Investment and Expansion

Rapita is pleased to announce its plans to expand into new markets and the recent investment from the Viking Fund.

Rapita Systems Ltd, a University of York spin-out company responsible for developing groundbreaking new technology to help iron out costly software glitches, is preparing to expand within Europe in a bid to win a slice of a growing $44 billion global electronic control unit market. The company, which started trading in 2004, already boasts an impressive list of household names amongst its international client base.

RapiTime and VirtualTime, the technology tool-sets developed by the company to help software engineers in the automotive and telecomms industries, have a range of applications including checking safety critical software for anti-lock braking systems and airbag detonators. The technology has huge commercial possibilities for car manufacturers who lose hundreds of millions of Euros each year due to problems with computer software in their vehicles.

The expansion, funded largely by a major injection of growth capital from Viking Fund and a group of private investors including Viking Club members, includes plans to hire three full-time specialist staff to help target the Swedish and German markets.

Dr Guillem Bernat, Chief Executive Officer of Rapita Systems said:
"Our technology has huge potential and can be used for a range of applications from sorting out problems with airbag detonators to making sure your mobile phone works. We want to unlock that potential by expanding further into the Swedish and German markets where the majority of our potential clients are based. With the help of Science City York we have already turned our academic research into a successful business, now with this new backing we can really start to expand."

Rapita Systems has benefited from support provided by the Science City York business development team. For the past 12 months, business promoter Andy Gurnell has played a crucial role in progressing the business concept and helped Rapita Systems secure this latest capital injection. Andy, who previously worked in the University of York Research Office, has been associated with Rapita since day one and played an important role in overseeing the original spinning out of the company from the University.

Science City York

Andy Gurnell, Business Promoter at Science City York said:
"Rapita Systems is a great success story for the scientific community in York. Not only has the company developed a notable list of international clients, but they are also employing graduates from the University and their success opens the way for increased cutting edge technology development in the York area in the future."

As part of their growth drive, Rapita Systems moved into the IT Centre on York Science Park in October. The Science Park, located in Heslington on the outskirts of York, promises to help bolster Rapita's expansion with some of the best and fastest communications infrastructure in the UK.

Viking Fund

Andrew Burton, Director of the Viking Fund who provided the funding added: "We hope our financial backing will enable this exciting new technology company to continue to go from strength to strength. Companies like Rapita Systems have such a crucial role to play in the future economic development of the York area. We are delighted to be able to help them with their plans to expand within Europe."

Notes for Editors:

  • Science City York's mission is to create business and employment opportunities for local people in York through science and technology exploitation. The project focuses on three fast growing science clusters:
    • Bioscience and Healthcare
    • Creative Technologies
    • IT Digital
  • Science City York has a major track record of success with more than 240 science technology and creative organisations already based in York and creating more than 2600 jobs and 60 companies in its first seven years. More than 9000 people are employed in science, technology and support occupations in businesses and organisations within the three clusters, other areas of technology and research based at the University of York. This is approximately 10% of York's working population and equivalent to employment in the tourism sector.
  • IT & Digital York is a growing network for professionals, businesses and organisations working in information technology, communications, software, electronics, digital and related sectors in York and its surrounding area. It is one of three clusters that are part of the Science City York initiative, and aims to support the economic and cultural prosperity of York. Membership of IT & Digital York is free and members are able to access business support from Science City York, take part in regular networking events, and access the IT & Digital York on-line business network.
  • Science City York is a partnership between City of York Council and the University of York. It is at the heart of the economic development strategy with the objective of growing York as an internationally recognised science and technology base. Its offices are located within City of York Council's offices at 20 George Hudson Street. Further information from: http://scy.co.uk/
  • York was recognised as one of Britain's Science Cities in Chancellor Gordon Brown's budget statement on 16th March 2005 along with Manchester, Newcastle, Bristol, Nottingham and Birmingham. This confirmed the Government's continued investment in science and technology to drive forward the UK's position in the global economy.
  • Science City York's role covers 4 key areas:
    • Providing mentoring to York's growing high technology community and helping to generate new businesses.
    • Creating employment opportunities in the high technology sectors.
    • Guiding education and training needs to ensure the development of York's science and technology skill base.
    • Raising awareness of Science and Technology and opportunities it will bring to York in the future and of York as an internationally recognised science base.
  • Science City York receives funding from Yorkshire Forward (Yorkshire & Humber Regional Development Agency).
  • Science City York Logo available in JPEG format if required. Contact Rachel Goddard 01757 289696.

  • For further information contact:

    • Rachel Goddard, Science City York Press & PR Officer,
      Intandem Marketing & Communications
      Tel: 01757 289696 or Mob: 07774 486237
    • Andy Gurnell, Business Promoter, Science City York,
      Tel: 01904 554467



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