On Monday 6th December a small but perfectly formed crowd gathered at Engine Shed for the first in-person Quarterly Investment Briefing (QIB) in 18 months.

These events are an opportunity for investors and those people who help facilitate investment deals to come together to network, share and learn.

On this occasion, our theme for the event was ‘Reflections on 2021’ and we welcomed special guests from Silicon Valley Bank to share a market update.

In true QIB tradition, I write up some of the key headlines from the event and circulate slides in the hope that more people around the globe will stumble across some of the fantastic innovations in the South West.

The past year of tech investment

2021 has been a year that is very much worth celebrating in terms of equity investment in the South West. Here are some of my favourite headlines:

  • The region has seen nearly double the amount of equity investment raised of any year before – that’s nearly £1.2bn in total so far.
  • More than 16 companies have raised in excess of £1million this year, 6 of which raised more than £50m
  • Graphcore is the 2nd largest Deeptech fundraise in Europe (largest in UK) for 2021.
  • Bristol has a Unicorn Density (unicorns by million people) of 6.5 making it the third densest region after Cambridge and London.
  • 60% of investments have gone into Technology and IP based businesses.
  • Crowdcube, Bristol Private Equity Club and Seedrs have been the most prolific investors by number of investments though Science Creates Ventures only has3 investments listed according to Beauhurst which we suspect to be out of date.

Our special guests, Dominic Honmong and Jorell McCalla from Silicon Valley Bank brought a comprehensive market review which touched on global, national and local insights. Their three take away messages were particularly thought provoking – 

  1. Liquidity of private markets remains strong: there has never been a better time to raise funding (particularly for experienced teams and those with market penetration/traction) – great prospects will get funded.
  2. VC is evolving – it is an increasingly competitive market and VCs are being pushed into new geographies. More are setting up in the UK and London VCs are being pushed out of London deals by US investors.
  3. Diversity is a very important work in progress: we are seeing more deliberate action to support diverse founding teams (from the likes of Ada Ventures, Ascension Ventures among others) and there is gradual change in terms of greater diversity amongst the VC community but there is still more to do.

Dom has also kindly shared a couple of useful links for the investment nerds amongst you – the full Market Insight report from Silicon Valley Bank and the Atomico State of European Tech report for 2021 which was just released today. 

As part of the event I always make an open call to invite anyone who is actively raising investment to share their pitch deck on our password protected platform, Invest West.

Eighteen companies that are actively raising investment across the South West highlighted their investment this time, ranging from £2.5m to £100k and sectors as broad as agtech ad createch, sportswear to airway suction.

If you would like to explore these investment opportunities, drop Briony an email to join the platform: Briony@rocketmakers.com

The next Quarterly Investment Briefing will take place on March 24 2022 so watch out for more information and get in touch if you would like to suggest a speaker on our theme of angel investment. 

If you’d like to catch up on the event, you can see the slide deck and a recording of the QIB from Silicon Valley Bank here:

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 here.

If you are an investor and you would like to receive the regular newsletter and event invitations related to investment, please find more information and sign up here.

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

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.