Throughout March at TechSPARK, we’re shining a light on the fintech cluster here in the South West, with support from payment experts and Fintech Month sponsors, Dojo. We’ve been talking about all things fintech from defining the term to applying the industry cycle to fintech and companies working in the fintech for good sphere.

For this feature, we’re highlighting the most active investors in fintech. With there being so many startups, scaleups and SMEs producing innovative, state-of-the-art fintech in the South West, it comes as no surprise that they are getting attention from a large group of investors.

Augmentum Fintech plc is one of Europe’s leading venture capital investors.  They focus exclusively on the fintech sector by investing in early and later stage fast growing fintech businesses that are disrupting the banking, insurance, asset management and wider financial services sectors. Augmentum is the only listed fintech-focused venture capital firm in the UK, having launched on the main market of the London Stock Exchange in 2018, giving businesses access to patient funding and support, unrestricted by conventional fund timelines.

Augmentum’s portfolio includes being part of the £35m investment in cushon, the UK workplace pension and ISA provider. Outside of South West Fintech investments, they were part of the £220m to Zopa, a peer-to-peer lending site and mobile app, offering personal loans, a credit card, and car finance, and part of £72m to Tide, which provides a mobile-based current account through its partnership with ClearBank for small businesses.

Formerly Draper Esprit, Molten Ventures is one of the most active venture capital firms in Europe, developing and investing in disruptive, high growth technology companies. They believe in supporting the visionary entrepreneurs who will invent the future and fuelling their growth with ‘energy’ in the form of truly patient capital, access to international networks and decades of experience building businesses. Currently, Molten Ventures is a shareholder in a diverse portfolio of companies including Revolut, UiPath, Trustpilot, Ledger, and Graphcore.

Molten Ventures were part of the £10m investment into Crowdcube, an online equity crowd funding platform based in Exeter. Non-South West fintech investments include being part of the £150m to Thought Machine, developers of the retail banking software Vault, and the £116m to Form3, who develop internet-based software for businesses in the financial sector.

The Bristol Private Equity Club is an organisation that matches its members with businesses looking for equity in the £100k to £500k space using the SEIS and EIS venture capital schemes. The BPEC is not a Fund. The members are all like-minded individuals who have been carefully chosen for their broad range of skills and industry backgrounds.

Each member invests in each business on a deal by deal basis, not all members will invest in each proposal, this clearly differentiates the Club from a VCT or Private Equity Fund. Above all it is formed as a Club because we hope it will be fun! We are serious about our investing but the Club will have a social element too.

The BPEC invested £115k into Bristol-based The Bunch, developers of software designed to allow people in shared living arrangements to manage bills from multiple suppliers in one place. See more about The Bunch in our Startup for 10 interview with them here.

Headquartered in Swindon, Nationwide Building Society is a British mutual financial institution, the seventh largest cooperative financial institution and the largest building society in the world with over 15 million members.

NBS were part of the the £13m invested into Moneyhub in 2021, which you can read more about here. And had previously invested in Bunk, a Bristol-baed digital lettings agency, back in 2019. Outside the South West, Nationwide Building Society’s portfolio includes investment in 10x Banking and Switchd.

Guinness Global Investors is an independent active fund manager specialising in long-only equity funds and private equity investments. Their in-house economic, industry and company research allows them to take an independent view and not be led by the market, with their size and specialist nature also means we have the ability to respond quickly and efficiently to any market movements.

Their fintech investment portfolio includes investing £3m into Neighbourly, the Bristol-based company that connects corporate clients with thousands of vetted local charities and good causes across the UK and Ireland. The platform measures activities in real time and provides evidence of the social and environmental value delivered. Over 10,000 charities and 15,000 good causes have been supported by Neighbourly to date.

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Ben Oliver

Ben is our Social Media Manager, he oversees all the content that goes out on our channels, including the latest articles, interviews and events to keep you updated with everything tech in the South West.