British Business Investments commits £10m to Startup Funding Club


British Business Investments Ltd, a commercial subsidiary of the British Business Bank, has announced a new commitment under its £100m Regional Angels Programme, committing £10m to Startup Funding Club Limited (SFC).

FieldHouse Associates

The commitment will be managed by SFC and invested alongside the SFC SEIS & EIS Funds as well as the SFC Angel Network. SFC intends to deploy the commitment in over 100 early stage businesses across the UK to deliver almost £30m of new funding for start-up and scale-up businesses across all sectors.

The announcement comes as SFC uses the commitment to complete investment of £5m into 28 companies across the UK, in sectors ranging from healthcare and life sciences to new materials.

SFC was incorporated in 2012 by Stephen Page, a former software entrepreneur who founded and exited a number of companies, with a mission to help high-potential start-ups succeed and to make angel investing more accessible.

The SFC SEIS/EIS funds have since become some of the most active in the UK, while the SFC Angel Network has grown from 20 founding members to an award-winning network of over 500 private investors, successful former entrepreneurs and professional angel investors. In total, SFC has funded a portfolio of more than 200 companies with a combined value of over £1bn, including some of the UK’s fastest-growing companies such as Onfido, Screencloud and Cognism.

SFC has a track record of backing fast-growth regional businesses in parts of the UK where access to early stage equity capital is scarce, including Vortex IOT (Swansea), Transcend Packaging (Caerphilly, Wales), Petalite (Birmingham) and Intupod (Belfast). In total, businesses backed by SFC Funds and the SFC Angel Network have created over 500 jobs outside of London. As part of its regional expansion, SFC are also opening a second office in Macclesfield to catalyse their regional investor base and to increase deal flow across the country.

Catherine Lewis La Torre, CEO, British Business Investments, said: “Our Regional Angels Programme is designed to address imbalances in access to angel finance in the UK and to increase the overall amount of capital available to smaller businesses, through angel networks. This £10m commitment from British Business Investments will allow Startup Funding Club to build on its impressive track record of supporting high growth-potential businesses across the UK, particularly at a time when the business experience and financial support delivered by angel investors is needed more than ever.”

Joseph Zipfel, Chief Investment Officer of SFC, said: “In these uncertain times, supporting angel investors and early-stage funds is essential to preserve the UK’s world-class entrepreneurial ecosystem and we thank BBI for their commitment. In March 2020 alone, SFC has invested over £5m in 28 companies and this £10m commitment will act as a catalyst to our ability to help high-potential companies across all sectors and regions of the UK. We believe that angel investing is currently an attractive asset class as long as you focus on the right sectors and take a long-term and cautious approach. Startups are lean and agile and can adapt quickly to tough conditions and sometimes even benefit from them. We want to make it clear that the SFC is open for business and we look forward to working with entrepreneurs and investors across the country.”

The Regional Angels Programme helps reduce regional imbalances in access to early stage equity finance for smaller businesses across the UK. The programme aims to address this issue by increasing the availability, supply and awareness of angel and other early-stage equity investments across the country, particularly in areas where this type of finance is less readily available.

The Regional Angels Programme works by committing funds for investment alongside business angels and other early stage equity investors, acting as a catalyst to bring longer-term capital to smaller businesses with growth ambitions. Launched in 2018, it forms part of the Government’s response to the Patient Capital Review.

Like all British Business Investments programmes, the new programme expects to generate a market rate of return on its investments and will be investing on a commercial basis.