Andrew Howe got his first taste of business selling television sets from a wheelbarrow at the age of 14. He later became a radar specialist for the Ministry of Defence before co-founding Sentec in 1997, although he has recently left the company.
Mark England and Ed Colby, the directors, say they “create new technology for products that we think people actually want”. Once an idea is developed, Sentec will spin out a new company around the technology, along with a small amount of funding. Cambridge-based Sentec has created four companies to date, including SmartBead, a genetic drug developer, and Polatis, an optical switching company. Together they have attracted £6.6m in outside funding.
Sales, which include consulting fees and licensing fees to blue chip companies like Invensys, Danfoss and Caterpillar, and capital gains on the sale of businesses, grew 147% a year from £379,000 in 1999 to £2.3m in 2001.
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