Leeds spinout Slingshot Simulations secures £3m investment

Slingshot Simulations, a spinout from the University of Leeds, has secured a £3 million round of investment led by Northern Gritstone, alongside Mercia and the Northern Powerhouse Fund.

Founded by Dr David McKee in 2019, Slingshot Simulations delivers insights from pioneering data science. Using a technique known as digital twinning, the startup’s software builds simulations of real-world objects, assets and systems to provide a wealth of information for decision-makers.

Providing its Compass: EngineTM software at a low cost, Slingshot Simulations allows customers to rapidly visualise and analyse vast data sets and simulate scenarios to predict outcomes.

Slingshot Simulations joined Nexus , the University of Leeds' innovation community, as a small start-up in 2019, with a team of three people. After raising £2.5m of seed funding, and capitalising on Nexus’ reach into the University of Leeds, the local innovation ecosystem and beyond, Slingshot’s headcount has grown substantially to 15 employees.

Northern Gritstone was launched in July 2021 by the universities of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield to support the commercialisation of university spinouts in the north of England. This is Northern Gritstone’s first Leeds-based investment.

Tackling global challenges

Dr McKee, Founder and CEO of Slingshot Simulations, said: "We're really excited to be backed by the Northern Gritstone team and continue to have the support of Mercia.

"With this new funding we can realise our vision more quickly - enabling anyone, anywhere to access the power of digital twins and decision intelligence and make a quantifiable difference to some of the biggest challenges we face today. 2023 will be an exciting year as we accelerate the release of cutting-edge capabilities on this journey."

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, University of Leeds, said: "Slingshot Simulations is a fantastic example of how a hugely talented and diverse team of experts can thrive in a supportive environment, delivering real insights from cutting-edge data science.

"It is this type of challenge-led research that will help us tackle the planet’s most pressing issues such as climate change, public health and food sustainability."

Slingshot Simulations will use the funding to accelerate development and expand the customer base of its Compass: EngineTM platform, aiming to support organisations driving the sustainability agenda. The startup also plans to increase the types of services it offers in reducing carbon emissions from transport, and creating plans to reach net zero carbon emissions regionally.

Accelerating the digital twin sector

The digital twin market is rapidly growing and is expected to reach over $50 billion in the next three years. Slingshot Simulations aims to contribute to this growth by making data-driven decisions easily accessible to anyone, and by expanding the use of digital twin technology to other markets.

Duncan Johnson, Chief Executive of Northern Gritstone, said: "As the digital twin market continues to expand, Slingshot Simulations’ ambition to produce this technology for a wider range of businesses can accelerate the sector’s development.

"The company’s ground-breaking approach is representative of the thriving innovation in the north of England that Northern Gritstone was created to support. Slingshot Simulations, which marks our first Leeds-based investment, is an excellent example of Northern Gritstone’s investment approach and we look forward to supporting its continued growth journey."

Paul Scully, Digital Economy Minister, said: "Thanks to the resilience of innovative start-ups like Slingshot Simulations, the UK ended last year as one of the world's leaders in tech. It's great to see more investment flowing into a firm that can help cities cut air pollution and reduce congestion. We're committed to making sure our tech sector continues to thrive and add jobs and growth to the economy."

Mercia has led two previous investment rounds in the company, using funds from NPIF - Mercia Equity Finance , which it manages on behalf of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), and its EIS funds.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.