A RAMSEY HEIGHTS-based IT company beat off competition from 200 other firms in the East of England to become one of just six firms to win investment funding from equity gap funders, Create. Airetrak Ltd has developed an asset tracking solution for use ove

A RAMSEY HEIGHTS-based IT company beat off competition from 200 other firms in the East of England to become one of just six firms to win investment funding from equity gap funders, Create.

Airetrak Ltd has developed an asset tracking solution for use over wireless networks, a market that is growing at a rate of 40 per cent a year.

The company is concentrating initially on the National Health Service, but believes there are huge opportunities in manufacturing, logistics and military applications for the tag-wireless LAN-software package, said managing director Roger Willmott, who founded the company a year and a half ago.

"All hospitals have similar problems with keeping track of their assets for regular maintenance," he told The Hunts Post. "Planned preventive maintenance reports tell hospital managers what equipment needs attention. Our system tells them where to find it.

"But there's a whole bunch of add-on benefits to the maintenance issue. For example, if people can find equipment easily, they don't have to rent a replacement.

"And it helps prevent theft. An endoscope costs £30,000, for example, and they have been very attractive to thieves if they can't be traced."

Software giant Microsoft is particularly interested in the development, which is based on MS's PC platform used across the NHS. Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge, is showing particular interest, Mr Willmott added.

The six companies - the others are from Cambridge, Norwich and Hatfield - not only share £1million of investment, probably with more to come, but a package of free benefits from sponsors of the Running the Gauntlet competition, led by the East of England Development Agency.

Some, or all, of the winners qualify for a free executive search by Bailey Fisher, £40,000 of free business advice and assistance from Grant Thornton, 12 months free banking from HSBC, technology product development advice from Sagentia, £50,000 of legal advice from Taylor Vinters, and in-depth technical and marketing advice and guidance from Microsoft.

The funding packages will be the subject of discussions between Create, the individual companies concerned and other investors. Further investment is likely as the winners will require follow-on funding, EEDA said.

Richard Ellis, chairman of EEDA said: "It will be fascinating to see how this year's winners develop and grow in the months and years ahead. The three companies that secured investment last year have gone on to secure a total of over £3m in 12 months. If this year's winners develop in a similar way, we will really start to see the long term benefits."

INFORMATION: Mr Willmott is on 07880 707140. The company is on www.airetrak.com.