Harnessing the city’s untapped winds
Access to finance
An innovative new wind turbine, that can harness untapped dynamic urban winds, is moving towards full production thanks to the support of Access to Finance (A2F) Lancashire.
O-Innovations, which is based in Lancaster with strong links to the University, has found a way to use the wind that swirls around tall city buildings, such as office blocks and apartments, to generate clean energy.
The new turbine has the potential to transform urban buildings from large energy consumers to substantial energy generators and its unique bladeless design has been developed to complement modern architecture.
Despite winning the James Dyson Award in 2018 the business has remained largely self-funded, and despite international interest, and a strong proof of concept, has struggled to secure the funding it needs to move to the next stage and continue with its R&D work.
In 2020, Mark Gibbons from the Access to Finance team began working with the company’s chief operating officer Dominic Chippendale, developing a revised business plan and financial forecasts, and providing investment readiness support.
The business also enrolled on a practice pitch session run by the Bay Business Angels investment network & Access to Finance, using the feedback to fine-tune their pitch prior to presenting to an investor panel. The support proved pivotal and the pitch led to an investment of £160K by a single investor, the full amount the business was hoping for.
“We have used the investment capital to extend our granted patent to 22 countries internationally; this was a crucial step if we wanted to see our technology implemented on a global scale.”Dominic Chippendale, Chief Operating Officer
Further funding and International markets
As Dominic explains: “A2F has been instrumental in allowing us to secure our first round of investment, not only in putting us in front of the right investors to take the project forward, but also in assisting on how best to approach them and to communicate effectively.
“We have used the investment capital to extend our granted patent to 22 countries internationally; this was a crucial step if we wanted to see our technology implemented on a global scale.”
The company is now in talks with new investors to secure a second-round of funding which, if successful, will see the turbines go into mass manufacture within the next 12 months.
Funded via the European Union, through the European Regional Development Fund, and by Lancashire County Council, Access to Finance Lancashire provides local businesses with fully-funded support to help them source the finance they need to unlock business growth.
Finance specialists, with expert knowledge of public and private sector funding channels, help to identify the most relevant sources of funding, offer support around financial forecasting, and help business owners become investment ready before discussions with potential investors.