A fast-growing consumer-tech business has secured a £1million growth loan from the Greater London Investment Fund. The funding will be used to hire new staff, move to larger premises as the team grows and invest in sales and marketing.

StoryTerrace have created a platform which connects everyday people with professional ghost-writers, meaning that everyone can have their life story, or the life stories of their loved ones, documented in a professionally curated autobiography, biography, or series of memoirs.

Packages are popular gifts for milestone birthdays, anniversaries, or other momentous occasions. To date, StoryTerrace has brought to life over 2,500 stories using a network of over 650 professional writers – the largest of its kind in the world. Many of these writers have been published by the world’s most prominent media and publishing houses, including Penguin Random House and Hachette Book Group. Others have topped The Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller lists.

Each client is carefully matched with a writer who can best emulate their own voice and reflect their personality, interests and background. The writer then interviews the client to craft their story, recording anecdotes to create an authentic testament of the client’s life. Story Terrace’s proprietary platform, BookMaker, ensures that the storyteller and writer can stay connected every step of the way. The storyteller can request changes while the in-house editorial team handles the rest of the process. The result is a beautifully produced, hardback book with colour images that is delivered to the client’s home for them to share with family and friends.

Rutger Bruining, Founder of Story Terrace, said: “Creating professional stories for people is a true honour, we’re delighted to be able to bring a person’s experiences to life for others to enjoy time and time again. Our audience sees the value in our service which is resulting in an increase in orders. We’re growing quickly as a company and will use this latest funding to match the pace of demand. Our thanks to David and everyone at The FSE Group for their guidance throughout this financial process, it plays an important part in our company story.”

David Booth, Investment Manager for The FSE Group, which manages the £55 million debt fund on behalf of Funding London, commented: “StoryTerrace has strong growth potential in terms of geographical reach and customer base. Expertly led by a team of highly experienced marketing and brand experts, the Company is well placed to continue on its current trajectory of success. We look forward to working with Rutger and the wider team on the next stage of their journey.”

Maggie Rodriguez-Piza, CEO at Funding London, adds: “With extensive in-house expertise, Rutger and his team are well positioned to deliver Story Terrace’s growth ambitions. We are delighted to support the company’s team expansion and the increasing demand for their service.”

GLIF is a £100m initiative to help address the SME finance gap in Greater London, promoting economic growth through enterprise and an inclusive and sustainable economy. £55m of debt funding is available, via loans between £100,000 and £1m, to early-stage and established SMEs looking to scale-up and realise their growth ambitions. GLIF is financed through the European Investment Bank (EIB), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), London Waste & Recycling Board (LWARB) and Funding London’s Legacies.

Truro based, Aegis Veterinary Technology (Aegis), a business providing tech solutions in the large animal veterinary sector, is the latest company to receive funding from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF).

Aegis has received a £125,000 CIOSIF equity investment as part of a £250,000 fundraising round, which includes £95,000 from SFC Capital. The funding will enable the company to further commercialise the business and recruit additional team members over the next three years.

The large animal veterinary sector has shown strong growth and clinical innovation over the last few decades, but the way vets handle their workflow and records has remained mostly unchanged. Staff rely heavily on paper notes and directions when trying to locate rural premises and fields, resulting in wasted time and frustrated clients. The situation is further exacerbated by a lack of communication between vets and clients who are not able to update each other as vets are constantly on the go. All of this comes at a time when practices are under strain to recruit and retain veterinary surgeons.

To transform the situation Aegis has developed a platform called ArriVet (www.arrivet.app), which provides highly accurate, artificial intelligence-enabled location information and keeps the client up-to-date on where their vet is, and when they will arrive. This reduces admin and improves the quality of service and safety for the vet; gives the client more accuracy and transparency; and provides greater visibility on where vets are, easy emergency delegation and scope for advanced analytics for reception staff.

Iain Brunt, Founder of Aegis Veterinary Technology, commented: “Being veterinary practitioners ourselves, our management team know too well the frustrations that come with working on the mobile side of the sector. This drove us to develop digital tools to support vets by making their behind-the-scenes processes much more efficient. By reducing the amount of admin vets have to do on the road we can increase focus on the clinical case which creates a better outcome for everyone. Our thanks to Anna and The FSE Group for helping us to secure this funding which will help us expand our team and advance our offering.”

Anna Staevska, Investment Manager at The FSE Group, added: “Aegis has recognised the potential in the ambulatory veterinary marketplace for a product to bring workflows into the 21st century. As a product developed by vets for vets, ArriVet clearly solves a real-world problem already experienced by the founders. We’re delighted to be supporting such a focussed and experienced team as they provide a product which has the potential to make a significant impact on the day-to-day work of vets in the field.”

Adam Beveridge, Investment Associate at SFC Capital, said: “Aegis presented an exciting opportunity to invest in a sector that is ripe for digital innovation, but has been so far relatively underserved. Iain and Andrew demonstrated great sector knowledge from the outset, with a career that supported their views of the market and we have every confidence in their ability to execute and tackle this problem.”

