Posted on August 14, 2017 by staff

Medtech firms around UK need funding help


Hampshire-based Morgan Innovation and Technology began investing in medtech companies outside London after encountering funding issues for its own products.

Chief executive Nigel Clarke says the family business’ own experience led to them setting aside 20 per cent of turnover to invest in smaller medtech companies to help them bring their own products to market.

They have previously successfully applied for Government match funding and an Innovate UK grant but Clarke says acquiring funding for the sector they operate in is notoriously difficult even without the geographical challenge.

“It can take a long time to bring a medtech product to market because of the clinical trials and regulatory procedures to get something into the NHS, and quite rightly so, but it’s a big commitment and investors are usually looking for a quick turnaround,” Clarke, whose parents founded the business, told BusinessCloud.

“I’ve found some fascinating tech companies from travelling around. Ninety-nine per cent of them are outside of London and tucked away on industrial estates, and it’s these companies that need assistance.”

Morgan’s own products include a fall detector for the elderly, a screening test for pre-eclampsia in pregnancy and a glove that uses haptic technology that mimics the sense of touch and could be used for stroke victims.

Businesses that approach them for assistance are offered free advice, while some are offered R&D work in return for a manufacturing agreement, for example.

Morgan has also embarked on several joint ventures with others that have sought their funding help, while it has also taken part in organised pitching events for Wessex businesses in a bid to get in front of London investors.

“It’s very sad that investment is based around London so much because I do feel like they’re missing a huge opportunity,” Clarke adds.

The founders of used car search website Carsnip attended about 100 meetings in 18 months to raise the funding they needed – $100,000 of which was secured over the phone from a US investor – but not a penny came from London.

And Leeds-based marketing automation business Force24 resorted to more traditional funding methods after failing to gain funding from VCs with a London bias.