Equity Investment in the south west region has grown significantly in the last few years – with £1.14bn raised in 2021, from just £200m raised in 2016.
However that hides a more negative reality, in that between 2016 and 2020, 73 per cent of funding available went to London based businesses, and in larger rounds to more established businesses.
Launched over two years ago, the Investment Activator Programme (IAP) is the first of its kind in the UK. It was created by the team at TechSPARK.co to catalyse investment into the south west’s renowned tech and digital startup community. It is designed to support companies that are raising early-stage equity investment.
Although there is a hive of activity in the south west, it’s crucial to actively stimulate growth. There is more capital than ever right now, but accessing it can still be a huge barrier to founders.
Unusually, the Investment Activator programme is funded by a mixture of private and public funding – partners who have come together in a bid to break down these barriers and help start-ups with real potential, access the funding that can elevate their concept from an idea to a business.
Not only does the IAP help signpost and shout about the great companies that are raising at any one time, it also runs a number of events to help companies raise their profiles, get themselves investor ready and refine their pitch for investors, whilst at the same time welcoming and helping investors integrate into the region.
Some of the events run by the IAP include a monthly Pitch Me! event for founders, next event is 6 July, a quarterly investment briefing targeted at investors and enablers, and a bi-annual pitching competition to showcase the best of the west : Silicon Gorge Investor Showcase.
Alumni of Silicon Gorge Investor Showcase include Immersive Labs and Martin Bysh from Huboo, cited as two future unicorns, who raised £68m and £60m respectively in 2021 alone, plus many others who have raised millions since they pitched: Lettus Grow, KETS Quantum Security, Yellowdog, TravelLocal, Virti, Neighbourly to name just a few.
This year we’ve been thrilled to work with Big Tent in showcasing some of the fabulous south west startups during their Pitch Pit event in Bristol, and further highlighting the brilliant success stories that are coming from the south west.