Mar 15, 2011

Icona Solutions secures new investment through North East Technology Fund and IP Group to help fund expansion

£550,000 investment will enable company to open new offices in North East England to support its automotive and other manufacturing industry customers.

Manchester – Icona Solutions, the developer of the innovative perceived quality simulation and visualization software solution, aesthetica, has secured an additional investment through Funds managed by IP Group plc to enable it to open new offices in the north east of England. The new investment completes a £550,000 financing round, corner-stoned by the Finance for Business North East Technology Fund, one of the Funds managed by IP Group plc, in addition to existing shareholders including the North West Equity Fund.

Icona Solutions will open new offices in the north east of England to house a new consulting and services team to support its growing number of customers in the automotive and other manufacturing industry sectors.

Tim Illingworth, chief executive, Icona Solutions, said, “Our expanding consultancy and services division will be based in the North East and we are confident that IP Group, whose team helped us hone our thinking in order to achieve this new investment while supporting us in the ways we need as a small business, will continue to do what they can to help us succeed”.

Among Icona's existing customers in the north east of England is Nissan, which used aesthetica extensively in the design and development of the Qashqai. Paul Garside, director, Nissan Design Europe, said, “In such a competitive industry it is vital for us to continually improve the concept-to-market cycle with „right first time' design. Products such as aesthetica are key contributors to Nissan's quality, cost and delivery objectives.”

“Icona Solutions is at an exciting stage in its development as aesthetica becomes increasingly sought after and we look at industries other than the automotive industry that could benefit from it”, stated Illingworth. “The automotive industry worldwide has certainly recognized the advantages it can bring, as Nissan's use of it demonstrates, and we have just opened up distribution in China and are concentrating on developing our channels in the USA”.

Duncan Lowery, senior investment manager at IP Group, commented: “Icona Solutions has secured some excellent contracts and what people probably don't realize is that its aesthetica software has already been put to good use on cars produced in the North East. Nissan Design Europe used it extensively on the Qashqai, which has real visual appeal”

“We made this investment through the Finance for Business North East Technology Fund because we believe in the strength of Icona's product and the management team and most critically can see longevity, as well as new markets and applications for the technology going forward”, he concluded.