Foresight invests £1.75m into Previsico, Loughborough based developers of a market-leading flood forecasting and warning system
- Previsico’s FloodMap Live platform predicts flood impacts, including surface water flooding, and automated alerts allow users to protect assets and minimise damage
- Funding will enable further product development, team expansion and support sales growth, in the UK and beyond
- Joint investment by the Midlands Engine Investment Fund and Foresight Williams Technology
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16 September 2021: Foresight Group (“Foresight”), a listed private equity and infrastructure investment manager, is pleased to announce a £1.75m growth capital investment into Previsico Limited (“Previsico”), developers of an accurate flood forecasting and warning system.
The investment is jointly funded by the Midlands Engine Investment Fund and Foresight Williams Technology and will enable the Loughborough University spin-out to further develop the Previsico platform, allowing it to be used in more cities, and support the creation of new jobs in Loughborough. The aim is to increase the headcount from 17 to 70 by 2024.
Flooding is currently one of the most damaging natural hazards. Looking ahead, with a more volatile climate and increased urbanisation, global flood losses are expected to increase tenfold to $1 trillion by 2050, according to the World Resources Institute. As climate change makes severe weather occurrences more common, there is an increasing need for accurate predictions of flooding events. Previsico’s technology is currently the only one able to forecast and provide hyperlocal alerts for surface water flood events which potentially affects nearly 26 million properties in the UK alone. Aviva estimates 1 in 5 properties in the UK are located in areas of risk of surface water flooding. It can also warn customers up to 48 hours prior to a potential flooding event, allowing time to prepare, minimise and prevent significant flood damage. At the moment, sensors are only found on rivers to warn homeowners of impending floods.
Previsico’s technology was developed by Founder and Chief Scientific Officer Dapeng Yu, Professor of River Dynamics at Loughborough University and a leading expert on hydrology. It combines data with proprietary algorithms to create automated alerts, highlighting areas at imminent risk of flooding. The recent flash floods in London resulted in the closure of eight tube stations, a DLR station, numerous roads and damage to hundreds of homes. The majority of the affected areas were not covered by current environmental agency warnings.
FloodMap Live currently covers the UK, but has also been applied in places like Houston, New York and Tokyo. Moving into new territories, particularly the USA and South East Asia, is an important part of Previsico’s plans to scale. Flood alerts are a subset of the global incident and emergency management market, which was estimated to be $92bn per annum in 2020 and is forecast to grow to $123bn per annum by 2025.
Previsico is led by Jonathan Jackson, CEO, who joined the company in 2019.
Commenting on the investment, Jordan Lavender, Investment Manager at Foresight said: “We are really excited to be working with Previsico and helping to develop this market leading technology which has been spun out of Loughborough University. Since meeting the team, we have been impressed by both the technical and commercial experience within management as well as the interest in the platform from a range of customers. The technology has strong ESG credentials and the company is well placed to capitalise on some promising opportunities as it looks to grow over the coming years.”.
Matthew Burke, Head of Technology Ventures WAE, added: “With the growing risk of flooding due to climate change, there has never been a greater need for highly accurate flood mapping predictive services to help mitigate the devastating effects of flooding on homes and businesses. Through this investment, we are confident Previsico’s technology will quickly become a “must have” product for insurers and asset owners alike.”
Jonathan Jackson, CEO of Previsico, added: “Previsico’s mission is to be the leading worldwide provider of cutting-edge flood prediction technology. We are gaining great traction in the market and are thrilled that Foresight, the Midlands Engine Investment Fund and Foresight Williams Technology have recognised this, enabling us to accelerate our product development, team expansion and sales growth, in the UK and beyond.”
Ken Cooper, Managing Director at the British Business Bank commented: “The MEIF is here to help businesses, like Previsico, to develop innovative new products and create jobs. We look forward to seeing Previsico progress on its growth journey, rolling out its technology to new areas and building its team. Other businesses in the Midlands with growth potential should also be considering the options available through the MEIF.”
Kevin Harris, Chair of the LLEP Board of Directors, said: “I am always delighted to see investments from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund into Leicester and Leicestershire businesses. Previsico was winner of three categories at the 2020 Leicestershire Innovation Awards, including Innovator of the Year, so the company has been well recognised for launching the World’s first property-level surface water forecasting tool.”
