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

Robotics company eyes growth with £300k equity support from CIOSIF

Service Robotics Limited, a health and wellbeing business focusing on supporting the vulnerable and elderly through innovative technology, has raised £600,000 in their latest funding round.  The funding includes a £300,000 equity investment from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) and investment from Britbots and the Enterprise 100 Angel Investment Club.

The company has created an intelligent companion robot that will assist the elderly via patient-centred interactions. GenieConnect® helps users by providing companionship and support by offering services such as prescription management, medication reminders, daily welfare checks, video calls and music entertainment. Through intuitive AI and a dedicated Customer Care Centre, GenieConnect® can reduce loneliness and helps older people live safely and independently in their own homes.

The robot is one of the first of its kind and uses cutting edge software to better the lives of an aging population. Service Robotics launched its first pilot project in Cornwall in August 2019, and won its first contract from the NHS Small Business Research Initiative six months ago, for the way in which it is tackling one of society’s biggest social challenges.

The latest funding will be used to further develop the business, expand the pilot program and establish a Cornwall project office in Bude.

Rob Parkes, CEO of Service Robotics Limited said: “The current outbreak of Covid-19 is teaching us all the importance of staying connected and the increasing need for zero touch virtual care. Genie is on hand to support the most vulnerable people in society, giving their families peace of mind that their elderly relatives are well, safe and happy. Responses have shown that Genie is filling a definite gap in the market where live-in support is not needed but older people cannot live as independently as they once did. This investment will enable us to expand our pilot program and build on our existing relationships with local authorities and stakeholders in the adult care sector.”

Ralph Singleton, Head of Funds, Cornwall at The FSE Group, the appointed CIOSIF fund managers, added: “GenieConnect® is both an exciting and desperately needed social care innovation. The mixture of automated applications with connectivity to loved ones and caring professionals will undoubtedly be of benefit to many people in need. The importance of connecting virtually is being proven during this COVID-19 crisis and we are delighted to be supporting a company that is tackling such an important  issue. We wish them all the success for the future.”

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 The FSE Group.

Sarah Newbould, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “By creating a friendly and responsive virtual assistant for older people, Service Robotics is helping to meet a real social need, especially for those who live on their own where isolation and loneliness can be a real issue. The fund’s investment will help move the company to the next level and it’s good to see other investors coming on board, which has doubled the impact.”

LEP non-executive director John Acornley, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “Our ageing society is one of the Grand Challenges identified by government and has been brought into sharp focus by the coronavirus crisis. As we look toward recovery it is innovative companies like Service Robotics that can make a real difference to people’s lives and demonstrate how Cornwall can lead the way in pioneering e-health solutions.”

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

The FSE Group announces new head for Midlands Engine Investment Fund and CBILS accreditation for the fund

  • The FSE Group, MEIF Debt Fund is now an accredited lender under the British Business Bank Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • Also announces New Head for Midlands Engine Investment Fund.

Accreditation will now allow The FSE Group to issue loans from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) Debt Fund backed by a CBILS guarantee.

Furthermore, following the launch earlier this year of a further £40million MEIF Debt Fund by the British Business Bank, appointed fund manager, The FSE Group, is now delighted to introduce the team managing the fund.

The additional Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) money provides loan funding between £100,000 and £1.5million to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) based across the whole of the Midlands area, to facilitate growth. This latest phase of investment addresses regional demand for alternative debt finance options and brings the number of MEIF funds to seven, with The FSE Group working alongside six other MEIF fund managers.

The FSE Group’s MEIF team is led by Andy Moss. Andy comes to FSE from Lloyds, where he has spent more than 34 years building a strong network in the finance community across the Midlands region. He has led teams across the SME sector, where he specialised in manufacturing and for the last 3 years, worked with large corporates.

