A Liverpool venture that helps utility firms to map the location of pipelines and infrastructure using satellite technology secures £600,000 and will create new jobs in 2024. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool tech firm Mobile GIS Services (MGISS) has secured a £600,000 investment to support its work with the European Space Agency (ESA) and create new jobs.
MGISS was launched by managing director Michael Darracott in 2014. It uses surveying and space technology to find assets such as cabling, pipework and tunnels when they are buried underground. It is based at Brunswick Business Park.
Now it has raised extra funding. From NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.
Satellite data and mapping technologies utilised by MGISS help operators identify potential risks such as construction work taking place close to underground cables or power lines.
In January 2023 the business started working with the ESA in a €1m project to ensure the continuity of gas and water supplies across the UK.
It is using high-resolution satellite images provided by the ESA to create an ‘eye in the sky’, enabling utility firms worldwide to oversee key locations while cutting carbon emissions by reducing or removing the need for helicopters ‘fly overs’.
MGISS, which employs 14 staff, expects to create 11 new jobs in the year ahead as a result of the funding. The latest investment follows three years of growth for the company, during which time it has increased annual recurring revenue by more than 300%.
Mike Darracott said: “Supply interruptions cost utility companies billions of pounds each year, not only in trying to repair and restore supplies but also paying compensation to customers.
“Construction work is a key cause of disruption and the situation is likely to get worse in the future if planning laws are relaxed. Our systems help them make the most of the available data and take a proactive approach to identifying and tackling potential hazards.
“The new system will be the most powerful to date and could help companies to dramatically reduce downtime, regulatory fines and their environmental impact.”
Current MGISS clients include Northumbrian Water Group, Wales and West Utilities and Severn Trent Water, construction firms such as Galliford Try, and bodies such as the National Trust.
Mercia first backed Mike Darracott in 2014 through another of its funds under management, the North West Fund for Venture Capital, to enable him to set up a consultancy business.
Rob Hornby of Mercia added: “MGISS has successfully pivoted from being a consultancy firm to a software business and achieved impressive growth in recent years. The company addresses a key concern for utility providers.
“We are pleased to support the development of this new solution which we believe will have a huge global market.”