Inivata Completes £39.8m Series B Funding Round led by RT Ventures

Funds will accelerate commercialization of InVisionFirst-Lung Liquid Biopsy test and the development of the InVision® liquid biopsy platform into new indications

Research Triangle Park, NC and Cambridge, UK, March 28, 2019 — Inivata, a leader in liquid biopsy, today announces the completion of a Series B fundraising of $52.6m (£39.8 million).

Existing investors Woodford Patient Capital Trust, IP Group, Cambridge Innovation Capital and Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC all participated in the round alongside new investor RT Ventures. The first close of the financing occurred in August 2018, with the final tranche of the over-subscribed round being received in March 2019, based on strong delivery against corporate milestones.

The funds will be used to advance the US commercial roll-out of the Company’s InVisionFirst™-Lung liquid biopsy test, which recently received coverage determination for US Medicare patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), paving the way for the test to be used in routine clinical care. This liquid biopsy test uses a simple blood draw to detect clinically relevant cancer mutations to provide molecular insights relevant to that patient. InVisionFirst-Lung is commercially available in the US.

The Series B financing will also enable the Company to accelerate the development of the InVision® liquid biopsy platform into new indications to drive the future growth of the Company.

Clive Morris, Chief Executive Officer at Inivata, said: “This Series B financing allows us to commercialize our lead product in patients with advanced lung cancer, following our positive reimbursement decision. We also have an exciting portfolio of future products that will be advanced in parallel to maximize the benefits of our industry-leading InVision Liquid Biopsy platform to patients. We are grateful to our existing investors for their continued support and are delighted to welcome RT Ventures to our already strong investor base. With these funds in place, we look forward to continuing our mission to transform the lives of cancer patients through the power of liquid biopsy.”

About Inivata
Inivata is a leader in liquid biopsy. Its InVision® platform unlocks essential genomic information from a simple blood test to transform the care of cancer patients. The Company’s technology is based on pioneering research from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge and reinforced by multiple high calibre publications. Its lead product, InVisionFirst™-Lung, is commercially available and provides molecular insights that enable clinicians to make more informed treatment decisions for NSCLC patients. Inivata is partnering with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on InVisionFirst™-Lung and its wider platform, which is applicable to a range of cancer types. The Company has a CLIA laboratory in Research Triangle Park, NC and laboratories in Cambridge, UK. For more information, please go to www.inivata.com. Follow us on Twitter @Inivata.

Media Contacts:
Consilium Strategic Communications
Chris Gardner/Angela Gray/Sarah Wilson
inivata@consilium-comms.com +44 (0)20 3709 5700

Karen Chandler-Smith
karen.chandler-smith@inivata.com +44 (0)7900 430235

Investor Contact:
LifeSci Advisors
Bob Yedid
bob@lifesciadvisors.com +1 646-597-6989

Oxford Genetics secures £6.5 million Series A investment from Mercia, Canaccord Genuity and Invesco Asset Management

Mercia Technologies PLC (AIM: MERC), the national investment group focused on the identification, creation, funding and scaling of innovative technology businesses with high-growth potential from the UK regions, is pleased to announce that its portfolio company, Oxford Genetics Limited (“Oxford Genetics”), has received £6.5million of new investment in a syndicated round comprising Canaccord Genuity Limited (“Canaccord”) (formerly Hargreave Hale), Invesco Asset Management Limited (“Invesco”) and Mercia. Mercia invested £0.4million as part of the new funding round which now values Oxford Genetics at an undiluted, post-money valuation of £30.5million.

Today’s announcement, which results in Mercia’s direct equity stake reducing to 33.3% (from 40.5%), follows the RNS Reach issued on 28 February 2019 confirming six new licensing deals, further highlighting the considerable commercial progress that Oxford Genetics is making in the rapidly expanding biotechnology sector.