“It’s great to see Previsico attracting investment to allow for further expansion of the team and to invest in the future of the business. They have the potential to play an important role in so many people’s lives and will help to reduce the massive costs associated with unprecedented rainfall that has affected so many parts of the UK and overseas.”
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.
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Notes to Editors
Voted into the ‘Hot 100’ global InsurTechs by Intelligent InsurTech, Previsico provides real-time, street-level surface water flood forecasts to mitigate flood impacts globally, including live actionable street-level flood nowcast and forecast warnings.
Previsico won the prestigious ‘Innovation of the Year’ award at the British Data Awards 2021, against strong competition in all sectors, including FTSE 100 firms, tech unicorns, public sector bodies and not-for-profit organisations.
A spinout company from Loughborough University, Previsico was launched earlier in 2019 following 20 years of academic research, with the support of the Cabinet Office, Met Office and Environment Agency.
Previsico’s mission is to be the leading global provider of cutting-edge flood prediction that saves lives and livelihoods, with the whole of the UK live and much of the USA mapped. Previsico is also targeting the Asia market and opened an office in Hong Kong in 2020.
Led by serial tech entrepreneur Jonathan Jackson, CEO, Previsico employs a diverse, fast-expanding and highly skilled team with strong business acumen and research expertise.
For more information about Previsico, its products and services, or to arrange a demo, contact Jonathan Jackson, CEO: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Foresight Group LLP (“Foresight”):
Foresight has £7.8 billion of Assets Under Management across a number of funds, including Listed Vehicles, Limited Partnerships, Enterprise Investment Schemes (EISs), Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Inheritance Tax Solutions using Business Relief (BR).
Foresight’s largest office is in London with regional UK offices in Nottingham, Manchester, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Leicester, Edinburgh and Guernsey and international offices in Sydney, Rome, Madrid and Luxembourg.
Foresight and Williams Advanced Engineering started their investment collaboration in 2016 with the launch of the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund. 2019 saw the launch of a sister fund, the Foresight Williams Technology VCT share class which sits within the Foresight Solar & Technology VCT plc. These two funds target investment in companies developing innovative and transformational technologies and where we believe Foresight’s and Williams’ expertise and services can be harnessed to assist with the development of the businesses, with the objective of achieving successful exits at high-value multiples.
About the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF):
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, will invest in Debt Finance, Small Business Loans, Proof-of-Concept and Equity Finance funds, ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company.
The MEIF covers the following LEP areas: Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham & Solihull, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, The Marches, and Worcestershire in the West Midlands; and Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire (D2N2) Greater Lincolnshire, Leicester and Leicestershire, and South-East Midlands in the East and South-East Midlands.
The project is receiving up to £78,550,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The programme will continue to spend to the end of 2023.
The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
The Government has guaranteed all funding allocated through EU programmes until the end of 2020. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/funding-from-eu-programmes-guaranteed-until-the-end-of-2020
The European Investment Bank is providing £122,500,000 to support the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. This follows backing for the Northern Powerhouse in 2017 and backing for the newly launched North East Fund. For further information visit www.eib.org
The funds in which Midlands Engine Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations in or planning to open material operations in the West Midlands and East & South-East Midlands.
About the British Business Bank (BBB):
The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.
The British Business Bank’s core programmes support nearly £8bn of finance to almost 94,800 smaller businesses. Since March 2020, the British Business Bank has also launched four new Coronavirus business loan schemes, delivering almost £73bn of finance to around 1.6m businesses.
As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses. The British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to businesses about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic and EU Exit, the Finance Hub has expanded and it now targets a wider business audience. It continues to provide information and support for scale-up, high growth and potential high growth businesses, but now provides increased content, information and products for businesses in survival and recovery mindsets. The Finance Hub has been redesigned and repositioned to reflect this, during this period of economic uncertainty.
British Business Bank plc is a public limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Steel City House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 2GQ. It is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government. British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. They are not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A complete legal structure chart for the group can be found at www.british-business-bank.co.uk.
 Figures as at end of June 2020
 Figures as at 28 January 2021