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Scottish wheelchair revolution gains £350,000 investment to bring product to global market

05 September 2012

As all eyes are on London 2012 Paralympic Games, a revolutionary wheelchair, which uses Formula 1 technology, has secured £350,000 investment from Highland Venture Capital and the Scottish Investment Bank.

Andrew Slorance, designer of the Carbon Black wheelchair and founder of I Imagine Ltd, the company behind the technology, has spent four years realising his vision of a wheelchair revolution. Carbon Black uses F1 technology to create a cutting edge design that provides a significantly improved user experience with a stylish minimal design.

Carbon Black has already been recognised internationally and was shortlisted for Design of The Year 2012 by the London Design Museum and is nominated for the World Technology Network (WTN) award in the USA.

With a successful proof of concept and £70,000 innovation support via a SMART:SCOTLAND grant, international support from Scottish Development International and additional funding and support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to build and market his second prototype, securing this first round of investment will allow for the production of commercial moulds to produce the made to order wheelchair. This will take this innovative product to a global market of over one million active independent users, comprising mainly of spinal cord injuries and war wounded.

Using the very latest composite materials and Formula 1 engineering, Carbon Black is set to change perceptions of the wheelchair. Carbon fibre offers incredible strength to weight properties, combined with unprecedented stiffness for optimal energy efficiency. The monocoque design is both lightweight and strong, yet has a minimal appearance, resulting in more person, less wheelchair.

Andrew Slorance comments on why this new product will revolutionise the market: "One of the worst days of my life was the first time I went out in public now a wheelchair user following a spinal injury aged fourteen. The chair was so awkward to use, ugly and medical in its appearance I felt disabled and not enabled, my ability was compromised by the limited capability of the wheelchair. Over the years wheelchairs have become lighter, but they are still a long way from being desirable products. It is my aim that the user of Carbon Black will feel empowered, their ability optimised and confidence boosted by using a high end piece of equipment that is more desirable technology than it is medical device.

"This project would not have been possible without the early stage support of SMART: SCOTLAND. This investment will allow us to take Carbon Black to market and reach wheelchair users worldwide currently starved of choice and innovation from the wheelchair industry."

Andrew, who has presented and directed television programmes for BBC, ITN and Channel 4, turned an inventor and entrepreneur to reinvent the wheelchair. Andrew and his wife Mary were filmed for a dedicated BBC documentary "My Perfect Wheelchair" screened last month on BBC Scotland and due for network transmission on Sept 9 BBC2.

Iain Scott, chairman of Highland Venture Capital, who is also joining the board of i-Imagine said: "This is HVC's second investment in the Highlands. The opportunity to work with Andrew to bring this novel product to the market is an exciting opportunity we are pleased to be part of."

Kerry Sharp of the Scottish Investment Bank said: "Scotland continues to produce innovative young companies with technologies that boast global potential. Through our range of equity investment funds we want to support early stage innovative companies, just like I Imagine, to commercialise technologies that will not only deliver innovative solutions to modern day problems, but will contribute to Scotland's economy."

HIE's Caroline MacLellan, commented: "We are delighted to have worked with Andrew during his journey to take Carbon Black from initial design to production. This external investment offers the exciting opportunity the business has been seeking to allow it to grow. We are also on hand with ongoing specialist advice to help Andrew maximise his orders in the world wide market."

Access to finance remains a challenge for Scottish businesses and through the Scottish Investment Bank and a range of finance options for ambitious Scottish companies, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise are working intensively with Scottish companies to help them prepare for new investment and access the finance needed to grow.

Further information:

  • If you'd like more information or to arrange an interview with Andrew Slorance, please call 07789862100 or email
  • About Andrew Slorance
    Andrew has been a wheelchair user since breaking his back at the age of fourteen. Twenty eight years later he is realising his vision to re-invent the wheelchair with Carbon Black. Andrew lives in the Scottish Highland town of Nairn put his broadcast career on hold four years ago to form I Imagine Ltd and chase his vision, to revolutionise the wheelchair.

    For further information visit 

    Find out more about the support I Imagine Ltd has recieved from HIE
  • About Highland Venture Capital
    Highland Venture Capital Ltd is a group of 40, mostly Highland based, business angels. Our preference is to invest in Highland based companies whose products and services are sold outside the Highlands and Islands. However, we have investments all across Scotland. Further information on the Group can be found at

    Investments to date include:- Syntropharma, Lamellar, Advanced Microwave Technology, SFX, Centeo, Actual Analytics, Design LED, Ice Factor International

    For more info contact Iain Scott, mobile 07802 805 873, phone 01 463 712588, email
  • Media Contact
    All media enquiries should be made to or call Andrew direct on (+44)07789 862 100.

    For information on the BBC Television documentary contact Hilda McLean



Leave a comment

anticipation &excitement growing 01/10/2013

any idea of cost of chair?

Highlands and Islands Enterprise 01/10/2013

Hi there, we don't have details of chair costs, please contact Andrew by email at or visit his website for more info at Thanks, HIE.

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