The sound of silence pays off for Leeds air-con company
An investment from Finance Yorkshire’s Equity Linked fund is helping a West Yorkshire company keep its cool as the organisation looks to enter new markets and create jobs.
Silentair offers a design, manufacture and installation service for air conditioning units which are ‘super quiet’ and space-saving for both new and retrofit projects.
The systems were designed by inventor, founder and Technical Director Phil Gillatt who drew on 20 years’ experience in the air conditioning sector and more than a quarter of century in mechanical engineering and electronic design and manufacturing.
Thanks to the £275,000 equity investment from Finance Yorkshire, the Leeds-based company is now looking to take on more staff, explore new markets and raise the profile of the business further.
Silentair Managing DirectorJohn Barnes said: “We sold £110,000 worth of units between August last year and the end of March, but the difficulty we can have is communicating to people that the units really are super quiet – or, as we say, ‘Silentair has taken operational noise levels to a new low!’”
With the funding from Finance Yorkshire behind the company, Silentair is now looking to shout loudly about its innovative product.
“We currently work in markets that require sound sensitivity including recording studios and television and media,” said John, “but we are aware of the variety of potential markets including hotels and restaurants, supermarkets, home cinemas and the education sector.
“As well as working capital, the funding will be used to help us enhance market penetration and secure further intellectual property protection for ideas we are developing.
“It will also help to expand the workforce as we are looking to take on additional accountancy, marketing and technical staff and develop our website. We have had significant interest from overseas markets including Europe and Asia so these will be key investment areas as we look to capitalise on that.”
A strong professional team was put in place to secure the investment deal including Debbie Jackson, Joy Irving and Dina Saleh of Walker Morris.
Said John: “We found Finance Yorkshire very good to deal with. They are very passionate about creating business opportunities and jobs here in the region, as indeed are we – our manufacturing will continue to be carried out in Leeds and we want to attract additional employees from Yorkshire.
“We have someone from Finance Yorkshire at board level but it still feels like their involvement is at arm’s length – we didn’t necessarily want someone taking on a role like Vice Chair of the company so this way we still feel very much in control.”
Finance Yorkshire Investment Manager Mark Johnson said: “This deal is a strong example of how our equity fund can really assist a company at the stage of development where it is trading successfully from a recent start, but which has too low a capital base to meet the demands of the growth it is experiencing.
“As part of the equity investment, we do seek to appoint a non-executive director to work with the company, and as Silentair are finding, this can be mutually beneficial.
“We have a vested interest in ensuring that the company succeeds, as we share in that success, while being on the board means we can also offer guidance and participate in developing the company further – while always remaining at a comfortable distance.”
Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development.
The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted £30million investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme, £15million from Yorkshire Forward’s Single Programme, and £45million match funding from the European Investment Bank.
For more information about Finance Yorkshire, please visit www.finance-yorkshire.com or ring 0845 649 0000.
Caption: (left to right) John Sharp, Sales Manager Silentair, Mark Johnson from Finance Yorkshire, Dina Saleh from Walker Morris and Phil Gillatt, Technical Director of Silentair.
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