Growth journey

There aren’t many companies that start life in a child’s playroom. However, that was the
incongruous location for the launch of Emblation … and it worked.

From these humble beginnings in 2007 in chief executive Gary Beale’s home in Stirlingshire, Scotland, the business has grown to become the world leader in energy based medical technology.

The journey, which has taken less than 15 years, has been a remarkable one. Gary and his long-time friend and co-founder Eamon McErlean, who is now chief technology officer, met at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, where they went on to do PhD research.

Together, they found themselves working for the same medical device company – Gary in Boston, Massachusetts, where he headed up the vascular and gynaecological applications, and Eamon in Hampshire, UK.

Gary then joined Boston Scientific to work on next generation stents but decided his real future lay in working with microwaves, moved back to Scotland (and the playroom) and joined with Eamon, who shared his drive to create Emblation.

Start-up grants followed, the young company finally moving to a small office and the children got their play space back. A feasibility study determined that the vision of building a pioneering compact and portable microwave device was possible.

So, a prototype was developed, funding obtained from enthusiastic backers and the chairman of the investment arm of the Clydesdale Bank, Ken Lewandowski, joined the team. The Scottish Government provided a development grant, allowing device production to start.

Things moved quickly. A deal was struck with Covidien – later to become the international medical giant Medtronic – who instantly realised the potential of compact microwave technology and wanted to use it in their new generation products.

When they saw how small the device was, they were astonished. Emblation is now the sole designer and manufacturer of Medtronic’s microwave systems. It is also working with other global leaders on its range of OEM products.

The income from this work helped to fund the development of the revolutionary Swift product, which has been a massive success. The company is now in its next stage of development, ramping up its sales team and clinical studies and obtaining an eight-figure sum from the private equity investor Apposite to take itself to the next level.

It currently markets its products in the UK, the United States, Australia and Canada and has just established a subsidiary company in Germany and will be growing further in Europe over the next year as well as moving into parts of Asia and South America. The aim is to become a truly global enterprise.

Emblation is now the go-to global brand for microwave technology. Its products have benefited hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Its future potential and success seem unlimited.

That playroom in Scotland has certainly earned its keep …