Oxford Genetics operates in the synthetic biology market providing world leading technologies and advanced techniques for drug and gene therapy development. The world’s first biologic, insulin, was brought to the market in the early 1980s and today approximately 20% of all treatments are biologics, with over a quarter of new therapeutics approved in the US in 2017 being biologics. This demonstrates the highly progressive nature of this expanding sector.

Grown from the foundations of patented DNA engineering methods, and with 10 patent families covering its diverse technology portfolio, Oxford Genetics now offers a suite of novel solutions for gene therapy drug discovery, antibody therapy development and CRISPR gene editing.

Ryan Cawood, Founder and CEO of Oxford Genetics, said: “This significant investment round will enable Oxford Genetics to further secure its market-leading position in the expanding fields of CRISPR, gene therapy and antibody engineering. Through our continued investment in automation and optimising our commercialisation strategy, we aim to maximise shareholder value and exceed our ambitious growth targets.

Throughout our journey, Mercia’s investment model has been pivotal to Oxford Genetics’ current success. The ability to leverage capital and continued support from Mercia via seed stage through to later investment rounds has enabled us to attract excellent syndicate investors onto our share register. We are excited to welcome Canaccord Genuity onto our share register alongside Invesco Asset Management and look forward to working with all of our investors to grow the business over the coming years.” 

Dr Mark Payton, Chief Executive Officer of Mercia Technologies and a non-executive director of Oxford Genetics, said: “We have backed Oxford Genetics since day one, working closely with Ryan who has built both an impressive team and a highly scalable business model. Full year revenue to April 2019 is set to achieve c.300% growth on last year and the additional investment announced today will continue to facilitate this growth, as Oxford Genetics moves from an important domestic business to a global player in this specialist field of biotech.”

YellowDog secures £2.5 million A investment from Bloc Ventures

YellowDog, which provides high-performance cloud compute orchestration technology to some of the world’s most successful Media & Entertainment studios and financial services firms, announced last week that it had appointed Reid Downey to its Board of Directors. In addition, YellowDog has secured £2.5m additional funding led by Bloc Ventures, an investment company founded by industry veterans from ARM Holdings and Vodafone.

Reid Downey is an experienced senior executive in the international enterprise
software sales market, including a decade at Microsoft leading software and cloud enterprise sales of Microsoft Azure and Office365 to Fortune 500 companies. His experience will add additional depth and insights to YellowDog’s board as the company accelerates its global sales expansion with existing and new customers, particularly in the US.

The additional funding will be used to increase the scale of YellowDog’s current
rendering business and to further extend its presence in the financial services
markets, building on its successful expansion into this market in 2018.

Gareth Williams, CEO of YellowDog said “We are excited to welcome Reid to the
Board and to secure this further funding given our tremendous year of growth
ahead. With our recent wins in the financial services market and more in the
pipeline for this year, we are only at the tip of the iceberg in this market. The
funding will enable us to support our global customer base and extend our
technology into new markets such as aerospace.”

Reid Downey said “I am pleased to join YellowDog in this exciting phase of its
growth. In my time at Microsoft, we saw and helped enable the exponential
expansion of compute resource across the globe. I have been impressed by the
team and see strong potential for the YellowDog platform across enterprises in
many verticals. I look forward to working with the team at YellowDog to execute
this expansion.”

Bruce Beckloff, CEO of Bloc Ventures, said “Bloc has worked closely with Gareth
and the team since our initial investment at the end of 2017. We have been
impressed by YellowDog’s progress in developing and deploying their technology
into new vertical markets, most notably financial services. YellowDog is on track
to become an enterprise software provider of global scale and we are pleased to
support the company to achieve their goals.”

For additional press enquiries, please email yellowdog@withpr.com

GeoSpock raised £2 million investment from Parkwalk Advisors

The unique spatial big data platform that enables companies to access dynamic contextual data visualisation and programmatic analytics appoints new non-executive board member  and announces additional investment

Cambridge, UK, 26th March 2019: GeoSpock® – the extreme-scale spatial big data integration company that provides analytics, builds insight, and enables predictions across space and time – today announced the appointment of Pontus Noren to a Non-Executive role on its Board of Directors, as well as a £2 million investment from Parkwalk Advisors.   

