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Financing your business

Navigating investment opportunities can be a difficult task, especially when you are in the process of setting up or scaling your business. Below is a list of investment options available to businesses in the North West and UK-wide. If you want further advice or want to talk to someone about moving your business to the next step, then please get in touch and one of our team will be happy to advise [email protected]

Accel

Investment Available

Accel are looking to invest in a range of companies, both individual ideas and entrepreneurs. They are keen to promote that ‘greatness doesn’t have a stereotype’ and believe they have a responsibility to support unique founders to help them grow into amazing, enduring companies.

Suitable Businesses

Looking to partner with exceptional founders with unique insights, from inception through all phases of growth.

Amount available

£1 million to £100 million

 

Acceleris (Seneca Partners)

 

Investment Available

Focusing on technology and high-value-added companies, Acceleris are keen to ensure an active involvement with companies post investment. Investment comes from an engaged network of high-net-worth investors and institutional investors. Acceleris are promoted as experts in arranging and managing investments and are set up to deploy funds into all transaction stages of a business, from early stage throughout development to acquisition.

Suitable Businesses

Companies must display the following characteristics:

  • Address a large or fast-growing market sector
  • Possess a demonstrable competitive advantage with a strong patent position where appropriate
  • Operate a sound business model
  • Deliver high margins
  • Have a strong and experienced management team
  • Be attractive exit candidates
  • Have a high return potential

 

Amount available

£250,000 to £2 million

 

Amadeus Capital Partners

Investment Available

Amadeus Capital Partners are a global technology investor. With vast experience and a great network, Amadeus Capital’s team of investors and entrepreneurs share a passion for the transformative power of technology. Their vision is to help entrepreneurs grow their company, realise their ambition, avoid pitfalls, and make money.

Suitable Businesses

Amadeus Capital Partners invests in startups and growing companies in the following sectors:

  • Consumer services
  • Financial technology
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Cyber security
  • Medical technology
  • Digital health
  • Digital media sectors

Having invested in over 130 companies, they have a broad range of experience and are able to support companies with a vision of future technology.

Amount available

£1 million to £10 million

 

Angel CoFund

Investment Available

The CoFund is designed to be a support system in addition to angel investment. The CoFund was established with the dual objectives of providing both direct investment to high-potential SMEs, enabling them to unlock their growth potential, and supporting the development of the UK business angel market by encouraging syndication and best practice.

You do not need to apply for this fund directly. If you are in discussion with the angel investors, they can apply and the CoFund will invest alongside them (between 30% and - rarely - 50% of the funding round).

Suitable Businesses

The fund invests across the UK and will consider proposals for businesses at all stages of development and in most sectors, provided they qualify as an SME and operate within any industrial sector. Syndicates should be looking for the Angel CoFund to provide equity or quasi-equity investments.

Amount available

£100,000 to £1 million

 

AXM Venture Capital

Investment Available

The North West Fund for Digital & Creative provides a flexible equity package for growth-oriented businesses operating within the digital and creative sector. Finance can be provided for a broad range of needs from start-up and early-stage development through to expansion plans for trading businesses, in return for an equity share in the business. The £15 million North West Fund for Digital & Creative is part of the £155 million North West Fund.

Suitable Businesses

Applications from businesses operating across a broad range of activities, including:

  • Television production
  • Software development
  • Social networking tools
  • E-commerce
  • Design
  • Advances digital hardware innovation
  • Advertising and marketing communication
  • Electronic publishing
  • Computer games developers
  • Broader information and communication technology industries

Amount available

£50,000 to £2 million

 

Balderton Capital

Investment Available

Europe’s largest early-stage venture capital investor, focused on European technology companies. Balderton invest into companies with the potential to disrupt huge industries and the ambition to scale globally. Balderton have a strong set of beliefs and are keen to find the next big European giant in the technology sector.

Suitable Businesses

Will consider companies in any sector and any geographic area. Balderton will work with and look for particular characteristics in entrepreneurs, for example, having direct experience of the problem they are trying to solve, passion, conviction and a vision of the world that is different to most people.

