It’s been a tough 12 months for start-ups seeking early-stage investment. With the UK economy battered with high interest rates, international turbulence and a slow recovery from the fallout of Covid, founders have had to work even harder to secure investment, both in the early-stage and at VC level.
Despite the tricky conditions, Anglia Capital Group have seen £1.1 million invested into early-stage businesses from across East Anglia. This is a hugely positive sign for economic development locally.
“Although this year has been tough, we have seen some fantastic start-ups pitch for and receive significant investment in 2023. It has also been extremely encouraging to see a lot of our portfolio companies reporting positive growth”
Hannah Smith, Managing Director, Anglia Capital Group.
Looking at the investments made during 2023, we see a continuation of the trend towards start-ups that have a focus on sustainability and health. To note a couple, we saw investments into:
- Cellexcel have developed a unique technology that can enhance the water resistance of biomaterials.
- Seeds of Colour is turning waste into pigments for colour cosmetics, on a mission to improve the sustainability of our cosmetics industry
As part of ongoing work to improve collaboration across the region, Anglia Capital Group have been working closely with innovation clusters, scientific institutions and the universities in the region; running an investment readiness programme supported by Norwich Research Park was the culmination of this effort.
“The Halo Programme is a great introductory investment readiness programme that our business founders really valued – the feedback has been amazing. Working with experienced professionals and support from a mentor angel investor has been a game changer in helping to map out a credible investment and growth plan. The final ‘practice pitch’ event was amazing; founders showed great confidence and aligned their plans with investor objectives. A great programme that any business seeking investment would be well advised to join.”
Dr Nick Goodwin, Chief Operating Officer, Anglia Innovation Partnership LLP
An example of the success which can come from collaboration with higher education is Beep: a UEA spin-out who have developed a unique digital campus card, allowing access to facilities access around campus via a smartphone. Beep first secured investment from ACG members in 2022. In the 18 months since this first investment, the team at Beep made significant progress and secured further investment to support the introduction of new features and expansion into other geographies.
“ACG have been fundamental in Beeps’ investment success from the start and it has been a pleasure to work closely with the ACG team once again throughout this round. Anglia Capital Group do a lot to support innovation in the region and it is great to have the opportunity to meet so many investors capable of sharing in a vision and supporting you in achieving it”
Josh Davies, Co-Founder, Beep.
What can we look forward to in 2024?
If the last few years have taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected! We have seen many early-stage companies struggle over the last 24 months, some sadly haven’t made it through but those who have are stronger and more prepared to face the challenges to come.
With a potential change of government and an increasingly unstable global situation there isn’t much that investors can be totally sure of. That being said, the fundamentals still apply. Something which has become even more evident over the last two years is that those start-ups who are best prepared before they reach out to investors are more likely to succeed in raising the funding that they need. Being ‘investment ready’ is more important than ever. Angel investors are less likely to “take a punt” because they like the founder or are excited by a product; they are looking for opportunities which are de-risked by a clearly thought-out go to market strategy, detailed financials and a sensible (and defensible!) valuation.
One thing we can be sure of for 2024 is that East Anglia has some incredible talent and uniquely innovative start-ups who are sure to have a positive impact not only on the local economy but the wider world. All we have to do now is support them.
Don't invest unless you're prepared to lose all the money you invest. This is a high-risk investment and you are unlikely to be protected if something goes wrong. Take 2 mins to learn more - Investor Risk Warning | Anglia Capital Group