Uncrewed marine vessel developer makes waves in Canada after GBIP

‘Robotics-as-a-service’ innovator HydroSurv is planning a Canadian subsidiary launch after participating in a Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP) and revamping its IP strategy, supported by Innovate UK EDGE.

Posted on: 09/09/2021

Devon-based HydroSurv has developed a range of revolutionary Uncrewed Surface Vehicles (USVs) to measure the effects of climate change in coastal areas and gather critical data for the ocean industries.

Replacing labour and carbon intensive survey ships, HydroSurv’s zero-emission vessels gather critical data for use in sectors such as fisheries and aquaculture, coastal management, seaports and offshore wind.

HydroSurv’s ‘robotics as a service’ model offers clients flexibility and convenience to obtain marine geospatial data without having to invest themselves in expensive traditional solutions, USVs or the internal resources necessary to operate them.

“Communities around the world are threatened by rising sea levels and extremes of weather that expose them to big risks,” says David Hull, Founder & CEO, HydroSurv. “So it’s fundamental that we have frequent, reliable and repeatable access to coastal process data.”

International growth support from Innovate UK EDGE

Estimates from the OECD indicate that ocean economies will be worth more than $3 Billion by 2030, while the global market for USV technology will exceed $1 Billion by 2023. HydroSurv aims to capitalise on this by expanding internationally with an initial focus on Canada as a key market.

“Building upon existing clients and partners in Canada, we decided to accelerate a resident presence in Canada, turning to Innovate UK EDGE for general advice”.

HydroSurv began work with Innovate UK EDGE Innovation and Growth Specialist, Jayne Codling, who recommended it considers Innovate UK’s Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP) and supported their application.

GBIPs enable ambitious innovators to find partners, collaborate and expand in new markets.

The three stage GBIP programme firstly prepares the business for operating in a specific market, then takes the business to the country to meet key partners and contacts from government, academia and commerce. Finally it provides post-visit specialist support to help leverage the introductions made and grow the relationships formed during the visit.

With support from Jayne, HydroSurv joined Innovate UK’s Marine Robotics GBIP to Canada.

“The GBIP is an initial step in establishing our presence in Canada,” says David. “We established new relationships with key organisations and gained a good understanding of the wider landscape in-country.”

Following the GBIP, HydroSurv is now planning to launch a Canadian subsidiary later this financial year.

“The GBIP will help to de-risk our market entry,” continues David, “we’re gaining a stronger understanding of the key hubs within our sector and removing the guesswork when we select a location.”

IP and growth support

David also worked with Innovate UK EDGE IP Specialist, Kate Butler, who delivered IP advice to HydroSurv.

“Before working with Innovate UK EDGE, we had a level of understanding of our existing IP, but Kate helped us to understand our freedom to operate and what specific aspects of our products and our architecture were defensible.”

For David, IP support from Innovate UK EDGE could prove instrumental when attracting investors: “any business attracting investment needs to convey what sets them apart. The fact that we vest our product development in house, means that a tight grasp of intellectual property is essential for us.”

David also highlights Jayne’s support in signposting relevant opportunities: “Jayne has her finger on the pulse when it comes to referring funding schemes, events and potential partners that we should be speaking to.”

“Overall, the support from Innovate UK EDGE has helped us address the gaps when we’ve been focused on our day-to-day operations; whether that’s specialist support concerning IP, opportunity capture, or advice in accessing new markets.”

HydroSurv is now expanding into Northwest Europe and expects to extend its reach further afield within the coming 12-months. Innovate UK EDGE will continue to offer game-changing support as this Devon-based innovator contributes to our global understanding of climate change.

The GBIP will help to de-risk our market entry.

– David Hull, Founder & CEO, HydroSurv

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