Amount available

£1 million to £20 million

 

Beacon Capital

Investment Available

Beacon invest in entrepreneurs who are able to articulate a clear market opportunity and are committed to building a substantial business. They provide funding and expertise based on their experience from having invested in and worked with entrepreneurs who transformed their industries. Beacon invest in B2B enterprise technology ventures at pre-series A stage that are raising between £500,000 to £2 million.

Suitable Businesses

Startup businesses that build transformative technology products for enterprise customers. Suitable businesses must have the following attributes:

  • Target market must be greater than £1 billion
  • An impressive founding team
  • A strong technical co-founder
  • Track record that shows ambition and ability
  • Some validation of product/market fit, even if early
  • A logical, fact-based, explanation as to why now is the right time to enter the market and take advantage of the opportunity

 

Amount available

£500,000 to £2.5 million

 

BGF Venture Fund

Investment Available

Business Growth Fund offers growing companies and ambitious entrepreneurs patient capital and strategic support. An active investor in small and medium-sized companies from early stage, growth stage and quoted – across every region and sector of the economy.

Situated across 13 offices, BGF are close and relevant to the businesses they invest in. They are keen to see more entrepreneurs using capital not only to scale up business but also, collectively, to drive economic activity and with it increase employment, exports and growth.

Suitable Businesses

Early-stage UK or Irish companies with promising traction and vast ambitions. Searching for the brightest, boldest founding teams with the vision to create iconic, industry-defining companies of the future.

Amount available

£1 million to £6 million

 

Catapult Ventures

Investment Available

Catapult Ventures is an independent fund manager. Its owners have operated a number of discrete venture capital funds on behalf of a range of public and private sector investors. Each member of the executive team has some direct portfolio responsibility, meaning they are active board members who play a key role in investee company strategy, hiring of senior personnel and sometimes even the finding and meeting of customers. Their executives are also heavily involved in financial strategy which can include leveraging banking relationships and the introduction of new investors for additional funding rounds.

Suitable Businesses

Experience spans a range of sectors from healthcare and pharmaceuticals to luxury consumer brands, manufacturing and software, as well as all stages: from start-ups and pre-revenue IP developers to company floatation. There are two potential funds available, from broad UK-wide funding to tailored life science based businesses.

Amount available

£200,000 to £2 million

 

Co Angel Investment Service

Investment Available

Co Angel Investment offers a package of support for businesses looking for investment. Professional Investment Managers will guide you through the process to ensure you are fully confident in their services and assist in the best way possible to support your journey on seeking investment. Post investment, the team at Co Angel remain engaged with investee businesses and provide mentoring, NED and strategic support services to ensure that growth opportunities are realised and capitalised upon.

Suitable Businesses

Any sector and any geographic area, at any stage of the startup or small business journey. Part of Manchester Growth Company, which is owned by Manchester City Council, so focused on companies located in Greater Manchester.

Amount available

From £25,000 to £2 million

 

Connect Ventures

Investment Available

Connect Ventures support founders to build product-focused businesses, starting from finding product/market fit through to scaling up. As an independent and focused team, they are able to move quickly and provide attention and guidance to businesses.

Suitable Businesses

Internet, Mobile, Digital Media Business plan only, with a product/service ready to launch. Connect Ventures look for product-focused teams who have found a painful problem and an elegant solution to that problem. They like teams who show real grit and are willing to fail in order to eventually succeed.

Amount available

£200,000 to £1 million

 

Crowdcube

Investment Available

Crowdcube is a leading equity crowdfunding platform for entrepreneurs of start-ups 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.

Having founded and worked for several entrepreneurial businesses, they understand how difficult it can be to raise money to start and grow a small business.

Suitable Businesses

Can be from any sector from any geographical area. Businesses from early start up through to funding for business growth,

Amount available

£50,000 to £2 million

 

Dawn Capital

Investment Available

Provides equity funding for small and medium-sized enterprises to enable them to grow. Dawn are experienced London tech investors, most interested in cloud, software and consumer internet projects. There is possibility of funding for startups but they consider their ‘sweet spot’ to be working with founders when they have got their product right and revenues are beginning to scale up.

Suitable Businesses

Dawn Capital want to ensure their expertise is right for the businesses with which they work, so focus investments in the specialist areas of Fintech and B2B Software.

