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Profile Summer 2009 Newsletter

New enterprise set to make IT green

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Pictured: Ed French, Fund Manager for SYIF's Seedcorn Fund and Dan Chester from Iceotope

An innovative Sheffield company has been established to help reduce carbon emissions within the IT industry. 

Iceotope Ltd has developed a way to lower the temperatures of servers within data centres - large warehouses filled with computers that run the internet - and ultimately reduce the amount of CO2 they produce.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund has given its support to the computer cooling company with a £300,000 Seedcorn Fund investment. The deal is part of a larger investment of £750,000 which includes funding from The RisingStars Growth Fund II.

Local entrepreneur and inventor Peter Hopton, founder and non-executive director of Iceotope, says a normal data centre server produces the same amount of emissions annually as a Range Rover which has been driven for 15,000 kilometres.

Peter said: “It has been my personal mission to reduce CO2 emissions in the IT industry and make servers more energy efficient.

“Many environmentalists want Range Rovers taken off the road because of their carbon footprint and I aim to do the same with servers by replacing them with more eco-friendly versions.

“Harvard University physicist Alex Wissner-Gross calculated that finding something on Google can emit as much CO2 as boiling a kettle. Iceotope is setting its sights on halving the damage and costs of this power.

"Servers often have a life-span of five years, so when they need to be refreshed we can include this new technology. There are thousands of data centres around the world, who host and run websites for millions of people.”

Peter added: “The investors saw the potential of the invention. They helped find a team who could take my idea and turn it into reality. They didn’t need a complete team and business plan in order to see the potential.

Dan Chester, who has an entrepreneurial background in the semiconductor industry, was brought in to Iceotope to push the project further. 

He explains: “We received initial Seedcorn money from SYIF in 2008 so we could do some testing and independently assess the opportunity.

“In a few months we had enough data to show that not only could Iceotope’s technology help, it could make a huge impact on energy and capital budgets for data centres.”

Ed French, Fund Manager for SYIF’s Seedcorn Fund, says:  “We were looking for technology that could solve the issue of heat management in date centres when we met Peter.

“The Seedcorn investment has now shown the great potential of the technology and the team behind it. We’ve now provided funding that can accelerate their work into 2010.”

SYIF’s Seedcorn Fund is constantly seeking out companies in South Yorkshire with the potential to be landmark technology investments that can help build the knowledge economy in the area.

For more information about Iceotope please visit www.iceotope.com.

SYIF can provide seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2.5m, specifically to help small and medium businesses meet the gaps in funding they need for growth and development.

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).