Andy is joined by four fund managers and a fund executive, who are working to deliver investments to growing businesses across the whole of the Midlands region:

  • Chirag Mistry is the newest member of the FSE team in the Midlands, having spent the last 13 years with Santander. Chirag is also a Sutton Coldfield Chamber of Commerce committee member and will be working with high growth businesses in the West Midlands, focusing on Worcestershire, The Marches, Coventry & Warwickshire and Greater Birmingham & Solihull. 
  • Kerry Haughton is a Fund Manager who, before joining FSE, spent 14 years working in various commercial and corporate relationship banking roles for Thincats and RBS, both onshore and offshore. Kerry is working to support SME growth in the West Midlands, focusing on The Black Country, Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire as well as Greater Birmingham & Solihull, along with Chirag.
  • Fund Manager, Paul Lynam, joined FSE after almost 37 years with HSBC, Paul is now applying his experience in the commercial banking sector to helping SMEs in the East and South East Midlands unlock their growth potential, focusing on Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.
  • David Price joined HSBC over 40 years ago, where he spent the majority of his banking career, working as both a branch manager and a commercial lending manager across several different sectors. He is FSE’s second Fund Manager for the East and South East Midlands, focusing on Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and other areas of the South East Midlands.
  • The team is completed by Fund Executive, Harriet Saunders. After graduating from University of Bath with a Business Administration degree, Harriet spent time working in financial support roles, including as a Fund Administrator for Mercia Asset Management, before joining FSE earlier this year.

The FSE Group’s CEO, Paul Marston, said: “We are delighted to welcome Andy to FSE and our Midlands team. The FSE Group has been specialising in SME lending, with a particular focus on managing government and public sector intervention funds, since 2002. Andy’s commercial lending expertise, combined with his regional knowledge is a great fit and a welcome addition, which will be put to good use managing the team and supporting growing SMEs throughout the Midlands.”

Andy Moss, Head of Funds for the Midlands at The FSE Group, added: “The FSE Group is a niche lender with a unique approach, focusing on business potential, rather than security available, to help growing businesses reach their full potential. I am excited to be part of this dynamic team and look forward to leading the successful delivery of this latest MEIF funding.

Grant Peggie, Director, British Business Bank, also commented: “It’s great to see The FSE Group now have a full team in place to work on MEIF, headed up by Andy, who we look forward to working with. MEIF is still very much open for business, especially at a time when businesses are reaching out even more for financial support. We are pleased that The FSE Group also now join our other regional fund managers, BCRS Business Loans and First Enterprise as an accredited lender under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme.”

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund are 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.

New Future Fund Enhances Funding Capability

The Government’s new Future Fund is now open for applications. Announced by the Chancellor on the 20th April, the Future Fund issues convertible loans to innovative UK companies with growth potential that are currently affected by Covid-19.

To be eligible, a company must find a lead investor and the Future Fund will match up to 100% of the lead investor’s contribution. 

The FSE Group, as manager of the £40m Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (“CIOSIF”), can provide lead investor funding from £50k – £2m to Cornish businesses.  With the addition of the new Future Fund alongside other matched funding, there is the potential to double the investment and provide all the capital to meet companies’ growth aspirations.

Ralph Singleton, Head of Funds, Cornwall at The FSE Group said: “The announcement of Rishi Sunak’s Future Fund is great news for the local economy as it will allow us to deliver even more investment into Cornish businesses at a difficult time. As well as this extra financial investment, we continue to provide our ongoing expert support to help our investee companies realise their growth ambitions.  We encourage any interested businesses to contact us to discuss this exciting opportunity further”

For further information please contact Brent Treloar – Business Development Manager at The FSE Group – 01872 306663 / brent.treloar@thefsegroup.com

Healthy Snack Business Secures Growth Loan

A London based, food brand, has secured a £600,000 expansion loan from The Greater London Investment Fund. Adonis, an exciting, young brand in the health foods sector, aims to create a new generation of snacks that are: keto, plant based and low sugar.