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).

Ken Cooper, Managing Director from the British Business Bank, said: “Cornwall’s tech sector continues to grow apace, and Aegis is part of a growing portfolio of local technology businesses backed by CIOSIF. The fund’s investment has helped leverage additional funding to give Aegis the capital it needs to grow over the next three years.”

John Acornley, LEP non-executive director and chair of the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “This is another great example of a Cornish business harnessing the latest technology in innovative ways to solve real-world problems. Arrivet helps veterinary practices save time and serve their clients better, while reducing admin time and boosting productivity.”

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.

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

News

The FSE Group is pleased to announce the recruitment of Ryan Cartwright and Abbie Peat, who join the team in the Midlands which manages the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) Debt Finance Fund. Ryan joins as Investment Manager for the West Midlands and Abbie will take up the role of Investment Manager for the East Midlands. 

Ryan’s career in SME finance began with the RBS Group where he worked in Relationship Management roles within Corporate Banking for nine years. His next move was to a regional Growth Hub in Staffordshire before returning to commercial finance with a private sector invoice finance and factoring business where he was responsible for setting up an office and developing a new portfolio of clients from scratch. In 2018 he became the West Midlands Senior Manager for the British Business Bank which gave him a deeper experience of the diversity of finance options available to SMEs including equity and debt products.  

Abbie has almost 20 years’ experience in the banking sector with varying roles including Relationship Management, Training & Development, Business Risk and Assurance and Project work. Working for Yorkshire & Clydesdale Bank, she helped deliver the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and most recently supported the bank’s phase out of LIBOR which is one of the largest, most complex regulatory driven change projects ever to impact the financial services industry and its customers. 

Ryan Cartwright, Investment Manager at The FSE Group, said, “I’m pleased to join the team at FSE and to continue the great work being carried out by the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF). Having previously worked with the MEIF while I was part of the British Business Bank, I’m excited to directly work with and support the SMEs who use the fund and who are growing and enriching the Midlands.”  

Abbie Peat, Investment Manager at The FSE Group, added “I’ve worked directly with business banking customers for years but I’m excited to be able to make this my main focus. The Midlands has a wonderful community of SMEs and is a region experiencing significant growth through investment. I’m delighted to be a part of this and to use my knowledge to guide and support local companies who are taking the next steps on their growth journey.”   

The MEIF Debt Finance Fund can be used for expansion related activities which will deliver substantial growth impact within the area. Through this fund, eligible SMEs can secure growth loans ranging from £100,000 - £1,500,000 which can be used for sales and marketing activity, hiring new employees/job creation, new product development, exporting abroad, purchasing new equipment or entering new markets. 

Andy Moss, Head of Fund at The FSE Group, commented: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Abbie and Ryan, two highly skilled investment professionals, who will complete our Midlands team. The FSE Group has supported 48 businesses across the Midlands and is looking to increase this number by continuing to work with growing SMEs in the region. Both Abbie and Ryan have a deep understanding of the challenges and demands faced by local businesses which makes them ideally placed to continue this work.” 

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project 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 and the European Investment Bank. 

News

A Newquay based social enterprise working to turn ocean waste into useable products has secured £250,000 of growth finance from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF). The funding will be used for marketing, product development, equipment and to create new jobs.

While working as a marine scientist in locations across the globe, Waterhaul Founder and CEO Harry Dennis witnessed ‘ghost gear’ – fishing equipment and nets that has been abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded – on every shoreline. On realising the qualities that make the nets such a problem in the ocean – their durability, strength and abundance – are also highly desirable in a raw material, he set about turning this problem into a resource.

The result is a business that collects fishing nets by hand from Cornwall’s coastline for recycling into a range of beach conservation accessories and high-quality eyewear.

Harry said: “At Waterhaul we produce premium-quality sunglasses that come with a lifetime guarantee. We’re proud of this but what matters more is our purpose. We’ve made great progress collecting and repurposing nets over the last three years but to have a material impact on the volume of ghost gear in our oceans and on our shores, we need to grow and increase capacity. The CIOSIF loan is crucial to this growth. As a young business with insufficient track record for many lenders, we are grateful to be working with a projection-led finance provider who understands our mission and is willing to back our potential.”

Waterhaul’s expansion plans include a move to new premises where they can undertake more of the currently outsourced processes in-house, as well as creating their own glasses designs and expanding their product range. They are already supplying major retailers including Glasses Direct and Vision Express, and B2B channels will be a focus for further growth. And with nets in abundant supply, production of recycled plastic will exceed Waterhaul’s need for its own products so in the future they will look to supply this high-quality material to other brands wishing to create a more sustainable offering.

