With a little over a month of this new coronavirus life complete, I have settled into a new routine of working where I sleep and becoming slightly obsessed with what I’m eating, when and how. A similar ‘new normal’ isn’t yet clear in the world of equity investment. In fact, there continues to be much speculation over the degree to which levels of equity investment will be negatively affected in the coming months.

Government Support

In response to this, the Government’s Future Fund has been announced, apparently ‘designed to ensure high-growth companies — namely, startups — across the U.K. receive enough investment to remain viable during the coronavirus crisis.’ The reality, according to some commentators (Seed Legals and Beauhurst amongst them) is that the fund is inaccessible and that those who are supported are less likely to be business leaders from underrepresented groups thereby creating even more inequality in the startup ecosystem (as covered in the Times). We have also seen a somewhat quieter announcement of the ‘bounce back loans’ for smaller companies. 

If you are interested to read more about the impact of Coronavirus on investment, this is a super helpful report from our friends at Beauhurst.

Investment in the West of England

Government schemes to one side for a moment, in the West of England (centred around Bristol and Bath), we’re celebrating the 8 companies that have successfully raised equity investment this month. Covering sectors from manufacturing to gaming and fintech to deeptech, 7 of these 9 investments are not yet publicly announced (nor will they be, necessarily) but they are certainly worth celebrating as they contribute over £2.5M to the regional investment total for the year so far which stands at £142M. The April figure is in line with what we would expect based on February and March. 

One deal that hit the headlines was Prowrap; a company that is headquartered in Fishponds, Bristol, and specialises in high-quality hair foils, innovative dispensing systems and alternative colour placement systems, and supplies to the hair and beauty sector across the globe. The company which includes brands Procare and Wrapex in its portfolio received an undisclosed investment from Longacre. The size of this deal is not included in our monthly figures as it is not known. Read more about the deal here

The last member of this rather elite group that has received and announced investment in April is a story of angel investment to the tune of £500k successfully raised by two SEO companies combined together with a shared valuation of £10M – upUgo and GoRank. You can read more about this deal in the recent TechSPARK article

Pitching for Success

This month has also seen the 70 applicants for Silicon Gorge (our South West pitch competition) whittled down to 12 finalists through a couple of semi-finals. The competition provides an opportunity for local companies to develop their pitching skills and engage with investors from across the country (with a couple of international reps this year too). If you would like to find out more about the 12 finalists, you can find some brief information on the showcase here. We will be running another round of Silicon Gorge in Autumn 2020 so please watch out and get involved!

We also have opportunities to practice pitching at our PitchMe events.

If you’re one of those people seeking some more informal feedback on their pitches, we are looking forward to the PitchMe event happening on May 15th where 3 or 4 people will have a chance to receive feedback on their pitch remotely. This is perfect for anyone new to pitching, or new to pitching online. It’s also a handy opportunity to trial a new approach to your pitch. And for those of us who don’t yet have a business to pitch, the event is open to spectators so you can learn from the tips our experts share too.  You can register on Hopin.

Briony Phillips

Briony is Scaleup Lead at Rocketmakers, a software development agency that designs, develops and deploys technology for startups, scaleups and corporations. Briony champions the scale-up business ecosystem and works with partners across the public and private sector to deliver content, events and resources that help to overcome challenges faced by fast-growth companies such as access to investment and office space availability.