News

The British Business Bank’s £200 million South West Investment Fund has announced its first major equity deal with a £500,000 equity investment in tech-led commercial waste and recycling business Binit.

The deal is part of a £750,000 funding round led by the South West Investment Fund appointed fund manager The FSE Group and includes co-funding of £250,000 from private equity investor Yeo Valley Associates.

The South West Investment Fund was launched in July this year by the government-backed British Business Bank to boost the supply of early-stage finance to small and medium-sized businesses across the entire the South West region.

Exeter-based Binit is a data-driven circular economy business that aims to transform the way businesses use waste and recycling services across the UK.

Based on Exeter Science Park, Binit was co-founded in 2016 by CEO Philippa Roberts, together with co-founder and former Non-executive Director Claire Harrold, who specialises in sustainability.

Binit has grown from its Exeter base to serve customers across the UK, including Specsavers and Pizza Express. It is a Living Wage employer and is working towards B Corp certification.

This is the company’s third investment round as it scales to go nationwide. It aims to double turnover and staff numbers to 15 in a year, while investing in new ‘bintech’ hardware, data systems and enhanced customer interfaces.

Philippa, who is a Chartered Waste Manager with more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, was inspired by her time working with a leatherback turtle project in Costa Rica during a student gap year, where she saw first-hand the impacts of plastic ocean waste.

She said: 'The way businesses manage their waste is changing and that’s being driven by a corporate commitment to net zero, which is being pushed right down the supply chain. We are a next-generation, tech-led waste and recycling super-broker and that means we can help businesses deal with their waste in the most eco-friendly way, wherever they are in the UK.

Female founder teams still struggle to raise equity investment, so we are delighted to have secured this package. It’s great to have the regional focus of the South West Investment Fund, together with Yeo Valley Associates as impact investors, so this deal has been perfect for us as we scale up across the country.'

Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Solutions, at the British Business Bank, said: “Philippa and Claire are determined to disrupt the market and vastly improve the way that businesses access and interact with waste and recycling services. Their ‘waste nothing’ mantra makes sound commercial and environmental sense and I’m delighted that the South West Investment Fund has been able to support their growth ambitions with the fund’s first equity investment in the region.”

Ralph Singleton, The FSE Group’s Head of Equity, South West, said“It has been wonderful working with a company who so passionately puts the needs of the planet at the forefront of everything they do. Binit’s ability to improve many of the issues faced by the waste disposal sector is key in supporting their customers as they work towards their own Net Zero ambitions. We are delighted to be supporting Philippa and the Binit team as they change their industry for the better.”

Amy Crown, Head of Investments at Yeo Valley Associates, said: “We are delighted to invest in Binit, a disrupter to the waste market and a leader in developing a circular economy. We’re excited to support Binit as they expand their smart, responsive commercial waste and recycling service across the country and unlock waste reductions through accurate data.”

Advisers on the deal were Field Seymour Parkes for FSE. Clarke Willmott for Yeo Valley Associates and Michelmores for Binit.

The South West Investment Fund covers the entire South West region and provides loans from £25k to £2m and equity investment up to £5m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to start up, scale up or stay ahead.

The purpose of the South West Investment Fund is to drive sustainable economic growth by supporting innovation and creating local opportunity for new and growing businesses across the South West.

The South West Investment Fund was the first in a series of six new Nations and Regions Investment Funds to be launched by the British Business Bank, the government-owned business development bank. A total of £1.6 billion has been committed to the new regional funds to drive sustainable economic growth.

Applications for funding are made directly to the relevant fund managers who can be contacted via the South West Investment Fund website southwestinvestmentfund.co.uk.

 

News

The FSE Group, which supports high growth businesses through the provision of loans and equity investments, is the latest company to move to Exeter Science Park. 

The organisation has been delivering funding solutions in the South West since 2018 as the appointed fund manager for the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF).  During that time, they have invested over £24.5million to support the growth of more than 60 businesses, creating or safeguarding almost 1,000 jobs and attracting a further £91.5million of private investment into the businesses they have supported. 

As CIOSIF comes to a close in December, the £200 million South West Investment Fund has been launched by the British Business Bank to provide a range of commercial finance options to growing businesses across the whole of the South West region. The South West Investment Fund offers loans from £25,000 to £2 million and equity investment up to £5 million.  

The FSE Group is managing the debt finance and equity finance part of the South West Investment Fund (some £70m) for Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset and Somerset (excluding North and North East Somerset), providing loans from £100,000 to £2 million, and equity investments up to £5 million. 

Ralph Singleton, FSE head of equity, south west, said: “We’re delighted to be based at the Exeter Science Park, which is home to many innovative businesses that we’re excited to work with. Exeter is a great location for us, with extensive links across the South West. We’ll be taking full advantage of the variety of co-working and breakout spaces that the Park has to offer, and would like to thank Sally Basker and her team for their warm welcome.” 

Jason Buck, senior business development manager at Exeter Science Park, added, “We’re very pleased to welcome the FSE Team to Exeter Science Park. We view the science park community as an eco-system and funders are a vitally important part of that. The FSE Group already has connections with many of our organisations and we’re looking forward to seeing that develop even further as they build on their presence here.” 

www.exetersciencepark.co.uk 

News

Huddersfield based Soren’s House – a children’s toy, decor and clothing retailer – is set for growth following investment from Finance Yorkshire.

Soren’s House specialises in sustainable Scandinavian style wooden toys, furniture, decor and organic clothing for children aged 0 to 12 years.

