Funding is consistently one of the top challenges that early-stage businesses face as they transition from start-up to scale-up. Yet ambitious Harper James clients reaped the rewards of their hard work and raised in excess of £135 million* throughout the year, contributing towards the UK ranking 4th in the world for scale-up investment in 2019, after the US, China and India.
What these early stage businesses share is a steely determination to scale and succeed, and with the right legal support in place they are able to secure the investment to achieve their goals for growth.
Take property tech company Plentific, founded by two former bankers and property entrepreneurs. The London-based start-up raised £15m of Series B funding to roll out their ground-breaking property repair, management and maintenance platform from the social and private housing sectors in the UK to the commercial property sector in Europe and the US. The Uber of repairs and maintenance – as Plentific were called by an influential property publication – now looks to be going global with the impact their platform has on the lives of tenants and businesses of property developers alike.
From prop-tech to materials science, Paragraf are leading the way when it comes to high-performance applications of graphene. This University of Cambridge spin-out is developing cutting-edge technologies to enable the use of graphene in advanced electronic, energy and medical devices for the greater good. Investors clearly recognised the potential of Paragraf’s work, offering them funding to the tune of £16.2m, which will enable them to their accelerate graphene-based electronics products to market.
Blow Ltd is the UK’s leading provider of tech-enabled on-demand beauty services and last year received just under £2m to boost their already successful business. Established in 2013 by the former Editor in Chief of Grazia magazine, Blow invites its customers to book beauty treatments at home via its convenient app, and delivers around 15,000 services a month in London, Birmingham and Manchester. For expert beauty professionals, Blow Ltd provides them with a platform to get work, manage appointments and payments. Its fortunes look to be on the up and up.
Pioneering biotech company NuVision’s years of intensive research led them to develop omnigen, a wound dressing that can be used to repair damaged corneas. Following an initial £2m investment from sources including the Ministry of Defence, a new injection of almost £700,000 will enable the Nottingham-headquartered company to scale up. In the emerging area of cannabidiol development – otherwise known as CBD oil – Dragonfly Biosciences raised £842,000 last year to continue their company’s ascendancy in this high-growth marketplace. The thriving start-up’s cannabis oil products are stocked in Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Boots in the UK and they are now forging ahead with their plans to expand into European markets.
The takeaway from this positive investment news is that innovation isn’t slowing down in Britain, despite an occasionally turbulent 2019. Reports such as the Scaleup Institute’s Annual Review demonstrate how important these businesses are to the UK’s future economic success so the shared hope now is that their scale-up efforts won’t be too buffeted by 2020’s pressing global challenge of containing Covid-19.
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*data sourced from Beauhurst.