Libertine has secured a total of £650k new investment in a round led by the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (“NPIF”) to set up new headquarters in Sheffield.
Libertine will use the investment to advance its ‘Linear Power Systems’ technology by establishing product development and testing facilities at its new headquarters.
NPIF – Enterprise Ventures Equity Finance is a NPIF product fund managed by Enterprise Ventures. This is the first investment by NPIF – Enterprise Ventures Equity Finance in the Sheffield City Region.
Libertine is working with customers in the power and transport industries to commercialise electrical power generator products known as free piston engines, in which the crankshaft is replaced by a linear electrical generator.
This results in a highly efficient engine which can make better use of renewable fuels such as biogas and bioethanol, and potentially produce a third more power from the same amount of fuel. Libertine aims to make the free piston engine a leading format for small-scale ‘on demand’ distributed power generation.
Founded by Sam Cockerill, an engineer with a background in the biofuels industry, Libertine currently employs four staff and expects to double its workforce in the year ahead.
Sam Cockerill, chief executive, said: “This investment by the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund represents an important milestone for Libertine which will help us expand our customer base, build our team and further develop our core Linear Power Systems technology.
“In the past few months we have seen increasing demand for our technology from companies in the automotive, oil and gas and dynamic testing industries.
“With this new investment we are well placed to respond to this customer demand, and become part of the cluster of fast-growing technology businesses in the region. I look forward to working with Enterprise Ventures to deliver on this ambition.”
Ashwin Kumaraswamy, investment director at Enterprise Ventures, part of Mercia Technologies PLC, added: “We are delighted to support Libertine with its next phase of development as it gradually gains commercial traction and expands its premises in the North.
“Its innovative technology enables an improvement in the performance of electrical power generator products, which could potentially offer a cost effective, low-carbon alternative to conventional types of power generation.”
Ken Cooper, managing director at British Business Bank, commented: “The response from the Yorkshire & Humber business community to the launch of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has been exceptional with NPIF fund managers receiving hundreds of enquiries from both business introducers and SMEs in the region.
“Libertine marks the first equity investment in the Sheffield City Region, led by an expert management team, the company has the potential to take its class-leading innovation to a much larger customer base, and this funding will help them to achieve that.”
About Enterprise Ventures
Enterprise Ventures provides equity and loans to SMEs, nationally but with a strong emphasis across the North of England, and has a portfolio of more than 400 businesses. It manages almost £300million of debt and equity funds and has a strong track record of successful exits, including 10 IPOs. Enterprise Ventures Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mercia Technologies PLC, having been acquired in March 2016.
About the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund
- The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will invest in Microfinance, Business Loans and Equity Finance sub-funds which will offer financing ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.
- The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.
- The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company.
- The NPIF covers the following LEP areas: Tees Valley Combined Authority, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Liverpool City Region, Lancashire, Humber, Leeds City Region, Sheffield City Region, York, North Yorkshire and East Riding
- The project is receiving up to £140,359,192 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
- The funds in which Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in, Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West and Tees Valley.
- There is a separate regional investment programme of £145m covering the North East LEP
- The British Business Bank has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). The guide, which impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses and provides links to support available at a regional level, is available at thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb