News

Media Enquiries Please contact Tom Clarke
Tel: 01276 608513
Email: tom.clarke@thefsegroup.com

Farnborough Chauffeur Service Driving Growth with EM3 Expansion Loan

A Hampshire company operating in the premium transport market has secured £125,000 from the Enterprise M3 (EM3) Expansion Loan Scheme to fund activity that will promote further growth of the business.

AV8 provides a bespoke chauffeur service out of Farnborough airport, the only airport close to London that is dedicated to business aviation. Since 2003 Tag Aviation has been positioning Farnborough as a world-leading business airport and the number of flights it operates continues to increase year on year.

AV8 was started 12 years ago by Adam Poulton when he noticed the lack of a luxury transport service that would adequately meet the expectations of customers using the airport. Since then the company has established a reputation for providing high standards of quality and service and benefits from many loyal customers. Business is now booming and investment is required to meet growing demand, as Adam explains:

“As the only chauffeur company operating from within the airport terminal building, we have focused on offering a level of service which matches that provided by the airport as a whole. As a result, we experience high levels of repeat business and word of mouth referrals which, along with ongoing airport expansion, has led to demand outstripping the drivers we can supply. This loan will allow us to build our team to meet current and future demand.”

Derek Ellis, fund manager at The FSE Group, which manages the EM3 Expansion Loan Scheme on behalf of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), comments: “Adam has developed an excellent relationship with Tag Farnborough and has worked hard to grow the business in line with wider airport growth over the last decade. We are delighted to support AV8 in continuing this growth as the airport expands further.”

Kathy Slack, Director, Enterprise M3 LEP, comments: “Farnborough airport is a globally-significant site which is home to major aerospace and defence companies. The Airshow, held there every two years, is a world-leading launch platform for aviation techology and new aircraft.

“Within this internationally-focused context, we are delighted to support a locally-based company whose incredible standards of quality and service have enabled it to expand in tandem with the airport’s activities. We wish AV8 much success in its advancing business journey.”

The EM3 Expansion Loan Scheme is part of the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator, £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 LEP. The escalator, which also includes a short-term trade loan scheme and an equity growth fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across the EM3 area.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-expansion-loan-scheme or contact Derek Ellis at derek.ellis@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 607302.

For more information about AV8, visit www.av8cars.com.

GoKart Accelerates to New Funding Round

A Technology platform that specialises in linking wholesale food suppliers with restaurants has successfully completed a funding round. The investment comes from the Thames Valley Berkshire Growth Fund, managed by The FSE Group and includes further investment from high profile private angel investors.

GoKart based in Reading, Berkshire, have developed an app that allows restaurants to order high quality ingredients from vetted suppliers in a quick and easy way. The company offers restaurants a saving of up to 20% on their ingredients by combining their buying power within the app. This gives independent restaurants and small and medium sized chains the same prices and discounts that are offered to larger chains.

Anx Patel, CEO & Founder, GoKart comments, “In my previous role in the food industry I became increasingly frustrated at the advantage enjoyed by chain restaurants. They can order produce in huge quantities, thereby accessing discounts and quick delivery that the independents have no hope of enjoying. With the cost of produce constantly rising and the effects of Brexit heavily affecting the food and beverage sector, we understand the pressures that food businesses face on a day to day basis. It is our aim for GoKart to be the go-to point in helping restaurants prosper by saving them time and money when ordering ingredients at the best prices.”

Simon Labahn, Fund Manager at The FSE Group, who manage the Thames Valley Berkshire Growth Fund on behalf of the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, says, “GoKart received phenomenal support early on in 2016 from Just Eat’s Food Tech Accelerator Programme. The programme allowed Anx and his team to benefit from advice, insights and funding from industry experts.”

“Since then, the company has continued to grow and work tirelessly to perfect their platform. We were immediately impressed by the company’s highly experienced management team and their ability to analyse a high volume of data. Access to such valuable data and a team with the skills to analyse it means GoKart is able to learn, adapt and lead the way in identifying the latest trends. We are excited for the future of GoKart and wish Anx and his team every success.”

TVB Growth Fund is part of Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, an £11.3m initiative funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP to support job creation and economic prosperity in Berkshire. The escalator, which also includes four separate loan schemes, provides eligible companies – from start-up to established – with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, please visit www.thefsegroup.com/thames-valley-berkshire-funding-escalator or contact Simon Labahn simon.labahn@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608533.

