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September 16, 2022

HG Ventures Backs ZwitterCo’s Industrial Wastewater Reuse Breakthrough Technology

ZwitterCo Transforms Performance and Economics for Industrial Wastewater Reuse with $33 Million Series A Funding

DCVC leads the largest Series A funding round for a water technology company with $33 million in financing to scale ZwitterCo’s revolutionary membrane technology that treats the toughest industrial wastewaters for reuse and is immune to irreversible fouling.

Boston, September 15, 2022 – ZwitterCo, Inc., the advanced membrane technology company, today announced the largest Series A funding round in history for a water technology company. The $33 million financing, led by DCVC, will expand the development and production of its revolutionary zwitterionic membrane technology.

ZwitterCo’s technology delivers what the water industry has been seeking for decades: a rugged polymeric membrane that is immune to irreversible fouling. Traditional membrane performance degrades with every cleaning cycle until the membranes no longer work and must be replaced. For tough-to-treat wastewaters, membrane replacement occurs frequently, increasing the operational complexity and cost of running wastewater plants. ZwitterCo membranes, by contrast, perform as new after every cleaning cycle.

ZwitterCo superfiltration membranes stacked

ZwitterCo superfiltration membranes

ZwitterCo leverages its patented zwitterionic copolymers to build highly advanced membranes that solve the toughest wastewater separation challenges. The performance advantages of ZwitterCo’s membranes make them unique. They can be used in a wide variety of new applications and operating environments, given their ability to repel thousands of times more organic compounds than standard membranes. The company is building a suite of membrane products with these and other capabilities, bringing the precision and reliability of filtration to historically underserved markets.

“ZwitterCo has unlocked the true potential of zwitterions for water treatment, resulting in a leap in membrane performance,” said Chris Drover, co-founder, and CTO of ZwitterCo. “The mechanisms behind fouling and degradation that plague traditional membranes do not apply to our products.”

A zwitterion is a special class of molecule that is “hydrophilic” or highly attractive to water molecules. ZwitterCo’s patented zwitterionic copolymers self-assemble into hydrophilic channels, acting like flumes at a water park, ushering through H2O molecules, and repelling everything unable to flow through its narrow pores, including organic compounds such as oils, fats, greases, or proteins.

ZwitterCo’s first product, a superfiltration (SF) membrane, targets challenging industrial wastewaters for treatment and reuse. “Today, over 4 billion people experience severe water scarcity at various times during the year,” said Alex Rappaport, co-founder and CEO of ZwitterCo. “As the world works to adapt to population growth and climate change, reusing wastewater safely and economically is imperative.”

Since introducing their SF in 2021, ZwitterCo has booked over a dozen commercial projects and completed dozens more successful pilots. As a result, ZwitterCo is already tackling some of the hardest wastewater treatment challenges, including digestates, leachates, O&G-produced water, poultry & dairy, bioprocessing, and food & beverage wastewaters. Additionally, ZwitterCo membranes are used in novel process applications where fouling recovery, ruggedness, and exacting tolerances are essential, such as protein extraction from bio-fermentation.

The Series A funds will allow the company to add applications development, increase its pilot fleet, and build inventory to meet the strong demand for ZwitterCo products. The funding will also commission ZwitterCo’s state-of-the-art innovation center just north of Boston, accelerating the development of new membrane products based on ZwitterCo chemistry.

One-sixth of the world’s freshwater withdrawals, an estimated 500 billion gallons a day, become industrial and agricultural wastewater. Accelerated depletion of our groundwaters and aquifers, as well as protracted droughts, are worsening water scarcity and threatening food production. As a result, safe and economical wastewater reuse has never been more critical.

“At DCVC, we invest in Deep Tech companies that address urgent, global problems while providing outsized returns for our investors,” said Jason Pontin, a Partner at DCVC and Chairman of ZwitterCo’s Board of Directors. “ZwitterCo’s novel membrane chemistry will help solve water scarcity around the globe by making it easy and affordable for a wide variety of industries to adopt water reuse.”

DCVC led ZwitterCo’s Series A financing, with participation from new investors Heritage Group VenturesGenoa Ventures, and Mott Corporation. Existing investors MANN+HUMMEL Corporate VenturesBurnt Island Ventures, and R-Cubed Capital Partners also participated in this round.

