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Sci-Tech Daresbury’s ‘home for life’ ethos reaps rewards as three firms commit to campus by scaling up to Violet

Sci-Tech Daresbury has announced the latest arrivals to its new Violet development, with three firms scaling up their operations within the campus to take up space in the complex.

The decision of the three industry leading businesses to expand their operations within the Liverpool City Region campus reflects the strength of Sci-Tech Daresbury’s Home for Life ethos. This set of principles allows businesses to achieve their ambitions within the campus, with firms offered the technical support, world-class facilities and access to local and national networks needed in order to become trailblazers in their chosen field.

The three companies join Australian firm Blackmagic Design and China’s Geek+, whose arrival at Violet was announced in April.

ORCHA – the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Applications – was previously based at Vanguard House at the campus and has grown from an innovative health concept to the world leader in health and care app assessments in just six years. With a mission to drive standards and help NHS and care organisations across the world to capitalise on the power digital health apps have to offer, ORCHA is experiencing a boom in demand and, as a result, is on a major, global recruitment drive. The company’s new 4,500 sq ft base within Violet will support the creation of 100 new roles.

Liz Ashall-Payne, founding CEO of ORCHA, said:

“We’re moving ORCHA to the Violet building because we need the space due to a period of very rapid growth and we have just been through another investment round that’s given us the capital to invest in our team. With the government recently announcing its first ever digital health and care plan, the profile of digital health will be higher than ever. We intend to stay at the forefront of this revolution in how we all manage our health.

“We’ve tripled our workforce over the past 12 months – our headcount is currently 140 but that’ll be rising fast. Our plan is to operate a hybrid model, where teams come together to work from the office for two to three days per week. We’ll have 32 permanent desks but by working collaboratively we should be able to accommodate 75 people comfortably.

“We find Sci-Tech Daresbury incredibly convenient for us all and it is ideal being surrounded by similar tech businesses.”

It has previously been announced that Peak Technology Solutions– part of the Edwin James Group – is also moving from Vanguard House to Violet. Peak is an automation specialist that combines technology and data to optimise its clients’ manufacturing assets to improve performance, reduce costs, and manage environmental impact. The company provides consultancy services, performance management, and systems integration to clients in various sectors, including utilities, FMCG, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, and chemicals.
Michael Thomas, executive director, Peak Technology Solutions, said:

“Our business is growing and we need a base that is fit for the future. One that can support our ambitions and encourage new talent to join us on our technology journey. Violet will be our new headquarters. It will house one of our automation technology teams and a new Digital Academy that will ensure that we can keep our people up to date on the latest industrial technologies.”

MCS (the Microgeneration Certification Scheme) defines, maintains and improves quality by certifying low-carbon, small-scale renewable technologies and contractors – including heat pumps, solar, biomass, wind and battery storage.

Previously based at Sci-Tech Daresbury’s Innovation Centre, MCS aims to decarbonise heat and power in the UK’s homes by giving people confidence in home-grown energy.

Ian Rippin, CEO of MCS, said:

“We have been based at Sci-Tech Daresbury for several years now – having relocated our operations from London. In that time, we have committed to nurturing a local, green workforce and have grown our business significantly. As such, our team now exceeds more than 30 people, so we have outgrown our previous home. Our investment in a purpose-built, high-specification workplace at Violet – in the heart of a buzzing technical campus – will continue to reflect our values of collaboration and help to foster even more talent within MCS well into the future.”

MCS was advised on its lease by DTM Legal LLP.

Violet was officially handed over by contractors Willmott Dixon in February. The £17.8m development comprises 43,000 sq ft of speculative Grade A office and innovation space, coupled with the highest energy efficiency standards, for dynamic, forward-thinking science and technology focused businesses.

Violet is expected to create or support 332 full-time equivalent jobs and has received £8.4m cornerstone funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, consisting of a £2.5m loan from the Urban Development Fund, together with £5.9m from the Combined Authority’s Chrysalis Fund, both funds being managed or advised by igloo Investment Management.

Violet encompasses two buildings (V2 and V3) providing 12,000 sq ft each and one building (V1) of 19,000 sq ft. Each building entails floor plates of around 4,300 to 6,300 sq ft.

John Downes, Chief Executive Officer of Langtree and Director of Sci-Tech Daresbury, said:

“These three companies are all leaders in their field, setting the standards for what UK innovation and technology can deliver. It has been our privilege to help nurture their journey over recent years as they have expanded their operations and brought jobs, knowledge and growth to the Liverpool City Region.

“Now, we’re incredibly proud that ORCHA, Peak Technology Solutions and MCS have chosen Violet to be their new home as they continue to break down barriers and use their capabilities to propel forward science and technology in this country. It has been a privilege to see these companies scale physically at Sci-Tech Daresbury. They are shining examples of how our “Home for Life” approach can benefit high-growth companies. We will continue to invest in new buildings and infrastructure at Sci-Tech Daresbury to support businesses like these as was evidenced with our recent announcement on the upgrading of the digital connectivity to the campus through LCR Connect. ”

In December, planning approval was granted by Halton Borough Council for Ultraviolet, which is located next to Violet and forms the next phase of development within Sci-Tech Daresbury.

Ultraviolet will comprise a further 180,000 sq ft of Grade A office and laboratory space. The decision to pursue the further expansion of the world-class science facilities available at Sci-Tech Daresbury at this early stage reflects heightened demand from cutting-edge businesses requiring high-quality office and laboratory space in a collaborative community of 150 science and technology companies. These include the likes of IBM, Hitachi, Croda and Applied Materials, co-located with the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Daresbury Laboratory, part of UK Research and Innovation. This is also demonstrated by the interest created by Violet and the continued desirability of the campus, with over 30 new tenants joining during 2021.