Scope for success as nano firm makes it big
Looking at the ‘smaller picture’ has led to big things for a Wiltshire firm which is now exporting to 22 countries, including the high-growth markets of Brazil and South Korea.
NanoSight Ltd, established in Amesbury in 2004, produces a range of incredibly powerful desktop laser microscopes that are capable of seeing extremely small nanoparticles which lie at the heart of the rapidly growing field of nanotechnology research and development.
Electron microscopes, which are able to perform a similar task, cost around £250,000 and take about three hours to get a still picture of a nano particle.
NanoSight’s products, however, are a fraction of the price and size, return results within minutes and give their users greater flexibility and real time analysis and study of nano particles thanks to the microscope’s inbuilt video camera and sophisticated proprietary software.
NanoSight’s customers are either research and development departments of large companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Proctor and Gamble, Roche and Unilever, or university scientific departments.
Bob Carr, inventor of the NanoSight technology and co-founder of the Company, explained: “When we started the business there were only five of us and exporting was a fairly daunting prospect. As a bunch of ‘jobbing scientists’ we were fairly wet behind the ears and needed all the help and advice we could get.
“Due to the international nature of the scientific industry we quickly realised that we just needed to grab the tiger by the tail and joined a UKTI trade mission to Japan. There we met some distributors and enjoyed several quick sales, which really helped to get us rolling. An equally successful trade mission to the USA followed shortly after.
“We joined UKTI’s Passport to Export and Gateway to Global Growth programmes and also took advantage of their Overseas Market Information Service (OMIS) to research both China and India. The contacts and local knowledge the UKTI team has are invaluable and the association with the British Government really opens doors.”
Today NanoSight export products to 22 countries worldwide including Brazil, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Russia and Singapore. 80 to 90 per cent of NanoSight’s sales are overseas and 50 per cent of these sales are to the United States.
They have sold over 400 pieces of equipment worldwide and have enjoyed exponential growth year on year since 2004. In the last five years alone the team has increased from eight to 23 members of staff.
Bob continued: “We are still the only people that do what we do. As a testament to our success, customers are publishing papers and articles in scientific journals in which they cite NanoSight equipment as being integral to their research.
“Earlier this year we received ISO9001 certification and we are now in conversation with the regulatory authority who are looking for an industry standard approach to nano particle analysis and it is our hope that NanoSight will become the instrumentation of choice for this standard.
“Next year we are focusing on developing the opportunity in India and entering the Middle Eastern markets.”
UKTI international trade adviser Andrew Fraser added: “Thanks to their unique products and a constant focus on developing and finessing that product range, NanoSight have enjoyed considerable success, both overseas and domestically. Indeed I believe that they are the only company in the South West or Wales to have been named on the Deloitte Fast 50 list. I look forward to continuing to work with Bob and the team as they enter new countries and cement their presence in established markets.”