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Foresight Williams invests £2.5m growth capital into Kognitiv Spark

Foresight Williams invests £2.5m growth capital into Kognitiv Spark

  • The only commercially available solution that allows real-time sharing of 3D data sets, even over a low bandwidth
  • Funding to support the building of sales and marketing teams to further broaden the range of industries supported and geographic sales base
  • Another example of Foresight Williams Technology’s global search for exciting investment opportunities

Foresight Group (“Foresight”), a listed private equity and infrastructure investment manager, is pleased to announce a £2.5m growth capital investment into Kognitiv Spark (“KS”) which is commercialising software that provides 3D data to support field service workers in remote locations. The investment is funded by the Foresight Williams Technology Fund, a joint venture between Foresight and Williams Advanced Engineering (“WAE”).

The company’s product offers three significant advantages over the competition: it is the only commercially available solution that allows the real-time sharing of 3D data sets, it is able to maintain a stable video connection even in low bandwidth environments; and it offers defence-grade security.

Currently, installing or maintaining assets in the field requires expert teams to travel, sometimes thousands of miles, all of which increases time, cost and greenhouse gas emissions. Existing remote assistance software does not have the robustness or functionality required to empower local workers to carry out complex tasks.

KS’s leading product, RemoteSpark, is an augmented reality (“AR”) software package, which enables the sharing of complex and critical data between a desk-based expert and a field-based worker. RemoteSpark consists of a desktop application and an application that runs on an AR device. When a call is made between the two devices, it provides the desk-based expert with a live stream of the workers’ point of view. The expert can then share PDF documents, 3D images and animations in real-time. Both the worker and expert can annotate images during the call and the platform enables hands-free, voice-controlled operation making it easier for the worker to complete tasks.

The growth capital will enable the company to expand into new industries and geographies via new sales and marketing teams in the US and UK and support the ongoing development of further products. The company hopes to work with the WAE team to tap into their network of automotive, aerospace, industrial and manufacturing customers within the UK and EU markets.

The global mixed reality market was estimated to be worth $17bn per annum in 2020 and is forecast to grow to $85bn p.a. in 2025 (38% CAGR). Within that market, mixed reality software is expected to reach annual revenues of $32bn by 2026. Market drivers include the growing digitisation of industrial data and support requirements for an increasingly remote workforce. Remote worker support is a major application for AR technology. A recent PwC report identified 1.6m jobs worldwide that could be enhanced using AR/virtual reality solutions, a number that is expected to grow to 7.6m by 2025.

Commenting on the investment, Bill Yost, Investment Manager at Foresight said: “We are excited to support Kognitiv Spark as they establish operations in the UK and their products begin to gain recognition across Europe. The company’s technology is ground-breaking and should improve field support in a broad range of industries. This funding should provide the fuel for significant growth.”

Yan Simard, CEO at Kognitiv Spark, added: “We are incredibly pleased to be partnering with Foresight as Kognitiv Spark continues to expand strategically on a global scale. The investment level by Foresight signifies not only to us, but the mixed reality sector as a whole, that the time is now to focus on growth and solidifying our place in the market.”

Matthew Burke, Head of Technology Ventures WAE, added: “We are delighted to support Yan and the wider team at Kognitiv Spark with this investment. As well as introducing the company to our partners and customers, many of which have engineering, manufacturing and maintenance operations spread across the globe, we continue to explore applications of KS’s remote support technology within WAE’s operations”.

More about Kognitiv Spark

Since 2016, Kognitiv Spark has worked closely with global partners to guide industrial augmented reality solution development, with an emphasis on user-centred development. Led by an executive team with deep expertise in cybersecurity, oil & gas, industrial engineering and aerospace & defence, Kognitiv Spark delivers robust and integrated solutions that surpass advanced performance and security requirements.

Kognitiv Spark was founded by Ryan Groom, an accomplished cybersecurity specialist and gifted developer, and Duncan McSporran, a former military officer who served in various leadership roles in the British Army.


More about Foresight Group LLP (“Foresight”):

Foresight Group was founded in 1984 and is a leading listed infrastructure and private equity investment manager. With a long-established focus on ESG and sustainability-led strategies, it aims to provide attractive returns to its institutional and private investors from hard-to-access private markets. Foresight manages over 300 infrastructure assets with a focus on solar and onshore wind assets, bioenergy and waste, as well as renewable energy enabling projects, energy efficiency management solutions, social and core infrastructure projects and sustainable forestry assets. Its private equity team manages eight regionally focused investment funds across the UK, supporting over 120 SMEs. Its Foresight Capital Management team manages four funds with £1.5 billion Assets Under Management (AUM), investing in listed real assets with environmental and social benefits. Foresight operates from 12 offices across six countries in Europe and Australia with AUM of £8.4 billion as at 31 December 2021. Foresight Group Holdings Limited listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange in February 2021.


More about Williams Advanced Engineering (“WAE”)

WAE is a world-leading technology and engineering services business delivering pioneering innovation to improve performance, efficiency and sustainability to a global customer base.

Combining cutting-edge technological advances and the industry’s best engineers with precision and speed to market derived from the ultra-competitive environment of motorsport, WAE’s capabilities cover a wide range of disciplines.

The company provides ground-breaking innovation covering advanced battery and electrification technologies and product development; aided by advanced simulation, testing, rapid prototyping and volume manufacturing. Working in close collaboration with our customers, WAE remains committed to meeting the continued sustainability challenges of the 21st Century.

WAE can trace its foundations back to 2010 when Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited began diversifying its operations; a division which later became WAE. In December 2019, Williams Grand Prix Engineering (which is owned by private investment firm Dorilton Capital) sold a majority equity stake in WAE to EMK Capital.

WAE has grown from an embryonic business in 2010 to a company which employs approximately 400 people engaged in leading-edge and transformative technologies for a growing list of Tier 1 clients.

Following the acquisition by Fortescue Metals Group, which completed in March 2022, WAE will continue to service its existing customers and commercialise new technology opportunities, in addition to playing a key role in supporting Fortescue’s decarbonisation strategy.

WAE was honoured with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation 2018.


About Foresight Williams Technology (“FWT”)

Foresight and Williams Advanced Engineering started their investment collaboration in 2016 with the launch of the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund. 2019 saw the launch of a sister fund, the Foresight Williams Technology VCT share class, which sits within the Foresight Solar & Technology VCT plc. These two funds target investment in companies developing innovative and transformational technologies and where we believe Foresight’s and Williams’ expertise and services can be harnessed to assist with the development of the businesses, with the objective of achieving successful exits at high-value multiples.


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