Nominee Q&A - NiTech
We caught up with Paul Hodges, chairman, NiTech Solutions. To find out more about NiTech you can visit their website here: https://www.nitechsolutions.co.uk/
Tell us a bit about your business? When and why was it established, what does it offer and to whom?
Major paradigm shifts are underway in the global economy as sustainability replaces globalisation as a key driver for the economy. NiTech’s advanced manufacturing technology supports this new direction, enabling companies to reduce CO₂ emissions whilst also reducing costs and increasing their flexibility and product quality. We began life as a spin-out from Heriot Watt University, and are focused on the supply of modern reactors and crystallizers to replace traditional stirred tank reactors.
How has the company developed? (changes to products or services, staff, location, markets etc)
Our technology has the potential to play a critical role in many manufacturing sectors ranging from specialty chemicals and personal care, to renewable energy, across to pharmaceuticals and CBD. Inevitably it has taken many years to perfect the technology, and to complete the trials needed to give companies the confidence that it will meet their needs. Over this period, we were therefore in developmental mode, understanding market needs in the key sectors in which we planned to operate, and developing the technology to successfully meet these needs.
What is the ethos behind the company and has this changed or developed since you started?
Our focus has always been on understanding market needs, first of all to inform our development process, and now to rapidly scale our business in our target sectors.
What’s the business’s USP?
Our technology is safer, greener, faster and cheaper than traditional reactors and crystallizers
What investment have you sourced for the business and how has this helped you to go further?
We started with Angel financing in Edinburgh, and were then supported by Braveheart (which had been specifically set up to support spin-out companies with lengthy development lead-times), Scottish Enterprise and Partnerships UK (PUK, the UK government funded body set up to support companies like us). Unfortunately, the future funding we expected from 2011 onwards then disappeared due to the combination of the financial crisis and the closure of PUK. So the directors and our lead angel investor self-funded the business for 7 years. Our belief in its potential proved justified when Oxford Investments invested in 2018 to support our scale-up plans.
What is the most important thing to remember when applying for funding/investment?
Always have answers to the 4 key questions – Why does this investment make sense?; What are you go to do with the money raised?; How are you actually going to deliver the promise?; and When will it all happen?
Can you give us an example of an impactful collaboration your business has been involved in? Why has it been a success?
Our of our early partnerships was with Croda, the leading UK specialty chemical company which involved joint work on an Innovate UK funded trial with CPI. We have since developed a number of other key partnerships with companies in Europe and the USA. These have proved successful in accelerating our development, due to the fact that we spend time and energy on developing strong relationships with all the relevant stakeholders. This then creates confidence that the ambitious goals for each partnership can be achieved.
Go Further celebrates organisations with the ‘foresight to inform and respond to the changing world around them’. How does your organisation fulfil this?
Our proven technology responds to the key challenges of our times – climate change and sustainability. We focus on creating competitive advantage for our clients by providing them with affordable crystallisation and mixing technology that operates safely at the scale they need.
What has been your company’s greatest achievement?
Over the past year, we have signed major licence deals with two of the world’s leading chemical and pharma companies. We are also moving forward with a number of other leading companies, and are planning a major launch into the fast-growing CBD isolate market.
What is your business’s short and long-term plans?
We are focused on 3 main Growth Pillars – specialty chemicals, green methane and reshoring of generic medicines. We have proven technology for all these key applications, and we are looking to scale-up rapidly to exploit the opportunity that we have developed.