Home > News & Events > July 2009 > News Article

Funding supports development of Phase Focus Virtual LensŪ

Published: 20th July 2009

Large Picture

SYIF's Investment Manager David Livesley

A spin-out company from the University Sheffield has announced it has received an investment of £350,000 in a round led by South Yorkshire Investment Fund (SYIF).


Phase Focus Limited has also gained support from existing investors Fusion IP plc, the White Rose Technology Seedcorn Fund and the Viking Fund, who joined with SYIF in this investment.


In addition, Phase Focus received a £100,000 grant for research and development from Yorkshire Forward, the regional development agency for the Yorkshire and Humber region.

The company’s technology – the Phase Focus Virtual Lens® – eliminates the need for high-quality lenses in microscopy and imaging by transferring the image-producing step to a computer programme.

This ‘disruptive’ innovation is expected to revolutionise microscopy, which has a market forecast of $1.6 billion for 2009.

Not only does Phase Focus eliminate restrictions and performance limitations of today’s conventional focussing devices, but it has a range of new capabilities including post-acquisition focussing and high-contrast stain-free imaging.

The investment, together with the grant for research and development, is expected to allow the company to further develop the Virtual Lens and initiate its commercial marketing plan.

Dr. Ian Pykett, chief executive of Phase Focus, said: “I am delighted to welcome SYIF as a new investor in the company and equally pleased that Fusion IP, White Rose and the Viking Fund have all followed on their prior investments.

“The company has benefitted hugely from the advice and experiences of its existing investors and I anticipate that SYIF will strengthen the company still further. This most recent investment will enable us to put this remarkable technology into the marketplace.”

Phase Focus’s platform technology has been demonstrated in all three of its chosen microscopy regimes (optical, X-ray and electron microscopy) and prior equity investments totalling £850,000 have enabled the Company to build prototype instrumentation that is currently being used to develop applications in collaboration with end users and potential strategic business partners.

David Livesley investment manager at SYIF added: “It isn’t often we see a company with what can truly be considered “disruptive” technology. We believe Phase Focus to be one of those companies.

“The market potential for Phase Focus is therefore large and we look forward to working with Dr. Pykett’s team to help take the business to the next level.”

South Yorkshire Investment Fund offers seedcorn finance, business loans and equity-linked investments from £15,000 to £2.5 million for businesses in or relocating to South Yorkshire.

For more information about South Yorkshire Investment Fund, please visit www.syif.com or ring 01709 386377 

Editor's Notes

About South Yorkshire Investment Fund

South Yorkshire Investment Fund  provided seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15k to £2.5m, specifically to help small and medium businesses meet the gaps in funding they need for growth and development.

Created as part of the Objective 1 programme, the Fund is a private and public sector business finance provider. The European Regional Development Fund and Yorkshire Forward are investors in the Fund.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provided access to Business Angel investments from the Yorkshire Association of Business Angels and Microloans through BiG Business Loan Fund and Donbac Microloan Fund.

Finance Yorkshire has now taken on responsibility for providing gap finance in Yorkshire and the Humber.

For further details please contact Suzanne Tinkler,  on 0845 649 0000.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund Ltd is a company limited by guarantee (Registered No 3936065). South Yorkshire Investment Fund comprises three sub funds, the South Yorkshire Investment Capital Fund, the South Yorkshire Investment Development Fund, which are each managed by YFM Venture Finance Limited, and the South Yorkshire Investment Small Business Fund, which is managed by Finance South Yorkshire Ltd. YFM Venture Finance Limited (Tel 0113 294 5000) and Finance South Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 01709 386 377) are each authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provides a number of services, which are not regulated by The Financial Services Authority. These include the pilot Seedcorn Fund, BiG Business Loan Fund, Mentorbank and access to the Donbac Microloan Fund. BiG Business Loan Fund is managed by Donbac Ltd (company registration No. 01925556) and Key Fund Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 0114 242 8900).