Cheshire-based Tough Tech, which developed an innovative tyre pressure monitoring system, has secured a £250,000 investment through NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance, managed by FW Capital and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF).
Tough Tech are pioneers of ATLAS, a unique connected tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) for use in commercial vehicles, trailers, earthmovers, mobile cranes, industrial and mechanical handling equipment. The system allows for remote monitoring of tyre pressure on vehicles and machines anywhere in the world. In turn, this enables significant improvements to safety and fuel efficiency, whilst also extending the lifespan of tyres, some of which are valued in excess of £50,000 each.
Established in 2017 by directors Barry Lowe and Gary Brierley, the company has seen significant growth and now has a global customer base across five continents. Last year, Tough Tech had a turnover of £1.1M, up by 40 per cent on the previous year. Tough Tech employs four staff and plans to treble its headcount over the next two years, through creation of eight new jobs.
The £250,000 investment from NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance is set to be used for research and product development, recruitment and business expansion into new market segments and territories including Africa and the Middle East. Building on the success of the first ATLAS system, the new version aims to address the underserved market for smart connected technology, particularly on commercial vehicle trailers.
This latest investment follows a loan from NPIF – BFS & MSIF Microfinance in 2019 which was used to develop its technology, with the aim of adding solution-led telematics and tracking to its TPMS product offering.
Barry Lowe, Director at Tough Tech, said: “We’re excited to launch our new product which has been designed and manufactured here in the North West. We’ve invested a lot in developing this system which we believe will revolutionise the vehicle and machine industry. Fleet managers will be able to see data from multiple vehicles anywhere in the world and in addition to TPMS, the ATLAS system also offers, security, wheel loss, engine management, on board axle weight monitoring as well as further bespoke features for customers.
“Over 90 % of our business is overseas and we’ve got further opportunities with original equipment manufacturers and new market segments. The funding from NPIF – FW Capital will be invested in a full-scale product launch and marketing campaign which we believe will open up a lot of new territories for us.
“NPIF – FW Capital are a supportive partner; they understand what we are trying to achieve and made the investment process straight forward. This investment will make a direct impact on our ability to grow. “
Adam Husband, Investment Executive at FW Capital, said: “We’re backing an experienced management team with a good track record and strong sales growth. Their offering aligns well with the business sustainability, helping their customers to reduce their waste and fuel consumption which is high on the agenda for many. Funding is vital to their expansion and I’m sure they will now go from strength-to-strength.”
Sue Barnard at British Business Bank, said: “We are delighted to be a part of the next stage of Tough Tech’s journey. The investment will allow the business to expand its presence in Middle East and African markets, boosting Cheshire’s profile as a place for investment and business opportunities. NPIF was launched to help businesses like Tough Tech, use funding to achieve its goals and take its business to the next level.”
FW Capital provides loans of £100,000 to £750,000 to businesses based in the NPIF region with a focus on the North West, Cumbria and Tees Valley.
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.