 

About ZwitterCo

ZwitterCo’s breakthrough membrane technology enables filtration for the most challenging separations. The company leverages the remarkable power of zwitterions to create an intensely hydrophilic membrane that resists fouling from organic molecules such as fats, oils, and proteins. The unique properties of their membranes give a pathway to the next generation of water treatment, precision separation, and resource recapture. ZwitterCo has been recognized by the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center as a leader in clean water technologies. For more information, visit zwitterco.com.

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August 16, 2022

HG Ventures Invests in Carbon Fiber Recycling Company Vartega

Vartega Announces New Facility, Increased Capacity, and Funding

Pecos Logistics Park in Denver, CO

Golden, CO – August 16, 2022 – Vartega – a recycler of carbon fiber and composite materials – is expanding its footprint and is increasing production capacity 10X from its current facility in Golden, CO. Vartega’s new 50,000 square foot manufacturing facility and headquarters will be located in Building 2 of the recently completed Pecos Logistics Park (owned by institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Global Alternatives) in Denver, CO.

The facility was selected to meet the growing demand for recycled carbon fiber and Vartega’s EasyFeed carbon fiber bundles used as a low-cost alternative to virgin material for automotive and other industrial applications. With a planned capacity of 2,000 metric tons per year, Vartega will continue to serve its growing customer base in North America as well as address new opportunities in Europe and Asia.

The expansion coincides with a recent capital infusion led by Belle Impact Fund with participation from Autodesk Foundation, Keiretsu Forum, Texas HALO Fund, SWAN Impact Network, New Climate Ventures, HG Ventures, Denver Angels, and other former and new investors. In addition to supporting the new facility and increased capacity, the oversubscribed $5M Series Seed II funds will be used to help grow the Vartega team and support Vartega’s objective to achieve ISO 9001 certification in 2024.

“The Vartega team has worked diligently over the past several years to develop products and processes that solve challenging waste problems,” says Andrew Maxey, CEO of Vartega. “We’re grateful for the considerable trust that our customers and investors have put in us to meet the needs of a changing world. Advanced materials recycling is no longer nice to have, it’s a must have. Our new facility will be a world class manufacturing environment that will allow our team to operate safely and efficiently to deliver a reliable source of high-quality recycled carbon fiber while contributing to our community and providing a meaningful benefit to all our stakeholders.”

A future open house and ribbon cutting will celebrate Vartega’s progress and key partners.

About Vartega

Vartega is making carbon fiber more accessible by solving the world’s toughest advanced materials recycling challenges to create circular supply chains, decarbonize transportation, and enable a sustainable future. Vartega’s carbon fiber and specialty thermoplastics are used in sporting goods, consumer electronics, additive manufacturing, and vehicle lightweighting. Learn more at www.vartega.com.

About J.P. Morgan Global Alternatives

J.P. Morgan Global Alternatives is the alternative investment arm of J.P. Morgan Asset Management. With more than 50 years as an alternatives investment manager, US$218 billion in assets under management and more than 700 professionals (as of March 31, 2022), J.P. Morgan offers strategies across the alternative investment spectrum including real estate, private equity, private credit, hedge funds, infrastructure, transportation, timber and liquid alternatives. Operating from offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific, our independent alternative investment engines combine specialist knowledge and singular focus with the global reach, vast resources and powerful infrastructure of J.P. Morgan to help meet each client’s specific objectives. For more information, visit jpmorgan.com/am.

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July 7, 2022

HG Ventures Invests in Sustainable Textile Company Simplifyber

Simplifyber Secures $3.5M Seed Investment to Reinvent How Clothing is Made, with Sustainable, Advanced Manufacturing

Led by fashion designer Maria Intscher-Owrang, company will leverage its additive manufacturing technology to bring economically competitive biodegradable garments to market

NEW YORK, July 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Simplifyber, Inc., creator of the world’s first fully-molded garment and shoe uppers made directly from a cellulose-based liquid, announced today the closing of a $3.5M round of seed funding, led by At One Ventures, with participation from Techstars, Heritage Group Ventures, The Helm, W Fund, Jetstream Ventures, Plug & Play Ventures, REFASHIOND Ventures, CapitalX Ventures, Keeler Investments Group and others.

