Pitching event gives North East entrepreneurs access to London investors

02 February 2017

Eleven businesses from across the North East took part in the Entrepreneurs of the North pitching event – a once-in-a career opportunity to meet a panel of 75 London-based investors who were actively seeking new companies in which to invest. The investors ranged from angel investors interested in early stage ideas through to very large international funds. There was also representation from Asian and US-based funds.

A delegation of regional entrepreneurs has descended on London to pitch to a roomful of heavyweight investors and help close the funding gap in the North.

The pitching event was organised by Innovation SuperNetwork North East England as part of FinanceCamp, its programme dedicated to helping businesses get hold of the money they need to grow. It was supported by UK Business Angels Association and the Knowledge Transfer Network.

Simon Green, Executive Director at Innovation SuperNetwork, said: “We work every day with exciting North East businesses, from tech start-ups to established manufacturers, who have enormous ambition and potential but struggle to raise the funding they need.

“While there is access to a range of funding at early stages there is a lack of options for that crucial next stage. This event was all about broadening the options available to high-potential entrepreneurs to allow them to effectively grow and scale their businesses by accessing the critical mass of investment that is accumulated in the capital.

“We’re really looking forward to hearing about successful deals in the coming months and hope we’ve succeeded in convincing investors it’s worth their while continuing a relationship with us so we can introduce them to more exciting businesses at FinanceCamp and VentureFest.”

The North East businesses taking part in the pitching event were identified through VentureFest North East and FinanceCamp. Their businesses cover a wide range of sectors including life sciences, education, digital, healthcare and human resources.

All entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to develop their business propositions and polish their pitches with presentation expert Dan Bond in advance of meeting the investors to increase their chances of securing funding. On the day the companies were given a chance to showcase their ideas during an exhibition, before presenting their propositions in a 60 second pitch and finally meeting interested investors face to face.

Dr Mike Nicholds, Chief Executive Officer at Newcells Biotech in Newcastle attended the event with the aim of raising at least £0.5m to accelerate the growth of the business which provides products and services that improve the efficiency of drug discovery.

He said: “As a company in a relatively specialised life science sector with potential multi-million pound investment needs, we need access to investors with both domain knowledge and follow-on funds.

“Currently the majority of these type of life science investors and based in London so exposure to this community was key for us and we made some promising connections. Investment of this level at this time would accelerate our growth in a market that is showing double digit growth. The experience was energising and useful to gather information about investors’ priorities.”

Feedback from the London investors was excellent, with potential deals identified for most of the North East companies pitching at the event. Rich McNally, Chief Research and Investment Officer at City of London-based Niche Invest, said: “We identified a couple of really interesting companies through the event that we wouldn’t otherwise have met. It’s a great format to see lots of Northern businesses in one afternoon and we would be keen to be involved in future events of this type.”

FinanceCamp is part of the wider Innovation SuperNetwork programme, developed with around 50 partner organisations to support innovation in the North East. The SuperNetwork is supported by Innovate UK, the North East LEP, Northumbrian Water Group and the North East BIC, with part funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

  • FinanceCamp has now opened registrations for its 2017 event, which will be held on Wednesday 24 May. Visit financecamp.co.uk to apply to meet with lenders who want to lend and investors who want to invest.

The full list of North East companies to attend were:

  • Biosignatures, Newcastle The mission of Biosignatures is to replace biopsies with blood tests. The company’s test for prostate cancer has just passed its first clinical trial.
  • BrandAmi, Newcastle BrandAmi is developing a disruptive child safety solution called My Little Explorer, a wander alert for 1-5 year olds. Its wearable tech that links to an app. The long term vision is create My Little Explorer friendly environments that relocate separated children in places they are more likely to become lost.
  • Clixta, Cramlington Clixta is an image sharing platform, with a focus on historical photos. The platform provides financial incentive to its users by allowing them to sell their photographs as stock images.
  • Clockwork Espresso, Houghton-le-Spring Improving the espresso made by any manual espresso machine, for every user. Ten months after launch, Clockwork Espresso has exported its UK-made product to customers in 38 countries.
  • Hexis Lab, Newcastle Hexis Lab Ltd provides skincare R&D solutions. Using computer modelling and lab testing, it identifies active ingredients in natural products and plant extracts that are useful for cosmetic formulation.
  • Hy-Dynamix, Annfield Plain, County Durham Hy-Dynamix has developed the first full hydraulic powered container weighing system with further products to come aimed at providing innovative handling solutions to the container shipping industry.
  • JimJam, Newcastle Online physiotherapy via video call. Fast. Simple. Affordable.
  • Newcells Biotech, Newcastle Accelerating drug discovery with better in-vitro assays powered by stem cells.
  • Proxismart, Morpeth Creators of solutions exploiting the latest in Smart Beacon technology. Home of the innovative ParkingPerx and TravelPerx solutions.
  • So To Company, Hexham, Northumberland So To Company is concerned with the design and development of innovative, safety-led products for the global baby market. Karekot is the company’s first product.
  • We Love Work, Newcastle Making the world of work a better place. A hiring app that matches candidate values to company culture.

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