Chamelic raises £1m for surface project

UNIVERSITY of Leeds high-tech chemicals spin-out Chamelic has raised £1m to develop its 'stay clean' surface treatment.

Chamelic's surface treatment prevents the build-up of dirt and dust, and the company hopes the money will allow it to develop and launch new products to increase its penetration in the solar panel, vehicle and agricultural markets.

Investors in the latest fundraising round were university spin-out developer IP Group, IP Venture Fund, Chamelic management and Syngenta Ventures, the venture capital arm of leading agribusiness Syngenta.

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The fundraising is tranched and based on Chamelic achieving milestones.

"We are using it to accelerate our business development activities and commercialising our dust and dirt repellent treatments," said Chamelic chief executive Jeff Eaves.

This is the first investment in Chamelic by Syngenta, a leading force behind crop development and seeds. The spin-out is working on an unspecified project with Syngenta.

Chamelic is also working with solar power firms in Spain and the Middle East, where its technology helps keep solar panels clean and increases their efficiency.

"We are doing field trials with customers and the investment helps with this," said Dr Eaves. "It allows us to travel and see more people and do more trials."

He added while the firm is currently earning revenues, it will be about 12 months before sales begin to ramp up.

Chamelic's ultra-thin formulation covers surfaces such as glass with a very even coating, creating a hydrophilic surface. This means moisture such as steam flattens to a very thin and transparent layer, rather than beading or fogging.

It also has an electrostatic effect so coated surfaces repel dirt and dust.

The firm was founded in Leeds in 2006 following research by Professor Simon Biggs from the Institute of Particle Science and Engineering at the university's Faculty of Engineering. Professor Biggs has been working on colloid and particle science for more than 20 years and is an expert in surface chemistry.

IP Group, headed by chief executive Alan Aubrey, has investments in a range of Yorkshire university spin-outs, including York medical technology firm Tissue Regenix and Leeds transport software business Tracsis.