaders and hugely successful businessmen, is testimony to the potential of Ryboquin and to the work we are undertaking in the field of cancer gene therapy drug development.

 

We also welcome Brian Kennedy to the Board and look forward to his contribution as we seek to grow the business both organically and by acquisition.”

 

Brian Kennedy says:

 

“I am delighted to be part of Ryboquin and to be working with the team that could make great progress in the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

 

FINDRA opens Design Hub in Scottish Borders

Findra opened a Design Hub in Innerleithen, Scottish Borders, in May 2017

FINDRA, the women’s cycle and outdoor clothing brand, has opened its first retail space in Innerleithen, Scottish Borders, the centre of UK mountain biking.

 

This Scottish brand has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2014 where it grew from the ground up with support from Mountain bike centre of Scotland Scottish Enterprise, Entrepreneurial Spark and Scottish Edge. Founder, Alex Feechan, has combined her love of cycling, with her design experience to create a brand that aims to encourage and empower women to look good, feel good and perform to the best of their abilities when they’re are out adventuring.

 

The retail space, on Innerleithen High street, will showcase the range as well as act as a hub for women’s cycling in the area. With organised rides, talks and presentations to inspire and motivate not only women cyclists but the active community at large. The design hub will be a centre within the community welcoming everyone.

 

Alex has always envisaged the brand having a retail space, feeling that FINDRA is a brand that is confident about their identity and wants to listen to their customers directly.

 

The retail space opened on the weekend of 6th-7th May 2017 with an introductory event and opening celebration. FINDRA hope that the continued growth of the women’s cycling industry bodes well for the women of the future.

 

FINDRA Design Hub, 83 High Street, Innerleithen. Scottish Borders. EH44 6HD