Cash injection set to boost ZBD’s production

ZBD Displays, the Malvern-based company that pioneered the ‘zero power’ LCD screen, has raised half a million pounds to boost its global production capabilities and technological development.

Prelude, the investment trust that specialises in high-growth technology businesses, announced it has put £497,000 into ZBD in the first part of a new £2.7m funding round, with a further £428,000 to be injected in March. The cash will enable improvements in production capabilities and further application development.

ZBD, which has developed a unique bi-stable LCD, was one of the first spin-outs from the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, now Qinetiq, in July 2002.

The passive matrix LCD technology allows high-quality images to be kept on the screen indefinitely without power, enabling device manufacturers to use much smaller batteries. The only power requirement would be when the image changes.

Early adopters of the technology are major stores and supermarkets, which are using the displays to allow a flexible pricing model for internet price matching, improved stock control and simplifying data updates on displays. Colin Garrett, chairman of ZBD, said that the technology was being rolled-out in Tesco in Leicester and Peter Jones in

Sloane Square, London

Prelude’s co-investors in this latest funding round were Qinetiq Ventures, The Dow Chemical Company and TTP Ventures. Prelude now owns 33 per cent of ZBD which has so far raised £10.4m, with Prelude investing a total of £4m.

Bob Hook, director of Prelude said: ‘ZBD is past the trial stage and this fundraising will quicken the pace as it continues to commercialise its technology. We expect to see the next phase of adoption of ZBD’s technology into other retail sectors, and also throughout Europe.

‘Following this financing the company has the potential to start to generate significant revenue.’