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30 October 2013

Insignia labels £850,000

Strathclyde spin-out Insignia receives £850,000 ($1.37m) for freshness food labels.

Author: Gregg Bayes-Brown, editor

Insignia, a freshness food label manufacturer commercialising technology originally developed at Strathclyde University, has secured £850,000 ($1.37m) to further develop its ‘smart pigment’ technology.

The round was led by investment firm Equity Gap, and joined in participation by Highland Venture Capital, the Scottish Investment Bank, Strathclyde University, and private backers. Funds from the latest round will be used to conduct trials of the technology within supermarkets and packaging firms.

The smart pigment technology indicates to the user how long a package has been open for. Once exposed to the elements, it changes colour over time to show whether food is still good to eat or should be tossed. Aside from food production, Insignia, which was formed last year through the merger of Scotalnd-based firm Insignia Pack and Strathclyde spin-out Novas Technologies, is also looking into potential applications in pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and cosmetics.

The round also demonstrates a new aggressive policy by Strathclyde on supporting its spin-outs. Marking its third investment this year, Strathclyde provided about 10% of the £850,000 Insignia round (the other two being mLED and Smarter Grid Solutions). Stewart MacKenzie, commercialisation infrastructure manager at Strathclyde, has told GUV that the enhanced support stems from a decision made last year to begin investment six-figure sums into Strathclyde spin-outs, with more to be announced over the coming months.

David McBeth, director of research and knowledge exchange services at Strathclyde University, said: "This represents the university's third significant investment in a growing spin-out company since the turn of the year and reflects its strategic commitment to economic growth in Scotland. Insignia is an exciting company that already has sales revenues and whose new generation products - based on the innovative work of Strathclyde chemists - will impact positively on many aspects of the supply chain for food and drink and other industry sectors."

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