The Institution of Mechanical Engineers is launching a new fund, Stephenson LP, aimed at helping companies overcome the investment hurdle between Research and Development and bringing a product to market.

The fund, initially worth a total of £2 million, is in line with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ original statement of purpose set out by founder George Stephenson in 1847 to “give an impulse to invention likely to be useful to the world”. It is the first investment fund of this kind by the Institution, and indeed any UK Professional Engineering Institution.

The Stephenson LP Fund is independently managed by specialist venture capital company Midven Ltd. and aims to invest in innovative companies engaged in mechanical engineering over the next few years.

The Fund’s first five investments are into blade compressor company Lontra, fuel cell catalyst developer Amalyst, sensor company Oxsensis, fusion energy company Tokamak Energy and space technology business Oxford Space Systems.

Stephen Tetlow MBE, Chief Executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said:

“These investments by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers are not just about providing monetary investment, but about connecting these and other companies to the vast resources and network of the Institution and its membership.

“The Fund fulfills the Institution’s original purpose to give an impulse to invention and also help companies overcome the investment hurdle between Research and Development and bringing a product to market.

“I am really excited that through the Fund the Institution is able to support Lontra, Amalyst, Oxsensis, Tokamak Energy and Oxford Space Systems in developing exciting and innovative technologies which really are inventions likely to be useful to the world.  This is the Institution getting back to its roots.”

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers was established in 1847 and has some of the world’s greatest engineers in its history books. It is one of the fastest growing professional engineering institutions. Headquartered in London, it has operations around the world and over 111,000 members in more than 140 countries working at the heart of the most important and dynamic industries such as the automotive, rail, aerospace, medical, power and construction industries.

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