Luxury Cabinet Makers Secures £25k Loan

A Liskeard- based furniture manufacturer is the latest company to be supported by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF). Peadidit, set up in 2018, have successfully secured £25,000 in funding, which will allow the company to increase production capabilities with the purchase of new equipment and will also enable them to scale-up their team, in order to meet the growing demand for their products.

The company has clients across Cornwall and Devon, focusing on made to measure outdoor and indoor furniture, fitted furniture, and free-standing furniture pieces.

John Peters, Managing Director at SWIG Finance, Jonathan Peabody, Managing Director at Peadidit & John Acornley Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP Board Member.

Peadidit owner Jonathan Peabody, said: “We strive to build furniture that defines our customers’ style and meets their requirements. As a new and growing business obtaining finance for growth is crucial for us to succeed and achieve our goals. We are thrilled to be able to secure this CIOSIF loan, which has already enabled us to invest in the construction of a spray booth for in-house finishing of products.”

Grant Peggie, Director at the British Business Bank, said, “For any new business without a trading record it can be hard to secure the finance they need to grow. CIOSIF can make a real difference in helping to support small growing businesses across Cornwall to access funding they need which might not be available from traditional sources. The British Business Bank is pleased to be delivering £40m of funding through the Fund and providing finance from £25,000 up to £2m.”

The Peadidit deal was handled by SWIG who are working with The FSE Group to deliver on the small business loans part of the fund. SWIG’s Finance Business Manager Mike Wall said: “We are delighted to add Peadidit to the portfolio of companies supported by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund. Jonathan is a highly skilled individual who has over 25 years industry experience. We look forward to working with him and his newly recruited team on this new venture and wish them all the success for the future.”

LEP non-executive director John Acornley, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, added: “This latest deal shows how the investment fund can widen choice and remove barriers to growth. I would urge other growth-minded businesses to consider whether it could be right for them.”

CIOSIF is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. Further investment has come from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP and HM Government.

For more information about the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund including how to apply, please visit www.ciosif.co.uk or follow the fund on Twitter at @CIOSIFBBB2

About the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF)

  • The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, is providing debt and equity finance, ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.
  • The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity,
  • The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the CIOS Local Enterprise Partnership and HMG grant funding.
  • The project is receiving funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding
  • The Government has guaranteed all funding allocated through EU programmes until the end of 2020. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/funding-from-eu-programmes-guaranteed-until-the-end-of-2020
  • The funds in which Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly only.
  • The British Business Bank has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). The guide, which impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses and provides links to support available at a regional level, is available at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb

About the British Business Bank:

* The British Business Bank is the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Our remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

* British Business Bank plc is a limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Steel City House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 2GQ. As the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank, it is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government which is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The British Business Bank operates under its own brand name through a number of subsidiaries, one of which is authorised and regulated by the FCA.

* The British Business Bank is currently supporting more than £5.5bn of finance to over 78,000 smaller businesses (as at end of June 2018).

* As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses. It has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). This guide impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses – from start-ups to SMEs and growing mid-sized companies. Take the interactive journey at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb or download/print a copy.

* British Business Bank plc and its principal operating subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. A complete legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries can be found on the British Business Bank plc website.

 

Local Treasures Secures Expansion Loan

Local Treasures, an award winning, socially responsible company based in Petersfield, has received a growth loan from the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme. The company matches busy working families with experienced, older tradespeople who can help with odd jobs about the home and workplace.

There are over 23 million people in the UK over the age of 50. This age group currently makes up one third of the countries workforce, however this doesn’t translate into employability. More and more older people are becoming jobless than are finding work. This is despite the fact that two thirds of 50-64-year olds want to continue working. Local Treasures has found a way to enable this experienced and reliable age group to carry on working.  By matching busy families, or those who lack a particular skillset, with able and willing over 50’s (Treasures) the company is solving two problems at once; where can people find experienced and trustworthy tradespeople and how can the older generation find work that suits their abilities and fits around other commitments.

Their business model is simple and effective; Local Treasures select a town, recruit skilled people who are over 50, advertise locally for customers, then matches customers to Treasures. This technique has proved so effective that they now work in 7 towns across the South East of England providing skills as diverse as decorating, pet sitting, accounting and companionship. They have over 600 Treasures on their books, many of whom are booked for repeat work.