Amount available

£100,000 to £5 million

 

Deepbridge Capital

Investment Available

Deepbridge is able to provide funding in various formats including Venture Capital, EIS Investors and IHT Investors. Each investment type brings with it respective benefits and drawbacks. The Deepbridge team will help you decide what type of investment you require and will then help you obtain it. They seek to build long-term relationships to support and invest in successful businesses as they develop and grow, and look for opportunities that are capable of creating, transforming or dominating an industry.

Suitable Businesses

The expertise of Deepbridge lies in asset-backed renewable energy projects and technology growth investments.

Amount available

£500,000 to £5 million

 

Draper Esprit

Investment Available

As the only tech-focussed venture capital firm listed on the stock market, Draper Esprit has the flexibility to back businesses from scale-up to IPO or acquisition.


Suitable Businesses

A technology-focussed investor willing to consider any UK geographical location. Providing investment to a range of stages, from partnering with seed-stage investors through to IPO stage.

Amount available

£200,000 to £10 million

 

Eden Ventures

Investment Available

Eden Ventures invests in high-growth European technology companies. Their investment strategy is to provide early-stage funding (seed and Series A). However, they also aim to invest further capital in the best companies through their lifetime, meaning that entrepreneurs can focus on getting on with business knowing they have a strong investment partner by their side.

Suitable Businesses

A particular focus on the following sectors:

  • Big data analytics
  • Cloud computing
  • Digital media
  • Enterprise software
  • Fintech
  • Internet
  • Mobile
  • Retail technologies
  • Social media
  • Telecommunications software

 

Successful businesses will demonstrate a significant market opportunity, a strong team with deep domain knowledge and real tenacity alongside an international vision.

Amount available

£200,000 to £8 million

 

Forward Venture Partners

Investment Available

Forward Venture lead investments but are also happy to co-invest alongside their peers. They make significant reserves for follow-ons, which means they are set up to support your growth in the future.

Suitable Businesses

Technology-focussed businesses at all stages of startup from pre-seed through to seed.

Amount available

£300,000 to £4 million

 

Frog Capital

Investment Available

Frog is a leading European growth-stage software VC that invests in Europe’s most ambitious and fast-growing growth-stage companies. Their objective is to support companies that achieve strong growth each and every year. Their strategy is based on selecting the best scale-up phase investments and empowering technology CEOs to grow fast, by deploying their capital, network and support.

Suitable Businesses

Specifically looking for European-headquartered tech companies (IT, digital media, resource efficiency) generating revenues upwards of £25 million.

Amount available

£5 million to £25 million

 

Greater Manchester Investment Fund

Investment Available

The GMIF is a fund managed by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and is designed to encourage business growth and job creation in the Greater Manchester area.

Loans are available to eligible companies that are having difficulty accessing traditional forms of finance via the private sector. Loans will typically be for terms of up to five years with commercial interest rates which reflect the risk profile of the business. Loans below £500k are provided through the GM Loan Fund, managed by Maven Capital Partners.

GMIF provide larger loans to existing businesses they believe can be significant to the economic development of Greater Manchester.

Most businesses supported by GMIF directly are later stage, well-established companies. While they will consider pre-profit companies, their aim is not to take high levels of risk.

Suitable Businesses

Businesses from any sector within the Greater Manchester geographic area are eligible.

Projects can qualify if they fall into one of the following areas:

  • Have been turned down by a bank or other lender but can sustain a level of debt repayment
  • Companies who have found there is a funding gap (ie the business has secured some financing but needs additional debt support to proceed)
  • Clear, demonstrable link to jobs secured within Greater Manchester
  • Focus of the programme is on new job creation (jobs safeguarded will also be considered).

Amount available

£500,000 to £5 million

 

Mercia Fund Management

Investment Available

Mercia Fund Management is one of the leading technology investors in the UK. They work in partnership with pioneering UK businesses, both with financial support and expertise, to help accelerate future growth. A growing investor and good for early-stage companies looking for less than £500,000.

Suitable Businesses

Looking for companies focussed on the following areas:

  • Digital
  • Electronics
  • Manufacturing
  • Engineering
  • Software
  • Life sciences

Mercia is well placed to deploy a full range of equity and debt capital, from seed rounds of £100,000 to funding rounds of £10 million, through its 'Complete Capital Solution.'

