Increase machine productivity: Sheffield tech startup FourJaw announces 6-figure funding at a £2M valuation


Based out of Sheffield, FourJaw offers a machine agnostic data analytics platform that’s accessible, affordable, and uses Industry 4.0 technology to deliver productivity improvements with tangible benefits. 

Now the Northern tech company has secured a six-figure investment from a combined Angel and Venture Capital syndicate, valuing the company at £2 million. 

Spin-off of University of Sheffield

FourJaw Manufacturing Analytics was founded by Chris Iveson and Robin Hartley from within the skunk-works of the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.

Cost effective and easy to install

The company’s Industrial IOT platform uses data from CNC machines to improve communication from the shop floor to the top floor. 

This offers benefits such as improved job costing and scheduling, reduced unplanned machine downtime, and quick diagnosis of quality problems. 

FourJaw co-founder, Robin Hartley, who last week was named one of 42 young entrepreneurs under the age of 42 to watch in Yorkshire, said: “We could not have asked for a better start; this six-figure investment puts us on track to refine and develop our technology in time for the launch of our next product in the spring – a plug and play device that unlocks step changes in productivity for British manufacturers, supporting a rapid post-Covid recovery and keeping the UK’s exporters truly competitive in the global marketplace.”

Edward Stevenson, Investment Executive at SFC Capital, the Venture Capital firm who added a significant sum to the combined Angel investment and one of the larger investors in FourJaw, said: “This investment shows our confidence in the game-changing technology that FourJaw has developed. Much of UK manufacturing is tired of the hype surrounding Industry 4.0. But FourJaw has created a data-driven, productivity booster that is simple to install, easy to use, and affordable to run. It is a technology right for its time, driving a manufacturing renaissance for post-Brexit and post-Covid Britain where productivity and competitiveness will be essential.”

Bart Simpson, FourJaw’s Chairman, and former Senior Operations Director at Autodesk said: “FourJaw have hit upon a beautifully simple tool that is affordable, adaptable, and accessible to the overwhelming majority of machining shop floors in the UK. It elegantly sidesteps the often costly and complex big-ticket alternatives, to deliver the right information at the right time – which is real-time – securely on the cloud. A handheld tablet gives staff, from the shop floor to the top floor, easy-to-digest data that will drive big improvements in productivity, thus securing UK jobs and international markets against fierce global competition.” 

With the help of regional not-for-profit investment organisation NorthInvest, FourJaw now has the backing of 12 Angel investors who straddle the frontier between smart software and advanced manufacturing. The not-for-profit’s Investment Director, Stuart Brown, said: “Our role is to drive grassroots growth across the north of England through helping founders like Chris and Robin unlock angel and private sector investment, so it’s great to see such an innovative young spin-out, whose technology will massively boost manufacturing productivity and competitiveness, securing substantial financial backing at the start of its journey.”

Sheffield City Region LEP Chair James Muir, welcomed the news of FourJaw’s VC investment: “Despite the challenges of the pandemic, South Yorkshire has businesses capable of and hungry for growth. FourJaw is a fantastic example of how bringing together two of our region’s strengths, digital technology, and manufacturing can attract further investment to South Yorkshire. Companies like FourJaw will help us bring our ambitious jobs-led recovery plan for the region to fruition through the creation of good, high-value jobs in South Yorkshire.”

The newly formed company is determined to make a significant impact, not just in its South Yorkshire base but also the wider UK manufacturing community. The two founders were research engineers at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) – a world-leading R&D facility that numbers McLaren, Airbus, Boeing, BAE Systems, and Rolls-Royce as its partners – when they came up with their idea for a device to turbocharge machining shop floors.

AMRC CEO, Steve Foxley, said: “It’s great to see FourJaw get off to a flying start, taking the learnings from their time with us, and their engagement with the region’s digital community, to develop a very smart product to help improve productivity and sustainability in the UK manufacturing supply chains. We look forward to working with them in the region as we support the industry and make a more rapid and resilient recovery. Such spinouts are core to our strategy going forward.”