Martin Chisholm, Operations Director: “We are predominantly a R&D business currently with limited revenues, purely because we are focusing our business on developing a new technology, which we are launching slowly. The reason we were looking for investment is that we actually won an Innovate UK government grant for a £1.4 million project which we are collaborating with the big UK company.” It is an achievement that the company was immensely proud of, given that the grant was awarded to just 7% of the companies who had applied.
But in order to access the grant money, InfusionTech must find a kickstarter fund to put the project into motion. As Martin explained: “Because of the way grants work, you have to spend the money first and then claim it back from the government.” The funding would be invested in equipment, materials and personnel in key areas.
InfusionTech was introduced by The Growth Company, Manchester to Ying De and the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa scheme. It was the first time that it had heard of the UK government-backed scheme, but its obvious benefits over other funding options in the market soon became apparent to the company. The opportunity to blend the right technical skills with unsecured funding from a foreign investor, one who would be totally committed and yet available at a considerably lower salary level, ticked all the boxes. “There were no negatives. From our point of view, it was an obvious approach to take. We needed the money, we needed the people, we needed the skills.”
Following in-depth discussions with our dedicated account manager to discuss their requirements, we invited InfusionTech to engage with Chinese investors based in the UK and China through local networking events and live webinars respectively. Our marketing promotion in China also enabled the company to gain significant brand exposure, earning over 200,000 pageviews on WeChat, China’s number one social media app. In the end, we successfully identified two Chinese investors for InfusionTech, both equipped with highly sought-after skills and experiences in the 3D printing industry.
The unsecured funding investment has provided InfusionTech with the much-needed working capital to support their important project with the major UK company partner, thereby accessing the government grant. Apart from purchasing new equipment, it has hired four new employees to help manage its operations and patents. Spurred on by this positive experience, InfusionTech has again turned to Ying De for raising further funds via the scheme to finance “an even bigger project that the government and the UK blue-chip company want us to go for, so we need help to cashflow that and obviously resource it too.”
By tapping into the investors’ networks in China, the company is also now in a position to potentially source equipment at lower costs directly from Chinese suppliers, something that it had never even considered before due to the lack of local knowledge. “We wouldn’t have known about it unless our investor actually helped us to search through a particular number of companies. He came with us to review and talk to the companies so he helped an awful lot.”