Investment Puts Phone Tracking Tech Firm in the Driving Seat
Downpatrick-based software company Bluesona has received a six-figure investment from Co-Fund II and the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) to further develop the firm’s product offering.
HBAN is a joint initiative of Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland and Invest Northern Ireland, dedicated to the all-island promotion of business angel investment. The Forum allows companies from a wide range of sectors to pitch to angel investors for business investment. Currently, there are over 50 registered members in Northern Ireland. Co-Fund II is part of the Invest Northern Ireland’s Access to Finance portfolio, and is managed by Clarendon Fund Managers.
Bluesona has developed technology to reduce mobile phone usage while driving. The smart system called Loop, was created by CEO Mel Morrison when his daughter was learning to drive. Loop combines subscription-based software with an innovative ‘cuff’ that locks and charges phones at the same time.
Mel Morrison, said: “We’ve spent 18 months researching and developing a product that we feel is superior to what is already on the market. The first prototype was trialled with four local schools and we used their feedback to develop a B2B product. Our app provides real time data to insurance companies and warns users when they try to use their phone. Parents can also track online when and where their children have used their phone when driving.
“Any distraction at the wheel can lead to an accident. 30 per cent of road traffic collisions are a result of people using their mobile phones while driving. We’re confident our products will be able to cut that to under 15 per cent over the next three years.”
He added: “We’re aiming to double our staff numbers early next year and we’re in discussions with a number of insurance companies across the UK and America. The long term goal is to reduce road traffic collisions but also to reduce consumers’ insurance premiums. The expertise of the Business Angels has provided us with opportunities to break into new markets and develop our system further. Our goal is to start a new funding round next year to raise £1m to help take the brand worldwide.”
Claudine Owens, HBAN Business Angel Forum Manager, said: “Bluesona is an innovative, forward-thinking business that is tackling one of the biggest issues of road safety. The HBAN Forum events create new opportunities for companies like this to gain investment and access to a pool of expertise that can greatly benefit their business.
“Mel will be pitching for follow on investment at our next HBAN event on the 25th September and we would encourage anyone who is interested in becoming an investor, to get in touch.”
Co-Fund II is supported by ERDF under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.