Launched in 2015, Adonis was born from the founder’s interest in providing a healthy alternative to typical artificial and sugary afternoon pick me ups. The company has created a range of snacks that people can rely on to give them what they need: health, the right nutrition and a great taste. Their products suit people’s everyday lifestyles and are plant based, natural and keto to help people keep their focus and avoid unnecessary sugar.

With a rise in the amount of people taking an interest in what they eat, Adonis has seen a growing demand for their products. This has resulted in popular retailers as well as everyday and niche stores stocking their products. You can currently find their tasty snack bars in Wholefoods, Planet Organic, Ocado, Sainsbury’s as well as retailers in Germany and Austria. The loan will be used to hire new sales and marketing staff, to enter new food markets and to further the company’s technical development.

Ingo Braeunlich, CEO at Adonis said, “It is important to have normal snacks for normal people on normal days. Not everyone runs a marathon and needs instant sugar spikes, in fact many people are tired and unfocused after sugary snacks. Healthy low sugar snacks are definitely the future when looking at the needs of office workers and the wider urban population. Snacking is a market with very high growth, and we think it is key for any brand to be part of a solution rather than part of the problem. This funding will allow us to expand the team, push innovation and launch modern, healthy, and functional low sugar snacks. Plus, funding is a key element to success when expanding abroad.”

David Booth, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, commented, “We are delighted to assist Ingo and his team with their expansion plans. The company has grown quickly with a firm focus on marketing and brand awareness. We were impressed by the team’s commitment to their chosen market and the commercial traction delivered to date.  We look forward to supporting them on their journey and wish them all the very best for the future”

Maggie Rodriquez-Piza, CEO at Funding London, added, “It is our pleasure to support businesses which have the wellbeing of customers at the heart of their mission. A start-up with an incredible potential for growth, Ingo and his team have proven they are ready to conquer new heights. We are thrilled to accompany the team in their journey of expansion.”

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.

For more details about the Greater London Investment Fund visit: www.glif.co or to speak to a Fund Manager contact David Booth: David.Booth@thefsegroup.com / 07786 912674

TVB Growth Fund Exit for TOWER Cold Chain Solutions

TOWER Cold Chain Solutions, equity client of the Thames Valley Berkshire (TVB) Growth Fund, which is managed by The FSE Group, has closed a major new funding initiative, leading to a successful exit for TVB Growth Fund.

The deal, which is worth £6m+, has been led by TOWER’s major shareholders, Just Arne Storvik and Tor Erland Fysken, and backed by Investec.

Theale based TOWER provides environmentally friendly, cold chain packaging solutions to the pharmaceutical industry. The company has been receiving support from FSE since 2016 when it secured its first TVB Growth Fund equity investment. The Growth Fund also led a syndicate of follow-on investment of £1m in 2017, to further support the company’s growth.

At the time of the initial investment, the company had 7 employees. Investment from the TVB Growth Fund, alongside other investors, has enabled the company to grow to 23 employees, with representatives in key pharmaceutical hubs across the globe. This figure is expected to grow further as the business uses its latest funding to expand its fleet of rental containers by 400%.

Chris Pollard, Chief Executive at TOWER, said: “At the time TOWER met FSE it was less a start-up, more a small company believing it had the opportunity to become a great deal bigger and more profitable. TVB’s investment and FSE’s associated support was of enormous significance for two reasons: first, because we needed cash to invest in new stock, but second, and perhaps even more importantly, it represented a real validation of TOWER’s prospects and undoubtedly played a part in generating confidence amongst both customers and investors. Beyond that, the part played by Julie Silvester as a Board observer cannot be underestimated, bringing an extra dimension to the corporate governance of the business. I am extremely grateful to FSE, particularly Julie and our fund manager, Kiko Duffy, for the part they played in enabling this latest step forward for TOWER.”

Julie Silvester, Head of Commercial at The FSE Group, which manages the TVB Growth Fund on behalf of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), added: “We are delighted to have been a part of TOWER’s journey to a successful business on the cusp of exponential growth and we wish Chris and the team every success in the next part of their journey. The TVB Funding Escalator is all about supporting companies with the potential to impact on the regional economy, promoting job creation and economic prosperity, and we look forward to helping more businesses achieve this.”