Founder, Sarah Heyworth, explains how the company naturally came about. “When we moved to a new house, we relocated to an unfamiliar area and had to start from scratch. We didn’t know the local plumber that everyone used or anyone who we could trust to fix our fence. Through trial and error, we eventually figured out who we should be using but we were frustrated that there wasn’t any easier way to go about it. This dilemma gave rise to Local Treasures and we are very fortunate to have many of the original Treasures with us to this day. The funding will allow us to scale-up the business and support the launch of the business into new towns across the South East. Most recently we were thrilled to announce that we are one of 17 social ventures to become a Transform Ageing social venture this November. We successfully responded to an innovation challenge from communities in the south-west and will receive funding and support to deliver lasting social impact in the region.”

Derek Ellis, Fund Manager at The FSE Group which manages the Expansion Loan Scheme on behalf of the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership comments: “Local Treasures is the one stop shop for all sorts of jobs in and around the homes and businesses of local communities. We were introduced to Sarah and her team at Local Treasures by the EM3 Growth Hub.  The company have created a successful business platform, that as we have already seen is scalable in a very short space of time. We look forward to supporting the business during these exciting times and wish them all the success for the future.”

Kathy Slack, Director, Enterprise M3 LEP, comments: “We are delighted to support Local Treasures as it continues to extend its reach within local communities. Addressing the challenges and opportunities of an ageing society is one of the Government’s Grand Challenges and high on the Enterprise M3 LEP agenda too. Not only does this incredible project help our region rise to the pressing challenge of creating jobs in an ageing society, it forges links between people within close proximity who might otherwise never have met. Initiatives like this help foster dynamic communities and move us towards a society of prosperity for everyone who lives and/or works here.”

The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator II is £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which includes an expansion loan scheme, a trade finance loan scheme and an equity growth fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across the EM3 area.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-expansion-loan-scheme or contact James Edwards at derek.ellis@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 607302.

For more information about Local Treasures visit: www.localtreasures.me

Advanced Ophthalmic Systems Eyes Growth with New Funding Round

Advanced Ophthalmic Systems (AOS), a MedTech company specialising in pioneering and advanced software for the ophthalmic industry is the latest company to be supported by the Coast to Capital Growth Equity Fund. The Croydon based venture successfully completed the funding round which includes angel monies facilitated by The FSE Investor Network.

AOS has spent 3 years developing over 200+ algorithms and in the back end of last year they released their first digital analytics software product, AOS Anterior. The AOS Anterior automatically assesses multiple eye pathologies with Gold Standard accuracy & repeatability. The software has been developed to be visually informative and striking, allowing opticians to increase customer engagement and understanding during examinations, whilst decreasing the amount of time patients need to sit in the chair. All results are provided instantly, with simplified reporting to assist with future follow up visits and the in-built reporting function generates a fully customisable report for each patient.

The funding will enable AOS to expand its already impressive team in both the business development and product development departments. This will give the company the manpower it needs to cement itself as one of the leaders in the eye health sector.

Dr Eduardo Mangieri, CEO at Advanced Ophthalmic Systems, explains, “Our target is to provide innovative solutions in the ophthalmic market for the early detection and monitoring of various pathologies.  Our technology provides automatic ophthalmic diagnosis by delivering objective, digital imaging analytics during optical appointments. This increases patient understanding and more importantly reduces appointment times, leading to a far more punctual service.”

Avent Bezuidenhoudt, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, “We are delighted to be supporting AOS in this funding round. The company have developed a state-of-the-art product that will have such a positive impact for current and future ophthalmic patients. We are excited to see what the future holds for Eduardo and his team and look forward to working with them to achieve their goals.”

The Coast to Capital Growth Equity Fund is part of the Coast to Capital Funding Escalator, a £5million initiative funded by Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which also includes an expansion loan scheme, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £500,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across the Coast to Capital region.

For more information about the Coast to Capital Funding Escalator please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/coast-capital-funding-escalator or contact Avent Bezuidenhoudt at avent.bezuidenhoudt@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608526.

 

First CIOSIF investment with £750k equity investment in wireless internet provider

The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) has completed its first equity investment with a £750,000 equity stake in wireless internet service provider Wildanet, based at Goonhilly Earth Station, through appointed fund managers The FSE Group.

The investment is being match-funded by the FSE Angel network, private investors and Crowdcube as part of a £1.5m package. It will support Wildanet’s continued expansion across Cornwall and into Devon, targetting 12,000 new customers and creating an estimated 39 jobs over the next three years.

Wildanet uses state of the art wireless radio technology to provide superfast broadband in hard to reach rural areas, with a guaranteed minimum speed of 30Mb/s, up to lightning-fast 1Gb/s.

