2017 finalist: Viper Innovations Ltd

A strong focus on R&D and innovation sees Viper Innovations Ltd shortlisted as finalist in PwC’s West of England Business of the Year Awards

Viper Innovations, which provides seabed located electrical and hydraulic distribution solutions for the global subsea oil and gas industry and electrical cable integrity monitoring for the rail industry, is one of four finalists to have secured a place in the finals of the under £30m category of the West of England Business of the Year Awards, sponsored by PwC.

The company was initially set up with £45k of working capital and last year achieved a turnover of over £5.3m.

Despite being hit by the collapse in oil price from $115 per barrel to less than $30 per barrel in a single year, the company has fared well, with its V-LIFE technology generating two distinct income streams. The first is a payment for the sale of hardware and associated bespoke interface engineering. The second sees the service provided as a ‘software licence’ model with a monthly charge – similar to a mobile phone contract.

For Viper’s customers, the V-LIFE technology provides them with significant cost savings by ensuring that they do not need to procure and install replacement subsea hardware. Also, in a number of cases, the technology has kept oil and gas fields producing in spite of the failed subsea electrical equipment.

The company has also been successful in obtaining funding for research and development (R&D) from oil field operators (via Joint Industry Projects) and government grants (RDA, RGF and Innovate UK). They have also partnered on projects with BP, Shell, Chevron, Total and ExxonMobil, as well as a number of Universities.

In 2014 Viper was announced as the winner of the Subsea UK award for Innovation and Technology, as well as the winner of the Innovation and Technology Award at the National Private Business Awards. In 2015 the technology was recognised again as the winner of the Business Leader Innovation award and in April 2016 the company won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category, again for the V-LIFE technology.

With a number of new patented products and services in the pipeline, Viper Innovation is forecasting a net increase in cash and cash equivalents of £3.38m for FY18.

Neil Douglas, Managing Director at Viper Innovations, said: “We have always known that PwC’s West of England Business of the Year Awards are highly competitive and so to make the shortlist is a massive achievement.  The judging is very stringent, and looks at all aspects of your business and as a result, these awards are widely seen as the most prestigious regional business accolade and result in very strong competition.”

Nick Morgan, head of tax at PwC West & Wales said: “The independent judges were in agreement that Viper Innovations was one of four worthy finalists in the under £30m category in the Business of the Year Awards because of the company’s impressive track record for R&D and innovation, and strong financial performance through what has been a difficult time in the oil and gas sector”.

The West of England Business of the Year Awards are sponsored by PwC and run in association with Circle2Success, Devon and Cornwall Business Council and Bristol, Bath, Swindon Business News.

Other finalists in the ‘Under £30m turnover’ category are:

  • Red Paddle, world leading manufacturer of inflatable stand up paddleboards.
  • Exeter Rugby, the West Country’s premier rugby club.
  • Bodywise, manufacturer of natural, organic and biodegradable sanitary ware and baby care products.

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