Smart Label specialist UWI takes off with transatlantic funding

Published: 27 October 2014

UWI Technology, a Scotland-based smart labelling company, has secured over £1.26 million from US private investor Angel Syndicate, Aero-Den, the Scottish Investment Bank (the investment arm of Scotland’s economic development agencies) and a number of private investors in the UK to help drive its next phase of growth.

Before the UWI Label, no product existed to accurately identify the critical use point of materials that begin to degrade from the point of opening.

UWI’s CEO and founder, Pete Higgins, inventor of the UWI Label had his eureka moment when he took a previously opened jar of mayonnaise from the refrigerator while making lunch for his 8-year old son, but was not sure when it was first opened and did not want to risk causing him any harm. Since then, the application of UWI’s labelling has been extended to a number of industry sectors beyond food and drink, including the aerospace and life sciences sectors.

The UWI Label, (pronounced ‘yoo-wee’ and standing for ‘use within’), is an elapsed time indicator that not only can show whether food is safe to consume or not, but reduces or eliminates risk and downtime in workplaces that incorporate products with critical lifespans in their processes. As well as its existing microfluidic label, the company is developing a hybrid label to monitor other measures such as temperature, pressure and humidity. The hybrid label will have the capability to send text or email warnings as well as communicating with other labels or devices. This type of label can be considered a “smarter” label and one that translates to the Internet of Things.

Products with critical lifespans in their processes include chemical reagents, glues, sealants, aircraft product paints and composites, and apply critically in the aerospace, engineering, medical and life sciences industries – product trials are planned with leading companies across these sectors in early 2015.

The Aero-Den syndicate behind the deal includes Scottish born businessman, Douglas Cribbes, who became UWI’s chairman in 2012. Cribbes, a GlobalScot, is the President and CEO of Fort Worth-based Texas Aero Engine Service (TAESL), a joint venture company between Rolls-Royce and American Airlines.

In its relatively short existence, UWI has achieved a number of notable firsts. In 2012, it became the first Scotland-based company to receive an investment from a North American based Angel Syndicate, Aero-Den, and the first company to receive the full £250,000 funding from Scottish Investment Bank’s Scottish Seed Fund in one tranche.

Pete Higgins, CEO and founder of UWI, said:

“While allowing UWI to move into the next phase of growth and deliver product to market, the investment is also a huge endorsement of our overall strategy and outlook, from influential investors both here in the UK and America.”

Douglas Cribbes said:

“We are delighted to play a further part in bringing these exciting new products to market. We see the UWI intelligent label and the hybrid label addressing the needs across a diverse industrial base and feel they will become a key element in the rapidly growing smart device world we now live in.”

Kerry Sharp, Head of the Scottish Investment Bank, said:

”It’s great to see UWI once again secure the backing of Aero-Den and we are pleased to be investing alongside them in this round. This investment will give the company a platform to really capitalise on the huge potential of their technology.”

For further information please contact:

Pete Higgins
CEO and Founder of UWI Technology
e: pete.higgins@uwitechnology.com

Notes:

1. The current round is to fund continuing product development, increasing the UWI senior management team, marketing trials and the sales and marketing function.
2. UWI Technology was founded in 2009. In February 2012, the company won the Scottish Enterprise Life Science Award for Innovation. UWI’s first major round secured £605,000 in August 2012, from Aero-Den, the SIB Seed Fund and UK-based private investors.
3. UWI moves into new headquarters at CodeBase, Argyle House in Edinburgh in late November.
4. The Scottish Investment Bank is the investment arm of Scotland’s economic development agencies.

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