Two Robert Gordon University (RGU) graduates have set up their own company specialising in developing innovative underwater products for the energy industry. Ben Grant (30), who studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Alastair McLennan-Murray (31), an Artificial Intelligence and Robotics graduate, set up Impact Subsea in February.
The pair, who met at university, have set out with the aim of creating a new generation of subsea products and launched their first offering to the sector earlier in the year – the ISA500, which provides multiple sensors in one unit.
Grant said: “This particular solution has never been available before and allows users to obtain the capability of multiple devices in one. We are looking to offer cost savings. For companies conducting work underwater, we provide products with a greater level of capability than those available today.”
He added: “When we were thinking about starting up the company, we noticed that in the oil and gas sector, a large number of the once small and highly innovative companies had grown in size, been bought up, and had significantly reduced their levels of innovation. This had led to a number of areas in the market, which could highly benefit from a new generation of subsea products. It also made sense for us to choose an area in which we both had good knowledge.”
Both Grant and McLennan-Murray graduated in 2006 and worked in a range of roles before taking the leap with Impact Subsea.
“We had thought about setting up a company on and off for a few years now,” Grant commented. “At the start of the year, we both found ourselves wanting to do something new - so the timing seemed right to get on and make it happen. For the past decade or so, we have both worked on various technologies for underwater use. Making products for use in the depths of the ocean has significant technical challenges but it is good fun finding solutions to those challenges.”
McLennan-Murray added: “I think in the back of my mind there was always the plan to set up the company but initially the focus was living in the now, doing what I enjoy, learning and creating things with the knowledge that the time spent will be of great use for the future. It worked out that Ben’s skill set pretty much compliments mine perfectly for starting up a company.”
McLennan-Murray said: “Designing our first product was technically challenging. There were many aspects, ranging from software to mechanical design, which has to be completed in a timely cost effective manner while creating a product that exceeds the capability of all of the competition.”
Grant added: “Pulling together the initial capital to fund research, development, premises and so on was a bit of hurdle. We worked hard to minimise start up-costs and had assistance from Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise which helped a great deal.”
Edited from press release by Angharad Lock