Using ‘synthetic worlds’ to boost business efficiency

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A spin-out company that uses advanced computer simulation to help organisations devise more efficient ways of working, has secured £750,000 in scale-up funding.

Slingshot Simulations was established to commercialise seven years of research by computer scientists at the University of Leeds.

It will allow people to use simulations to communicate and collaborate across industries and organisations.

Dr David McKee, Slingshot Simulations

The company’s technology harnesses data analytics and graphical simulation to model complex systems, simplify decisions and mitigate risk.

Organisations can use Slingshot’s platform to build a ‘synthetic’ world that mirrors their own operations. For example, identifying the optimal design and location of a warehouse so it functions efficiently, minimises fuel costs and meets supply-chain demands.

The investment in Slingshot was made by the University and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund – Mercia Equity Finance.

Dr David McKee, Slingshot’s Chief Technical Officer, said Slingshot’s simulation technology is significantly faster and more cost-effective than alternative solutions, and is designed for use by non-technical staff.

He said: “Our vision is to define a global standard for an Internet of Simulation so that it could be used by anyone, anywhere.

“It will allow people to use simulations to communicate and collaborate across industries and organisations.”

Rapid optimisation 

Slingshot has proved its software with some of the world’s leading technology companies.

Dr Arshad Mairaj, Head of Commercialisation at the University, said: “The University has a strong record in transferring academic research to industry, and that approach continues with our investment in Slingshot Simulations.

“The company is based in Nexus, the University’s new innovation hub where academics and business collaborate to maximise commercial opportunities. The University’s aim is to see our research contributing to the UK economy.”

Will Schaffer, Investment Manager with Mercia, added: “Slingshot’s ability to democratise complex simulation will enable customers to capitalise on growing data volumes by delivering flexible systems design and rapid optimisation. The investment will fund further product development and help launch customer relationships.”

The original research that underpins the Slingshot Simulations technology was led by Dr McKee and Professor Jie Xu, experts in distributed computing systems. That research received £2 million in Government grants – and involved the equivalent of 20 years of PhD-level research effort.

Joining Dr McKee and Professor Xu on the board of Slingshot, as chair, is Alan English, an international start-up executive and Helen Glider, the chief financial officer. Helen has spent 20 years providing leadership to companies scaling up their operations.

Dr McKee has also been the recipient of a Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowship.

The image from left to right, front row, shows: Helen Gilder, Chief Financial Officer;  David McKee, Chief Technical Office; Alan English, Chairman. 

For further information, please contact David Lewis in the University of Leeds press office: