SILENT Herdsman, the developer of a behaviour-monitoring collar for livestock, has attracted £3 million of new investment from Scottish Equity Partners, Albion Ventures and Scottish Investment Bank.
Launched in 2010 as Embedded Technology Systems, following a £5m research venture backed by Strathclyde University and Scottish Enterprise, the company has said the new institutional backing will support its continuing growth and international expansion.
Silent Herdsman offers a "decision-support platform" featuring the unique high-tech collar, which triggers alerts to a farmer's mobile phone, tablet or PC. It will notify any change in activity, for example when a cow goes into labour, using predictive analytics software. The core is "a highly scaleable and highly functional software system that assists farms to take swift and precise actions based on animal activity, which in virtually all cases, greatly enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of their beef and dairy herd business", the company says.
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It is the only UK company in the field and already has customers worldwide.
Annette MacDougall, chief executive at Silent Herdsman commented: "This investment underpins our unique and distinguishing product features and represents a significant endorsement towards our global expansion plans."
She said the platform was "uniquely positioned to assist dairy and beef farms globally to bolster productivity gains, improve operational performance and increase profit on farm". Ms MacDougall added: "We are delighted to be working with a sterling team of professional and knowledgeable investors who have supported our technology roadmap for taking online data services towards internationalisation and expansion."
The funding will accelerate the growth of the customer base, and also enable expansion of the range of animal health and welfare monitoring services provided to farmers around the world. Stuart Paterson, partner at SEP, said: "There are currently over one billion beef and dairy cows worldwide and over 34 million dairy cows in the EU and US alone. This number is continuing to grow as countries get wealthier and demand for dairy products increases.
"As a result, this represents a market opportunity of over $1bn per annum to Silent Herdsman. Moreover, the solution significantly enhances the efficiency of world food production which is of global concern. The company is rapidly making sales both in the UK and internationally, and as a result, SEP is delighted to support the company's growth plans."
Kerry Sharp, head of the Scottish Investment Bank, said: "We are pleased to be part of this investment round, alongside our private sector partners. Silent Herdsman is an exciting, forward-thinking company with an international mindset. Scottish Enterprise has worked closely with Silent Herdsman since its inception to help it grow and enter the market with its unique technology. This funding is the latest stage of an integrated package of support that will allow the company to realise its strategic growth plans."
Robert Whitby-Smith, Partner at Albion Ventures said: "We are excited about the opportunity to back the Silent Herdsman team and their ambitious growth plans. The animal health monitoring market is expected to grow rapidly and Silent Herdsman's differentiated, and patented, products are poised to capitalise on this."