The company has developed a novel approach to clothing and accessory manufacturing that removes traditional spinning, weaving, cutting, and sewing and replaces it with a sustainable, less resource-intensive process, and fully biodegradable solution – cutting out 60% of the steps and reducing the 35% of materials in the fashion supply chain that ends up as waste.

“I saw how additive manufacturing (e.g., 3D printing) was disrupting nearly every other industry, but not in fashion. I set out to find the people that could make this a reality,” remarked Simplifyber co-founder and CEO Maria Intscher-Owrang, who led a 20+ year career as a fashion designer and director at leading fashion houses, including Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, Alexander McQueen, Dirk Bikkembergs, and Edun.

“We discovered a way to create clothing using soft plant fibers,” she explained. “We start with a liquid cellulose – made in a lab, not in a mill – which is then poured on specially-designed molds and dried, eliminating fabric waste altogether and allowing on-demand, stock-free service.”

Simplifyber’s cellulose formula is 100% natural, derived from a combination of wood pulp and other plant-based material and non-toxic additives, so the result is a fully biodegradable product that can be easily returned to nature, recyclable as paper and as clothing.

“With its single-step process for clothing making, Simplifyber has the potential to beat the unit economics of polyester, becoming an economically and environmentally viable solution against plastic waste,” said Laurie Menoud, Partner, At One Ventures. “We’re looking forward to partnering with the team to bring this solution to scale. We believe Simplifyber could be the apparel of the future: They are not only beautifully designed but have a low carbon footprint and are price-accessible, which is a significant differentiation from other sustainable clothing brands.”

With its manufacturing of daily wear items such as T-shirts, Simplifyber aims to replace wovens and knits, which together represent a $25B market globally. Additionally, the company has collaborated on a pilot with HP to create molded shoe uppers, also from a custom formula derived from natural fibers.

 

About Simplifyber

Simplifyber creates the “Apparel of the Future” through its soft, cotton-like biodegradable clothing and footwear that are made by injecting liquid into molds, without the need for cutting, sewing, or weaving; transforming the world’s Apparel and Footwear Industries through its proprietary fully-biodegradable material formula and sustainable additive manufacturing system.

Contact: press@simplifyber.com

SOURCE Simplifyber, Inc.

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May 17, 2022

HG Ventures’ Managing Director Cracks the Top 25 on Annual List of Most Prominent Corporate Venture Capitalists in the World

INDIANAPOLIS – May 17, 2022 – HG Ventures, the corporate venture arm of The Heritage Group, today announced that its Managing Director, Kip A. Frey, has once again been named to the Global Corporate Venturing (“GCV”) Powerlist 2022—representing the top 1% of corporate venturing leaders spearheading the industry’s future. Frey was named to the Powerlist for the third straight time, and this year ranked among the top 25 in GCV’s global rankings.

The Powerlist “allows the strategic, financial and leadership components of the best leaders to shine through,” said James Mawson, Editor-in-Chief of Global Corporate Venturing. “With more than 6,000 corporations having invested minority stakes in private entrepreneurs over the past decade, every year selecting the Powerlist gets harder and harder.” But, he added, “the persistence of the top performers in building networks, selecting deals and adding value remains strong.”

The Heritage Group tapped Frey to launch HG Ventures in 2018, leveraging his more than 25 years of experience in entrepreneurial and venture capital leadership. He previously served as Vice Provost for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Duke University, and before that was a partner at venture capital firm Intersouth Partners. Additionally, Frey has served as CEO on seven different startup ventures. Under Frey’s leadership, HG Ventures has invested more than $178 million across 30 hardtech startups, all aligned with The Heritage Group’s core mission of providing sustainable solutions in specialty chemicals, environmental services, and transportation infrastructure.

“Congratulations to Kip and our HG Ventures team,” said Amy Schumacher, CEO of The Heritage Group. “From a standing start in 2018, Kip created a fully-functioning business unit that has become a central hub for innovation, disruptive investment, and entrepreneurial spirit at The Heritage Group. He has recruited a world-class team, produced stellar financial returns, enhanced the culture at THG, and built a globally prominent corporate venturing brand. These results have far exceeded our most optimistic expectations.”

