Foresight Group, a leading independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager, and Williams Advanced Engineering have announced a £1.45 million follow-on investment from Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund into Inovo Robotics. The investment will allow Inovo to grow sales internationally and brings the total invested by the Fund to £2.95m, having originally invested £1.5m in October 2018 to support the Company’s first product to market.
Inovo was founded in 2016 by Henry Wood and Jonathan Cheung, both former senior engineers at defence technology company, Northrup Grumman. The Company is developing a competitively priced “cobot”, a collaborative robot designed to operate safely within a human work environment and intended to assist people with repetitive tasks. It offers manufacturing and logistics companies that perform batch processes a more cost-effective solution. Rather than having to purchase multiple robots for individual tasks, the modular design means its cobot can be easily adapted to optimise the balance between reach and payload. Moreover, its simple and easy-to-use software allows even a non-specialist user to re-program the cobot quickly for a new task.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the cobot market was growing rapidly. Social distancing directives will likely dominate the workplace for the foreseeable future and automation will play an increasingly important role in the post-pandemic workplace. Inovo, with its adaptable cobot, is well-placed to help companies begin to recover, performing manual tasks typically undertaken by humans, resulting in fewer human interactions and safe working conditions for employees in the post-COVID-19 workplace.
Commenting on the investment, Andrew Bloxam, senior investment manager at Foresight, said: “It has been a pleasure to see Inovo bring its product to market since our initial investment in late 2018. Now, with strong interest from customers and the need for automation solutions like cobots growing rapidly, we are delighted to invest again and support the company as it scales up.”
Henry Wood, co-founder, Inovo Robotics: "Having the support from the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund has allowed us to significantly accelerate the development of the business. Foresight has made an invaluable contribution to the company’s commercial strategy, helping to identify new opportunities and building a solid growth strategy. WAE has a vast range of relevant experience and hundreds of highly skilled experts who continue to assist us with highly specialist technical challenges that arise. Closing this second round of investment is testament to the strong relationship with FWT and a deep shared belief in the scale of the market opportunity."
Matthew Burke, head of Technology Ventures, Williams Advanced Engineering, based at Grove, near Wantage, added: “Inovo has made excellent progress since our initial investment and is now poised to capitalise on the growing need for automation in the workplace. We are also delighted to see the interest Inovo has generated with our partners following introductions from WAE.”