F1 giant’s EIS investment project cuts first deal

The Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund has made its first investment following its launch into the investment world at the end of last year.

Formula One giant Williams announced the unique collaboration in November last year to combine the Williams Advanced Engineering team with financial services company Foresight.

The fund, which aims to support disruptive technologies through high-performance engineering and proven investment management, announced in a statement earlier today, that it has invested £500,000 in Utonomy, an intelligent gas grid solutions provider.

Established in 2015, Utonomy has developed an innovative technology for reducing leakage in gas distribution networks.

Its “internet of things” solution automatically optimises gas distribution pressures through electro-mechanical actuators retrofitted to the network and controlled by intelligent, cloud-based software, the company said.

Utonomy will also work with Williams Advanced Engineering to develop its technology further and to have the support of Foresight to grow the business.

‘Great fit’

Matthew Burke, head of Technology Ventures, Williams Advanced Engineering, said: “Utonomy is an exciting business and their technology is a great fit for Williams Advanced Engineering. Our engineers are looking forward to working with them on the electro-mechanical actuator and control systems, and we are confident that we can help them accelerate their product design and development going forward.”

Bernard Fairman, Chairman, Foresight, commented: “We are delighted to announce in collaboration with the Williams Advanced Engineering team, the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund’s first investment.

EIS funding

“Through the fund we will continue to look to support high-quality disruptive technology leaders seeking EIS funding in order to develop and commercialise their proposition.”

The fund enables investors to qualify for relief under the UK Government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) for investment into early stage UK SMEs with strong intellectual property in their own specialist fields.

The fund plans to make investments of up to £2m into at least ten qualifying UK SMEs, supporting the “next generation of engineering technology success stories” in the UK.

Foresight has a strong 30+ year track record of fund raising and investing in UK SMEs, managing more than £830m for some 22,000 shareholders in its family of Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs), EISs and Inheritance Tax Solutions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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