A manufacturer of hi-tech, ‘smart fabrics’ for sports and medical use has received a £249,000 investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund – a fund supported via the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and its fellow Midlands’ LEPs.
Footfalls & Heartbeats Ltd of Nottingham, in the D2N2 LEP area, develops and manufactures ‘smart fabric’; textiles containing microscopic structures which act as sensors to monitor the bodily functions of the wearer. This smart fabric technology can be used for medical purposes, for example in bandages; or within sports clothing and footwear, to track and digitally transmit data on an athlete’s performance.
Footfalls & Heartbeats was founded in 2012 by Simon McMaster, who has worked with the University of Nottingham over a number of years and which is a major shareholder in the company.
The £249,000 investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) will be invested in Footfalls & Heartbeats’ product prototypes development, for healthcare and sports usage, and in buying in new production equipment (like its knitting lab machine, pictured above). Invest management company Foresight Group arranged the company’s investment.
The MEIF is an initiative by British Business Bank, the UK Government and ten Midlands Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), including the D2N2 LEP. MEIF’s £250million loan and equity fund is funded by those partners and the European Investment Bank . LEPs’ portion of the funding – which will be worth up to £78.5m – comes from European Union funding previously allocated to them; and includes up to £11.75m from the D2N2 LEP.
Simon McMaster, Footfalls & Heartbeats Founding Director, said: “These are exciting times and we are delighted to have Foresight’s backing. With their investment we can move forward with our plans to bring more prototyping in-house with the purchase of a bespoke, one-of-a-kind, knitting machine and the employment of additional staff to join the existing, multidisciplinary team.
“This investment will allow Footfalls to deliver the various development agreements in shorter time frames. It will also help us to achieve our patent and commercial licensing goals.”
Grant Peggie, Director at the British Business Bank, added: “The Midlands Engine Investment Fund was set up to support companies such as Footfalls & Heartbeats to bring innovative new products to market.”
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