18th January 2022
Innovative automation focused mining equipment manufacturer Tribe Technology Group has closed a substantial new funding round which will be used to position the company to take advantage of high demand for its autonomous drill rigs and to develop new products.
Based in Mallusk, Northern Ireland and Perth, Australia, the business is led by a team of mechanical, electrical and mechatronic engineers and has developed the world’s first completely autonomous Reverse Circulation (RC) drill rig, which is designed to improve safety and increase efficiency in the mining sector, with a focus initially on iron ore.
Founder Charlie King, who is originally from Northern Ireland, established the company’s headquarters in Mallusk in 2021 in part due to the availability of its highly skilled workforce, the region’s strong track record in the manufacturing sector and economies of scale compared to more expensive locations.
Tribe Technology Group’s latest funding round will be used to support production of its first RC drill rigs, which have already attracted a multi-million-dollar order book, and also to accelerate R&D of new products. The company’s tests show its products are 100 times safer and 70% more productive than conventional RC drilling rigs.
The funding round involves private investors from Northern Ireland and Australia and has been match funded by investment from Co-Fund NI. Some of the Northern Irish investors were introduced to the company through the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN), run by Clarendon Fund Managers, which the company pitched to in September 2021.
Co-Fund NI is part of Invest Northern Ireland’s Access to Finance suite of funds and a partner of the Regional Angel Programme, delivered by British Business Investments. The fund provides co-investment in deals typically valued between £150,000 and £2m. Co-Fund NI is managed by Clarendon Fund Managers.
Charlie King, MD of Tribe Technology Group said: “This funding round is a great endorsement of Tribe Tech’s business and will help us to further enhance our production capabilities and deliver the significant pipeline of orders we have already secured, but also to expand our footprint. Automation is one of the toughest challenges facing several key industries and we believe we have the expertise to find some of the solutions.
“It is incredibly exciting and humbling to have investors of this calibre, some of the smartest people in the industry, see the wider potential of our automation technology and get behind us with their own money. Clarendon Fund Managers have been very supportive through the process and we’re delighted that Co-Fund NI has matched the private investment.”
Stuart Gaffikin, Investment Manager at Clarendon Fund Managers, added: “Tribe Technology Group has expanded rapidly in a short space of time as a result of high demand for its innovative products, which use artificial intelligence and automation to increase safety and productivity in the mining sector. We’re pleased to be able to support this investment in further product development through Co-Fund NI and look forward to seeing the company continue to grow in 2022 and beyond.”
Tribe Technology was advised throughout the fundraising process by Belfast-based advisory firm HNH Group.
Richard Moorehead from HNH said: “From my first meeting with Charlie and the team at Tribe, I was hugely impressed by the scale of the opportunity, the clarity of vision and their technical innovation. I was thrilled to be able to help them with closing this funding round and very much look forward to seeing the business continue on this exciting path.”
The latest funding round comes on the back of Tribe Technology securing significant support in 2021 from Invest NI, which has offered the company £984,000 towards the creation of 82 of 120 proposed new jobs.
Invest NI’s support is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2021) Programme.
PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured at Tribe Technology’s headquarters in Mallusk are (L-R) Michael Morrow, Operations Director at Tribe Technology Group, Enda Ivanoff, one of Tribe’s investors; Stuart Gaffikin, Investment Manager at Clarendon Fund Managers; Bertie Notley, another Tribe investors; and Eric Hampel, General Manager – Group Finance at Tribe Technology Group.