Development Bank of Wales invests in helping rural communities improve access to water storage infrastructure


andy morris
Portfolio Executive
Published:
Paul Mendieta CEO, Andy Morris, Development Bank of Wales, Tony Gale, Chairman Beren Kayali, CTO 

Pontyclun-based DEPLOY™ is disrupting the water storage industry with the development of the first-ever air-deployed ready-to-use water tank that improves accessibility and sustainability for agriculture and rural communities.

Manufactured with a concrete-filled fabric to ensure durability, resistance and reliability, DEPLOY™  is the brainchild of engineers Paul Mendieta from Ecuador and Beren Kayali of Turkey. Together, they have now secured the backing of the Development Bank of Wales with a £250,000 equity investment along with £187,000 from the Start Up Funding Club (SFC Capital) and a Smart Cymru grant of £133,000.

Having also won the support of Innovate UK, the business partners first met when studying a Masters in Innovation Design Engineering at Imperial College and the Royal College of Art in London. It was during this time that Paul also completed an internship with Pontyclun-based Concrete Canvas, manufacturers of a concrete-filled fabric composite material. DEPLOY™ now uses Concrete Canvas Hydro for the manufacture of the DEPLOY™ water tank as it incorporates a PVC geomembrane as an extra layer to provide impermeable properties, making it perfect for water storage.

Used by the agriculture industry and for flood mitigation, DEPLOY™ can be transported in a folded state and can easily be deployed by air inflation. The investment by the Development Bank, Start Up Funding Club and Smart Cymru will be used to accelerate production at the Pontyclun site with the installation of a manufacturing line. Up to four new jobs will be created in the next year before the company begins a programme of international exports in late 2022.

As an affordable and more sustainable alternative to conventional concrete water tanks, DEPLOY™  uses 70% less CO2. It weighs less than 600kg when packaged providing a further 90% reduction in emissions during transportation plus a  DEPLOY™  tank reduces water consumption by 75% as it only requires 216 litres of water compared to the 875 litres used by a concrete tank during the manufacturing and installation process.

Chief Executive Paul Mendieta said: Our mission started after I first started analysing the water related issues of more than 175 communities in Ecuador. I then completed my internship with Concrete Canvas and this inspired my commitment to helping rural communities around the world to have easier access to safe drinking water.

Together with Beren as co-founder, we have established DEPLOY™ and are working with the agriculture sector and rural communities to help with the management of their water resources by using innovative infrastructure solutions to create social and sustainable impact.

This funding from the Development Bank, Start Up Funding Club and Smart Cymru will transform the business, accelerating our development and helping to exploit the opportunity to create real impact in rural areas of the UK by providing more environmentally friendly, cost-effective, easily installed, flexible and long-term water storage tanks. Weve found our place in Wales and were just so pleased to be based alongside our friends at Concrete Canvas and to have the backing of our investors. Its given us the validation and confidence that we need to scale-up and help others along the way.”

Andy Morris is an Investment Executive with the Development Bank of Wales. He said: This is another co-investment for us alongside the Start Up Funding Club and we couldnt have picked a better business to support together. Both Paul and Beren have got fantastic vision along with a real drive to make a difference both here in the UK and globally. We wish them every success and look forward to working with them as equity partners.”

The £20 million Wales Technology Seed Fund II is financed by the Welsh Government. Equity investments between £50,000 and £250,000 are available for Welsh tech businesses and those willing to relocate to Wales at a proof-of-concept stage.

GS Verde Group advised the Development Bank of Wales. Geldards advised DEPLOY™ and Bennett Brooks acted for the Start Up Funding Club.