Fuelling the Clyde Space Rocket

31 January 2011

  • Clyde Space secures £1,000,000 funding round
  • Leading entrepreneurs from Nevis Capital and Coralinn join the Board
  • Company set for significant global expansion in the space market which is growing by over 10% pa

Glasgow based Clyde Space, a leading provider of miniature spacecraft, has secured a funding package worth £1m, including significant equity investment, to support the company's growth in a burgeoning global space market. The investment package was led by private equity firm Nevis Capital and includes funding from Coralinn LLP. Additional funding from Scottish Enterprise, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the Technology Strategy Board and Regional Selective Assistance are included to support innovation and growth across all company activities.

Clyde Space is widely regarded as one of the most innovative young companies in the UK and in just 5 years has become the largest indigenous space company in Scotland. The company has a global customer portfolio including the European Space Agency, USA based customers such as NASA and the US Air Force, in addition to customers in Turkey, South Africa, India, China, South America, Canada.

The funding will support Clyde Space to expand its product range and capability offering and increase its global market share.

UKube-1The success of Clyde Space comes from the company's ability to produce high quality, high performance systems for very small spacecraft called 'CubeSats'. One of the first commercial companies in the World to recognise the potential of CubeSats for space applications, Clyde Space has about 30-40% market share of the global CubeSat power market. Clyde Space are expanding their CubeSat capabilities with UKube1, a 5kg satellite being developed and built in Glasgow by Clyde Space for the UK Space Agency and due for launch late 2011.

About 50% of turnover at Clyde Space is from the sales of power components for larger spacecraft, including power controllers, batteries and solar panels. Clyde Space solar panels were launched last year on the South African mission, 'SumbandilaSat'.

Clyde Space founder and CEO, Craig Clark, sits on the UK Space Leadership Council. He said; 'I am absolutely delighted with the funding package. For me, this funding round is not just about financial support, but about the people. I met the guys from Nevis about 5 years ago and, having got to know them in the interim period, I knew that Nevis would be an excellent fit to invest in Clyde Space. In addition, Hugh Stewart has an outstanding record in growing globally successful companies. I couldn't be more happy to have them on board.' On the government support Craig said; 'We are very fortunate in Scotland and the UK to have superb support from government for innovative technology companies in growth markets - both Scottish Enterprise, STFC and the Technology Strategy Board continue to be a major factor in the success of Clyde Space.'

Craig Clark remains as CEO and retains a major shareholding, while Hugh Stewart and the four Nevis Capital partners, Brian Aitken, David Bell, John Pirrie and James Pirrie, have all been appointed to the company's board.

James Pirrie said 'We believe that Clyde Space has a fantastic opportunity to grow in a space market that has been defying the recession, with all indicators suggesting that it will grow at an increasing pace in the years to come. Craig has positioned Clyde Space in the driver's seat in their particular field and we look forward to supporting him to continue the tremendous growth'.

Lena Wilson, chief executive, Scottish Enterprise, said: "This is a very exciting project for the spacecraft industry. Clyde Space is a great example of a proactive, forward-thinking company that is successfully tackling the global marketplace and in doing so is boosting the Scottish economy.

"RSA funding is one of the key tools we can use to encourage both indigenous and foreign companies to invest in Scotland, and is part of a wider package of business support available from Scottish Enterprise. We look forward to working with Clyde Space in the future to further strengthen its presence in Scotland."

- Ends -


UKube 1

UKube 1 is being developed through an existing Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Clyde Space and the University of Strathclyde. The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) are supporting the programme through the KTP process and encourage industry /academia to apply for KTP's to support payload development projects. In addition, STFC and TSB are also supporting the programme through a series of workshops and promotional activities for the UKube1 pilot.


CubeSats are tiny fully functional satellites with typical mass of 4kg and dimensions of around 100mm x 100mm x 340mm. CubeSats typically piggy-back on other launches and can be flown within a year of inception. The rapidly increasing capabilities of CubeSat related technologies, commercial availability of these and the low relative costs opens up a large number of possibilities for carrying out detailed space science studies.

Clyde Space

Clyde Space is a leading supplier of small satellite, nanosatellite and CubeSat systems, based in Glasgow . It designs and builds high performance power subsystems, DC-DC Converters, lithium polymer batteries and high efficiency solar panels, typically for small satellite missions. It also designs and builds Attitude Controls and Determination Systems, an example being the Control Moment Gyroscope.

The company is a World-leading CubeSat vendor, and pioneered the CubeSat Shop - an online shop selling satellites and satellite subsystems. The company is also developing an advanced nanosatellite platform in conjunction with leading academic (including the University of Strathclyde) and commercial organisations in the UK and the rest of World.


Nevis Capital

Nevis was formed in 2007, a year after brothers John and James Pirrie sold the UK's leading independent generator hire company, LCH Generators Ltd, to Speedy Hire plc for £62m. Along with David Bell, who had been Operations Director of LCH, and Brian Aitken (formerly Corporate Finance Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers) they launched Nevis as a private equity venture, to back quality management and businesses and to use their skills and experience to help them grow.

Nevis focus on deals up to £10m and have completed nine investments including the £5m buy-in to engineering company Micro Spring & Presswork in Birmingham, Shetland Wind Power and Dieselec Generators.

John and James Pirrie were Managing Director and Financial Director respectively with LCH Generators Ltd, which, when they sold to Speedy Hire Plc in 2006, employed 200 people and operated a fleet of 2,500 generators from 5 depots throughout the UK.



Corlalinn was founded in 2010 as the investment vehicle of Hugh Stewart OBE investing in high growth Scottish companies Prior to the foundation of Coralinn, Hugh was the Executive Chairman of Caledonian Alloys Group which he founded with two colleagues in 1996. Caledonian grew to become the premier aerospace recycler in the world with turnover of $200m in 13 locations with a business presence in the USA, Canada, France, Czech and China as well as the UK.

Caledonian was sold to Precision Castparts Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, in July 2007. Hugh remained with the business successfully continuing the growth to $350m of revenue before leaving in 2009 to set up Coralinn.

Science and Technology Facilities Council

The Science and Technology Facilities Council ensures the UK retains its leading place on the world stage by delivering world-class science; accessing and hosting international facilities; developing innovative technologies; and increasing the socio-economic impact of its research through effective knowledge exchange partnerships.

The Council has a broad science portfolio including Astronomy, Particle Physics, Particle Astrophysics, Nuclear Physics, Space Science, Synchrotron Radiation, Neutron Sources and High Power Lasers. In addition the Council manages and operates three internationally renowned laboratories:

  • The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire
  • The Daresbury Laboratory, Cheshire
  • The UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh

The Council gives researchers access to world-class facilities and funds the UK membership of international bodies such as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), the Institute Laue Langevin (ILL), European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). It also contributes money for the UK telescopes overseas on La Palma, Hawaii, Chile, and in the UK LOFAR and the MERLIN/VLBI National Facility, which includes the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory.

The Council works closely with the UK Space Agency on exploiting UK membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and delivering the UK civil space programme. http://www.ukspaceagency.bis.gov.uk/default.aspx


Technology Strategy Board

The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led government body which works to create economic growth by ensuring that the UK is a global leader in innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy.


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