Jake Berry MP, Minister for Local Growth, said: “Access to superfast broadband is vital to economic growth in our rural areas and this project will open the door to digital services for thousands of people across Cornwall. Harnessing the innovation of British business to grow prosperous communities is at the heart of this investment, and the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy.”

Ian Calvert, CEO and founder of Wildanet, which was set up in January 2017, said: “There is a real opportunity for us to radically improve connection speeds for homes and businesses across Cornwall currently experiencing low bandwidths. The funding from CIOSIF and our match funders will allow us to expedite our growth strategy and bring reliable superfast broadband to hard to reach areas.”

Ken Cooper, Managing Director, at the British Business Bank, said: “We are delighted that the fund’s first investment will not only create jobs but will also bring improved connectivity for homes and businesses, which is good news for productivity and growth. This deal is a great example of how the CIOSIF can leverage other investment to help growth-minded businesses realise their potential.”

 

Ian Calvert, Wildanet CEO; John Acornley, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP board member and Stuart Nicol, Head of Funds Cornwall, FSE Group.

LEP non-executive director John Acornley, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “Wildanet is a young tech start-up with ambitious growth plans and has developed its own technology to plug a clear gap in the market. CIOSIF was set up to encourage entrepreneurship and tackle a shortfall in start-up, early stage and development capital in the region, so we’re delighted with this first investment and wish Wildanet every success.”

Ralph Singleton, Senior Fund Manager, FSE Group, added: “Wildanet is helping to close the digital divide in rural areas by offering households and businesses across the county access to the same digital services as other parts of the UK. With a depth of industry experience gained with major players in the telecom sector, the management team are well-positioned to exploit this opportunity while helping to drive forward the regional economy in the process.”

The £40m Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund provides debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2 million to help growing small businesses across the region.

It has been established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and is operated by appointed fund managers FSE Group.

CIOSIF is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. Further investment has come from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP and HM Government.

For more information about the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund including how to apply, please visit www.ciosif.co.uk of follow the fund on Twitter at @CIOSIFBBB2

About the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF)

  • The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, will invest in Debt Finance and Equity Finance funds, ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.
  • The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity,
  • The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the CIOS Local Enterprise Partnership and HMG grant funding.
  • The project is receiving up to £32m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
  • The Government has guaranteed all funding allocated through EU programmes until the end of 2020.  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/funding-from-eu-programmes-guaranteed-until-the-end-of-2020
  • The funds in which Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly only.
  • The British Business Bank has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). The guide, which  impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses and provides links to support available at a regional level, is available at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb

About the British Business Bank

  • The British Business Bank is the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Our remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.
  • The British Business Bank is currently supporting more than £5.5bn of finance to over 78,000 smaller businesses (as at end of June 2018).
  • As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses. It has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). This guide impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses – from start-ups to SMEs and growing mid-sized companies. Take the interactive journey at thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb or download/print a copy.
  • British Business Bank plc is a limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Steel City House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 2GQ. As the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank, it is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government which is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The British Business Bank operates under its own brand name through a number of subsidiaries, one of which is authorised and regulated by the FCA.
  • British Business Bank plc and its principal operating subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. A complete legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries can be found on the British Business Bank plc website.

About Wildanet

Wildanet Limited is a Cornish based wireless internet service provider (WISP) and is building a fixed wireless network across the hard to reach areas of Cornwall to provide superfast broadband internet services to those communities still disadvantaged by slow broadband. Its public space wifi technology is also the ideal solution for providing services to areas of high footfall. www.wildanet.com

 

£75,000 Follow-on Investment for Specialist IT Security Business

TriCIS, which deals in secure communications and IT equipment suitable for military and other governmental use, has received follow-on funding from the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator after a year of promising growth.

Based in Farnborough, the company operates in the niche ‘TEMPEST’ market and has experienced some considerable success in establishing itself in this highly specialist sector in less than two years. Since its first Enterprise M3 Growth Fund investment last year, the company has gained new contracts, significantly increased its product range and is set for a three-fold increase in revenue in the current financial year.

The £75,000 investment from the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund, which is managed by The FSE Group on behalf of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), has been matched by existing investors and is part of an on-going funding round to attract new shareholders and finance future growth.

TriCIS CEO, Antony Summerfield comments: “Over the past year we have worked hard to develop leading edge products and gain new contracts. FSE has been a great support and worked with us to appoint our new CFO, Edward Leek. We have also strengthened our senior management team this year and are well positioned to drive the business forward. This latest funding will ensure that we have the growth capital required to take full advantage of the opportunities facing us.”

