On Thursday 23rd September, we gathered virtually for the third investment briefing of 2021. Our theme for the event was ‘people-powered investment’ which meant that we had a particular focus on the power of diversity in the process of successfully launching, funding and scaling a business.

We talked about the advisors and professionals that support the investment process, the implication of the diversity of the founding teams and the importance of introducing diversity where it might be lacking, as explored in a growing body of research. 

In preparation for the event I particularly enjoyed digging into this paper by McKinsey which states (amongst many other interesting things) that “not only that the business case remains robust but also that the relationship between diversity on executive teams and the likelihood of financial outperformance has strengthened over time.”

Rosie Bennett announces extension to RAIA funding

Our first speaker at the event was Rosie Bennett, Investment Manager at SETsquared who brought an update on two key programmes they are currently leading – the Regional Angel Investment Accelerator (RAIA) and the Executives into Business Programme.

RAIA was initially a pilot scheme run in three regions across the UK to enable more effective co-investment alongside InnovateUK grant funding. RAIA has been extended to offer an additional £6m across the network with £2m ringfenced for SETsquared. There is a 6 week rolling call and the next deadline is November 10th. 

The new ‘Executives into Business’ Programme invites experienced executives (who have successfully run/supported an academic spinout previously) to apply to join the executive talent pool with a view to being appointed as a CEO as a consultant of a University. More details of both these programmes can be found at 9min35s in the youtube video, or slides 8-17.

Stuart Nicol explains new QantX fund

Our second lightning speaker was Stuart Nicol who joined us to talk about a new South West based fund called QantX which is backed by some industry heavyweights and already deploying capital via a handful of angel deals. The fund has three sectors of interest – optimising healthcare, net zero and monetizing data.

They will invest between £250k – £750k into businesses focused on these areas and based in the South West. Stuart mentioned a couple of deals that they’ve already done, you can find out more about these at 25min56s in the youtube video. And you’ll be able to appreciate Rosie’s brilliant journalistic skills as she moonlights as event host thanks to the temporary death of my wifi!

Briony Phillips pitches The Reinvestment Club pilot for Bristol and Bath

I took the final lightning talk spot myself to share an idea which I’ve been developing – The Reinvestment Club. ​​The Regional Reinvestment Club (working title) is a not-for-profit membership club that will donate 100% of its funds to support our most diverse and/or impact-led founders to make their first steps towards seed funding and increase their chances of success at a later stage. In doing so, it will catalyse a culture of reinvestment in the region and educate founders in investor readiness.

In summary, I’m exploring the concept of a philanthropic fund to support diverse founders and those working on socially focused projects with a donation of £10-25k.

The beneficiary would be required to complete learning in investment readiness to unlock the funds, and the fund would be sourced via an annual membership fee and optional founders reinvestment pledge. The club would facilitate connections between members and beneficiaries and arrange events and activities to enable the increased flow of capital and knowledge from one generation to the next. You can hear the full details at 41min28s in the video

Who is raising? 

As always, the last 15 minutes of the event was dedicated to an update on the investment stats for the region and a rundown of the 14 companies that shared their pitches via our platform. You won’t find that content on the video recording but investors can hunt down the pitch decks via our platform on Invest West and scant details are also available on slides 37-39 in the slideshare link below. 

See you next time

Our final event for 2021 and for this 2-year Investment Activator Programme pilot will take place on Thursday 6th December, hopefully in person at the Engine Shed. It’ll be a round up of 2021 with guest speakers from Silicon Valley Bank amongst others. If you’d like to join us, you’ll find more details here.

Full Recording 

Watch the whole event back on youtube here:

Event Slides

Check out the slides that accompanied the event and particularly slides 37-39 which highlight 14 of the companies currently raising investment in the South West:

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. Find out more about the IAP.

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And finally, if you are raising investment for your business and you would like to submit your one page proposition for the next QIB event, please find more information at the bottom of this page.

the investment activator programme is supported by: Engine Shed, delaware, rocketmakers, sanderson, TLT, WECA and UWE Bristol