Inside business: The smell of gas and the scent of success
Sunday 15 November 1998
It all started in the early 1970s and the arrival in Britain of "natural gas". As an engineer, he recognised that North Sea gas would pose a safety problem to much equipment that was designed for the traditional "town gas". He saw an opportunity in gas-detection instruments and so left the company he was working for to set up Neotronics with the help of pounds 40,000 raised through taking out a second mortgage on his house and persuading an outside investor to take a small equity stake.
He started in a hut at Stansted Airport, and pioneered microprocessor- based, hand-held sensor systems before becoming a multi-millionaire by selling his controlling stake in what was then a public company to Zellweger of Switzerland in 1996.
But, although he was then in his 70s, he had not finished. An opportunity had appeared a step down the supply chain. Mr Gotley and his daughter, Andrea, set up Alphasense with the aim of designing and manufacturing sensors - in effect the heart of gas-detection equipment.
Ms Gotley, a former draughtswoman, is chief executive and responsible for the day-to-day-running of the new company while her father acts as chairman. Although the company, based in Great Dunmow - just a short way from where Neotronics started, still has a low turnover, it has developed a strong network of buyers of its expertise and technology.
Many of them are in the United States, but this is not problematic, says Ms Gotley. Thanks to e-mail, an employee in a US factory can send a message about a problem to the Gotley team in Essex towards the end of the day, enabling the team to work on it while he or she is asleep and often have an answer by the next day.
Alphasense still has a staff of just 18, but its investment record would put many larger concerns to shame. The idea took an initial year to develop and another year of working alongside manufacturers to be secure and confident of the technology.
"We will always be investing in development," says Ms Gotley, pointing to joint ventures with manufacturers and research links with teams at various British universities.
And with companies such as the GEC division, English Electric Valve and the City Technology Group, a spin-off from City University, also active in various parts of the field, she adds: "Sensor technology seems to be something that we [the British] are good at."
The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Mia Khalifa: Pornhub star claims Drake sent her 'cringeworthy' naked photos on Instagram
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
iJobs Money & Business
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...
Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...