California dreamin' for tech company

A North Shields based marine technology firm is expanding in to the US market, investing $500,000 in a dedicated production facility in San Diego, California.

Saturday, 3rd March 2018, 1:30 pm
Chad Hooper, MD of Succorfish

Succorfish, headquartered on North Shields Fish Quay, has set up a US division as part of its expansion plans to drive overseas growth in the American market and across the global military sector.

The firm provides organisations with intuition from machine intelligence and its latest product development – the pioneering SCX4 subsea communication tool – has attracted the attention of the US and global military.

The new production facility will enable the company to manufacture its products in the US and will also ensure patent protection of its pioneering subsea mobile communications unit.

Chad Hooper, Succorfish MD, said: “Although traditionally rooted in the fisheries and marine sector, we are now attracting interest from international military sources – particularly in relation to our eagerly awaited SC4X subsea communication tool allowing divers to communicate with one another at a distance of up to 3km. San Diego was a natural location for our American HQ.”

He explained: “From a staff capability and skills point of view, it offered the perfect fit to support growth in the Succorfish brand and capitalise on the many opportunities the American market opens up for the business.

Succorfish invests heavily in research and development and the resulting technology has created products with potential in a number of new global markets.

It switched manufacturing to North America five years ago but became registered in the US as Succorfish LLC in 2017. The 4000 sq ft production facility is managed under the leadership of US Chief Commercial Officer, Matthew Holland and is now fully functional.

Matthew Holland, US Chief Commercial Officer comments: “Finding quality manufacturers is an issue for any business and the wish to open a US base was accelerated by a need to take more control over the manufacturing process. The goal was to make Succorfish a priority from a manufacturing point of view but also retain full quality control of our bespoke units, ensure patent protection and meet a number of compliance issues for end-users, particularly the military.

“It does also mean we’re in a position to offer a design for manufacture service to other firms looking for a quality service and advice when it comes to entering the US market as our production facility does have the capacity to work with customers looking for a manufacturing partner.”

The full Succorfish range is now manufactured within the ITAR compliant facility in San Diego. ITAR refers to International Trade in Arms Regulations and no firm supplying products to the military can do so without being ITAR compliant

Matthew continues: “Ensuring our US facility was ITAR compliant and therefore military approved was a major factor in taking more control over our own manufacturing processes. With this now in place we can supply products to military sources all over the world in addition to America.”

Succorfish made its name in the marine and fisheries market, providing one of the most popular tracking systems used for a range of applications in both the fishing, subsea and logistics sector.

The US production facility is now due to start manufacturing the first SC4X products, following an exclusive presentation by Succorfish team members in Florida at an invite-only US Special Forces event.

Chad continues: “SC4X is our most recent product innovation and we are confident it has great potential not only in the American market, but as a global subsea communication tool. Currently, subsea communication between underwater divers is extremely limited and with subsea operations becoming a growing area of tactical significance, Succorfish developed a wireless communication tool to support short-burst messaging between underwater divers at a distance of up to 3km. The first of the SC4X devices are now coming out of our US facility and our investment in an American manufacturing base is already paying dividends.

“Longer-term we are confident that Succorfish LLC will provide a base for greater exposure into new markets whilst also guaranteeing confidence in our manufacturing capabilities to retain the quality of our bespoke product range.”