University nanotechnology spinout raises £180,000 in seed funding round

Three people - the Figura team with the Best Pitch Award, standing in a laboratory setting

The Figura team with the Best Pitch Award from the Pitch Up Event organised by Minerva Birmingham

An alumni spinout, Figura Analytics, has raised £180,000 in seed round funding from private investors and the UK’s leading early-stage investor SFC Capital.

Figura was spun out of cross-disciplinary Chemistry research in January 2021, backed by an Innovate UK grant, to develop its rapid testing technology platform aimed at helping the drinks industry to improve quality and consistency of ingredients and finished products.

The company’s nanopore technology, using microfluidics, sensors and software algorithms, enables them to recognise and characterize any particle suspended in a solution. Figura’s rapid analysis technology has a number of uses in drinks manufacturing, from analysing flavours and filters, through to replacing traditional microbiological tests. 

Figura’s academic founders Rhush Maugi (MChem Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry graduate and current PhD Chemistry student) and Mark Platt have spent years developing the technology format that will be low in cost and easy to use. The technology was fast-tracked through Innovate UK’s Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) programme in 2020 and Figura was formed in January 2021. They are already working with national and international drinks industry partners to further develop their technology and processes, along with The Manufacturing Technology Centre (The MTC), as they get ready to start commercial production in 2022.

Nick Whitehurst (CEO) said: “We are delighted to welcome SFC and our new private investors to Figura Analytics. We have had great initial feedback from the drinks industry to a completely new way for them to rapidly analyse their products and ingredients, and we look forward to building our business as we further develop our technology platform and manufacturing capability.”

Professor Claudia Eberlein, Loughborough University’s Dean of Science and Enterprise lead commented: “I’m delighted that research ideas of our Chemistry academics have been commercialised with the support of the University and Innovate UK and our valued partner, The MTC. The seed funding will accelerate the impact potential of this exciting new platform technology and I look forward to hearing of their continued success as they grow from their base in the incubator, LU Inc. on LUSEP, the University’s Science and Enterprise Park.”

As well as alumnus Rhush, Chemistry graduate Marcus Pollard has also recently joined the team at Figura as Head of Manufacturing.