Bristol private equity backs tech startups for growth

Inductosense and Azul Optics see local funding support
11th April 2019

A group of private investors have backed local tech firms with £611,000 out of £3m in second round funding,

“We had a busy time in March with second rounds. We provided initial capital a year or two years ago and are coming back for the next round,” said Jerry Barnes, founding member of the Bristol Private Equity Club (BPEC).

The club has grown from 49 members in 2016 to 80 today, investing £1m into seven deals in the last six months to bring the total backed so far to 15, including cloud computing firm YellowDog.

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“Bristol is not quite as mature as London, but there’s plenty of people coming through the system and in the past Bristol relied more on individual backers as opposed to groups,” said Barnes. “What we have done is put those individuals together to pool expertise and cash and pool the risk, but not trying to manage them. Having got the second and third rounds now we are linking up with venture capital to make their lives easier.”

“Everything has got tech in it, and in terms of growth it is the tech companies that will deliver growth,” he said. “AI is obviously flavour of the year, or the decade, but it does seem to make a difference, that’s something we are talking to companies about. We are in one gaming company, and that’s a massive market.”

Inductosense, based in Albert Road, which manufactures wireless, battery-free sensors for detecting cracks, corrosion, and defects in structures or products, received £210,000 from BPEC out of a total round of £1.5 million investment. They had previously received £217,000 in 2017 from BPEC. 

Azul Optics in Henleaze is developing a device enabling eye health professionals to rapidly assess eye health, received £132,000 from BPEC out of a total of £300,000. In 2016 they had received £160,000 to support development. 

“In the three years since our formation BPEC has invested a total of £4.6m into Bristol tech companies, many of whom have progressed to being globally-recognised leaders in their specialised sector,” said Barnes. 

For more information about BPEC see www.bristolprivateequityclub.com  

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