Guest Blog: April Investment News

The Investment Activator Programme was launched in January 2020, a TechSPARK programme supported by 8 sponsors from across the public and private sectors designed to increase the profile of investment opportunities and investors in the West of England.

With the first quarter of 2020 under our belt, we’ve already enjoyed our first Pitch Me! event at which 6 companies practised their pitches, we took the March Quarterly Investment Briefing (an event for investors and enablers of investment) online and we are looking forward to the Silicon Gorge finals on 29 April.

Speaking of Silicon Gorge, we received 66 applications from companies that were looking to raise £20,250,000 between them and which represent fintech, deeptech, healthtech and immersive amongst the strongest subsectors. 12 companies have been selected to participate in the finals and any investors interested to find out more or attend the final pitch session (virtually) should register here.

The Quarterly Investment Briefing saw 13 companies share their one-page summaries with c. 300 investors via our password protected page and newsletter. They are raising a little over £5M between them so investors looking for opportunities locally should subscribe to find out more.

And if you’re interested in the who’s who of tech in the SW, keep an eye on TechSPARK for their new series of articles which share information about the participants in the Silicon Gorge pitch competition. We started the series with some interesting news about Data Duopoly.

In March we saw four companies raise investment in the West of England amounting to a little over £2.5M. This is somewhat down on our Graphcore shaped high in February and doesn’t compare too favourably with the same period last year but an achievement nonetheless. Two of those companies have disclosed their rounds publicly:

Huboo announced a growth investment from Maersk Growth, the corporate venture arm of container logistics company giant A.P. Moller – Maersk. today announced growth investment into Huboo, the UK-based multi-channel fulfillment service for e-commerce businesses of all sizes.

ESNO Media, founded by Callum Jenkins, a Bristol Deliveroo rider ESNO Media won £25,000 after pitching his business idea to the company’s founder. The prize money will be invested into his drone services company after presenting to top boss Will Shu at a Dragons’ Den-style competition run by the business.

Resources for those interested in raising investment:

At the moment, there is a lot of content online about the implications of this crazy time on the startup community particularly in relation to those raising investment. Here are a few of our favourite articles/pieces of content that could be useful to you if you are raising or thinking of doing so in the next 12 months:

COVID-19 European Investor Status  – this is a list of European and US investors (useful in its own right) with an update on their status at the moment.

CASE at Duke’s COVID19 Capital Relief Resource: here you’ll find a compilation, a comprehensive, searchable database including grants, loans and other case alternatives that could be useful for nonprofits and companies alike. This is a global resource, I found it easiest to navigate to ‘all relief’ in the bottom left and corner and go from there. have written a quick summary of ways to wow investors over a video call.

Beauhurst have shared some data powered reflections on the investment patterns they have seen so far.

And finally, TechNation quizzed some of their alumni to understand the biggest question they wanted answered – helpfully for us, they gathered insights from all sorts of investors to help us fundraise in a crisis and manage our runway.

The activities of the Investment Activator Programme (and specifically the Silicon Gorge Pitch Competition, Quarterly Investment Briefing and Pitch Me events) do not give advice on the risks of investment and are not authorised to carry on investment business under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (‘the Act’). Before investing in a project about which information is provided herein, potential investors are strongly recommended to take advice from a person authorised under the Act who specialises in advising on investments of this nature. Opportunities showcased here have been reviewed and selected NOT verified.

Briony is Scaleup Lead at Rocketmakers