Sixty of Bristol’s most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders gathered to hear how they can support the city’s fledgling and growing technology businesses reach their potential.
It was the biggest ever meeting of members of Bristol Private Equity Club (BPEC) hosted by Origin Workspace in Berkeley Square, Clifton. Since its formation in 2016 Club members have invested over £4.5m into 14 Bristol-based businesses through 23 deals.
Four Bristol technology businesses had a chance to showcase their development to the entrepreneurs.
Wriggle, food and drink app, is growing following investment from BPEC members; Fluence, who support global businesses in using Artificial Intelligence for human intensive activities, is on the point of further fund raising; Flourish Zone, which uses Artificial Intelligence to engage workforces is looking for funds to grow and Cytoseek, a new cell therapy technology that can be used in cancer treatment has ambitious plans for growth.
Heather Frankham, founder of Origin Workspace and Club member outlined what typical Bristol Private Equity Club members were looking for. They look for investments of between £150,000 to £500,000 in businesses that are already established and have a clear road map for their future.
She said: “We carried out a membership survey and although different members have different interests they do look for a particular type of business. Usually they are tech businesses with a team behind them that have some experience.
“We also found that 75% of our members want to get involved in the business they are investing in. It is not just a case of getting funding, those we invest in also get real experience from someone who has a successful track record.”
The entrepreneurs also heard from David Fogle, founder of Accelerated Digital Ventures who outlined what Venture Capitalists look for when making their investments. The next step for many growing businesses supported by BPEC would be to move on to larger Venture Capital funding to finance the next stage of growth.
Allan Rosengren, who chaired the event, said: “The event helped our investors gain a picture of how they can support businesses to reach their potential. Both sides need to get something out of these transactions, with businesses able to build to success and investors getting good returns.”
Jerry Barnes, one of the six founders of BPEC said: “We now have 80 members willing to invest in local tech businesses that can put forward convincing strategies for growth in the future. The club fills a gap in funding between the start-up capital streams and those offered by the Venture Capitalists and bigger lenders.
“The size of the event demonstrates how successful and thriving business is in Bristol. Here we had the city’s most successful business people putting funds back into the businesses of the future.”