The company was launched by Sally Jackson in 2016 and is named after Soren Lorenson, a character in the popular children’s book and television series Charlie and Lola, an old favourite of Sally’s daughter, Seren.

A £80,000 investment from Finance Yorkshire’s business loans fund will enable Soren’s House to expand its team and accelerate its marketing activity to grow visibility and market share.

Sally’s partner in the business Max Jones said: “Our ambition is to be a one-stop shop for parents who are conscious about the environment and sustainability.”

The ethos of Soren’s House was developed after a pause in the business when Sally’s son Seth was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma at the age of six.

Max said: “Seth was treated for the best part of a year during which we had to put the business on hold. The experience of Seth being ill and his treatment gave us a different perspective and that’s why we are focused on natural materials and sustainability – we want parents to buy once and buy well and to be able to trust the products that they buy from us.”

Seth is now well and aged 12, sister Seren is 13.

With Finance Yorkshire’s investment, Soren’s House is set to employ a customer services manager and a digital marketing manager. The company plans to expand its product range and develop its own brand products.

“We see ourselves as a modern, natural design store merged with sustainability,” added Max.

Finance Yorkshire chief executive Alex McWhirter said: “We are pleased to support Soren’s House and applaud the entrepreneurial spirit of Sally and Max who are embarking on an ambitious development trajectory for their business with an emphasis on the growing interest in sustainable living.”

Vacancies

Business Development Managers – South East & East

This would be ideal for an experienced Business Development Manager from a Business or Commercial Banking or SME lending background (including SME lending brokers) who is looking for a new and exciting opportunity to work with high-growth SMEs.  The finance FSE offers is “market gap” lending/investment which would not be provided by a Bank - looking at business plans and spend required to help the business grow. Our aim is to also increase the probability of success of those businesses, with our “more than money” support with the focus on strong relationship management.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Primary responsibility for origination of debt and equity investment opportunities for the South East and East of England Funds, including creation, management and development of prospective debt and equity deal pipeline
  • Marketing & promotion of the South East and East of England Fund and more widely in terms of potential partner organisations. To include presentation to funders/roadshows/funding clinics/social media activity.
  • Initial response to inbound enquiries, including preliminary eligibility review and referral through to debt or equity fund managers as appropriate.
  • Proactive research of potential businesses suitable for support.
  • Support origination, appraisal and execution of equity and debt funding proposals.
  • Provision of support to the Head of Fund including reporting to stakeholders.

Required Skills & Experience:

  • Demonstrable experience in originating, marketing, promotion & relationship building activity within funding or business support environment and associated SME & partner engagement activity.
  • Evidence of strong professional network of introducers
  • Excellent presentation skills, especially with ability to market the funds to online prospects/introducers & ability to communicate and interact at all levels of management.
  • A high level of IT proficiency, particularly Microsoft Office 365 products

What we offer:

  • A competitive base salary commensurate with your experience.
  • 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% employer contribution to pension scheme, subject to minimum 3% contribution from employee.
  • Death in Service benefit equivalent to 4x salary
  • 50% funded private medical scheme, income protection and health cash plan scheme.

The role is primarily home based however you should have own transport to travel to customers/introducers and there will be a weekly team meet up in our office in Fleet, Hampshire. Access to a good quality/speed home internet is a must.

About The FSE Group:

For 20 years our primary goal has been 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 £325m 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.

Job Types: Full-time.

Applicants must have unrestricted access to work in the UK.

For an informal chat about the role, please contact Cheryl Weeks 07866 835143 or email Cheryl.Weeks@thefsegroup.com

To express interest in this role, please submit your CV to: HR@thefsegroup.com

News

Speciality coffee roaster, Origin Coffee, has secured a £1 million investment from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF), managed by The FSE Group. The investment is part of a £3.1 million funding round with other investors including Create Impact Ventures and Yeo Valley.

The funding will be used to enable the growth of the business, which already boasts an innovative Cornish roastery, loyal customer base and a number of coffee shops. A significant focus on digital activity will support expansion of its direct-to-consumer retail rollout as well as further wholesale channels. New jobs will be created across a number of head office functions at its Porthleven base.

A committed B Corp, Origin Coffee is committed to improving ethical sourcing and sustainability within the industry, pledging to increase direct Green Coffee purchases from farmers by 77% over the next four years.

On raising external investment for the first time in the company’s 18-year history, founder and CEO Tom Sobey said: “This step offers us the flexibility and opportunity to take the company forward. We take our commitment to sustainability and transparency seriously and the foundation of our business will remain ethical as we grow. We are delighted to have in CIOSIF a Cornwall focused investor who knows where we come from and understands our commitment to the region and we’re so excited to grow together with all our new partners, as well as our long-time friends and supporters.”

Meg Salt, FSE Investment Manager at CIOSIF, said: ‘We are thrilled to be adding this thriving Cornish business with sustainability at its core to our portfolio. Tom has built a robust enterprise that has attracted high-profile investors who are committed to supporting this next phase of growth. We look forward to working with the team as the business grows, aiding UK expansion whilst also boosting employment in Cornwall and continuing to bring ethically sourced coffees from around the world to their customers.”

The 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 was established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.

Paul Jones, Senior Investment Manager from the British Business Bank said: “Origin Coffee has set a very high bar in the speciality coffee market for its commitment to ethical and sustainable sourcing and I’m delighted that the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund is able to support the further growth of the business.”

John Acornley, Chair of the CIOSIF advisory board, said: “Tom and the team at Origin Coffee are committed to growth and maintaining the culture of the business, and that’s a powerful combination. With the support of the fund and other investors we look forward to seeing the business expand nationwide.”

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