Food safety tech firm records big investment win

Navitas financial director Kerrie Patrick with secretary of state for communities, James Brokenshire MP.

Navitas Digital Safety has secured £745,000 of equity investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF).

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Regional SME investor, Foresight Group (Foresight), one of three equity fund managers working with the MEIF, made the investment that will allow the firm to roll out its automated health and safety technology to food and hospitality outlets across the UK.

Based in Leicester, Navitas provides handheld devices that work with accompanying software to monitor appliances, check food temperatures and feed data to a cloud-based programme. A response to outdated paper-bound procedures and the introduction of tighter legislation around food safety, this digitalised system allows brands to avoid food safety issues and wastage that historically may have caused reputational damage.

Navitas plans to use the finance to bring its manufacturing in-house. By producing its hardware – smart probes, hubs and pods – in the UK, the firm will control its supply chain, which should allow it to keep pace with the growing demand for new approaches to food safety.

Explaining the nature of the investment, Navitas Group CEO Ben Gardner said: “We are a young, dynamic company, yet it can be difficult to source funds to support rapid growth. This injection of capital will allow us to realise our expansion plans by investing in manufacturing and R&D. By also strengthening our talented sales force we can ensure that Navitas’ technology is rolled-out to huge UK brands and international markets.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for Navitas and we’re delighted to be leading the way for many small businesses with big ambitions across the Midlands.”

The investment will also allow the firm to take on 10 new staff, increasing its headcount to 33 employees and building its sales team.

The opportunity for expansion follows new legislation from the UK’s food regulator, the Food Standards Agency (FSA), after launching a major initiative – ‘Regulating Our Future’ (ROF). Designed to modernise food production, these new protocols should increase the need for effective, cutting-edge food safety procedures.

Secretary of state for communities, James Brokenshire MP, said: “We’re committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the Midlands Engine and building a Britain fit for the future.

“The Midlands Engine Investment Fund plays an important role in realising this vision by supporting growing firms like Navitas, who have the ambition, but need additional investment. The growth and jobs created with help from the fund will benefit the entire Midlands – and, ultimately, the UK economy.”

While, Ken Cooper, MD at the British Business Bank, commented: “Navitas had a great market opportunity, but it needed outside investment to progress to the next stage. The equity funds provided by the Midlands Engine Investment Fund are well suited to help companies like Navitas that have huge potential, but require external funding.

“By ensuring that money is available for deals like this, we are helping Midlands companies attract the investment they need to grow.”

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