Kromek

Year founded 2003
HQ Location Sedgefield
Sector Technology
Staff count 120
Revenue (2016/2017) £9m
Having raised more than $100m of investment capital over the last 15 years, Kromek’s long-term scale-up journey relies on ample patient capital to fund its life-saving and safety-enhancing radiation detection technologies.
www.kromek.com
Having the right solution for the market, access to that market and the right human capital to execute it, backed by the right form of financial capital, is the right recipe for success.

Arnab Basu

CEO

Safeguarding society with cutting-edge tech

When Kromek was spun out of Durham University’s physics department in 2003 it had already developed a technique of creating semiconductor material used for radiation detectors and gamma ray detectors. Though problematic to make, says CEO Arnab Basu, the technology provided a colour equivalence in the world of monochrome x-rays.

After years of capital-intensive research and development, Kromek’s work is changing the way we live. Its medical imaging can detect cancers and dementia early and monitor progression of diseases such as osteoporosis.

In airport security, its technology ensures passengers keep flowing by effectively screening baggage.

And Kromek works with governments and armed forces to detect and prevent dirty bombs, and large energy companies to prevent nuclear accidents.

“Our model provides detection sub-systems to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), which transform the capability of those machines,” says Basu. “We provide very high-quality imagery, ultimately enabling our customer base to work more efficiently and reduce costs.”

 

You can have the best technology, but if you don’t have the right people to execute, you don’t have anything.

Arnab Basu, Kromek

 

Human capital drives the business

Kromek’s intellectual capital is backed by over 270 patents created by its international team of specialists. Split equally across its UK and US facilities, the team drives the company’s innovation.

“Human capital is an essential element of whatever you do,” explains Basu. “You can have the best technology, but if you don’t have the right people to execute, you don’t have anything.”

Basu, who is an Innovate UK member, says: “If you have the right human capital in house, you look after your customer base and are solving your customers’ most urgent problems, this is how success is measured.”

 

Patient capital fuels scalability

Without access to a strong patient capital base “you’re unable to scale”, says Basu. Kromek has come a long way on its financial capital journey. It has benefitted from the Enterprise Investment Scheme, and working personally with 90 investors before becoming a public company.

The company listed on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange in 2013, raising further capital in a secondary offering.

“It’s great to see that patient capital is being discussed more widely now and great to see in the government’s Spring Statement some of the steps that the government is taking,” he says.

However, Basu believes that value-added investors are still rare. “You have to find an investor who believes in the real scalability of your business,” he says.

“In the UK, patient capital is not that easy to access,” says Basu. “Although becoming better, supporting a 10-15-year vision is still an arduous journey for many investors.”

 

Capitalised for growth

Basu and his team have spent 15 years building the business in preparation for scaling its technology. “The next five years will be all about growth,” he says. “We can be a truly global business of scale.”

Kromek’s high-performing technologies are used across the globe in various walks of life. The detectors are used to protect the President of the US, they were used in a first response to the Fukushima disaster in March 2011 and every day at power company EDF.

“These are just the green shoots and the scalability of this business is huge,” he says.

“We’re focused on enabling saving lives and improving safety, but ultimately it’s about bringing down the cost of operations for our customers,” says Basu.

Lead Partner Support

AIM

AIM is the most successful growth market in the world. Since its launch in 1995, over 3,600 companies from across the globe have joined AIM, raising the capital they need for expansion.

Find out more

Key Metrics

2%/98%

Domestic/export sales

270

Patents filed

300%

revenue growth

(last five years)

Sources of capital
Government Support
  • Enterprise Investment Scheme
  • Innovate UK
  • R&D Tax Credits
  • Regional Growth Fund

Related Stories

Creative Nature
Using all her savings Julianne Ponan set up vegan-friendly superfoods company Creative Nature, and despite being rejected by dozens of investors early on the company’s sales of allergen-free products have soared. Read more...
Hiring Hub
After a “divorce-like” initial setback with early investors, Hiring Hub’s co-founder and CEO Simon Swan discovered that it’s possible for a scaling business to get back on track. Read more...
The Cheeky Panda
The Cheeky Panda’s sustainable, hypoallergenic loo paper and tissue products made entirely out of recycled bamboo have captured European consumers’ imaginations, helping the company to notch up a £20m valuation in just two years. Read more...
PHMG
Founder and managing director Grant Reed says PHMG’s journey has been about slow, steady initial growth before “pushing the button to go big”, securing the company’s position as a world leader in audio branding. Read more...
Vision Direct
Selling contact lenses online might have little to do with a Japanese arcade game, but CEO Michael Kraftman credits the company’s success to its acquisitive “Pac-Man” strategy. Read more...
Diamond Logistics
Founder Kate Lester had a “Kodak moment” five years ago to scale up her business after collapses in the same-day courier market made her realise her business would “become extinct”. Read more...