Clive Lewis explains how one business made the most of an unexpected windfall

Clive Lewis, head of enterprise at ICAEW, explains how one entrepreneur’s business has benefitted from scooping The Pitch’s 2013 One to Watch crown

Clive Lewis explains how one business made the most of an unexpected windfall

Gareth Bristow and his business partner Philip Pike set up Rodia Technologies to develop the core innovative technology behind a design for rotary hand pumps. The initial product was for a more efficient hand pump, which would result in far quicker bicycle tyre inflation times than those presently on the market. It was enough to secure the founders The Pitch’s 2013 One to Watch gong, for which the prize was receiving £1,000 worth of advice from a chartered accountant in the ICAEW’s Business Advice Service. 

Twelve months later 

As time has passed, Bristow and Pike’s range of products under development has expanded to include medical and other scientific uses for the patented actuator. But diversification never comes cheap: the business partners realised that they would require significant funding to bring the expanded range of products to market, as it would require the design and development of prototypes and market testing. As a first step they will be applying to the Technology Strategy Board and Horizon 2020 for grant funding. They have also raised some initial equity finance and down the line they will be seeking further equity investment and finance through Kickstarter. The entrepreneurs have proven themselves to be cash savvy after investing their winnings. 

How the £1,000 business advice was invested… 

The business’ initial need for advice was around getting the right company structure, the managing of the patent income, securing any R&D tax credits as well as general tax planning and advice on record keeping. Gareth searched the ICAEW Business Advice Service (BAS) website and located three firms offering the BAS free advice session. After an initial meeting with Andrew Hill, the founders appointed his firm, Hill Osborne, as their advisers. “Andrew has also all the right connections to help move the business along. We’ve had to do quite a bit of learning on the job before we hired Andrew. We lost a bit of money through R&D tax credits because we weren’t advised on those entitlements. It was only through discussions with Clive and Andrew that we started to look to getting the best out of the tax credits. Andrew’s been very helpful in terms of what we need to do and he will continue to give us the right advice in terms of instruments to claim back the tax credits,” says Bristow. One of the first services Hill Osborne undertook was arranging the business structure to maximise the potential income from patents via the ‘patent box’ scheme. This involved setting up a new company, Roc-Pro Limited, with their first investor. 

So what does the future hold for Roc-Pro? 

The future is bright for this growing company. In the next year Roc-Pro will apply for EU grants to help fund the prototyping of the core ROC technology. As well as entering the medical sector, the founders continue to have their eyes firmly on the cycle market. “We intend to initially exploit the new technology in the world’s first truly compact and rotary cycle pump for which we have received an international design award,” says Bristow. “We’re very proud at what we have achieved so far and extremely excited for the future of our business.” 

Clive Lewis
Clive Lewis

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