20/07/2010

GeoVS gets £250k injection for 3D underwater technology in oil and gas markets

The University of Glamorgan spin-out company, GeoVS Ltd, has secured a £250,000 equity investment from Finance Wales to continue developing its interactive 3D visualisation and simulation software platform used in marine and geo-modelling applications including underwater planning, maritime navigation and vessel traffic management.


The Cardiff-based early stage company will use the investment to demonstrate the application of its 3D technology within the oil, gas and marine industries and to fully commercialise its 3D software products.

Established in February 2009 by 3D geovisualisation experts, Professor Christopher Gold and Dr Rafal Goralski, GeoVS’ technology rapidly converts maps or charts into 3D visual images or models, providing users with real-time information vital for a number of applications such as surface and underwater navigation, situational awareness around harbours and offshore platforms. The technology interfaces easily with a range of hardware and allows for the environment to be manipulated in real time, using a highly-interactive and ergonomic user interface, to transfer information quicker and more accurately. This minimises errors and increases safety and operational efficiency.

Ann Casey, Investment Executive at Finance Wales, said: “As an early stage, pre-revenue company, GeoVS has already developed its innovative technology. The company has attracted an experienced, industry-focussed chairman with a clear understanding of the market potential for its product. Finance Wales is keen to invest in early stage companies with a robust business plan and can invest additional rounds at the right time.”

“GeoVS required an equity investment of £250,000 to secure a strong international market position from which to grow,” said Alastair MacDonald, Chairman and Managing Director of GeoVS. “The company has already developed strong links with potential customers and we expect to be trading successfully by October.”

Commenting on the investment, MacDonald added: “The investment by Finance Wales will enable GeoVS to complete further development work and ensure that our products and technology remain at the leading edge of 3D visualisation technology and are compatible with the latest developments within the IT sector. In the oil, gas and renewable energy context, the benefits of GeoVS’ products mean that offshore wind farms can be quickly and efficiently planned; offshore projects can be simulated and the risks identified, evaluated and removed before the expense of actually performing projects, and that underwater vehicles can now operate in almost zero visibility, yet be safely positioned relative to all underwater facilities they are working on. We also have a pipeline of follow-on technology applications and products to ensure the company’s growth.”

Dr Rafal Goralski, Technical Director, noted: “The core software is highly advanced, but the systems are really user-friendly and the benefits are easily applicable to other markets such as vessel traffic management systems for ports and harbours and as an aid to navigation for surface ships, submarines and airborne drones.”

Finance Wales invested £5.75 million through 30 early stage investments in 2009 - 10. Finance Wales’ total direct investment in Welsh businesses currently stands at more than £157 million through 2400 investments since 2001.

Doug Hampson, Commercial Spinout Manager at the University of Glamorgan said: “It was really exciting to assist these two commercially-minded researchers in developing products based on 10 years of research. We all developed our skills significantly in putting together a package with people, technology and market opportunities which attracted investment from Finance Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government. It has been a privilege to work with Alastair, Rafal, and Christopher over the last 18 months.”

Advisors on the deal were Hugh James and Capital Law (legal) - Douglas Westwood (commercial due diligence).

Greg Williams, Corporate Lawyer who led the team at Hugh James said: "We are delighted to have worked with Finance Wales on their latest investment in GeoVS which is an innovative company operating in the extremely progressive software sector. This sector has provided a strong flow of work for our firm despite the difficult economic conditions and we certainly see it as a key market for the future."