[From the industry] Airship Interactive is set to double workforce thanks to NPIF growth investment

This is a press release posted in addition to our usual editorial content.

An award winning North West business is creating 50 new jobs after receiving a £450,000 investment from NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance, managed by FW Capital and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF).

Lytham St. Annes based Airship Interactive is an external development company which provides art services for some of the world’s largest gaming companies including Disney, EA, Microsoft, and Supermassive Games. It has successfully earned a reputation as one of the leading artwork studios for the games industry by being at the forefront of research and development into new design and production techniques.

Airship Interactive was set up in 2008 by CEO Joe Harford. The business has been backed by NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance since 2020 when it received £350,000 investment for new job creation. This latest round of funding will deliver £450,000 NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance investment to support Airship Interactive’s significant growth plan. This includes the recruitment of 50 new staff, key strategic hires, securing a second office, alongside investment in research and new service lines.

CEO of Airship Interactive Joe Harford said: “The gaming industry has been very strong over the last few years, and we have been able to capitalise on this increased demand for our art services and increase our share of the market. Through continued investment we have built a highly skilled team of specialists complemented with the latest technology and equipment and this new investment will allow us to expand the business even further.

We are working with major global gaming companies for some of the highest profile projects and thanks to this substantial investment we can continue to attract the best talent to join our team.  FW Capital has provided exceptional support over the last two years, and we’re delighted they are helping us with this next stage of growth. We’re really pleased to continue to work with them.”

Alistair Igo FW Capital’s Senior Investment Executive, said: “NPIF is specifically designed to encourage job creation and we are pleased that we have been able to support Airship Interactive as they look to strengthen their team and grow the business. Airship Interactive is a fantastic local growth story and have continued to enjoy success during the pandemic. When we first started working with Airship Interactive, they had 15 staff and sales of £1million but in just two years they have grown to employ over 70 staff and £3.4million of sales. The business is forecast to grow further in the next 12 months to employ 100 staff and reach £6million sales. This is really impressive.“

Sean Hutchinson at British Business Bank, said: “After securing a first round of NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance in 2020, Airship Interactive has built a reputation as one of UK’s most sought-after gaming artwork studios. It is a fantastic example of how access to finance can facilitate growth. We are pleased that NPIF is continuing to unlock the North’s growth potential by supporting small growing businesses with vital investment.”

FW Capital can provide loans in the NPIF region with a focus on Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, and the Tees Valley.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

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