Business incubator and start-up accelerator network, SETsquared Partnership, has announced it raised record levels of investment in 2018 – a 34% increase on its 2017 levels.
The figure, which reached almost £300m and continues the partnership’s five-year upward investment trajectory, has bucked the national trend which recently showed early-stage investment in UK start-ups hit a four year low in 2018.
The announcement was made at SETsquared’s second annual Scale-Up Investor Business breakfast, hosted in partnership with KPMG, which saw five budding scale-up businesses pitch to a room full of active investors.
The news comes on the back of a successful year for the SETsquared Partnership, which also saw it ranked as the global number one university-backed business incubator for the second year in a row.
Speaking from the event at KPMG’s Mayfair office, Karen Brooks, Programme Director at SETsquared, said: “We know that investors are increasingly looking for innovative, IP-led businesses with tangible assets, which is what SETsquared businesses have at their core. We are also bucking the national trend because our members sit within the knowledge economy and are creating higher value for the UK. This is vital for the future growth of this country and we urge investors to continue supporting UK SMEs.”
The five scale-up companies pitching for investment were medical device companies, Bioinduction and Docobo; Zeetta Networks, which is addressing the needs of network operators; metal composite and additive manufacturer, TISICS; and the revolutionary commercial cleaning business, Steam-e.
Also speaking at the event, Kay Drury, Partner, Transaction Services at KPMG, added: “One of the main themes to come from our conversations with scale-up businesses is that it is difficult to find early-stage investment that will take their organisation to the next level. Whilst this is reaffirmed by an overall decline in early-stage investments in the UK, British businesses still raised an impressive £7.7bn in 2018 – 1.5 times that of German and 2.6 times that of French businesses. Brexit might be just round the corner, but I’d urge investors not to hop across the channel just yet; the UK is still a good place to do business!”
Peter Davies, Founder and CEO of the machine-learning company, Verv, which recently exceeded its crowdfunding target by 136%, commented: “We’ve been a SETsquared member since our inception in 2010 and it’s fair to say we wouldn’t be where we are today without its unwavering support, advice and contacts. SETsquared was especially helpful in getting us to a position where our technology was ready to be invested in and to date we’ve raised more than £5m. Programmes like the Scale-Up Programme are essential for giving businesses like mine access to investors which we need to grow – we couldn’t have done it without them.”