QIB Q4: Reflections on 2019

Since the last Quarterly Investment Briefing (QIB) on 12 September, we've seen 24 businesses raise in excess of £68M in equity investment. I'ms sure you'll agree that it is a pretty impressive figure and includes some considerable numbers from Immersive Labs and XMOS.

On Thursday 28th November, a group of investors and enablers of investment gathered at Engine Shed for the latest Quarterly Investment Briefing (QIB). These events, run by Engine Shed and with support from KPMG, Smith & Williamson and TLT LLP have been a fixture since January 2018 and are designed to create space for investors to network, share and learn together.

For this event, which focused on reflections from 2019, we enjoyed 4 lightning talks - from Paul Jones of the British Business Bank, Rosie Bennett from SETsquared, Simon Tutton and Fuschia Curry from Deepbridge Capital/Deepbridge Syndicate and Harry Destecroix from Unit DX/Carbometrics. You can check out their slides in the SlideShare file below, and read on for some of my favorite bits too.

Paul Jones, British Business Bank (BBB)

The British Business Bank (BBB), is a Government-owned economic development bank with a mission to "help drive economic growth by making finance markets work better for small businesses." The BBB works with over 130 companies to distribute funds to small and medium-sized businesses. Paul shared a quick introduction to the BBB before making some reflections on data which suggests as more than a third of SMEs have not asked for finance support in the last 3 years - perhaps because of a reticence to take on debt to grow, or due to a lack of awareness of the options. Nationally 46% of business leaders will consult their high street bank regarding finance options but won't look any further and this figure is much higher in the South West. As a Senior Manager in the UK Network Team, responsible for the South West region Paul shared some observations about how opaque the world of finance is for business owners, something that the BBB strives to improve with their Finance Hub. Do take a look at Paul's slides to see whether the UK or US VC's a receiving a better return on their investments.

Simon Tutton and Fuschia Curry, Deepbridge Capital

Simon and Fuschia shared a quick introduction to Deepbridge Capital, a VC firm headquartered in Chester and operating in regions across the UK to deploy capital to distruptive, innovative and energetic tech businesses that offer adaptable technologies. When reflecting on 2019, Simon shared a reminder of the Woodford Crisis, and alluded to something similar with renewables funds which together have led to a decline in investor confidence. On a more positive note, Simon and Fuschia went on to explain their new Syndicate which creates an opportunity for individuals to invest directly in selected companies from the Deepbridge portfolio with the added benefits of investing alongside technology and life sciences specialists and only a success fee at exit. For more about the Syndicate, check out the slides 19 - 31 below or their website: https://www.deepbridgecapital.com/

Rosie Bennett, SETsquared

Rosie is the Invesment Programme Manager for SETsquared and she kindly offered an update on their activities. SETsquared exists to turn technology into innovation, and innovation into businesses, jobs and growth. It is a partnership across five universities - Bristol, Bath, Southampton, Surrey and Exeter. Their access to investment programme is aligned with the Industrial Strategy grand challenges, supports innovation by sector and includes initiatives to facilitate private and public co-investment. The first initiative that Rosie shared was the Regional Angel Investment Accelerator (RAIA) which unlocks investment from InnovateUK through coinvestment with angel groups. Rosie went on to explain this support in more detail before sharing news of the SETsquared Envestry platform which will relaunch on the 5th December.

Harry Destecroix, UnitDX, Carbometrics and Ziylo

Our final speaker for the session was Harry Destecroix who you may know as co-founder of Ziylo (which was acquired by Novo Nordisc in a deal reportedly valued at up to $800M), or co-founder of Carbometrics, or perhaps with his third hat - as co-founder of UnitDX (the biotech/deep tech incubator located on St Phillips Marsh in Bristol). Harry told the story of the challenges he faced in founding and growing Ziylo in the region and shared data from the BioCity LifeScience report this year. These insights have inspired and driven his actions over the last 12-18 months now that he is in a position to drive change for the next generation of companies. Harry has made 12 angel investments across synthetic biology, advanced materials and a few other areas. He is now developing a £30million DeepTech Venture EIS Fund through UnitDX to ensure the follow on funding is available for companies locally, and that this growing community of spinout companies is well supported. He also shared news of the new UnitDX development which will hopefully open in early 2021 to provide 3x the space of the existing facility.

I rounded off the event by sharing some fun facts about the 24 companies that I know about that are raising investment in the region. These include 5 companies raising in excess of £900k and a further 19 raising between £150k and £800k.

The next QIB will take place on 26 March 2020 - if you are an investor or enabler of investment and you'd like to be on the list to receive more information about this and other investment related events locally, please signup here: https://techspark.us3.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=69f99751d95fd7613a0851b89&id=bbce93b57e

The Quarterly Investment Briefing is organised by Engine Shed and kindly sponsored by KPMG, Smith & Williamson and TLT LLP. The events are hosted by Briony Phillips, Scaleup Lead for Rocketmakers. If you would like to speak at a future event - please get in touch: Briony@rocketmakers.com or briony@techspark.co

And finally, if you are a founder, you are raising investment and you would like to submit your one page proposition for the next event, please find more information at the bottom of this page: https://www.scaleupgenerator.co.uk/articles/qib-101

Other interesting investment news:

Beauhurst's latest quarterly review: https://about.beauhurst.com/blog/equity-investment-update-q3-2019 Atomico's latest report on the state of European Tech: https://2019.stateofeuropeantech.com/chapter/key-findings/