A company that has developed and patented a formwork and shuttering system for the construction industry is the latest early stage business to attract significant investment from Finance Yorkshire.
Fast-Form Systems Limited has secured a £350,000 funding package from Finance Yorkshire’s Seedcorn fund, which invests in early stage innovative ventures that have the potential to become ‘beacon companies’ for the region.
The Grimsby based business began trading early in 2014 and was formed by Tony White, a construction industry veteran who initially designed a steel bracket system for concrete pouring almost 20 years ago.
It evolved into Fast-Form™, a series of reusable, adjustable stainless steel brackets that replace timber frames and hold either plywood or polymer board securely in place.
Faster, stronger and cheaper than traditional timber shutters, it also offers a unique handrail and access system for additional safety. The system is complementary to larger panel-based formwork systems and can be adapted to a variety of applications from sheet pile capping to basement walls.
So far the Fast-Form system has been used at high-profile projects including flood defence works for the Environment agency, London Cross Rail, and the seating conversion for the new Olympic Stadium, which re-opens to the public in 2016.
The business has also been chosen by Taylor Wimpey plc for its development at Pennington Wharf in Manchester, where Fast-Form systems are helping to construct almost 500 new homes over 10 years.
The funding from Finance Yorkshire will allow Fast-Form to ramp up its marketing activity, as well as invest in product development, new stock, staff, and costs associated with the patenting process.
The product is patented in the UK and the business is in the process of filing an international patent.
Fast-Form Systems founder Tony White said: “These initial 12 months of trading have been a bit of a whirlwind, but we have clearly hit upon a market need because demand from civil engineering and marine contractors has been incredible.
“Securing financial support as an early stage business is never easy, and we are delighted that Finance Yorkshire has recognised the huge potential of our product, both here in the UK and worldwide.
“One of our key aims for 2015 is to explore export markets, particularly Europe and the USA.”
Finance Yorkshire investment manager Graham Davies said: “Fast-Form Systems is typical of the type of business we are passionate about making Seedcorn funding available to.
“While it is only 12 months old, its reputation of delivering on high profile projects, coupled with Tony White’s innovative vision and experience, ensured that the business was an ideal candidate for investment.
“Fast-Form has the potential to grow strongly in the UK and expand globally. The system not only reduces costs and build times, but is also safer and more environmentally friendly than traditional methods.
“The company has secured broad patent protection, which will ensure their unique and innovative products are protected as more and more construction companies use their system.”
The Humber Local Enterprise Partnership’s executive director Richard Kendall, said: “It’s encouraging to see the remarkable demand for Fast-Forms Systems’ products and their ability to secure some very prestigious contracts. This is the kind of innovation happening in the Humber that we should be telling the world about.”
To date, Finance Yorkshire has made 694 investments totalling £90 million.
Finance Yorkshire is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted £30 million investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme, £15 million from UK Government and £45 million match funding from the European Investment Bank.