Blog by Briony Phillips, Investment Activator
A little over £28m in equity investment was raised by 17 companies across the South West in the final month of 2022. This additional sum brings the annual total for the region to just over £918m for the calendar year according to data from our friends at Beauhurst.
So our boom year in 2021 which totalled £1.2bn may well have been an anomaly – or perhaps the funding potential in the region has been capped by the current economic environment. I suppose we will never know, but we can rest assured that 2022 marked our second best year since records began – a full £300m ahead of the third place year (2019). What will 2023 bring in terms of investment news? Readers of my November update will likely share my scepticism about whether another record-breaker is on the cards, but let us wait and see.
For now, there are some great stories to share – of eight companies that have secured equity funding in December and announced the news publicly too:
LocalGlobe has led an £8 million seed investment into Concretene, a product developed by the UK’s Nationwide Engineering Research and Development (NERD) in partnership with the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) at The University of Manchester that aims to do more with less through better material. Concretene offers the promise of a more robust, more sustainable, and more cost-effective alternative to the world’s most-used building material, concrete.
Electrified Automation has been awarded £6m in government funding to further develop their innovative process for manufacturing electric motors that are more cost-competitive, powerful and efficient than many of the products currently available in the marketplace. The grant has been awarded through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) Collaborative Research and Development programme, which supports the development of innovative low and zero carbon automotive technology.
Exeter-based Intelligent AI has raised £2m in seed funding for its AI-based property insurance underwriting software. Intelligent AI has created a risk underwriting platform for property insurance providers to write the terms and conditions of their policies. The platform creates a digital twin of a physical property to map out potential risks. It uses AI to analyse more than 300 data points, such as satellite imagery.
LabCycle is the first company on the market to recycle laboratory plastic waste & aims to create circular economies in the research & healthcare sectors.
The investment raise was led by SFC Capital with participation from 5 independent angels and will enable LabCycle to scale up operations across the Bath and Bristol areas.
Moneyhub, the market leading Open Finance, Open Data, and payments platform, has announced that it has secured a further £15 million in funding from leading savings and retirement business Phoenix Group. This funding now completes Moneyhub’s largest fundraise to date, totalling £55 million, following the £35 million in funding announced on 24 October 2022 from Legal & General and Lloyds Banking Group, with an additional £5m debt facility provided by Shawbrook Bank, partially subject to regulatory approval.
Narwhal Media Group
A Bristol-based firm focused on data-driven marketing has raised more than £2m in just three weeks from high-net-worth investors during the second part of its pre-Series A fundraising. Narwhal Media Group (NMG) said the funding will facilitate the launch of a new digital services marketplace for underserved sectors that will fast-stream sales for businesses and reduce costs for consumers.
Bristol specialist intelligent automation and inspection firm Perceptual Robotics has secured additional funding after completing an award-winning start-up programme. The previous SETsquared Bristol member, which uses autonomous drones to help cut the cost of maintaining wind turbines, showcased its system to more than 100 venture capitalists and key industry guests at an event staged by Deeptech Labs, which has invested an undisclosed amount in the business.
A Hayle-based marine industry technology firm has secured funding from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund. Triskel Marine, which trades as Integrel Solutions, collects excess energy from a boat’s inboard engine that would otherwise go to waste, storing it in batteries for later use. This can then be used around the boat to power lights, ovens, air conditioning, refrigerators and water makers, reducing overall power consumption, lowering marina costs and negating the requirement for noisy generators. It has completed a £3.2m funding round, which included £1m from CIOSIF and matched funding from private investors in the US. The deal follows a £350,000 loan from CIOSIF earlier this year.
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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