Amount available

£50,000 to £5 million

 

Merseyside Special Investment Fund

Investment Available

MSIF provides a wide range of funding to businesses across the North West, including funding for start-ups, expansions, acquisitions and management buy-outs/buy-ins.

As a local, independent organisation not bound by national policy, MSIF makes all lending decisions in Liverpool. Their experience and knowledge of the unique characteristics of the region means they understand the business community in the North West and don’t conform to a “one size fits all” approach.

MSIF is a not-for-profit organisation; all returns on investment go back into the fund to be re-invested in local businesses.

Suitable Businesses

Funds are not restricted, but there is still a strong desire to do most of their investing in Merseyside and the North West. Funding is available from as little as £500 right up to £2 million+.

Amount available

£50,000 to £2,000,000

 

MMC Ventures

Investment Available

MMC Ventures look for impressive teams who are building innovative high-growth businesses, using technology to change or create markets. They invest in businesses that use software, the internet and data to shake up large markets, transform supply chains, create new customer experiences or reduce the cost to sell or serve.

MMC invest money from high-net-worth individuals under the Enterprise Investment Scheme, but are long established with a wide base of funding, making them effectively an institutional investor.

They are London-based but do have one investment in the North West. They are interested in a company once it has reached an “inflexion point” where sales become regular and start to accelerate.

Suitable Businesses

Businesses in Technology under the following areas:

  • Business Software
  • Fintech
  • Digital Media
  • Ecommerce
  • Business Services

Ideally looking for companies making early sales or funding for growth.

Amount available

£500,000 to £2 million

 

Northwest Business Angels

Investment Available

Northwest Business Angels connects young and growing companies seeking investment with investors actively looking for investment opportunities in the North West. One of the UK’s longest established and most successful business angel networks, with almost half of the companies selected to present to the network able to raise investment.

Suitable Businesses

Suitable companies must be located in the North West, covering Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire and Cumbria, or be willing to relocate. They can be at a variety of stages of development but must be able to exhibit the ability for rapid growth with a clear strategy and long-term plan for expansion. As well as being able to demonstrate competitive advantage, they need a clear technological advantage, a novel product or service, or innovative distribution channel.

Amount available

£20,000 to £500,000

 

Oakfield Capital

Investment Available

Oakfield Capital is a private equity firm that invests in small and medium-sized businesses in the UK. They partner with management teams, providing capital and expertise to grow successful businesses that can deliver significant capital gains through operational improvement. They are active owners and invest their own money in each deal, aligning interests with those who invest alongside them. Not an early-stage venture investor, but a useful private investor if you have a profitable business and are looking for a combination of growth equity and possibly capital to release outgoing shareholders.

Suitable Businesses

Sectors invested in include:

  • Business support services
  • Telecoms and information technology
  • Oil and gas infrastructure
  • Consumer and leisure
  • Healthcare
  • Property and related services
  • Internet services
  • Financial services
  • Media
  • Travel
  • Mobile telephony
  • Software

Business plan only, product/service ready to launch.

Oakfield seek out businesses that have non-strategic owners, are under utilised or under invested. They avoid new ventures, biotech and unproven technologies. They look for businesses where their intrinsic value is high but many of them need to be reshaped and polished to realise that value

Amount available

£50,000 to £10 million

 

Octopus Ventures

Investment Available

Octopus Ventures are always on the lookout for talented entrepreneurs and exceptional businesses. They look for people with great ideas and great business opportunities that need help.

They say: “So far our approach is working. We’re changing the way people think about their savings; we’re building care homes, hospitals and schools you’d be proud to send your loved ones to, and we’re supplying hundreds of thousands of UK homes with renewable energy.”

Suitable Businesses

Octopus is a London-based, established VCT manager who also have EIS funds. They typically invest sums of £1 million and upwards in businesses with established revenues and investments in earlier-stage companies are not that common.

Amount available

£250,000 to £25 million

 

Oxford Capital Partners

Investment Available

Oxford Capital Partners provide growth capital investment to small companies from a range of industries, helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses in their chosen markets. They invest in infrastructure, providing finance to companies that own and operate revenue-generating infrastructure assets.

Not to be confused with Oxford Technology, OCP invest UK-wide but as a growth investor are much less likely to consider pre-revenue companies. With a minimum of £500,000, their typical investments will be into companies already trading or with clearly referenceable upside.

