Innovation Alley is one of the hottest dates in the UK event calendar. Each year KTN and Innovate UK provide a space to young fledgling digital technology innovators at one of the UK’s leading manufacturing shows - Digital Manufacturing Week - a national festival of advanced manufacturing organised by The Manufacturer, which attracts thousands of manufacturers, industry leaders, and technology providers from around the world.
In its 5th year, many of the companies who have previously exhibited on Innovation Alley have now gone on to become successful, growing businesses. Here we talk to two of them who have had outstanding success since their early days on the Alley.
SamsonVT’s journey: From 3 to 16 employees in 2 years!
SamsonVT has developed a suite of interactive, AI and machine learning-driven products and services that is enabling manufacturers to embrace Industry 4.0 technology. They first exhibited on Innovation Alley in 2019 having heard about it from their colleagues at Sci-Tech Daresbury and through connections in the manufacturing team at KTN. Having never exhibited before, they realised that they needed to start getting in front of customers so they could commercialise their offering.
Innovation Alley proved to be very lucrative for SamsonVT. They met Mazak, a leading global manufacturer and distributor of machine tools, on the Alley who became one of their most significant early customers. The show also gave the company a fantastic opportunity to get their name out there in the market and build brand awareness amongst the manufacturing community.
CEO Sam Burgess said, “I honestly didn’t know what to expect. In previous jobs, I had been on exhibition stands, some good, some terrible. I can honestly say Innovation Alley has been one of the best shows I have ever exhibited at. Attendees use it as a corridor to get from one end of the show to the other so it is a perfect opportunity to meet everyone ‘passing your stand’. There is also a fantastic partner network on your doorstep as you are surrounded by some of the UK’s most innovative, young digital tech entrepreneurs.”
Sam went on to say KTN, Innovate UK and the team at Sci-Tech Daresbury have been instrumental in our growth, helping us form the connections necessary to take the business to the next level”.
Since their early beginnings on the Alley in 2019, SamsonVT has grown from a 3-person organisation raising angel investment to a 16-person business, now finalising their Series A funding round. They have had significant support along the way including securing a £500k Smart Grant from Innovate UK in January 2020 which has enabled them to develop a scalable detection application. KTN’s Ben Peace and Kevin Hallas introduced the team at SamsonVT to BAE Systems, Autocraft Drivetrain Solutions, Europe’s largest independent engine remanufacturer and assembler and LBBC Technologies, experts in pressure vessel and autoclave design, all of which led to active projects.
Sam’s advice to anyone considering exhibiting on Innovation Alley, 2021 is ‘Go for it – it will transform your business. Make sure you spend time talking to the companies exhibiting around you and develop close relationships with the team at KTN as they will really help build your connections.’
News story is taken from The Manufacturer
Sci-Tech Daresbury is a private-public sector joint venture between developers Langtree, the Science and Technology Facilities Council and Halton Borough Council. The Universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester are all active partners on the site.