Private equity fund manager Calculus Capital invests £2.5m in WheelRight Ltd, a tyre monitoring company.
WheelRight develops and sells advanced remote tyre monitoring equipment, which accurately measures the pressure within a vehicle’s tyres when the vehicle is driven over a sensor plate.
This system, which is effective regardless of vehicle or tyre type, provides fleet operators and motorists with immediate, accurate tyre pressure information delivered by SMS, visual display or directly into a fleet management system. In addition to tyre pressures, the sensor is capable of weighing a vehicle in motion and analysing load distribution.
WheelRight was founded in 2004 by John Catling and Michael Taylor and is based in Oxford. The business is based at the Begbrooke Science Park and employs 10 highly qualified engineers. Its technology is used by the commercial vehicle, bus and wider automotive sectors. Current clients in the UK include the bus company Thamesdown and Stagecoach.
This technology addresses a key market need. A study by Bridgestone of 38,000 cars in nine European countries showed that 71% of motorists are driving on under-inflated tyres. This poor tyre management habit is creating two billion tons of wasted fuel worth €2.8 billion a year. For the environment this means 4.8 million tons of additional and unnecessary CO2 emissions annually – the equivalent of 1.8 g/km for every car on the road.
Looking at safety issues, the Highways Agency reports that over a three month period, more than 15,000 breakdowns on motorways alone were attributed to tyre issues. Most recently, a survey of 100 fleet managers found that 75% of UK businesses failed to check their tyres on a monthly basis – as recommended by safety experts.
Private equity fund manager and Enterprise Investment Scheme specialist Calculus Capital is providing the new funds. Richard Moore, Investment Director, Calculus Capital said: “We are very excited to invest in WheelRight and its market-leading, patented technology. The WheelRight sensor array provides a very hi-tech solution to a practical, every day problem. It will help to lower the costs of motoring, reduce the number of road accidents and limit carbon emissions. We are pleased to be able to support a leading UK technology company that has developed a product with significant global potential.”
John Catling, CEO of WheelRight said: “WheelRight is revolutionising pressure monitoring, using a complex technology to create an accurate and user-friendly product. Under-inflated tyres are costing the economy millions of pounds every year and the scope of expansion for WheelRight is considerable. The funds provided by Calculus Capital will be used to help us commercialise our product more widely and to help make vehicle and fleets safer.”