Professors land £750k investment funding

Two professors at the University of Leeds have secured £750,000 seed funding to launch the new spin-out company SatSense

Pix: Shaun Flannery/ COPYRIGHT PICTURE>>SHAUN FLANNERY>01302-570814>>07778315553>> 1st May 2018 Mercia Fund Managers - Satsense University of Leeds Pictured L-R Prof Tim Wright of Satsense, Richard Jackson of Unipart, Lisa Ward of Mercia, Prof Andy Hooper of Satsense, Andy Duley, Director of Commercialisation, University of Leeds

Professors Tim Wright and Andy Hooper from the University of Leeds have spent more than ten years developing the SatSense algorithms to extract usable and reliable measurements of ground motion from satellite radar images.

The investment comes from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance which is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, Unipart Rail and the University of Leeds, and will allow the pair to bring the technology to market and recruit a managing director for the business, as well as to expand the development team.

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The SatSense approach can precisely measure changes in ground movement down to as little as 1mm per year.

These changes can be used to establish the cause of subsidence – for example, tree roots, shallow landslides or pumping of water from the ground.

The SatSense results are more accurate, compared to other systems currently on the market, and can provide updates within hours, instead of days or months.

Subsidence data is relied upon by home buyers, surveyors, mortgage lenders and insurers. Satsense results could also have a much wider use in the continuous monitoring of critical infrastructure such as bridges, railways, dams, as well as oil and gas production sites.

The company has already received strong interest from a number of potential clients and partners.

Lisa Ward, Investment Director with Mercia Fund Managers, which manages NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, said: “While SatSense is a very early stage company, its technology represents a step change in resolution and accuracy over anything that is currently on the market.

“The team have actively engaged with potential customers and clearly have a product that is in demand. The funding will allow them to take the first step into what is potentially a huge worldwide market.”

Andy Duley, director of innovation commercialisation at the University of Leeds, said: “SatSense is the latest example of converting research expertise into a valuable service which directly benefits industry.”