A North East technology firm which gathers and uses data to analyse how people and traffic circulate in the built environment is mapping out its own future direction.
Streets Systems is using a £25,000 investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund to invest in bespoke new monitoring equipment which will enable it to take on more projects and scale up its operations.
The Newcastle-based firm was set up by directors Tom Bailey and Tom Komar, who had previously worked together for sustainable transport charity Sustrans, and was borne out of a desire to see better quality pedestrian movement data available to planning professionals.
It has worked with The City of London Corporation on a project which aimed to reduce potential conflict between cyclists and pedestrians in a busy shared space, and also maintains permanent footfall monitoring equipment on Northumberland Street for Newcastle University’s Urban Observatory.
The directors worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to secure the Small Loan Fund investment through and are now looking to grow the firm’s client base, which includes architectural consultants, planning professionals, academic institutions and local authorities.
The business is aiming to double its annual turnover this year, and to then do the same again next year to take it to around £250,000 by the end of 2020.
At least one new job is expected to be created each year over the next three years as the company grows.
Tom Bailey says: “Our people and traffic sensors can accurately track the movements of pedestrians and cyclists, as well as the speed and volume of motor traffic, and allow us to collect constant real time data 24/7, something which would be pretty much impossible for human observers to do in busy environments.
“Our ‘Machine Vision’ technology then enables us to extract information on movement and flow which can be factored into the design of changes and improvements that will benefit everyone using the area in question.
“The projects that we’ve undertaken so far have shown how effective this approach can be in improving the urban environments that we all use, and increasing our capacity to take on more and bigger projects by bringing in this new equipment will help us grow the business quickly over the next couple of years.
“The Small Loan Fund provided the right financial option for the type of equipment acquisition we were looking to do, and working with the NEL team to bring in the investment was a smooth and positive process.”
Part of the £120m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £50,000 to businesses in Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland.
It is designed to assist with the creation of over 1,200 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.
Mike Guellard, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, who met the business at last year’s VentureFest North East event adds: “Streets Systems’ approach is already delivering clear results in a market that is only going to keep increasing in the future, and our investment gives it the capacity to capitalise on future opportunities.”
The overarching North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.
NEL is also responsible for investing the £18m North East Growth Capital Fund, which offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.