Tim Williams, Investment Manager at appointed CIOSIF Fund Manager, The FSE Group, commented: “Waterhaul is an impressive business that is already making great headway in a sector close to Cornwall’s heart. Their commercial acumen is grounded by a desire to bring about real change. A hands on business model keeps them connected to Waterhaul’s core purpose, and their expansion plans reflect the ambition to tackle a huge environmental issue head on. We are delighted to be supporting this ambitious business in an exciting phase of its development.”

Waterhaul was introduced to CIOSIF by Oxford Innovation’s Access to Finance Cornwall team in Redruth. John Whittaker, Business Finance Specialist at Access to Finance, added: “We worked closely with Harry to identify the funding requirement and then to help produce a robust and dynamic financial model that would strengthen the CIOSIF funding application. We are thrilled to have been able to support Waterhaul in securing the finance needed to grow and look forward to working with the CIOSIF team on future introductions.”

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).

Sarah Newbould, Senior Investment Manager from the British Business Bank, said: “The fund is starting to build a portfolio of environmentally focused Cornish businesses that are committed to sustainability, and Waterhaul is another excellent example of that. It also shows how the fund can support young businesses that may not have the trading track record to satisfy other lenders.”

LEP director John Acornley, and chair of the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “Waterhaul is showing how Cornish businesses really are leading the way when it comes to the circular economy. They take one of the most common and potentially lethal forms of plastic pollution in our oceans and transform it into everyday products with a lifetime warranty. We look forward to seeing their next stage of growth.”

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.

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

For further details about Waterhaul, please visit https://waterhaul.co or follow on Instagram @waterhaul_co

Vacancies

We have an exciting opportunity for an experienced Business Development or Relationship Manager from a Business or Commercial Banking or SME lending background to join our team.

You will be responsible for origination, appraisal, and execution of loans to growing and innovative SME’s, up to £300k.

The fund is evergreen and was set up to finance high growth, early-stage businesses and since its inception we have supported over 90 exciting and dynamic SMEs across Berkshire, you can find our current portfolio here

You will be expected to:

  • Be a self-driven, active member of the investment team with a genuine passion for working with SMEs to achieve their growth ambitions.
  • Build a pipeline of suitable lending opportunities, developing relationships with introducers, and marketing the product to appropriate audiences.
  • Carry out evaluation and due diligence on suitable proposals in line with the Fund’s Lending Policy and Operational Guidelines.
  • Present proposals to the credit committee.
  • Manage completion matters post approval including completion of facility documentation.
  • Work alongside company solicitors to ensure all security requirements are met.
  • Pro-actively manage client portfolio, work with those businesses to achieve growth, monitoring performance and identifying early potential default situations.
  • Contribute to  stakeholder reporting.

Desired Skills & Experience

The ideal candidate will have:

  • prior experience in lending to SMEs and client relationship management which includes
  • a strong ability to assess and structure loan propositions on a projection led basis.
  • ability to multi-task and prioritise deadlines to meet customer expectations.
  • good presentation skills & ability to communicate and interact at all levels of management.
  • a high level of IT proficiency, particularly on Microsoft Office 365 products.
  • a diligent working style and experience using CRM systems to manage & track proposal activities.
  • must be within a commutable distance of Berkshire

What we offer:

  • Flexible hybrid working between home and our offices in Blackwater.
  • A competitive base salary commensurate with your experience up to £60,000pa
  • 25 days annual leave plus usual Bank holidays in England & Wales. You will also get your birthday off.
  • Ability for you to use 1 day for Corporate Social Responsibility purposes annually.
  • 5% contribution to employer pension scheme, subject to minimum 3% contribution from employee.
  • Ability to join the private medical scheme (50% employer contribution to premium)
  • Death in Service benefit equivalent to 4x salary.

About The FSE Group:

For nearly 20 years our primary goal is to provide tailored funding solutions and support for ambitious and innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to help them achieve their maximum potential. With over £225m of debt and equity funds under management, the Group is continuing to grow and prides itself on taking an integrated approach to the funding needs of our clients.

Our Purpose

With a passion for, and successful history in, managing and deploying market gap funds with an economic impact purpose, we focus on more than pure commercial return to support the growth of SMEs. We promote diversity. We support underrepresented geographies. We are insightful in determining how we can improve an evolving funding landscape and we stimulate sustainability by successfully recycling smaller funds. We are more than money.

The core values we live by as FSE employees are Collaboration, Innovation, Inclusivity, Sustainability and Delivery.

With one of our core values being inclusivity, we are committed to a diverse and inclusive team. We are an equal opportunity employer and treat all applications fairly and welcome job applicants from all communities and affinity groups.

All applicants must live and have the right to work in the UK.

For more information about us see www.thefsegroup.com

Job Type: Full-time, but open to requests for part time of 4 days per week minimum.  

Start date: Summer 2022

If you would like an informal chat about the role please call Cheryl Weeks, Head of Funds on 07866 835143.

To apply: visit our LinkedIn page here or email us for your CV and covering letter.

Strictly no agencies