Throughout April at TechSPARK, we’re shining a light on the investment cluster here in the South West, with support from our Investment Month partnerships, the Investment Activator Programme (IAP).

For this feature, we’re highlighting the most active investors in the South West over the last 5 years. With so many startups, scaleups and SMEs in the South West, it comes as no surprise that they are getting attention from so many top investors.

 

Seedrs is an equity crowdfunding platform, headquartered in East London’s Tech City, founded by Jeff Lynn and Carlos Silva in 2012. In 2020, Seedrs announced that 250 startups had raised funding through its crowdfunding platform during 2019. Whether you’re a customer, casual investor, Angel or VC, Seedrs wants to make it easy for you to invest in the next generation of growth-focused European businesses.

In 2019 Seedrs contributed towards the £2.5m invested into YellowDog, which develops a workload management software that uses cloud technology to allow businesses to schedule high performance computing resources. More recently, the crowdfunding platform invested in Bristol-based Sennen, providers of affordable, effective and seamless data systems that facilitate deployment and operation of new infrastructure in the clean energy 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.

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. Higher value investments for the BPEC includes £3.1 in 2021 to quantum sensing system developers, QLM Technology.

 

Crowdcube is a leading equity crowdfunding platform for entrepreneurs of startups and growing businesses to connect with potential investors. Dedicated to helping UK-based entrepreneurs raise finance to start or grow their business, Crowdcube gives investors real equity in the companies they fund. Crowdcube uses the web-based notion of ‘crowdfunding’ where a community of like minded people pool their money and knowledge together to back an idea, business or person.

Their recent South West tech investments include being part of the £990k raised by Yuup, the Bristol based digital marketplace for experiences. Larger value investments in the portfolio included helping facilitate 2,438 investors raise £3.73m for Small Robot Company in August 2021. The Salisbury-based company is reimagining farming to make food production sustainable. Using robotics and artificial intelligence, they have created an entirely new model for ecologically harmonious, efficient and profitable farming.

Business Growth Fund - Wikipedia

 

The Business Growth Fund is an equity investment fund backed by five of the largest banks in the UK: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Standard Chartered. Launched in May 2011 to address the longstanding shortage of funding available to Britain and Ireland’s small and mid-sized firms, BGF has since established itself as one of the UK’s major independent investment companies.

BGF has invested £2 million in XCD, the cloud-based HR and Payroll software provider, to support its organic and acquisitive growth strategy. Founded in 2011, XCD has grown to have over 30,000 users across 35 countries benefitting from its range of Salesforce powered services. In 2020 BGF invested £6m in Amdaris, the software developer and digital transformation specialist, to support its organic and acquisitive growth strategy. Learn more about Amdaris in our interview with them from earlier this year.

You can see The Business Growth Fund’s full portfolio here.

University of Bristol | Software Sustainability Institute

 

Managed by Parkwalk with the University of Bristol Research and Enterprise Development Division (RED) acting as Portfolio Advisor, the University of Bristol Enterprise Fund offers investment opportunities in scientific and technological spin-outs emerging from the University. Many are nurtured through the University’s award-winning partner SETsquared Bristol, part of a national business incubator and world leader in developing emerging UK tech entrepreneurs.

Their recent South West tech investments include being part of the £2.1 million raised by Carbometrics, who has developed a form of carbohydrate-binding molecule, called Glucose Binding Molecules, designed to sense and select glucose. While an example of their higher value investments includes being part of the £16 million raise in Mogrify‘s Series A round of funding in 2019. Mogrify develops software that use big data approaches for cellular reprogramming for disease areas such as ophthalmology and immuno-oncology.

SyndicateRoom (@SyndicateRoom) / Twitter

 

SyndicateRoom is a UK venture capital fund that uses data and diversification to maximise return potential and mitigate the risks of investing in startups, making it more accessible to experienced and first-time investors alike. Headquartered in Cambridge, SyndicateRoom was founded by Gonçalo de Vasconcelos and Tom Britton in September 2013.

Recent investments include £128,000 of the £400,000 raised by Payaca in 2021. The Bristol tech firm believes that customer focused businesses deliver the best services, and are here to give them the digital tools they need to deliver the best customer experience possible.

Wealth Club is the UK’s leading non-advisory investment broker specialising in tax-efficient investments for high net worth individuals. Although Wealth Club launched only as recently as 2016, its founding members have years of investment experience. Four of them have held senior positions at one of the UK’s largest, most successful stockbrokers while Founder and Chief Executive Alex Davies was a former Hargreaves Lansdown director and shareholder.

The Bristol-based investment broker has recent investments in SageTech Medical Equipment, developers of technology that recycles anaesthetic agents to reduce their environmental and financial impacts. Higher value investments include being part of the £37 million to OnBuy.com, operators of an online marketplace that sells new and refurbished items.


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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.