Inova Design Solutions

AMBITION: To secure more funding and expand into the sports, insurance, defence and healthcare markets; to continue to innovate in the area of advanced non-invasive wearables; and expand Inova internationally

As a product designer my main motivation is to create solutions to meet users’ needs. Through working with Richard and Oxford Innovation Services through the Business Growth Service we laid the right foundations by developing a business plan which has gone on to help me raise the necessary funding to take my product from shed to shelf. – Leon Marsh, Founder & CEO

Designing a solution to solve a problem

The seeds for Inova were planted ten years ago, after the founder, Leon Marsh finished his degree in Design Engineering at Brunel University. At the time, Leon realised there was no product in the market that could monitor core body temperature and hydration levels in an accurate, continuous and non-invasive way. Eight years later, following redundancy from Nokia, he was awarded with an innovation grant from his former employer and began to conceive BodyTrak™: a small, lightweight earpiece to measure hydration and core body temperature. Starting with a small grant, Inova has gone on to raise over £1.4m in two years and laid the foundations to continue accessing the funds it needs to bring BodyTrak™ to market, expand into more sectors and grow Inova as a leading technology company.

Growing pains on the way to success

Leon designed a great solution to a problem and attracted the high profile sector of Formula 1™ motorsport, but initially lacked a convincing business plan to develop and commercialise BodyTrak™ as a multi-sector platform technology. Without this it was challenging to get investors to see the full potential of Inova.
Oxford Innovation Services, delivering the Business Growth Service assigned coach Richard Silberbauer to work with Leon, bringing with him a decade of experience fundraising for SMEs. Together, they created a focused business plan to pitch to investors which eventually lead to the seed investment Leon secured. Leon also successfully raised two sizeable grants from InnovateUK.
After incorporating feedback from potential customers, the functionality of BodyTrak™ was increased to measure all vital signs (including heart rate) as well as user motion and footfall, while providing statistical feedback to the user.
The advice Leon received and the feedback from experts and investors led Inova to change in order to grow. The potential of BodyTrak™ in healthcare, sport and in defence has been recognised and the product is being perfected for launch in H2 2016.

Accessing finance crucial to Inova

Since using the Access to Finance offer, Inova has seen a 900% increase in revenue in two years. Further, the amount of grant funding Leon has secured since his work with Richard has reached £500,000 in 2015.
Inova has been awarded with two development contracts with the Ministry of Defence to create new non-invasive, portable, real-time devices to monitor vital signs of military personnel to enable them to monitor their health status, optimise performance and tailor potential interventions.
Inova was also one of three start-ups out of 150 plus international applicants to be selected by Breed Reply for their "Internet of Things (IoT) initiative. In addition to providing investment, the project acts as an advanced incubator that supports the development of (IoT) start-ups in Europe and the USA.
As well as celebrating Inova’s successes, the company’s growth is personally very rewarding for Leon as he has seen his idea develop from a graduate’s brainchild in 2005 to a tangible product with a wide-range of applications and benefits for the end users.

What’s next for Inova?

Inova is set to launch BodyTrak™ and has ambition to exploit it internationally which will keep Leon and the team busy for some while. Inova will continue to develop the technology for high profile uses, for example, Formula 1™, as well as to expand into the insurance and healthcare sectors.