Innovate UK EDGE prepares Bristol clean tech company for financial investment, while helping to consolidate IP and drive sales growth.
For those living in Wiltshire, Bristol or East Anglia – areas with hard water – the build-up of limescale around taps and showerheads will be all too familiar.
“Limescale’s a grotty substance that takes real elbow grease to tackle,” says Samantha Mant, CEO of Halcyan. “For us, the real concern is its effect on energy efficiency, and the subsequent environmental impact.”
Research from British Water found that a 1mm layer of limescale will cause a 7-10% increase in a boiler’s energy consumption to meet the same heat demand.
60% of UK homes are in hard water areas and Halcyan estimates that if all these households were to eliminate limescale from their heating systems, 8 million tonnes of carbon could be saved per year.
Halcyan’s Water Conditioner uses a special blend of 12 metals, creating an alloy that changes the molecular structure of minerals in the water and preventing a build-up of limescale on surfaces such as boilers, showerheads, kettles and taps.
By replacing environmentally damaging salt softeners, the technology offers much greater sustainability than anything else on the market. It is also operable for 30 years and requires no chemicals, electricity or maintenance.
“Hard water offers myriad benefits for our brains and bodies that we don’t want to lose. What we do is take badly-behaved hard water and create well-behaved hard water, not soft water.”
Working with Innovate UK EDGE to accelerate growth
In 2020, Halcyan began work with Innovate UK EDGE to accelerate its growth.
“We have been steadily and profitably growing now for five years, but too slowly,” says Samantha. “For us, growth means increased revenue and more customers accessing more enjoyable water – both of which are fantastic – but our core mission statement is to save carbon and the faster we grow, the greater impact we have.”
“For me personally, there was a very high level of frustration around not being able to fully optimise our intellectual and tangible resources.”
Shareholding, investment and business structure were highlighted as key areas for improvement and Samantha began work with Innovate UK EDGE innovation and growth specialist, Phil Tellwright.
“The work with Phil was absolutely critical. He was highly skilled, realistic and patient, but also held me to account, which was exactly what I needed.
“It was a world away from the generic support that you sometimes receive elsewhere, and I’m now extremely well prepared to begin investor outreach and grant applications.”
IP advice for protection of clean tech and added value
Samantha next began work with Innovate UK EDGE IP specialist, Kate Butler, who delivered IP advice to Halcyan.
“Kate’s report was extremely thorough, practical and useful, with a simple summary of actions and priorities, which again, was exactly what I wanted.”
Halcyan has used the IP report to not only protect its innovation, but add value to the business and enhance its shareholder proposition.
“On top of that, my innovation and growth specialist, James Snelgrove, has been outstanding. By listening thoroughly, he’s been able to intelligently recommend which types of support we should prioritise and connect me with extremely relevant virtual conferences.”
For Samantha, trust has also been critical to her work with Innovate UK EDGE: “Working with Phil, Kate and James, I really feel like they’re fighting my corner which is very motivating. We were also able to address some sensitive issues that I would have probably withheld without that level of trust.
“I really have been blown away by the quality of the support and am looking forward to seeing where we can work together next.”
Halcyan now plans to scale rapidly, raising finance and targeting the 60% of UK households that are in hard water areas, before expanding internationally.
The company’s proven technology has potential to make a meaningful difference to the UK’s energy consumption and carbon output. Innovate UK EDGE will continue to offer game-changing growth support, helping it to realise that potential.