NEWS

RELEASE Approved - 10 December 2009

INOTEK ANTENNAS TUNING IN TO NEL INVESTMENT

A Newcastle-based antenna design and manufacturing company is aiming to set new standards for the industry by using state-of-the-art technology developed in the north east.

Inotek Antennas is using its existing links with Northumbria University to set up a development and design centre in the north east, which will be the hub for the creation of powerful ‘next generation’ antenna products.

The company, which already works with some of the biggest names in the telecoms industry, is now taking its development plans forward with the help of an investment from NEL Capital, the venture capital arm of regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers.

Inotek was established in 1996 as an antenna design and manufacturing company by Professor Stephen Foti, who is based at Northumbria University, and was later taken over by Racal Antennas.

As part of their strategy of concentrating on military markets, Racal sold the civilian telecom business in late 2006, including the exclusive rights to around 100 telecom antenna products, to their former antenna design manager Dr Shyam Karode and his business partner Dr Sumit Uppal.

In March 2007, Inotek Antennas was re-established as an independent antenna design and manufacturing company, with Steve Foti, a former colleague of Dr Karode, invited to rejoin the company as a non-executive director.

As well as designing and manufacturing its own products, Inotek also provides design consultancy and an outsourced contract manufacturing service for antenna design houses and related products.

Inotek mobile communication antennas has already been deployed in cellular networks worldwide, with a significant part of the UK cellular networks owned by Vodafone, O2, Orange, 3 and T-Mobile using the company’s equipment.

Shyam Karode says “The challenge for us now is to design the ‘next generation’ products that are required to meet the needs of the UK and, in time, emerging economies elsewhere in the world, and we are confident that the research and development facilities we are creating in the north east, allied to the expertise to which we have access via our links to Northumbria University, gives us a strong opportunity to do so.

“Gaining such a competitive advantage would open up huge commercial opportunities, and should the development process prove successful, we will be aiming to manufacture and sell around 50,000 units in the UK and beyond.

“We spoke to a number of potential investors, but the package offered by NEL fit our specific requirements – they have a lot of relevant experience with other investee companies, and the network of business contacts that being part of their investment portfolio opens to us will be extremely useful to us as we grow.”

  1. Nick Edgar, investment executive at NEL Capital, adds: “Inotek Antennas has a huge wealth of expert knowledge in what is a very specialised area, and there is a very real opportunity for the company to take new technology developed in the north east and in due course make it a success right around the world.”

One North East Deputy Chief Executive, Malcolm Page, said: “Inotek Antennas is operating at the very forefront of its field and is a fine example of a company born out of university endeavour. I am delighted we have been able to offer financial support to this exciting project.”

For further information on Inotek Antennas, visit www.inotekantennas.com or email info@inotekantennas.com

For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact Barrie Hensby on 0845 111 1850.
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For further press information, please contact Julian Christopher at Footprint Public Relations on 07891 005034 or via julianchristopher@btinternet.com

Notes to Editors

NEL Capital is the venture capital division of Northern Enterprise Limited. Northern Enterprise Limited is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Services Authority and is a member of the British Venture Capital Association.