HG Ventures Managing Director John Glushik was named a GCV Emerging Leader in 2022 and Senior Director Ginger Rothrock was named a GCV Rising Star in 2021.

Media Contact: 

Meghan Hunt
HG Ventures
mhunt@thgrp.com

About HG Ventures: 

HG Ventures is the corporate venture arm of The Heritage Group, headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind. HG Ventures supports innovation and growth across The Heritage Group by investing and partnering with innovative, high-growth companies to support a sustainable future. The team leverages the world-class expertise of The Heritage Group operating companies and research center to offer a unique value proposition to its portfolio company partners. www.hgventures.com.

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May 13, 2022

HG Ventures Backs Advanced Battery Materials Production Company 6K in Series D Financing Led by Koch Strategic Platforms

Koch Strategic Platforms Leads $102M Series D Funding Investment in 6K To Accelerate Battery Material Production and Recycling

The investment is the first of two funding closes, expected to reach over $150M in total, aimed at building a low-cost, sustainable domestic supply chain for battery materials.

North Andover, MA, May 12, 2022 – 6K, a leader in the sustainable production of engineered materials for lithium-ion batteries and additive manufacturing produced from its UniMelt® plasma technology, announced today it has raised $102 million in its Series D funding first close. The round was led by Koch Strategic Platforms (“KSP”), a subsidiary of Koch Investments Group, an investment arm of Koch Industries, with participation by investors Energy Impact Partners, Albemarle, HG Ventures, as well as participation by 6K’s existing investors. The Series D proceeds will fund production expansion for premium 3D metal powders in its 6K Additive division and accelerate the deployment of cathode production plants in its 6K Energy division.

“Lithium-ion battery markets will increase tenfold in the next decade, fueled by growth in EVs, as well as supporting critical infrastructure for telecom back-up, data centers, and power plants. The fact that there is no lithium-ion battery material production on US soil is a concern for both national security and for the industries that are relying on these critical materials,” said Aaron Bent, PhD, CEO of 6K. “6K is the only company capable of battery material production at costs lower than Asia, while also reducing impact on the environment by 70%-90%.  Disruptive approaches such as this are the only viable way to repatriate this industry. The investment from Koch Strategic Platforms not only brings the capital required to fuel our growth, but equally important they bring unparalleled commitment and reach within the battery value chain.”

6K’s UniMelt® system replaces a three-day, multi-step, high waste chemical co-precipitation (hydro-met) process with one that is ultra-clean and ultra-fast (as low as 2 seconds), powered by a 6000K microwave plasma. Compared to state-of-the-art CAM plants today, 6K uses half the footprint, substantially lower CapEx, and half the conversion costs or less. If deployed across the 400 GWh of announced capacity by 2025, implementing a 6K solution for NMC811 has the potential to save billions of dollars and eliminate solid and liquid hazardous waste while reducing water usage by 90% and energy usage up to 70%. The UniMelt systems are already deployed in 24/7 high volume production in 6K Additive’s 45 acre, ISO9001 certified facility.

“We have been following 6K Energy’s progress since inception and have found that 6K’s UniMelt plasma technology delivers a competitive, production process built on US soil,” said Jeremy Bezdek, managing director for Koch Strategic Platforms. “They have created a transformative battery material production and recycling eco-system, delivering a versatile technology capable of full-scale production with various chemistries. This innovation will help realize advancements in energy transformation and the battery value chain.”

The $102 million raised is the first of two funding tranches for Series D, which is expected to reach $150 million in total. With an expected close in spring 2022, 6K will add a limited group of strategic investors. 6K is working with partners throughout the supply chain with the intent to build an end-to-end solution, including its partnership with Albemarle for the sustainable production of lithium products, and Heritage/Retriev for the production of cathode from end-of-life batteries. 6K is opening its $30M Battery Center of Excellence in August 2022 and working through site selection for its first 10-20 GWh cathode plant with production launch in early 2024.

