A Keele-based company, committed to driving higher standards of safety in high impact sports, has attracted £150,000 of investment to accelerate the roll-out of its pioneering shock absorbing technology, MASS.
CEO John Wood developed the MASS system to absorb impact and improve protection for participants in sports, outdoor pursuits and motorcycling.
Heimdall Protective Tech – previously known as Plastic Castle – uses an innovative combination of shape and material to achieve both a cushioning and damping effect on impact.
Its patent-pending technology, MASS, is used in helmets, body armour, gloves, footwear and a range of other applications.
Competing products rely on either shape or material alone, not the combination of the two. The MASS system is, therefore, higher performing, as well as lighter, breathable, and more flexible.
MASS Impact reduces the chances of injury, such as concussion, in a range of pursuits from motorcycling to domestic sports such as cricket and hockey, through to American football, ice hockey and baseball. A second variant, currently in development, MASS Cushion, will provide enhanced cushioning in footwear and saddles.
Heimdall, based at the Nova Centre in Keele, has been refining and testing the technology for a number of years and recently secured its first customers. It landed a German client to allow the technology to be used in motorcycle armour and in Australia it will be used in cricket and equestrian helmets.
Minerva, a business angel network, has invested £90,000 into the company, while Midven, a venture capitalist group, has provided £60,000.
CEO John Wood said: “The funding is coming in two stages and that is good news for the business. The first half has been used to finalise our product range and the second will help us commercially exploit the technology across multiple sectors and uses.
“The investment has enabled us to accelerate the growth of the business, taking on more staff, and increasing our customer base far ahead of targets.
“Along with the money itself, the business has also been strengthened by three non-executive directors which could be just as, if not more, important because of the experience and expertise they bring to our team.
“MASS has the potential to be used in a range of sports for protection from injury both at home and overseas. We are particularly excited by the American market, as helmets and armour are essential for four out of the top five US sports.
“We were especially delighted therefore to be selected by the Guardian from a group of over 175 businesses to represent the UK in a trade mission to Atlanta earlier this year and we are in advanced talks with companies involved in baseball and ice hockey. We see this is a market with huge growth potential.”
Tim Powell, who co-ordinates the Minerva business angels network, said Heimdall was a great example of the type of business that investors were looking to support.
He said: “The Minerva Investor Group based at Keele hope this will be the first of many such investments in Staffordshire companies like Heimdall with world leading technology and ambition are just the sort of firm we want to assist.
“It’s innovative, it’s got strong market potential and, ultimately, the investors believe they will see returns in the long run.
“Business Angels are at the forefront of stimulating growth in early stage opportunities with funding and expertise and we would certainly like to hear from potential investors interested in joining the network and companies looking for this sort of support”
The firm’s rebrand to Heimdall Protective Tech is part of its overall growth strategy and has been led by internationally recognised marketing company, iris Worldwide