British firm makes major investment in Ottawa's Searidge Technologies

Searidge CEO Moodie Cheikh
Searidge Technologies CEO Moodie Cheikh says the new investment from British firm NATS will allow his company to further expand its reach. File photo

An Ottawa firm that makes video technology used at airports around the world has landed a major investment from a British company.

Searidge Technologies announced Friday that NATS, an air traffic management firm based in the United Kingdom, has become an equal shareholder in the Ottawa company with NAV Canada, which has owned Searidge since 2010. Financial terms of the deal were not released.

Searidge, which makes digital camera technology that allows air traffic controllers to manage airport towers from remote locations, will continue to operate as an independent company.

“Digital tower technology has the potential to completely transform the delivery of air navigation services at airports, and we’ve been incredibly impressed by what Searidge offers,” NATS chief executive Martin Rolfe said in a news release. “That’s why we’ve chosen to invest.”

Founded in 2001, Searidge now operates at more than 30 sites in 16 countries. Its international customers include Heathrow Airport in London, Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, Dubai International Airport and Hamad International Airport in Qatar.

CEO Moodie Cheikh said the latest investment will help the firm continue to broaden its customer base.

“We are excited as Searidge takes this important next step in its growth,” Mr. Cheikh said in a news release. “We strongly believe ownership by two tier one air navigation service providers will allow Searidge to better service our customers, expand our reach into key markets and help drive innovation in the operational environment.”

Searidge has long been a leader in the field of remote video technology for airports. In 2008, it became the first company to implement an operational video system in an air traffic control tower when its technology was adopted by Abu Dhabi International Airport in the United Arab Emirates. Recently, the firm unveiled the world’s first artificial intelligence platform for air traffic management.

According to an OBJ profile on the company in late 2015, Searidge employed 40 people. Its revenues increased by 60 per cent over the course of that year, the fifth consecutive profitable year for the firm.

“Over the last six years, Searidge has done a great job of growing the business and evolving its technology into a market-leading contender in the remote tower space,” NAV Canada CEO Neil Wilson said in a release. “Building on our existing partnership with NATS, this new venture will allow us to take Searidge to the next level of growth and success.”