Ralph Singleton, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, adds: “Since our first investment TriCIS has strengthened both its offering and its management team. We are delighted to be continuing to support the company alongside other investors and look forward to helping Antony and the team grow the business even further.”

Kathy Slack, Director, Enterprise M3 LEP, says: “It is highly rewarding for Enterprise M3 to invest further in a remarkable company that has gained such a strong foothold in its sector after our initial investment. We look forward to seeing TriCIS grow and secure further its standing in this high-tech industry that will place a spotlight on the Enterprise M3 region as a specialist centre of economic growth.”

The Enterprise M3 Growth Fund is part of the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator, a £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 LEP. The escalator, which also includes an expansion loan scheme and a short term trade loan scheme, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/fund/enterprise-m3-growth-fund/ or contact Paul Lyristis paul.lyristis@thefsegroup.com.

First Investment from New Enterprise M3 Growth Fund

A Basingstoke business helping gas network companies to prevent leaks has received the first equity investment from the newly re-launched Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator, financed by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and managed by The FSE Group.

Utonomy’s innovative technology works by remotely controlling the pressure levels of gas within the pipe network. Without this technology, pressure is controlled through manual adjustments made only twice a year in line with the move from summer to winter, due to the inaccessible nature of the infrastructure. This results in pressure being inaccurate for demand levels most of the time.

This £75,000 investment from the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund is the company’s second EM3 investment following an initial £150,000 from the original funding escalator in early 2017. The monies invested have helped to leverage significant private and public sector funding, resulting in a total £3.5million raised across the two funding rounds.

The new £10million Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator was launched in June following the end of the previous escalator, which had been supporting businesses across the area since 2014.

Utonomy CEO, Adam Kingdon, says: “the funding and support we have received from The FSE Group over the last 18 months has helped us attract further investment and move the business forward considerably. Since receiving our first EM3 investment we have been successful in obtaining grant and loan funding from Innovate UK and secured our first customer with a contract worth almost £0.5million. We are now gaining traction across the sector and look forward to making further progress with this new round of funding.”

Ralph Singleton, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, comments: “Since our first investment Utonomy has made tangible progress; staffing levels have more than doubled, additional funding has been secured, required regulatory certification has been achieved and the first contract has been won. The company is now in a strong position to really take advantage of the opportunities ahead and we are delighted to be supporting them as they continue on this journey.”

Kathy Slack, Director, Enterprise M3 LEP, adds: “Great ideas are at the heart of Enterprise M3 LEP’s funding programme and we are delighted to support Utonomy’s forward-thinking, clean growth solution to eradiating gas leaks. There is clear commitment to growing the company and we look forward to seeing it progress with our additional investment.”

The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator is £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which includes an expansion loan scheme, a trade finance loan scheme and an equity growth fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across the EM3 area.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Growth Fund please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/fund/enterprise-m3-growth-fund/ or contact Paul Lyristis at paul.lyristis@thefsegroup.com, tel: 01276 607307.

Internet of Things Provider set to Expand with EM3 Expansion Loan

A company using the Internet of Things to improve cost efficiencies for the public sector and other organisations is getting its growth plans underway with the help of a £150,000 Expansion Loan from the Enterprise M3 II Funding Escalator.

Using Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology, Barter for Things provides its customers with the means to transmit wirelessly, information that has historically been collected by people. More recognised wireless communication networks such as WiFi, Bluetooth or 3G/4G mobile are unsuitable for this type of data transmission either because they are too expensive, too power intensive or deliver over a short range. By contrast, LPWAN provides the means to communicate simple, low bit rate messages over distances of up to 3km in urban settings and 10km in rural locations, using very little power at a low cost.

Barter for Things works with its clients to custom build the required network infrastructure, i.e. masts and related technology, and integrates this with low power, long-life sensors placed at the data source.  As an example, the company has been working with Southampton City Council (SCC) this year to install a network of nine aerial sites on council-owned tower blocks. The resulting LPWAN coverage can be used to transmit data from linked sensors across the whole city, meaning SCC can now use Internet of Things technology for a range of tasks in its social housing provision such as monitoring of water quality and checking of smoke alarms. This not only provides the potential for huge cost-savings by eliminating the need for monthly manual inspections, but also helps alleviate the administrative compliance burden while providing a better, proactive service for tenants.

