Subsea company secures £2 million investment for AI technology


Foresight Group and Didcot-based Williams Advanced Engineering have invested £2 million into the Bristol-based disruptive subsea surveying company Rovco Ltd. The fund led a £5.0 million round comprising investment comprises £2.0 million from the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund and £1.9 million from Foresight VCTs and funds from existing shareholders. The investment was part of a larger round totalling £5.0 million which included funds from existing shareholders.

Established in 2015, Rovco is changing the way underwater work is performed and pushing the boundaries of subsea technology. Investing heavily in the development of an artificial intelligence driven data platform and live 3D vision systems for subsea robotics. The Company has the resources and expertise to deliver challenging projects across the globe delivering the highest quality data.

The Company has developed its SubSLAM technology to improve the data collection of underwater vehicles undertaking the difficult task of subsea infrastructure inspection, aiming ultimately to make the piloting of such vehicles fully autonomous. More efficient survey processes for offshore infrastructure inspections offer huge potential for reducing the size of crews and time needed on vessels out at sea. The innovation represents a more cost-effective, environmentally friendly, time-efficient and safer future for the industry.

Rovco has already received a strong reception from companies operating in the areas of offshore wind and oil and gas, and the technology has the scope for application far beyond subsea and offshore operations.

Foresight’s investment will support the growth of the Company’s commercial and operational capabilities, leveraging existing relationships to expand globally.  Williams Advanced Engineering and Rovco have already identified several opportunities to collaborate on enhancements to Rovco’s SubSLAM camera system.

Andrew Bloxam, Senior Investment Manager at Foresight, said: “Rovco has developed technology offering game-changing improvements in an industry that really needs it. It is a large international market and Rovco has already generated early interest from some prominent customers, which hints at a substantial opportunity, and we are delighted to be able to support the team as they seek to capitalise.  It is great to support another company which epitomises the spirit of the Foresight Williams collaboration.”

Matthew Burke, Head of Technology Ventures at Williams Advanced Engineering, added: “We are proud to back Rovco whose pioneering SubSLAM camera technology has the potential to transform productivity in subsea surveying.  I am confident that Williams’ expertise in design, development and manufacture will help to accelerate the commercialisation of the SubSLAM camera system”.

Brian Allen, CEO of Rovco said: “We are very excited to be working with Foresight and Williams. These funds will be used to further commercialise our technology, to strengthen management, and to accelerate growth. The subsea industry has been extremely receptive to our computer vision and AI tech so far, and the offshore wind industry has been an incredible early adopter. This is an exciting time for the company as we enter 2020 with a new investor and extremely strong forward order book.”