The scaleup of autonomous vehicle manufacturer Aurrigo International has continued apace since its IPO on AIM in September 2022.

Following the IPO, the size of the workforce has doubled to 96 (as at the start of August 2023) with 14 of the new hires being made in Singapore and Canada.

“We have had no difficulty at all in recruiting people,” says CEO David Keene.

 The Coventry-based company has been successfully tapping its local universities – Warwick, Aston and Coventry – as feeders of talent. One example: it has recently concluded a successful three-year KTP with Aston and has since employed the student full time.

But Aurrigo International has also been able to recruit experienced people back out of retirement, working on both a part and full-time basis. And it has been able to hire people further afield – from Leeds, Bradford, Bristol and London. “We have more people spread out around the UK, working partially from home and partially in the office, than ever before.” But he likes to see people at the coalface as “you can’t build a vehicle from home.”

A growing international profile

Aurrigo International’s high-profile project at Changi Airport in Singapore is progressing at pace. “In 2024, you may well see live flight operations with our vehicles servicing flights in some lesser or greater capacity, and in 2025 we anticipate seeing multiple vehicles operating around the airport seamlessly integrated into the aircraft and baggage handling systems.” This autumn, its brand new vehicle will be operating there. It will be a huge step forward, says Keene, as its capabilities address many of the questions and challenges that have been put to us.

Such is the excitement about Aurrigo International’s autonomous vehicles that they form a centrepiece in a Changi Airport Group recruitment campaign. Meanwhile, airlines, airports and civil aviation authorities are flocking to Changi to see demonstrations of Aurrigo International’s technology.

The value of listing as a public company

The IPO in 2022 has been a hugely positive experience. “We had hit a glass ceiling as a privately held company and we have smashed through that ceiling after going public,” says Keene. “The disciplines of being a public company have meant that we have put more structure into the company. We have introduced more incentives for our staff such as a share option scheme. The sky’s the limit and everyone is very supportive – AIM is a great market to be on.

Being a public company is not as scary as everyone tells you it will be, he adds. “In hindsight, we might have taken steps differently or earlier but we would not change our decision. 

When I speak to other entrepreneurs, their concerns are about the steps and the actual costs of taking your company public. Telling them how much we paid helps to quantify it. It is something that needs to be demystified.

He is happy to talk to others about the process. 

“Without the connections from the Innovate UK programme, we would not be in this situation.”

Professor David Keene, Co-Founder & CEO