A specialist North East manufacturer is aiming to shine a light on new markets around the globe after securing investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund which will help it ramp up sales of the world’s most powerful dive light.
Orcalight was approached by the BBC in 2013 to develop a one-off, high-quality LED dive light for a special test, and they were so blown away by the results that they suggested the County Durham-based firm start manufacturing it on a commercial basis.
Since then, Orcalight has been carrying out research and development work on prototype products with some of the world’s leading underwater professionals, including BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning cinematographer Doug Anderson, a key member of the BBC’s Earth, Life and Frozen Planet series who acts as Orcalight’s technical advisor.
It is now set to implement a full commercial launch plan for the 22,000 Lumen Orcalight, which is available through the www.orcalight.co.uk website or from an expanding network of distributors and resellers.
Orcalight, whose client list already include The Discovery Channel, National Geographic and The BBC Natural History Unit, has worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to obtain a six figure Growth Fund investment that provides the working capital required to support its plans.
The management team is aiming to increase turnover to around £1m over the next year, as well to create new jobs along the way, and will be targeting a range of new public and private sector contract opportunities as part of this drive.
Orcalight founder and CEO Shane Newman says: “We’ve spent a lot of time and effort fine-tuning a product which we believe is far and away the best of its type on the market.
“Orcalight is extremely powerful, tough enough to work in very demanding environments, suited to the needs of both professional and recreational divers, and designed to be particularly suitable for underwater exploration, photography and videography.
“From the huge amount of interest we’ve already had, we’re certain that we’ve got our development work right, and see no reason why Orcalight can’t become the industry standard in markets right around the world.
“It’s great that we’re able to develop and manufacture such a high-quality product here in the North East, and that the new jobs and commercial success that we’re confident will follow will benefit the region too.
“The NEL team took a holistic view of our business, around both where we’d come from and where we’re looking to go, and their investment has given us the impetus we needed to get this product fully onto the market in the best possible way.”
Chris Parker, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Orcalight’s quality and potential is very clear, and the development plans that Shane and his team outlined provided us with a very strong investment opportunity.”
Aimed at regional businesses which are at a development and growth stage, the Growth Fund forms part of the wider Finance for Business North East Fund.
Managed by North East Finance, it will see £125m of investment capital injected into the region by the European Investment Bank and the European Regional Development Fund 2007-13 over a five year period.
NEL is looking to make around 130 investments over the five-year life span of the Growth Fund, and is actively looking to speak to ambitious north east companies with robust business plans.
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0845 111 1850.
The ERDF 2007-13 programme is bringing over £300m into North East England to support innovation, enterprise and business support. It will help create and safeguard 28,000 new jobs, start 3,000 new businesses and increase the region’s productivity by £1.1bn per annum.