Suitable Businesses

Businesses at various stages of growth in the areas of communications, healthcare and software.

Amount available

£500,000 to £2 million

 

Oxford Technology

Investment Available

Since 1983, Oxford Technology have specialised in making and managing investments in start-up and early-stage technology-based businesses with high growth prospects. The OTM investment team are all scientists or engineers by background, and understanding the technology is the starting point for any investment they may make. They will invest early if needed, providing proof of concept funding. They have ventured outside the Oxford area but only for an exceptional piece of technology.

Suitable Businesses

Oxford Technology is most interested in “hard science” businesses, spanning biotechnology, medical devices and ICT hardware. They will consider businesses at all stages of growth as long as they are a UK-based technology company. Approximately half of the funds are expected to be invested in early-stage companies (those which have achieved some initial sales) and the balance in startup companies which are at an earlier stage.

Amount available

£100,000 to £2 million

 

Passion Capital

Investment Available

Passion Capital is a partnership of entrepreneurs and operators applying their experiences to helping founders and early-stage teams build great digital media/technology companies. Passion Capital, as the name suggests, are enthusiastic investors in early-stage projects and prepared to work with young entrepreneurs. That said, they remain highly selective and are looking for global potential.

Suitable Businesses

Any geographical location and all stages of development, but must be in the technology sector.

Amount available

£200,000 and upwards

 

Seedrs

Investment Available

Seedrs are interested in all types of growth-focused businesses. They operate through a simple, highly professional online process that protects and empowers investors while helping businesses grow and generate returns. They offer the potential to raise early-stage funding from a large group of private investors via a web platform. However, projects are vetted carefully before they are listed.

Suitable Businesses

Any sector and any geographic area. Investment can range from seed to IPO. When investors invest in a business through Seedrs, they invest solely in the campaign they’ve chosen. However, Seedrs occasionally make available campaigns for individual funds looking to raise investment for a pool of known or to-be-selected businesses (for an accelerator cohort, for example).

Amount available

Up to £1 million

 

Smedvig Capital

Investment Available

Smedvig Capital invest in fast-growing UK and Nordic businesses. They look for ambitious teams that are building businesses that have the potential to become market leaders. Their model is to invest in a small number of businesses each year and then to commit time to working closely with management, providing advice and hands-on help whenever wanted.

Smedvig are a later-stage investor, for a business that already has significant revenues and is ready to expand internationally. They only do a few deals a year, so the quality threshold is high. As well as investing in tech companies, they also invest in funds.

Suitable Businesses

Any sector (except high tech), and any geographic area. Keen to support with funding for growth. Businesses should have ambitious management teams who are experts in their industry and with a proven business model. They must also have the potential to be highly profitable, whether pre- or post-profit today.

Amount available

£2 million to £15 million

 

SPARK Impact

Investment Available

SPARK Impact is a multi-fund manager that invests in entrepreneurs with disruptive technologies and services that have the potential to address the healthcare challenges facing the world today. They will identify suitable investment opportunities, conduct due diligence, negotiate and structure transactions, and monitor and manage investments until exit.

Suitable Businesses

Looking for biomedical businesses that are situated within the North West of England (Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside or Cheshire).

Must have under 250 employees but can be at any stage of growth or development.

Areas of the biomedical sector that will be considered:

  • Pharmaceuticals (research, development and manufacture of drugs and biopharmaceuticals)
  • Biotechnology
  • Diagnostics
  • Clinical research organisations
  • Analytical services and sciences
  • Healthcare technologies
  • Medical devices)

Amount available

£50,000 to £1.5 million

 

Zeus Capital

Investment Available

Zeus Capital is a Corporate Finance Adviser who has successfully advised on a number of completed transactions since inception in 2012. A few times a year, Zeus will sponsor a small emerging company and raise money for them from their high-net-worth contacts. The quality of the team and the opportunity need to be exceptional.

Suitable Businesses

Businesses should be in the areas of:

  • Alternative energy
  • Healthcare and pharmaceuticals
  • Business services
  • General retail
  • Automotive retail
  • Building products
  • Technology
  • Media
  • Industrials

They should be in the stage of making early sales or require funding for growth.

Amount available

£500,000