Scottish startup secures £1.3m despite shipping chaos

A Scottish firm has garnered investment support for its innovative recycled plastic construction blocks.

QUICKBLOCK offers construction blocks that are delivered flat-packed on pallets for swift assembly, targeting the defence, security, humanitarian aid, and commercial sectors.

The company, based in Stirling, transitioned from its initial supplier in China to a production facility in Yorkshire, a move timely with the disruption of the Red Sea shipping route by Yemeni rebels, which resulted in container delays and significant increases in shipping costs.

QUICKBLOCK's products are entirely made from post-consumer waste, featuring a simple yet efficient design. These blocks facilitate the construction of structures that can be easily deployed and assembled in remote locations without the need for skilled labour.

This shift in manufacturing coincided with the successful closure of the company’s latest investment round, raising £1.3 million. The round saw contributions of £460,000 from existing backers including Equity Gap, the University of Strathclyde, and Scottish Enterprise, reflecting a robust endorsement from Scotland’s early-stage investment community.

An additional £738,000 was secured through a Defence Innovation Loan from the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), a branch of the UK Ministry of Defence. This funding reinforces QUICKBLOCK’s emerging status as a pioneering entity promoting sustainable, lifesaving solutions within the Defence and Security domains.

QUICKBLOCK CEO and Strathclyde alumnus Andrew Vincent said: “Supply chain security and price were firmly on our risk radar and our switch in manufacturers came with impeccable timing. Our mission is to put sustainable construction in the hands of everyone, enabling people to build shelter and safe spaces. We are thrilled to embark on this next phase of growth and development, having recently re-shored our production to the UK, reducing our exposure to ongoing risk in global supply chains. The funds raised will be instrumental in further strengthening our amazing team, advancing our research and development efforts, and enabling us to put new QUICKBLOCK solutions in the hands of our customers.

“The support of the Ministry of Defence shows encouraging signs in the appetite for the system which has wide utility in that market from protective structures or military, counter terrorism barriers for large scale events and even humanitarian aid shelters.”

Meryl Levington, Director of Innovation, and Industry Engagement at Strathclyde said: "Along with our investment partners we are pleased to support QUICKBLOCK as the company expands and develops. Strathclyde has a strong history of investing in innovative businesses and the company’s sustainable construction blocks have the potential to support the transition to a greener economy.”

Fraser Lusty, Managing Director at Equity Gap, said: “Equity Gap is delighted to continue to support QUICKBLOCK and provide the funding to scale the business and to build the team and grow international sales across multiple markets from its Scottish base. Andrew and his team continue to impress and are committed to embedding a modern circularity approach to their offering which will increasingly appeal to major sector customers seeking green viable material supply alternatives.”