Cass Entrepreneurship Fund leads first significant round of institutional funding into Evolve Dynamics to accelerate growth
Evolve Dynamics, a Surrey-based drone company which produces mission specific UAV / RPAS (drones) hardware and software solutions for the emergency services, law enforcement and defence sectors, has secured its first significant round of institutional funding which it will use to further product development, R&D and company expansion.
The funding round was led by the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund, alongside The FSE Group and an angel investor.
The funds will be used to continue to develop the current and new products in dialogue with the market and customers. Evolve Dynamics’ core product, the Sky Mantis drone, offers customers an industry leading flight time, higher wind resistance than competitors, dual camera payload and extreme weather capability. The company will continue to undertake extensive R&D to maintain the product’s superior performance and ability to retail at highly competitive price points.
In response to strong and rapidly increasing market demand, with inbound orders accelerating, further planned hires will strengthen the operations and engineering functions in order to successfully scale the company and enter new markets where its products offer a strong value proposition, such as the energy sector.
CEO and founder of Evolve Dynamics, Michael Dewhirst, said: “The funding will help us invest into R&D and hardware, as well as new hires and larger premises to scale in response to market demand. We are excited to be backed by the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund, FSE and the angel investor, which will help us respond to the opportunities in front of us.”
Founded in 2016, Evolve Dynamics was formed to address the growing need for drone solutions among emergency services and rapid response forces. Prior to the Sky Mantis, budget constraints meant that police forces tended to purchase consumer drones which weren’t up to the standards required of their use cases: inspections, rescue operations, and searches. In its first three years, the Evolve Dynamics team formed relationships with their eventual customers and undertook extensive discovery research and development. This research fed into the design specifications that make the Sky Mantis drone useful and accessible to police forces, whilst meeting various requirements for flight time, durability, portability and price.
Beyond its domestic market, Evolve Dynamics is well placed to scale geographically and capitalise on the significant growth of the global drone market across the commercial, military and civil government sectors. Alongside a concentration on servicing its core market, the company intends to continue R&D and product development in order to ensure that its drone solutions offer versatility across use cases and sectors.
The Investment Director of the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund, Helen Reynolds, said:
“We are delighted to support the Evolve Dynamics team, who have demonstrated the value proposition of their product to their target market with strong growth to date. We’re very pleased to be helping them scale and expand into new markets. The company has an impressive number of orders already for the next few months and customer satisfaction with the drone’s performance in a range of scenarios has been excellent.”
Senior Fund Manager of The FSE Group, Paul Lyristis, added:
“We are delighted to add Evolve Dynamics to our portfolio of companies supported by the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund. Evolve, a Guildford-based company is the UK’s leading manufacturer and supplier of drones and ancillary equipment to this country’s emergency services and we are proud to have invested in a company whose drones have been used to save lives. Michael Dewhirst has put together a highly experienced team and they have all the attributes to build Evolve into a world-class business. We wish them all the best for the future”
About Evolve Dynamics
Evolve Dynamics is an engineering company specialising in UAV / RPAS hardware and software solutions for police, fire brigades and the military. Evolve Dynamics have produced the Sky Mantis drone, a UAV with bespoke features designed to meet the needs of this core market. Evolve Dynamics also offer two complementary products: Field to Cloud software that enables live secure real time video transmission anywhere in the world from the drone and a Tether ground cable power unit that prolongs the drone’s flight-time to 24 hours. The company is based in Guildford UK, has over 20 staff and is working on several new products it plans to release in 2020.
About Cass Entrepreneurship Fund
The Cass Entrepreneurship Fund is a £10 million venture capital fund, investing in early-stage, high-growth businesses in the UK. The Fund was established in 2010 with the generous support of Peter Cullum, as part of the Peter Cullum Centre for Entrepreneurship. The Fund primarily invests in B2B businesses as a lead or co-investor, with initial investments ranging in size from £250k to £500k, with follow-on investments up to a maximum of £1m in any one company. We back entrepreneurs who have demonstrated financial traction and possess a clear vision to win market share in growing, addressable markets, with well thought-out growth plans. The Fund seeks to further support portfolio companies through a mentor panel of senior executives with a proven track record in business. Portfolio companies also benefit from recruitment and marketing support by way of a relationship with Cass Business School and City, University of London.
About The FSE Group
The FSE Group manages the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund which is part of the EM3 Funding Escalator, a £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which also includes an expansion loan scheme and a trade finance loan scheme, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across the EM3 area.