Rising businesswoman marks series of major milestones for Scotland-based firm

ThermaFY founder Amanda Pickford
ThermaFY founder Amanda Pickford

A Scottish firm at the leading edge of thermal image analysis software has been selected by Microsoft to showcase its business at a major world-class innovation show.

ThermaFY is featuring at this week’s London Tech Week 2019 where the company will launch its revolutionary software for the heating industry.

The latest coup is one of a number of recent successes that Kelso-based ThermaFY has marked within just four years after the business was set up in a cupboard at home.

ThermaFY has not only expanded across Europe but its founder, Amanda Pickford, has been appointed as an ambassador for Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) as well as being selected to join one of the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) programs of its kind run by Microsoft. The program is aimed at unlocking solutions to some of society’s biggest challenges on a global scale.

Amanda, who has also been named as one of the top 20 businesswomen to watch in 2019, hails national business advice service Business Gateway as being a key driving force behind her growth success: “When I started ThermaFY, I never imagined being where I am now let alone becoming an ambassador for WES. My business has gone through a huge transition over the past year and Business Gateway has played a pivotal role in helping me to achieve this.

“The biggest challenge when you start a business is believing in yourself and that’s where Business Gateway has supported me. I went to them with a seed of an idea and they have provided timely nourishment to help the business grow.”

She added; “Becoming a Women’s Enterprise Scotland Ambassador has also been hugely beneficial because it has encouraged me to become a visible role model for other women who are looking to start or grow a business. Collaborative action across the enterprise ecosystem will help women close the gender gap in enterprise, where currently just 20% of Scottish SMEs are majority owned by women.”

ThermaFY, which also recently won a contract with an international boiler company, has fast evolved as a business and harnesses cutting-edge technology and software that turns your mobile phone into a powerful tool that enables you to collect and analyse thermal data.

The company’s game-changing technologies include ThermaVet for the animal sector and ThermaMec for the heating industry and tradespeople like electricians and plumbers.   

But while Amanda’s business quickly took off, building the company has not been without its challenges.

“Thermography spans such a vast number of sectors and areas that it was difficult defining my exact offering,” she said. “I was trying to be all things to all people, but Business Gateway was very good at making me narrow my vision by stripping it back and being clear and concise about where I want to go.”

“I never dreamed that I would get where I am now. I have tapped into every resource Business Gateway has and my adviser, Sandra Campbell, is a great motivator. She has always believed in me and, after completing a strategy workshop through Scottish Development International, it was time to really focus on the business and move into an office.

“We managed to get a Make It To Market grant which allowed me to get someone to help with the work, we then started working more with Scottish Enterprise and, as a result, managed to get an innovation grant of £96,000.

“I wouldn’t be here without Business Gateway’s support. They have supported me throughout my business journey and gave me the confidence to believe in myself.”

Sandra Campbell, a growth business adviser at Business Gateway, said: “It has been a great opportunity working with ThermaFY, which has made the most of what Business Gateway has to offer in terms of defining their strategy, access to finance and specialist support for digital, innovation and internationalisation. 

“The company is on the cusp of developing a global brand which will make a substantial contribution to energy efficiency within the plumbing and heating sector.” 

ThermaFY, which now has four employees, is focused on continuing to scale up and growing the business by developing intuitive software that analyses heat patterns to identify issues. ThermaFY turns the invisible into visible and measurable data.

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