About 6K
With sustainability at its core, 6K was founded in North Andover, Massachusetts, has developed UniMelt®, a proprietary advanced microwave plasma production system, to transform engineered materials into revolutionary products that advance industries across additive manufacturing, renewable energy, aerospace, consumer electronics, and more. 6K represents 6000 degrees, both the temperature of the operation of UniMelt®, the world’s only microwave production scale plasma system, and the temperature of the sun’s surface.

The 6K Energy division is focused on the production of low-cost, sustainable, and domestically produced battery material accelerating the pace of battery production and adoption of electric vehicles. The 6K Additive division specializes in sustainably sourced, AM metal powders production and reclamation, using a proprietary milling and cleaning process that ensures contamination-free, high-quality powders. For more information, visit www.6Kinc.com and follow @6KInc on Twitter. 

About Koch Strategic Platforms
With offices in Atlanta and Wichita, KSP desires to be the preferred investment partner of growth focused, strategic companies who are innovating in industries with disruptive potential. Created in 2020, the KSP team pursues public and private investments with companies where long-term mutual benefit can be realized. 
https://www.kochind.com/

About Energy Impact Partners
Energy Impact Partners LP (EIP) is a global investment firm leading the transition to a sustainable future. EIP brings together entrepreneurs and the world’s most forward-looking energy and industrial companies to advance innovation. With over $2.0 billion in assets under management, EIP invests globally across venture, growth, credit, and infrastructure – and has a team of over 60 professionals based in its offices in New York, San Francisco, Palm Beach, London, Cologne, and Oslo. For more information on EIP, please visit www.energyimpactpartners.com.

Koch Industries
Christin Fernandez
Christin.Fernandez@kochps.com
202-879-8546

6K
Bruce Bradshaw
Bbradshaw@6Kinc.com
603-689-4597

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April 21, 2022

Puraffinity Receives Innovate UK Grant for PFAS Treatment

LONDON, UK April 21, 2022Puraffinity announced today that it has been awarded a £1.5M grant from Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation’s Transforming Foundation Industries (TFI) Programme. TFI grants fund research and development projects that demonstrate future technologies capable of addressing the resource or energy efficiency challenges of the UK’s foundational industries (including cement, semiconductors, ceramics, metals, and bulk chemicals).

Under Innovation UK and Horizon 2020 grants, Puraffinity has developed several sustainable materials that target the adsorption of highly challenging forever chemicals pollutants, including Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), from water and wastewater. PFAS are manmade chemicals used for decades across foundational industries like chemical manufacturing and the cement industry. Unregulated PFAS industrial discharges have caused significant detrimental environmental and health impacts.

Puraffinity will use the grant funds to increase and refine its adsorbent materials to address specific requirements of the chemicals foundational industries. The team continues to grow and develop its staff and has recently expanded into a new lab space to improve throughput while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of its products.

“Our technology targets foundational industries that require PFAS treatment at the source, as well as additional markets needing large-scale PFAS removal,“ said Puraffinity CEO Henrik Hagemann. “We will use the funds to scale up and deploy our technology in global markets that are in immediate need of a solution to the PFAS problem. We’re testing products against new broad-spectrum PFAS standards and we have seen preliminary results exceed regulatory requirements.”

US-based HG Ventures partnered with Innovate UK to drive environmentally sustainable innovation in the United Kingdom. HG Ventures was chosen as the only investor outside Europe to participate in the program following a competitive selection process. HG Ventures led the investor group that matched the TFI grant, with participation from US-based group Acecap, and participated in Puraffinity’s Series Seed in 2019, alongside lead VC firm Kindred Capital from the UK and co-investor Verve Ventures from Switzerland.

“We have been impressed by Innovate UK’s ability to work collaboratively with venture investors to support innovative startups, and our partnership continues to deliver outstanding benefits,” said Jon Schalliol, Director at HG Ventures. “We are really pleased to continue to support this program and proud to work with the Puraffinity team as they continue developing smart materials to address the global PFAS problem.”

HG Ventures has made several European-based investments in environmental services, green chemistry, and sustainable infrastructure. UK companies can connect with HG Ventures at InnovateUK@hg.ventures.

