Member Article

South West tech start-ups to be engine room for growth and financial innovation

Tech start-ups in the South West have a key role to play in ensuring that the UK economy bounces back post-coronavirus through the provision to digital transformation solutions.

This belief, held by prominent Bristol-based tech investment bank ICON Corporate Finance, will be expanded on at a free webinar for start-ups in the region, and follows hot on the heels of Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glenn’s announcement that an independent “FinTech Strategic Review” will be set up to ensure UK FinTech has the resources to grow and succeed.

The webinar, hosted by ICON in association with Burges Salmon, is taking place next Wednesday (29 July) from 3-4pm. It is designed to help South West entrepreneurs successfully capture the attention of investors including Venture Capitalists and Corporate Venture Capital funds.

With FinTech businesses in the Bristol and Bath region alone worth £192m to the UK economy according to FinTech West, and tech businesses in Bristol providing a combined turnover of £7.9bn in 2019, tech companies are playing an increasingly influential part in boosting the South West’s economy.

Featuring renowned business leaders from Bristol including Nick Sturge MBE, former Director of The Engine Shed, and SETsquared Bristol - the world’s leading university business incubator - and Fliss Berridge, Director and Co-founder of payments company Ordo, the seminar will provide a roadmap to successfully securing funding in the current turbulent world economic environment.

The line-up includes Monica Shupikai Simmons, Director at ICON who will provide an overview on the investment process, Sarah Kenshall, who leads Burges Salmon’s cross-departmental FinTech practice and will focus on IP issues, and Alex Lloyd, Senior Associate in Burges Salmon’s corporate team, who will address Term Sheets.

Commenting on the event Monica Shupikai Simmons, Director at ICON, said: “The unprecedented uncertainty in 2020 has turned start-up fundraising on its head. Many early stage companies are left wondering how they can continue to grow their business when access to capital is seemingly less accessible.

“Some VCs are certainly more cautious, but others have taken another tack, they are looking for strong investment opportunities as they have effectively missed a quarter of capital deployment. A percentage of their funds is supporting their portfolio companies, but they still have a wall of cash that they need to invest, or face returning it to investors in their fund. The seminar will help South West tech start-ups unlock these pots of funds.”

Monica added: “Whilst the investment bar may be higher, it’s a good time to go to market to attract high quality investment. This starts with a successful strategy to capture an investor’s attention.”

Nick Sturge, MBE, who will moderate the event, added: “Smart South West tech entrepreneurs need to take action to make the most of a market where there is a clear appetite to invest in businesses that have the potential to change the way we live or do business for the better.

“Businesses that miss out on the webinar could be kicking themselves just a few months down the line. This is a golden opportunity to get an ‘insiders’ view on how to access finance and understand the steps needed to appeal to investors nationally and internationally.

“In a new world order, where decisions can and are being made more swiftly, those businesses that get the process right could be the ones that scale up and accelerate growth rapidly, while other equally brilliant business could easily fall by the wayside, simply because they got the process wrong. Now is the time to take action.”

Fliss Berridge, Co-founder of Ordo, who will provide attendees with an insight into Ordo’s journey to investment, added: “Right now, good companies that identify a need in the market and find a creative solution to solve will be in demand.

“In Ordo, we identified a need for instant, low cost and secure payments, and invoice and payment tracking, and that is exactly what we delivered. But that was only part of the story. Finding the right investment partners was key to enabling rapid development and potential, and beyond that, finding strategic partners with whom we could foster a mutual beneficial relationship, who have a vested interest in our success, proved vital…this creates an incentive to work together, enabling both parties to get to the next level.

“Funding is all about understanding what the investor needs, so that you can give them the confidence that you are able to deliver. Providing validation, timelines and proof of your small wins along the way shows real value to your investors and can make all the difference in getting the deal done, which is why understating the process from the inside out is so vital.”

ICON believes that digital transformation across all industry sectors has become the most pressing priority for organisations in the aftermath of Covid-19. ICON predicts this will drive future growth, investment in and appetite for acquisition of tech companies worldwide.

A recent ICON survey of some of the most active UK M&A buyers showed that there has been no drop in appetite for acquisition in the tech sector in 2020, which remains high, with key areas for expansion expected to be in FinTech, Cloud, Managed Services, HealthTech, CyberSecurity, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Enterprise Software.

From offices in Bristol, London and San Francisco, ICON’s multi-lingual teams have brought clients access to deals across Europe, Africa, the US and Asia. Working with global tech companies and as a fundraising partner with top private equity, venture capital and CVCs, ICON works with some of the world’s most successful companies.

To register for the free webinar entitled Fundraising: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, visit ICON’s website.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Lily Geary .

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