15 October 2014
A Halesowen company which performs “keyhole surgery” on water pipes under roads without digging a trench has secured funding from venture capital specialists Midven.
Kobus Services, based in Mucklow Hill, has developed a machine which enables underground pipes to be replaced without the need for a trench to be dug.
As well as being a cheaper method of replacement, it also virtually eliminates the chance of disrupting other technologies underground. This is because the replacement is pulled into the space left by the existing pipe – the new pipe is pulled in behind the old one as it is extracted.
Midven’s Early Advantage fund, alongside other private investors, is funding Kobus to build a prototype pipe puller for the gas market.
The current Kobus pipe puller has been developed for the water market – replacing lead pipes with plastic ones – but there are opportunities to develop the technology for other markets too.
Kobus chief executive Chris Evans said: “This investment is timely as we’re looking to expand into other markets. We have an attractive proposition because our innovation reduces the cost of open trench excavation and the risks associated with other trenchless technology, such as moling and directional drilling, which can hit other utilities. The risk is virtually eliminated using our pipe puller since the new pipe is simply pulled into the space vacated by the old one – it’s an efficient operation which requires the use of a disposable kit which comprises a steel cable and specially formulated resin.”
Midven investment director Duncan Kerr said the company had been established for five years and its plans to move onto the next stage of its development were well in hand.
“They can’t implement those plans without investment, and we are confident the team is in place at Kobus to help them meet their ambitions over the next few years.”
Midven is the leading Midlands-based provider of venture capital funding to early-stage and established businesses. The Birmingham-based venture capital firm currently manages five funds representing a total of £74m under management. Midven’s £8m Early Advantage fund provides investment for small, high-growth businesses at start-up and early-stage in the West Midlands.
The Midven team has established a reputation for delivering solid commercial experience and creative business solutions to help their portfolio companies achieve exceptional outcomes. For more information, please visit www.midven.co.uk or follow @Midven on Twitter.