CEO and Founder, Alex Barter, says: “The growth of the Internet of Things has been restricted by a lack of appropriate wireless network provision. To address this, we have taken a customer led approach to building and integrating systems that focus on meeting the needs of our clients and allow them to benefit from this growing technology and, by doing so, we have established a strong market position and are currently the only supplier delivering a fully managed LPWAN service. The Enterprise M3 loan will help us to take advantage of the opportunities we now face and expedite the growth of the business.”

James Edwards, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, which manages the EM3 II Funding Escalator on behalf of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), comments: “Barter for Things has made great progress across the Solent since its launch two and a half years ago and the management team are now looking to expand into a wider geographical area, becoming the market leader for LPWAN systems integration across the South and into the heart of the UK. We are delighted to be helping to fund the opening of a new office in Basingstoke and the recruitment of staff in this area, and we look forward to continuing to work with them as they grow.”

Kathy Slack, Director, Enterprise M3 LEP, comments: “Barter for Things is an exciting business on the cusp of even greater innovation. With its unique use of LPWAN, an energy and cost-efficient communications network, the company is a perfect candidate for expansion funding to enhance the Enterprise M3’s ambition of digital growth in a low carbon economy. As well as being the only supplier of a fully managed LPWAN service, the unique data collection service will reduce carbon emissions because the need for vehicle journeys will lessen.”

The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator II is £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which includes an expansion loan scheme, a trade finance loan scheme and an equity growth fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across the EM3 area.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-expansion-loan-scheme or contact James Edwards at james.edwards@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608531.

 

 

 

How to Have Your Cake and Eat it? Build a Thriving Baking Business

Bakedin is one of the first companies to receive funding from the new Enterprise M3 (EM3) II Funding Escalator, financed by EM3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and managed by The FSE Group. The Basingstoke manufacturer of home baking kits has experienced significant growth over the past three years and has now secured a £150,000 Expansion Loan to grow the business further.

Founded five years ago by three friends with a passion for baking, Bakedin offers a home baking experience made a little easier by providing conveniently packaged, pre-weighed and measured dry ingredients for a variety of recipes. Their range features well-known favourites such as chocolate brownies and iced buns as well as some more unusual culinary delights including gin & tonic cupcakes and whoopie pies.

Since securing a farm shop outside Newbury as its first stockist in 2014, the business has gone from strength to strength and is now available in over 1,000 outlets. In addition to its retail store offering, Bakedin offers a subscription service, taking advantage of the boom in this niche sector led by companies such as Hello Fresh and Graze. It has also gained the endorsement of one of the world’s most renowned pastry chefs, Michel Roux, who helps to develop recipes for the company. The result of this activity has been a rapid climb in sales to almost £1million last year.

In order to meet growing demand and ensure the manufacturing operation is fit for continued growth, Bakedin moved into larger premises in September, part-funded by the EM3 loan. Remaining funds will be used to further product development, develop new sales channels and take on additional staff. The company anticipates increasing its number of employees from 13 to 25 over the next two years.

Joseph Munns, Bakedin co-founder and managing director, says: “This is a really exciting time for us – the internet is awash with baking blogs and vlogs and the success of shows such as The Great British Bake Off is testament to people’s interest. Finding a funder that recognises the potential of our business and of the wider market is invaluable; FSE is supportive of both our business model and our plans for growth. The recent move into our new premises means that we can now fully embrace the opportunities that are open to us we look forward to continuing to work with FSE as we pursue our goals.”

James Edwards, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, comments: “Bakedin has done a fantastic job in establishing itself at the forefront of a niche and growing market in a short space of time. The team has successfully crafted partnerships and endorsements to support this, placing the business in an ideal position to fully exploit every opportunity. We have been providing funding to high growth businesses on behalf of Enterprise M3 LEP for the past four years and we are delighted to be able to continue to support innovative, ambitious businesses like Bakedin with this new and enlarged Funding Escalator.”

Kathy Slack, Director, Enterprise M3 LEP, comments: “Enterprise M3 is an entrepreneurial and innovative area, with a higher than average number of businesses, compared to the rest of the country. We are proud to support our outstanding SMEs, like Bakedin and help them grow. Greatly innovative and creative, Bakedin embraces new technologies, ideas trends and ingenuity as it goes from strength to strength, creating opportunities for the local economy and job market.”

The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator II is £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which includes an expansion loan scheme, a trade finance loan scheme and an equity growth fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across the EM3 area.

For more information about the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/enterprise-m3-expansion-loan-scheme or contact James Edwards at james.edwards@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608531.

For more information about Bakedin, visit www.bakedin.co.uk.