The proceeds from the sale of The TVB Growth Fund equity investment will be recycled into new investments or loans to support companies in the Berkshire area. TVB Growth Fund is part of Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, an initiative funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP to support businesses in Berkshire. The escalator, which also includes an expansion loan scheme and a trade finance loan scheme, provides eligible companies – from start-up to established – with debt and equity funding between £25,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

Cashless Solution Company Receives £250,000 GLIF Investment

A touch-free, physical-digital payment platform helping charities, retailers and publishers drive engagement with customers, is the latest business to receive investment from the Greater London Investment Fund (GLIF) via The FSE Group.

Camden based company, Thyngs Ltd, delivers innovative solutions that use frictionless smartphone technology to help its clients drive new forms of consumer engagement that are fit for a digital, cashless, COVID-19 world. Thyngs helps brands develop and monitor their offline marketing by turning any product, packaging, or advertisement into an interactive point-of-sale, without the need for human intervention.

Thyngs use simple, built-in smartphone technology, like QR code and Near Field Communication (NFC), for experiences to work across 3.5bn smartphone users worldwide, without an app. Its software negates the need for restrictive card terminals, giving clients the flexibility to take payments on-the-go using any physical object, whilst also using trusted tap-and-go payment providers such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal.

The current environment around Covid-19 is proving challenging for many businesses. Fortunately, Thyngs is well-positioned to help support its clients as they see an increasing demand for touch-free, cashless solutions that continue to work at-home. Outside of the current pandemic, Thyngs solutions can be anything from gaining digital loyalty points when buying a coffee, to giving directly to charity by tapping a unique fundraising badge.

Charities are being hit particularly hard this Spring, with cancelled face-to-face fundraising events, plummeting donations and fewer volunteers, at a time when many will be experiencing an increase in demand for their services. Thyngs are helping them stay connected with donors in new and safe ways, encouraging at-home fundraising material and amplified online collection efforts. In partnership with a donation management organisation, Thyngs has introduced the opportunity for any business to support one of up to 18,000 charities by transforming their product’s packaging, such as groceries, into instant donation points for consumers to engage with at home.

The £250,000 GLIF loan will be used to increase the sales and marketing operation as well as further develop the technology and purchase associated hardware.

Dr Neil Garner, Thyngs Founder and CEO, says: “It is great to be working alongside Jerry and the GLIF team with a loan that has come at an extremely important time. Thanks to the loan, we will be able to accelerate our growth plans and continue to help businesses adjust to the immediate and long-term changes this tough pandemic has highlighted we need to make. Businesses and charities will be searching for safe, touch-free contactless solutions to move forward sustainably, and we will be able to offer them cost-effective and robust solutions.”

Jerry Donohue, Senior Fund Manager for The FSE Group, which managed the £55 million GLIF debt fund on behalf of Funding London, comments: “With a strong management team and an offering which delivers USPs unmatched by the competition, Thyngs is well-placed to take advantage of the growing market for smartphone customer engagements and transactions. We look forward to continuing to work with them as they look to grow the business across the UK and beyond.”

Maggie Rodriguez-Piza, CEO at Funding London, adds: “Developing a powerful value proposition and discovering a way to turn challenges into opportunities is what the Thyngs team excel at. We are extremely delighted to support the team’s expansion by creating much needed job opportunities during the pandemic.”

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.

Space Sector Business Secures £300,000 EM3 Expansion Loan

A business offering innovative solutions for the satellite technology and space communications sector is the latest company to benefit from an Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan.

Guildford-based business Clutch Space Systems (CSS) has received £300,000 to help support its growth plans, enabling the immediate expansion of its technology, sales & marketing capabilities.

Satellite technology is used across many commercial, government and military applications from TV, radio and internet provision, to navigation systems and weather forecasting.  The space sector is growing exponentially, with experts valuing the market at anything between £400 billion and £1trillion by 2040.

