The brainchild of Scottish entrepreneur Pete Higgins has received the funding it needs to take the business to what Higgins describes as the ‘big leagues’.
His invention, UWI Label, warns when products are about to expire and is set to operate in sectors ranging from aerospace to cosmetics.
Higgins was first inspired to create the product when he almost served out-of-date mayonnaise to his young son.
As part of the deal, Scottish Enterprise’s Scottish Investment Bank has invested £250,000 in the UWI Label through its Scottish Seed Fund, with further contributions consisting of a £254,000 commitment from a US private investor syndicate and £68,000 from private UK investors.
The capital from the Scottish Seed Fund is the largest single deal value possible under its terms and is the first time it has been granted in one installment.
In 2011 UWI received its first round of investment of £50,000 from an angel investor. The amount was used in partnership with £70,000 from Scottish Enterprise’s SMART:SCOTLAND Feasibility Fund to develop sample demonstrators.
Higgins’ business was also the beneficiary of £50,000 worth of prize money from the Barclays Take One Small Step competition.
In September, Higgins visited the US after winning a place in a Europe-wide competition run by Climate-KIC, part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.
Higgins comments, ‘Our visit to the US provided an incredible platform for us to raise awareness of the product and put us in front of some high profile US investors along with potential customers and development partners, which we hope proves fruitful in the long-term.
‘In what has already been an incredible year for us, this latest investment win proves that people recognise the potential of the UWI Label and it is testament to the hard work of our team that we have reached this stage.’
The money from UWI Label’s latest funding round will be used to manufacture working samples by the first half of 2013 to allow interested parties to test the labels. The business is looking to bolster its management team and support staff.
Kerry Sharp, acting head of Scottish Investment Bank, adds, ‘Scotland continues to produce innovative new technologies with global appeal and the UWI Label is the latest example of an ambitious early stage start-up company with significant potential across a wide range of industry sectors.’