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24 February 2004
The Herald
Hometech has designs on raising 3m funding
Hometech, the specialist in state-of-the-art audio and home cinema systems, some costing as much as 200,000, has announced plans to raise 3m of second-round funding.
The East Kilbride company, which was set up in April last year with 310,000 of funding from private investors, Scottish Enterprise Lanarkshire, and Royal Bank of Scotland, will use the money to expand its operations south of the border to meet demand for its smart technology from national housebuilders like Bett and Bryant.
Since launch it has been flooded with orders for its designs which allow audio, cinema, computer, security, and lighting systems to be operated using a single control.
Other options on offer include home cinemas with screens 8ft wide and bathtubs with built-in televisions.
The company, which has just opened its first office in England in St Albans, employing six staff, now plans to hit the acquisitions trail.
Chris Stewart, chief executive of Hometech, said: "Market demand for our systems is enormous and we have already had orders for 1500 units from housebuilders and private individuals. We are raising funding to support our growth both organically and through acquisitions.
"We recently made a bid for one company, but we weren't successful and we are looking for the right acquisition."
Stewart said it is in talks with a number of potential funding partners, including existing investors, and expects to have the deal finalised within the next four to five months.
In advance of the fundraising, Hometech has strengthened its management team with the appointment of Niall Howard as chairman. He joins from William Grant & Son, where he was chief financial officer.
Hometech's clients include footballers, affluent businessmen, and upmarket housebuilders such as Knightsbridge Robertson, but Stewart dismisses the suggestion the company only designs "boy toys" for the wealthy.
He said: "Smart technology makes life a lot easier for families too, as you don't have four of five hi-fis with lots of cables around the house but have speakers embedded in the walls which can be controlled from one central point. Computer systems can all be networked to stop fights between the kids over who gets to play what game.
"We do build systems for developers building 1m houses, but they do also appear in flats costing 150,000."
Stewart added that integrated home technology packages such as those offered by Hometech can represent an excellent investment for homeowners.
"An investment of 30,000 in this kind of system isn't really that much when you are buying a 500,000 house," he said.
The company, which has a 1m turnover and employs 16 staff, expects to reach turnover of 10m within three years.

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