On the buses in the 21st century


17-01-2013

Vantage Power, the London-based engineering company, has received support from investors, a trade partner and a Smart Award from the Technology Strategy Board in its first funding round. The combined £0.8m investment will be used to develop and commercialise Vantage Power’s diesel electric hybrid powertrain technology, which will be tested and driven on double-decker buses throughout the UK.

The venture stems from the team’s extensive experience with hybrid and electric vehicles. Most recently, founders Alexander Schey and Toby Schulz instigated the Racing Green Endurance project which saw a 400bhp electric supercar designed and built in 9 months, and driven down the full length of the 26,000km Pan-American Highway.

Vantage Power has developed the B320 system to be retrofitted into UK’s most popular double-decker buses, allowing operators to hybridise their existing fleet, reducing upfront and through-life cost by up to 55% and 40% respectively.  A unique element of this system is an exhaust gas energy recovery system – a significant fuel saving approach never used before in hybrid-electric powertrains.

“Vantage Power’s B320 powertrain will make a tremendous impact on the bus industry and beyond,” said CEO and co-founder Alexander Schey. “We are enormously fortunate to have an experienced group of investors and the largest used bus dealer in the country backing us to bring this idea to fruition.  Vantage Power's successful round of investment shows that despite these tough economic times, there are still real opportunities to get innovative startup businesses off the ground, and we hope many other young people follow in our footsteps”.

“Vantage Power is excited to complete this round of investment and bring together experienced players in the industry to commercialise its hybrid drivetrain technology for buses,” said Vantage Power’s CTO and co-founder Toby Schulz. “Not only has Vantage Power’s technology received financial backing, the company is also strengthened by the investors’ industry knowhow, its technology partners’ standing and its partnership with the Ensign Bus Company. We look forward to proving our innovative, fuel and emission saving hybrid technology, and providing real world benefits to the bus industry.”

Vantage Power secured investment from a syndicate led by Martlet, Qi3 Accelerator, Synergy Energy, i2o, Global Reach Investments and other individual investors. The company is the first graduate of the pioneering Qi3 Accelerator High Value Manufacturing bootcamp held in July 2012 to close a subsequent investment round.  Nat Billington of Synergy Energy, who joins the board of Vantage Power, commented “we enjoy supporting early-stage engineering companies and working together with the skills and financial resources of a wide range of investors with technology and business experience. I’m particularly pleased that Vantage Power’s products will improve bus travel, providing lower cost for operators as well as positive environmental impact. I look forward to seeing this enthusiastic and entrepreneurial team roll up their sleeves for Vantage Power’s product launch”.

About Vantage Power www.vantage-power.com

Vantage Power is an exciting start-up that is developing a unique cost-cutting and environmentally friendly technology that will herald a step change in the bus industry.

In the UK, public service buses use about 925 million litres of diesel per year. Rising fuel prices are squeezing bus operators, and high levels of emitted nitrogen oxides and particulate matter have far-reaching health implications. There have been a number of ‘green’ solutions trialled throughout the country; however the technology has been seen as either too premature or too expensive.

Vantage Power is developing a solution based on tried and tested technology and real engineering ingenuity that will reduce bus fuel consumption by 40%, reduce fuel bills by 50%, and enable old buses to be retrofitted to ensure that our country’s legacy fleet is as clean as our future fleet.

The founders’ Racing Green project can be viewed at www.racinggreenendurance.com

About Martlet www.martlet.org.uk

Martlet, led by Investment Director Peter Cowley, is the investment arm of the Marshall of Cambridge group, providing small (initially £10k to £100k) sums of capital for early-stage technology start-ups that are located in the UK, with a bias towards Cambridge and East Anglia.  Martlet will almost always co-invest with angels and small seed funds, and has the capacity to follow in subsequent investment rounds.

We focus on companies that have completed the proof of concept stage, and usually will have achieved some sales/grant revenues. In all cases, there must be a strong and demonstrable commercial demand for the technology under development.

As part of the Marshall Group (encompassing aviation, aerospace and commercial/consumer vehicles), with approximately £1 billion of sales, employing over 4000 people, our investees may have the opportunity to work with our operating companies.

About Global Reach Investments

Global Reach Investments (GRI) is a joint venture investment company owned by businessmen Colin Rushmere and Martin Jansen, which has built up a portfolio of UK start-ups mainly in the tech sector. GRI is connected to a number of UK angel networks and aims to invest in and actively support      early-stage innovators.

About Qi3 Accelerator www.qi3accelerator.com

Qi3 Accelerator is a team of active angel investors which specialises in supporting companies by rapidly commercialising their products. Qi3 Accelerator is suitable for entrepreneurs who know that they need expert and enthusiastic input from our commercial and engineering teams in addition to financial capital.  We invest primarily in the domain of High Value Manufacturing and engineering, including the sustainability, security and healthcare sectors.

Experienced investors Nathan Hill, Paul Anson and Tim de Vere Green lead the Qi3 Accelerator team, supported by investment analysis and other skills sourced from Qi3. We work with an Accelerator Club formed from a number of trusted Associates, who offer extensive business, technical and engineering expertise. This allows us to form a flexible ad hoc team to evaluate propositions and then support the business.  The Qi3 Accelerator team is linked to several formal and informal Business Angel networks.

Qi3 Accelerator was awarded the UK Business Angels’ Association ‘Early Stage Team of the Year’ 2012 in recognition of its support for syndicated early-stage technology investments.  In July 2012, Qi3 Accelerator organised the UK’s first High Value Manufacturing Bootcamp in partnership with ideaSpace, NESTA, the Technology Strategy Board, Harrison Clark, Williams Powell, Martlet and Synergy Energy.  Details of the bootcamp are at www.qi3.co.uk/accelerator/accelerator-bootcamp

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Contacts:

Alexander Schey @ Vantage Power, t: +44 7733 223143, e: alex@vantage-power.com, w: www.vantage-power.com

Nathan Hill @ Qi3 Accelerator, t: +44 20 7925 1992, e: nathan.hill@qi3.co.uk, w: www.qi3accelerator.com

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Qi3 is a specialist technology commercialisation business that provides high-tech start ups, large technology corporations, universities and government with hands-on sales, marketing and business development support. Our core expertise is in applying professional commercial disciplines to technology products and services. Our new Qi3 Accelerator offers risk investment and support to accelerate companies to first orders and rapid sales expansion.

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