Ground stations, which process the data received by antenna systems from satellites, typically use bespoke legacy hardware systems to process the signals into a functional format that can be sent on to the end user.

CSS has developed a unique software solution for these satellite ground stations that can expand existing inflexible and costly hardware systems currently in use with a lower cost, easily deployed solution. 

The software has been developed by CSS experts, who have over 130 years’ experience between them in the space sector, to robust industry standards using automated test regimes proven to stress test the system’s resilience and robustness. 

Satellite technology is a growing market, being transformed by new opportunities for commercial exploitation, but this has brought some challenges, as CSS co-founder and CEO, Martin Philp, said: “a bottleneck is occurring due to the limits of a signal processing infrastructure that is unable to deliver in line with demand. Our software offers high functioning, reliable and flexible solutions that can reduce the cost, risk and complexity of satellite development and operations for both new and existing players in the sector. We are delighted to have secured this funding, which will allow us to recruit additional staff, further develop our product and infrastructure, increase marketing and really take hold of the global opportunity available to us.”

Derek Ellis, Fund Manager at The FSE Group, which manages the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme on behalf of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), added: “during this time of uncertainty for many businesses, we are delighted to continue supporting CSS with their efforts to deliver a technology that can support communications across the globe. The management team are well-connected and highly regarded in the sector and in a strong position to take the business forward. We look forward to working with them over the coming months to help them achieve their goals.”

Kathy Slack, Director, Enterprise M3 LEP, commented: “Space technology is a sector which continues to show an exciting level of growth within the EM3 region, so I am particularly pleased to see Clutch Space Systems benefiting from an expansion loan. It’s wonderful to see the EM3 Funding Escalator continuing to help businesses grow, even in times of economic uncertainty.”

The Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme is part of the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator, a £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 Enterprise M3 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 Clutch Space Systems Ltd visit https://www.clutchspace.com/

Funding for Cornish online platform supporting hotel sector

A Cornish software developer has secured a £150,000 loan to take its business to the next level with the support of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF).

Caterbook, based in Camelford in North Cornwall, is a cloud-based hotel management platform providing hotel owners and managers with a sophisticated solution for handling bookings, payments and much more.

Business owners, Chris and Sally Noon, gained their expertise in the sector whilst selling a third-party product for over 10 years but, as they became increasingly frustrated by its limited functionality, took the decision to develop their own software solution for the industry.

Their platform automates and simplifies many of the repetitive daily tasks facing hotel managers, whilst providing an interactive dashboard, intuitive reporting and integrated payment system.

The £131,250 CIOSIF loan is complemented by a co-investment of £18,750 from SWIG Finance. The £40m CIOSIF 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 manager, The FSE Group.

Whilst the impact of Covid-19 is undoubtedly taking its toll on the hotel industry across the region and beyond, Chris and Sally believe it will provide an opportunity for managers to review their systems and practices and look to integrate new systems that can help strengthen their position for when we are through this current crisis.

Chris said: “We want the industry to know that we are still here, working hard to provide them with a robust system that can save them time and money. The funding from CIOSIF will allow us to further develop our solution and ensure the platform continues to offer what our clients need. We are grateful to FSE and SWIG for their ongoing support at this challenging time.”

Mike Chapman, business manager at SWIG Finance, who are working with FSE to deliver smaller CIOSIF business loans, adds: “Chris and Sally’s experience in this field is extensive and they have established a good reputation both across the region and nationwide. This helped them secure strong early sales for their impressive platform. We know that the coming months will be

tough but we are here to support them and help ensure their business is in a position of strength when we come through the other side.”

Lloyd Brina, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “This deal is a good example of a growth business that has created an innovative product but needs extra capital to develop it further and grow sales. We are pleased that CIOSIF is providing important funding to support growth at Caterbook and would encourage similar businesses to consider the options available through the CIOISF to see if it can help fund growth.”

