A FAN invented by two Newcastle University students which helps make houses warmer for less than a pound a year has taken a step closer to production.
Roland Glancy and Simon Barker created the Radfan, which attaches to radiators and stops hot air rising to the ceiling by re-directing it back into the room – making homes up to 1.5°C warmer at a cost of around just 70p a year in electricity.
Their invention triumphed at the prestigious Santander Universities National Entrepreneurship Challenge 2011 and the £20,000 prize money helped them to fund a pre-production prototype.
However, the pair needed to raise further funds to pay for tooling, product design, packaging and research and have secured a six figure investment from Newcastle-based venture capital firm Rivers Capital Partners.
The fund’s director Jonathan Gold said: “The Radfan could absolutely revolutionise the way we heat our homes as it redistributes heat at very little cost to make rooms warmer and more energy efficient. We are delighted our investment will help bring the product to market.”
The young inventors met Gold at a workshop held by the North East Access to Finance (NEA2F) in conjunction with Newcastle Science City which aimed to help entrepreneurs win investment.
The six workshops – part of NEA2F’s Routes to Investment initiative – addressed commercial, financial and management-related elements of delegates’ business plans and concluded with a session on pitching technique and an opportunity to deliver a practice pitch.
Alan Holmes, project director for NEA2F, said: “Not only do the workshops give attendees the chance to get the best possible advice from people with a proven track record but they enable them to put their business plans in front of genuine investors – with real results, as the team behind Radfan discovered.”
The next series of six, half-day workshops will be held weekly starting on February 24 2012 at Newcastle’s Central Library.