The Finance for Business North East Technology Fund has led an investment into Gateshead-based Route Monkey with help from Northern IT Research Fund.
Both funds are managed by IP Group, an AIM-listed intellectual commercialisation company which has partnerships with twelve universities.
Route Monkey provides software which helps van and truck fleets using scheduling techniques to lower road miles.
The cash will be used to both develop its product range for commercial vehicles and consolidate its position in the electric vehicle sector as well as secure new premises in Gateshead. Route Monkey also plans to increase its current workforce by 20 per cent.
Its first funding round, also worth £500,000 and led by IP Group, was closed back in November 2011. Back then, Route Monkey also set up a partnership with electric car manufacturers, Smith Electric Vehicles, to supply them with the new technology.
Colin Ferguson, CEO of Route Monkey, says, ‘We set ambitious targets for growth after securing the funding in 2011, which we have now exceeded.
‘This second tranche of investment, which we are extremely grateful to IP Group for, will allow us to accelerate our expansion strategy and capitalise on a growing UK and overseas marketplace.’
According to the North West business, it has achieved ‘significant success’ having recently been made a partner in the Department for Transport’s Plugged-In Fleets Initiative (PIFI), launched with the Energy Savings Trust and EDF Energy to help major organisations integrate more electric vehicles into their fleets.
Ian Wilson, investment manager at IP Group plc, comments, ‘One of Route Monkey’s strengths is that its product is appropriate for any business with road transport fleets, whether courier vans or 44t haulage trucks.
‘The fact the software saves companies money by helping to reduce road miles through smarter planning, as well as by lowering CO2 emissions, is an understandably compelling proposition.’
The North East Technology Fund is a £25 million sub-fund that is dedicated to investing in technology businesses that are based in, or are willing to relocate to the north east of England. As part of its previous investment into Route Monkey, the business relocated to Gateshead from Edinburgh.