ALMOST half a million pound has been invested in York business as it looks to bring its water heater technology to the market.

Escrick-based Hydrotherm, which was created by brothers Max and Guy Smith along with former colleague Chris Blaxall, has secured a £400,000 investment from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

The three men were previously behind Carlton Manufacturing, the Goldthorpe-based company which supplies eco-friendly building products, before selling it to Grafton plc in 2015.

Now, through their Hydrotherm brand, they are working to develop an innovative lithium-ion powered portable water heater initially for camping and leisure activities, but also for use by lone workers where immediate hot water is required for showering or washing tools.

In addition, the business is developing a range of stainless steel handmade rocket stoves and camping stove accessories under its Rocketman brand.

The NPIF funding will allow the business to begin recruitment and continue with developing its products while assessing market demand.

David Best, investment director at Mercia Fund Managers, said: “The Hydrotherm team are serial entrepreneurs with a track record for successfully building and selling companies and bringing products to market.

“The off-grid, camping and outdoor markets are growing, and we are backing Max and the team to take advantage of the connected products and market opportunities around this niche sector.”

David Dickson, chairman of the Infrastructure Board for the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership, said: “Hydrotherm is a great example of the pioneering manufacturers which are starting and growing in the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding region.

“To help these businesses to grow, it is crucial that inventors have access to the funding they need to bring exciting new technologies to market and it’s excellent to see that, having invested in the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, the LEP is able to provide the support these pioneers need.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.