About Puraffinity

Puraffinity specialises in the design and development of precision materials and has developed a sustainable novel adsorbent capable of removing highly challenging forever chemicals from contaminated water and wastewater. The company is at the forefront of developing solutions for overcoming imminent water quality challenges, whilst sustainable and positive environmental impact lies at the heart of the company’s ethos. www.puraffinity.com

About HG Ventures

HG Ventures is the corporate venture arm of The Heritage Group, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. HG Ventures supports innovation and growth across The Heritage Group by investing and partnering with innovative, high-growth companies to support a sustainable future. We leverage the world-class expertise of The Heritage Group operating companies and research center to offer a unique value proposition to our portfolio company partners. www.hgventures.com.

 

Media
Regan Keller
Antenna Group for HG Ventures
hg.ventures@antennagroup.com

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February 22, 2022

Smart Mobility Startup Valerann Raises US$17 Million in Series A Funding Round

LONDON, UK February 22, 2022 – Valerann – a UK-based Israeli smart transportation startup – today announces its latest growth milestone, raising US$17 million in Series A funding. The investment will support the increasing demand for the company’s software product – Lanternn by Valerann™ – and will enable its implementation with multiple road operators in the UK, Europe and the Americas.

The round was led by HG Ventures, the corporate venture arm of The Heritage Group. Previous investors RIO Ventures Holdings and 2B Angels also participated in this round.

Founded in 2016, Valerann has since expanded through investments and research and development initiatives to offer data-driven, intelligent traffic management systems using artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and data fusion.

The latest innovation, Lanternn by Valerann™, is an intelligent transportation solution that helps city and highway authorities make more informed decisions around traffic management.

The company’s technology employs a proprietary Real-Time Data Fusion Engine that applies powerful, state-of-the-art AI and machine learning techniques to combine multiple data sources. These sources include navigation apps, IoT sensors, cameras (machine vision), social media, and connected vehicles. The company leverages cloud and big data technologies to achieve the scalability required to process the increasingly large data streams available today.

This deep fusion of data empowers road network operators – who currently have access to limited data – with real-time, accurate road intelligence to enable faster, better, and more effective analysis and decision-making. Future planning, strategy and prioritisation are also made possible via the software’s predictive analysis tools. This leads to safer roads, reduced congestion, lower emissions, and increased sustainability.

“Our vision is for Lanternn by Valerann™ to become an intelligent transportation software as a service (SaaS) solution that helps city and highway authorities make more informed decisions around traffic management, no matter their size or budget,” said Gabriel Jacobson, CEO and Co-Founder of Valerann.

“We are excited to have received this new strategic funding. It will allow us to grow the company and enhance our product – Lanternn by Valerann™ – and accelerate its implementation worldwide,” Jacobson said.

“We are delighted to partner with Valerann on the next generation of roadway technology,” said John Glushik, Managing Director of HG Ventures. “Safer and more efficient roads are possible with better monitoring capabilities and actionable data. We look forward to backing this team of infrastructure experts to support the evolution of smarter roads and vehicles.”

About Valerann

Valerann is a smart mobility company that operates in the intelligent transportation industry. It started operating in 2016 and has since grown to become a leading provider of advanced traffic management systems.

Valerann was founded by Michael Vardi, Daniel Yakovich, Gabriel Jacobson and Shahar Bahiri. It has offices in London, UK and Tel Aviv, Israel. www.valerann.com

Follow us on Twitter: @VALERANN_LTD and on LinkedIn: Valerann

Contact: Noam Halperin, Marketing Manager, +44 7471 215422, noam.halperin@valerann.com

About HG Ventures 

HG Ventures is the corporate venture arm of The Heritage Group, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, US. HG Ventures supports innovation and growth across The Heritage Group by investing and partnering with innovative, high-growth companies to support a sustainable future. The team leverages the world-class expertise of The Heritage Group operating companies and research centre to offer a unique value proposition to its portfolio company partners. www.hgventures.com.

Contact: Regan Keller, Antenna Group for HG Ventures, hg.ventures@antennagroup.com

Press enquiries:

Sophie Dupuis Bates, Marketing and Communications Consultant, Defence Media Ltd: sophie@defence-media.com