Tech webinar will shed light on The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of fundraising

July 24, 2020

Bath’s investment-hungry tech start-ups can find out how to get the attention of potential funders in a webinar featuring experts from the city next week.

Staged by Bristol-based tech investment bank ICON Corporate Finance in association with Bristol-headquartered national law firm Burges Salmon, the free event aims to show how fledgling tech firms can unlock growth funds in a post-coronavirus era when many investors remain nervous. 

The webinar – called Fundraising: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - is next Wednesday, July 29 from 3pm-4pm.

Bath and the wider West of England are recognised as among the leaders in fintech, with the sector in the region alone contributing £192m to the UK economy, according to FinTech West.

Meanwhile, the region’s tech businesses boasted a combined turnover of £7.9bn last year. Not surprisingly, the sector tech is viewed as having an increasingly influential role to play in boosting the region’s post-Covid economy.

ICON, which has funded a number of West of England tech firms, believes that digital transformation across all industry sectors will become the most pressing priority for organisations in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

This will drive future growth among tech companies worldwide, triggering investment opportunities while also building an appetite for acquisitions.

A recent ICON survey of some of the most active UK M&A (merger and acquisition) buyers showed there had been no drop in appetite for acquisition in the tech sector this year. It remains high, with key areas for expansion expected to be in fintech, cloud, managed services, healthtech, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, machine learning and enterprise software. 

Addressing these issues in the webinar will be Nick Sturge MBE, pictured, former director of Bristol’s Engine Shed innovation hub and a founder of SETsquared Bristol – part of the world’s leading university business incubator.

Joining Nick will be:

  • Fliss Berridge, director and co-founder of Berkshire-based payments company Ordo, the seminar will provide a roadmap to successfully securing funding in the current turbulent world economic environment
  • 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
  • Alex Lloyd, senior associate in Burges Salmon’s corporate team, who will address term sheets.

Monica 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.”

She said that while the investment bar may be higher, now was a good time to go to market to attract high-quality investment. This started with a successful strategy to capture an investor’s attention.” 

Nick Sturge, 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 ‘insider’s’ 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, pictured, will provide an insight into Ordo’s journey to investment. She said: “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.”

The webinar comes 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.

ICON works with global tech companies and as a fundraising partner with top private equity, venture capital and CVC from is head office in Bristol and bases in London and San Francisco. It has completed deals across Europe, Africa, the US and Asia.

To register for Fundraising: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, visit ICON’s website or link to the webinar registration here.

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