We're proud to support many businesses that are pushing the envelope in a variety of industries. One such business is our StartUp of the Week, Innotech Concepts Ltd. After working in the data collection industry they recognised a niche that was being neglected - and they decided to capitalise upon it. We caught up with founders Liam Wright and Chris Hambleton to discover more.
1. Explain your business in thirty seconds
Innotech Concepts develop new and existing technologies for the smart cities, data collection and security industries. Initially we have marketed towards the data collection industry, aiming to generate new methods of data collection with unprecedented accuracy and all new visualisation tools for fully interactive end client engagement. Having designed and built equipment for national events during our previous employment, we have witnessed an ever-increasing market for crowd observation and pedestrian monitoring, which is a large part of our upcoming developments.
2. Where are you based and why is it a good location for your business?
We are based in Whitwood, Castleford, in West Yorkshire. This location is perfect for us due to its proximity to the M62 at Junction 31, and also the A1M and M1. We expect to be playing a contributing role to the continuing growth of the Northern Powerhouse.
3. How did you come up with the idea?
After twenty collective years in one of the UK’s leading data collection companies, we identified certain areas that were not being explored or capitalised on by its current market leaders. With new “smart” collection methods emerging on a global scale, we felt the timing was perfect for a small, fresh and innovative company to lead the introduction of smart detection and data collection to the UK market which, research shows, is not as advanced as its European and global counterparts.
4. What’s the business model?
Our business model is ‘no matter how keen, let’s keep it lean’. We are well aware of the fact that most businesses don’t survive their first two years. We will buck this trend, as we wish to realise our ambition of becoming employers on a large scale, and boost manufacturing in the locality. We believe in investing in a workforce to provide expansion and stability, whilst maintaining a lean management structure. We are already looking into employment grants with a view to taking on our first full-time employee before the first anniversary of our company.
5. Who are your competitors?
There are very few companies within the data collection industry that offer the products and services Innotech Concepts are providing. All data collection companies that develop their own technologies do not offer sales and servicing within their industry, as it does not complement their business model as a data collection service provider. This has resulted in a lack of technological advancement. Our model differs in that we have identified several UK councils and events that are actively seeking to purchase their own technology to create a self-contained service.
6. What’s unique about your business?
As a smaller company, we have more control over both front and back office operation. This results in a more efficient and accurate service. With almost all similar competition based overseas we are faster to react, and more available for support. With no importing of some of the finished products, and those that are imported done so through partnership, our products are very competitive on price. We have partnered with two EU manufacturers, allowing Innotech Concepts to represent their interests in the UK.
7. What stage was your business at when you applied for the Start Up Loan?
Innotech Concepts had been established for one month when we decided to apply for the start up loan.
8. How have you used it to grow your business?
We have used the loan to allow us to buy materials and components to build prototype equipment and test its performance before marketing. This has resulted in our company securing equipment sales, and led to a partnership offer from a leading data collection company.
9. Who is your regional delivery partner and how did they help you get a Virgin Start Up Loan?
Airedale Enterprise Services provided a complete management service of our loan application process. Our business advisor, Phil Harrison, guided us on the business plan and the financial forecasts, making sure that these were comprehensive, consistent and compelling. Phil also worked with us on putting together the pack of vital supporting documents, which meant that the loans were approved swiftly on the first submission.
10. Biggest achievement so far?
We currently have a proposed partnership offer from a data collection company based in the south of England. This offer, though not agreed in full, will see our company benefit from their marketing and customer connections, whilst they will benefit from showcasing our tech to their current client portfolio, and expanding their current operations into the north of England. This we see growing into a mutually beneficial business relationship which will lead to the rapid expansion of both companies in their respective fields of expertise.
11. What’s next for your business?
We are looking into further funding options, such as business angels. This is to allow for the rapid growth and expansion potential to be capitalised upon. We are also currently prototyping more ideas, which will have significant appeal across various market places.