Boosting Bomac Electric through funding & focused support
Bomac Electric designs and manufactures heating elements and heating products. Based in Knowsley, it is one of the UK’s leading companies in this sector and supplies products worldwide, including to major global appliance manufacturers. But not standing still, the business has also continued to diversify their product offering into new sectors such as cooking oil management.
Waste cooking oil, recycled from restaurants and manufacturers for refinement into biodiesels and other end-of-life uses is a fast-growing market. Europe accounted for 46.7% of the global biodiesel market in 2021, which in total was valued at USD 32.09 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.0% from 2022 to 2030 (source: Grand View Research).
The team at Bomac Electric had already established a solid customer base in the waste cooking oil industry before approaching LYVA Labs. Through customer conversations and user feedback the team established there was a need for an improved oil waste management sensor system to run alongside the high-quality storage equipment Bomac Electric already supplied to restaurants to manage their waste oil needs.
Launchpad funding lights up the project
The launch of Innovate UK’s pioneering Launchpad funding program in Liverpool City Region (LCR) gave Bomac Electric the perfect opportunity to secure funding to build the sensor and system product solution that customers needed.
LYVA Labs, through their leading role in Liverpool City Region’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Cluster, provided critical feedback and advice on its Launchpad funding application before submission. Bomac Electric has successfully secured £96K of funding to develop the project towards commercialisation.
"Customers had been asking us whether we could develop a better system for managing waste oil. We knew we could, we just needed some additional funding and resources to give the project the attention it required. Our Launchpad win has given us the chance to focus on the project, which we think will be a real growth driver for the business."
How to move from plans to progress?
Following the success of the Launchpad funding application, LYVA Labs was keen to continue supporting Bomac Electric. Through team discussions it became clear that support from LYVA Labs’ innovation consultancy team and advanced manufacturing innovation network could add value to the project.
Bomac Electric has strong engineering capability and expertise, including CAD and in-house testing facilities, but needed external partner support for the electronics and software development aspects of the project.
Through LYVA Labs’ consultancy services, there were also opportunities to support the team with the product’s value proposition, marketing strategy, and ensuring that the development brief for partners prioritised the most important functionality for customers and users.
"Winning the Launchpad funding was a big milestone - but we knew it was just the start. Being able to develop and execute the product is a big challenge for us and takes us outside of some of our core expertise areas. Having LYVA Labs’ support to navigate those early kick-off stages has been incredibly helpful."
LYVA Labs' wrap-around support with the Bomac Electric team
LYVA Labs has a broad knowledge of LCR’s advanced manufacturing innovation ecosystem and introduced Bomac Electric to DefProc Engineering. DefProc is an R&D SME that specialises in the product design and development of electronics, sensors, and software – and so the perfect complement to Bomac Electric’s industry and engineering knowledge for the project.
The LYVA Labs consultancy team also worked with Bomac Electric to build a full day ‘Develop’ workshop to aid with project and proposition definition. During the workshop, the teams built detailed customer and user personas to define the product’s priority and secondary routes to market. The teams also reviewed key competition in the waste oil management systems market, and how restaurant franchise owners’ experiences with current solutions gives Bomac Electric opportunities to create a more distinct proposition in the marketplace.
Completing these customer and market analysis exercises helped the team articulate the must-have functionality of the system, and features that were less important in making the product a success with the budget and timescales available. The workshop concluded with the team mapping out the product’s business model and highlighting the key risky assumptions for the project to help prioritise next steps.
"After a discussion with Joe and Paul, they were quickly able to put us in contact with DefProc as a potential development partner. They understood our requirements, and identified exactly the sort of partner we were looking for. We were really pleased with the workshop – giving us a full-day out of the office to focus solely on the project, refine our thinking and prioritise the next steps."
Unlocking innovation for established businesses
LYVA Labs partnership and support for Bomac Electric has helped to secure funding and provide strong foundations for the product’s development towards commercialisation. But the support will not end there – LYVA Labs will continue to offer advice as a critical friend, ecosystem connector and provide intensive support where required to help make the project a success.
Bomac Electric are a perfect example of what targeted funding and support can unlock for established companies in Liverpool City Region. The team had a clear market opportunity to grow their business, they just needed a helping hand and the funds to chase it.
"LYVA Labs has been a great support to us so far, helping with the funding application, identifying partners, and guiding us through the workshop exercises to start the project on the right foot. We’ll continue to keep in touch with the team as we progress and tap into the support and networks available to us."