FutureNova Ltd, backed by the Kent County Council run EXEK equity fund, has made its first successful sales in the United States with plans for a rapid scale up of its Kent based production process following a take-off in overseas demand for its FlipPad® sterile iPad® case.
The company has developed an innovative solution for the Apple iPad® that enables both clinical staff and surgeons to use the iPad® in sterile environments revolutionising outdated monitoring systems currently in place in operating theatres and treatment rooms across the UK.
The product has won various Innovate UK grants for its innovative design and has received a coveted ‘Made for Apple’ licence. The company see the FlipPad® as its gateway to a new market in healthcare for the iPad®; a market in which it has yet to fully access thanks to strict hygiene requirements set by the NHS and other health providers.
FutureNova has its design office in Chelmsford, Essex, creating a sales office in Kent after receiving a tranche of equity funding via KCC’s EXEK programme. NCL Innovation, the UK’s leading early stage technology investor, was also engaged by KCC to manage the funding process and raise additional private capital.
Over the last 18 months the company has gone from strength to strength, hiring key sales staff and preparing to move to the manufacturing phase of its FlipPad® to a high capacity manufacturing facility in Kent.
Despite strong interest from the NHS and being on the buy list at a number of hospital trusts, including Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, procurement bureaucracy has resulted in the UK lagging behind the US in sales to date.
Mike Casey, MD of FutureNova, said: “We made an active decision to target the US market, whilst waiting for things to gather pace in the UK, which we have no doubt, given our experience stateside, it will.
“We have been working alongside Apple to line up a number of major US distributors and have started to see sales flood in. It’s got to the point where we are forecasting sales of over $4.8 Million from the US alone and $8.5 Million before the end of 2017.
“Thanks to KCC’s initial investment I was able to bring my product to market successfully, hire experienced resource and find a local manufacturing partner with the capability to scale up a highly technical product. NCL have also been instrumental in helping me to attract further private capital and preparing the business for market entry.
“With the practical help and valuable advice from NCL and KCC we are now in a position to scale up manufacturing and rapidly grow our exports to the USA and Europe. We are proud that we are making the FlipPad in Britain and proving once again that UK companies can compete and win.”
Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council, added: “Young technology companies such as FutureNova require not only financial backing, but also experienced support to help them move from concept to success in the market.
“FutureNova is proof that KCC’s equity program is attracting talented start up companies to Kent, helping them to grow into developed businesses, building the county’s reputation for technological innovation and delivering jobs, skills and long term investment for the county.”
Martin Thorp, Director of NCL and Chairman of FutureNova, said: “At NCL, our radar for innovation is firmly switched on, helping us to identify those companies with ingenious propositions that need that extra support to become potential world beaters in their field.
“FutureNova are a great example of what can happen with the right targeted investment and support can deliver providing inspiration to the next generation of entrepreneurs with the next big idea.”