LEP non-executive director John Acornley, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “Caterbook are part of a growing tech industry in Cornwall and this is the third investment by the fund in a software business, spanning retail, accountancy and now hospitality, and all operating nationwide. Many B&Bs, guest house and hotels are using this time to review their systems, including how they manage bookings.”

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

Software Company Receives £100,000 Loan to Drive Growth

A software and consulting business specialising in supporting businesses with becoming more efficient is set to grow with the support of a £100,000 loan from The Greater London Investment Fund.

Xendl Limited which has been established in the United Kingdom since 2014, is an innovative and diligent software company led by an expert team of SAP & Oracle Development, Data & Security industry professionals carrying a wealth of over 30 years cross vertical industry experience. The funding will help support the company with hiring three new staff members to help increase growth in both the business’s consulting and SAP software services.

Nicolas Winston, CEO at Xendl, commented, “As a growing software company, access to funding was key to our success. The FSE Group allowed us the flexibility to explore options other than equity investment. Working with the group (via Paul) was a real pleasure and securing our funding has recently helping us drive revenue up almost immediately through the development of new software solutions that have already hit the market.”

Paul Shadbolt, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, said, “I am delighted we have been able to support Nick and his team with growth funding for new staff hires in London using Mayor of London’s Greater London Investment Fund. This will enable Xendl Software to develop new software solutions and expand their consulting capacity”

Maggie Rodriquez-Piza, CEO at Funding London, added, “It is a great pleasure to support ambitious founders like Nick, on their journey to success. We are delighted to be the catalysts for Xendl’s growth by proving the capital needed to expand the team and operations.”

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.

Further CIOSIF investment for Cornish high-speed broadband provider

Cornish high-speed broadband provider, Wildanet, has secured further equity investment from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF). The additional £400,000 will help the company to continue its roll-out of internet services to the thousands of homes and businesses across the county, that currently lack adequate broadband provision.

This latest funding follows an initial £750,000 CIOSIF investment last year. Since then, Wildanet has extended its infrastructure, which uses state of the art wireless radio technology, so that it is ready to connect over 100,000 properties. That’s over one third of Cornish homes, many in hard to reach areas, that could be accessing a guaranteed a minimum internet speed of 30Mb/s, going up to a lightning-fast 1Gb/s.

Wildanet is affected like most other businesses by the Covid-19 crisis, but they also appreciate that now, more than ever, high-quality internet is critical to keep Cornish businesses and residents connected. With the new funding, the company will take on new staff and increase its capacity to deliver its services more widely and quickly.

Wildanet’s CEO and Founder, Ian Calvert, said: “The coming months are going to be difficult for all businesses and we are no exception, but with Cornwall still lagging behind much of the UK when it comes to reliable internet, we feel strongly that we must push forward with a ‘business as usual’ approach as far as possible. We look forward to continuing to work with the CIOSIF team at The FSE Group, who have supported us over the last year.”

Ralph Singleton, The FSE Group’s Head of Funds in Cornwall, added: “Wildanet has made steady progress, building a customer base of more than 500 households and businesses. Their offering has impressed us from the start and this is now endorsed by the company’s exceptional customer retention rates. We hope this investment will be the stepping-stone to a major future funding round, which would allow the business to reach its full potential across its current WiFi technology, as well as further develop the progress they are making with fibre technology.”

Lloyd Brina, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “Wildanet has grown from being a young start-up to an established provider in Cornwall in a very short time and their minimum speed guarantee, especially in hard to reach areas, has helped set them apart in a competitive market. We’re delighted that the fund is supporting their continued growth with further equity investment.”

LEP non-executive director John Acornley, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “Wildanet have evolved their offer to become a hybrid supplier combining wireless, satellite, 4G and fibre technology, and hope to employ 50 staff by the end of 2021. It’s that technical innovation and growth which is so exciting to see, and why the investment fund was created in the first place to support growing businesses in Cornwall and Scilly.”

The £40m CIOSIF 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 manager, The 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.