Blog by Briony Phillips, Investment Activator
So far this year, 67 companies in the South West have raised equity investment totalling £75 million. The largest disclosed amount was £15 million by Geothermal Engineering in March and the smallest just £6,000. By this time last year, companies in the South West had raised £368 million, and in 2022 only(!) £22 million.
In April, 21 companies raised equity investment across the South West region. Only eight of these companies have shared the news publicly, and of those, only half have published the amount that they have raised – coming to a total of almost £14 million. Read on to find out more about who has raised (and shared the news) in April.
A business launched by two former Royal Marines has raised £1.6m in seed funding. Loopin, an online platform that helps businesses measure and improve employee morale, has been backed by high-net worth individuals and angel investors.
Loopin’s mission is to boost the morale of one million employees by 2025 and with it, the performance of thousands of businesses. The Bristol business currently has 40 paying customers including Reed, Farfetch and JD Sports.
Perceptual Robotics, the high-tech wind turbine inspections company, has secured its largest investment to date from a consortium of investors.
The Bristol-based firm provides services and technology for autonomous wind turbine inspections utilising artificial intelligence and drones. The company will use the £2.7 million funding to plan its expansion into North America and Latin America, as well as double its team. It is the latest step for the Bristol-based company, which earlier this year announced it had launched operations in Southeast Asia.
Bristol-based Inductosense has announced securing another funding round to expedite the roll-out of their pioneering technology. Aramco Ventures has invested in Inductosense’s novel corrosion monitoring technology, bringing its total funding to $10m.
The Inductosense WAND technology is based around wireless, battery-free ultrasonic sensors that are permanently attached to metal structures for simple, accurate wall thickness monitoring. The technology revolutionises corrosion monitoring and offers a seamless migration from manual collection of corrosion data to a fully automated IoT solution. The repeatable measurements from the WAND sensors allow customers to trend data, make informed decisions and improve safety. Customers also see reduced costs and are supported with their drive towards digitisation and net zero.
Wizz Air, Europe’s fastest growing and most environmentally sustainable airline globally, has announced a £5 million investment in a biofuel company, Firefly. This is Wizz Air’s first equity investment in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) research and development. The partnership with Firefly will allow the airline to supply SAF to its UK operations from 2028, up to 525,000 tonnes over 15 years. The agreement has the potential to save 1.5 million tonnes of CO2-eq.
Chippenham-based lightweight wheels firm Dymag has secured new investment, with the move designed to help accelerate the global mass production of its technology.
Building on an existing partnership with Hankuk Carbon – a manufacturer of advanced carbon materials – the South Korean company is now an investor in the business. The deal follows funding from the UK government’s Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI), alongside several rounds from Puma Private Equity.
Mykor is a biotechnology company focused on creating carbon-negative building materials using fungi and waste. Their first product, MykoFoam, is a carbon-negative insulation sheet that uses 90% less water, 40% less energy, and 60% less CO2 than traditional competitors. To date Mykor has won several grants from Innovate UK and the EU which has funded the early stages of their research and development.
WAE has announced a strategic equity investment in Beam Connectivity Limited (Beam Connectivity or “the Company”), pioneers in the connected vehicle space. Beam Connectivity was formed in 2020 to address the fragmented nature of the connected vehicle systems market, seizing the opportunity to develop a full end-to-end solution. The founders recognised that connected vehicle solutions offered an underwhelming experience for both end users and the organisations that deploy them and established Beam Connectivity to address this issue.
Sister – the media group co-founded by Elisabeth Murdoch, Jane Featherstone and Stacey Snider in 2019 – has announced a creative partnership with new TV and tech entertainment company Yes Yes Media, founded by broadcaster and format developer Richard Bacon. The media group, behind BBC hit This is Going to Hurt, has taken a significant stake to support the founding and growth of the new unscripted entertainment venture.
The new deal aligns with Bacon’s ambition to find new and innovative ways to reach, engage and entertain global audiences in the non-scripted space, and further sharpens Sister’s mission to support and invest in visionary storytellers.
This article is written as part of the Investment Activator Programme (IAP) in the West of England. This programme is run by techSPARK and is kindly sponsored by TLT LLP, delaware, West of England Combined Authority, UWE, Sanderson, Engine Shed and Rocketmakers.
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