A company making waves in driverless car technology is setting its sights on global success with the help of an investment from the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund. Bedford born company, iAbra, are expanding in a move that will see Guildford become their sales and marketing base, creating a number of new jobs in the process.
The iAbra technology uses deep learning algorithms that enable computers to learn in a human like way. When applied to Machine Vision (MV), machines can process images from internal cameras and sensors to ‘see’ and interpret the world around them. For driverless car technology this means identifying objects in the traffic environment and responding appropriately e.g. the car ‘learns’ that a pedestrian at a zebra crossing means the car must stop. Already working with some of the industry’s key players in the automotive industry,
iAbra’s Machine Vision (MV) technology is fast gaining traction as a platform to be reckoned with in this field. Ian Taylor, iAbra CEO and co-founder, says: “Over the past year we have spent time really focusing on the application of our technology. Although there are a number of target markets, including surveillance and defence, the automotive industry is an exciting place to be right now with the race to driverless cars in full throttle. We have established strong relationships with some global companies who are equally excited by how our technology can help them be at the front of this race.”
This latest funding round, which will include further funding from the Bedford EIS Fund and angel investors, will facilitate the rapid expansion which the business is currently facing. The investment will be used to grow the infrastructure and increase headcount in both Bedford and Guildford.
Avent Bezuidenhoudt, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group which manages the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund and the Bedford Business EIS Fund, comments: “The FSE Group has been working with iAbra over the last 18 months following our first investment and we are delighted to be investing again in this latest funding round. By positioning themselves in the driverless car market they have found a niche with extremely high growth potential and we look forward to helping them maximise this with our continued support.”
The Enterprise M3 Growth Fund is part of the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator, a £5.5million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which also includes an expansion loan scheme, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £200,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities. The Bedford Business EIS Fund was developed as a practical initiative for sustainable job creation in Bedford. This latest round of finance for iAbra leaves the fund fully invested.