Horizon Technologies secures Amber funding boost

Posted on 19 May, 2021 by Advance 

UK aerospace OEM, Horizon Technologies, which specialises in airborne signals intelligence (SIGINT) systems, today announced it has received a significant growth investment in a multimillion pound Series A round of financing, which will help advance its space-based Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) Amber data service.


John Beckner, CEO, Horizon Technologies.
Courtesy Horizon Technologies

Maven Capital Partners led the latest investment round with participation from Virgin Money. New funding will accelerate the company’s launch of further Amber CubeSats in 2022, augment sales and marketing efforts and supplement staffing. The company also will be better positioned to broaden and fund product development across both its Horizon Aerospace and Horizon Space business segments.

Maven’s Investment Director Luke Mathews, who will join Horizon Technologies Board of Directors, said: “We are excited to support Horizon Technologies as the Amber programme progresses to this next, exciting stage. John and his team of aerospace industry heavyweights have done a remarkable job in developing the business to this point, and we are delighted to find a local company with truly global opportunities ahead of it.”

Ylan Lamour, Associate Director, Growth Finance at Virgin Money, added: “Under the guidance of a well-established and respected management team, Horizon Technologies has consistently pioneered the growth of the Signals Intelligence market and is now well-positioned to take the next step in its growth path. The team at Virgin Money is delighted to have collaborated with Maven to create a tailored package of support which will allow Horizon Technologies to continue to innovate and grow its business."

The finance package was secured by Alexander Duffy and the corporate finance team at accountancy firm, Menzies LLP. International law firm, Jones Day, acted as legal advisers to Horizon Technologies’ management team, and assisted Menzies LLP in structuring the funding package. The Series A financing builds on an exceptional year for Horizon Technologies which saw unparalleled financial growth in new orders, an ever-increasing roster of clients, key executive appointments and market momentum in its two business areas: systems for airborne intelligence collection and space-based geospatial data collection.

“Today, we’re just scratching the surface of how space-based RF data can be used especially when it’s combined with other sensors such as imagery, and presented to customers as an integrated data product,” said Horizon Technologies Chief Executive Officer John Beckner. “This capital funding will build off of the tremendous support provided to us by the UK Government/Innovate UK and enable us to leverage off the launch of Amber-1 later this year and launch additional satellites in 2022. This will put us on the path to eventually deliver a near real-time non-cooperative maritime domain awareness intelligence and analysis service to our customers.

"Ongoing conversations to potential end-users of these new services in the media, shipping, finance, insurance & trading markets outside our traditional defence/aerospace national customers confirm, that there is a genuine appetite in enhancing existing vessel tracking services traditionally based on AIS. Having the financial support and expertise of Maven Capital Partners will help us execute our vision even more rapidly and broadly—and with the benefit of experience, perspective and relationships of a leading tech investor.”

Horizon Technologies is well known for its FlyingFish SIGINT system, flying on many ISR aircraft around the world from NATO and non-NATO Allied countries. The Horizon Aerospace business segment which produces and supports FlyingFish will be announcing a new product (BlackFish) later this year and is coming off its best financial year ever.

The Series A investment will primarily go into the Horizon Space segment with its transformational Amber MDA data as a service business. Maritime Domain Awareness key features and benefits of Amber include:
• Collection and geolocation of a specialised maritime set of RF emitters (sat phones, maritime vessel navigational radars, commercial satcom communications, AIS and others)
• Enhanced signal processing whereby signals are demodulated so actual intelligence data can be derived from them (e.g. radar 'fingerprints', sat phones’ metadata/GPS locations) rather than predicted geolocations
• Initial constellation of only six (6) Amber CubeSats with less than one hour latency rather than RF collection using expensive 'formation flying' clusters of satellites
• Unique geolocation techniques using single CubeSats (pat pending)
• Established and expanding customer base including the Royal Navy to Horizon Technologies’ successful OEM business

Maven Capital Partners UK LLP (Maven) is an independent private equity house focused on the provision of flexible equity and debt funding for high growth businesses and one of the most active investors in smaller companies in the UK. Headquartered in Glasgow, and with offices throughout the UK, Maven has over 90 investment and support professionals.

Menzies LLP is a top 25 accountancy firm in the UK. The firm’s accountants, finance and business and private client advisors, operate out of a network of offices across Surrey, Hampshire, London and Cardiff.