Having recently closed a £10 million funding round, the additional £2 million from Parkwalk Advisors will provide continued support for GeoSpock’s international expansion and build on the company’s rapidly developing client accounts. This additional strategic support brings the company’s total amount raised to date to £21.25 million. Following this financial success, GeoSpock has undertaken a number of strategic decisions. This includes new appointments to its senior leadership team and advisory board, as well as the development of projects in targeted avenues to aid continued growth of the company.

Having worked in the IT industry for over 20 years, Noren brings a wealth of experience within the technology ecosystem. He is currently Vice Chairman of the Board at Cloudreach, an international cloud computing consultancy, where he was previously CEO. Under his leadership, the company was recognised as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant and also ranked top 25 in The Sunday Times Hiscox Tech 100 for two years running. Noren will now use his passion for innovative technology to help GeoSpock’s Board and executive teams drive the company’s next phase of growth.

Richard Baker, CEO, GeoSpock, comments: “We are delighted to announce the addition of Noren to our Board of Directors at this exciting period of growth for GeoSpock. I am hugely impressed with the wealth of knowledge and experience Noren brings to our business, and his expertise will be instrumental in helping to guide the continued expansion and success of GeoSpock. We also thank Parkwalk Advisors for their continued support as we strive to achieve our technological vision across industries spanning mobility, telco, and IoT, as well as smart city and maritime initiatives.”

Pontus Noren, Non-Executive, Board of Directors, GeoSpock, comments: “GeoSpock is a hugely exciting company and I’m inspired by its achievements so far, as well as its potential for the future. With its technology at the cutting edge of spatial big data, GeoSpock helps feed my passion for innovation. I look forward to playing a key role in the delivery of GeoSpock’s vision, and working with my Board colleagues and executive teams to build on the company’s further success.”

GeoSpock aims to become the de facto processing engine at the heart of next-generation infrastructure, including smart cities and the Internet of Everything (IoE), as well as powering future mobility applications, including the management of autonomous vehicle fleets. The company’s revolutionary data engine analyses extreme amounts of contextual data in sub-second response time.

G3 Comms Receives Private Equity Investment from Apiary Capital

G3 Comms, the business communications provider and network integrator, is pleased to announce it has secured a significant investment from private equity firm Apiary Capital. Under the terms of the deal, Apiary will acquire a majority stake in G3 Comms and provide additional follow-on funding to enable the company to accelerate its growth both organically and through acquisition.

G3 Comms provides communication and connectivity solutions to medium-sized, multi-site UK enterprises, often with international operations. It has expertise in both legacy telephony systems and more innovative cloud-based communication technology. G3 Comms specialises in supporting customers on their digital transformation journey to a complex hybrid communication estate, as well as running more steady state environments via a managed service offering. In addition, G3’s core network infrastructure provides resilient global voice and data services to customers with business-critical connectivity requirements.

Over the last two years, G3 Comms has invested heavily in its technical resource capability, particularly in unified communications, which has enabled the company to address the rapidly-growing demand for collaboration, communication and contact centre solutions. In addition, investment in G3 Comms’ global network infrastructure, powered by a proprietary aggregation and routing platform, has expanded the company’s global presence and capability and created new opportunities to support multi-national clients.

James Arnold-Roberts, G3 Comms CEO, comments on the deal:

“Thanks to the efforts of the exceptional G3 Comms team, the last few years have seen our revenues and profit grow year-on-year and we are now perfectly positioned to move forward with our long-term strategic plan. Apiary’s experience and supporting investment will be instrumental in fulfilling that plan.”

“We’ve worked hard to achieve solid partnerships with technology leaders that include Avaya, Microsoft, Genesys, Tata Communications and Ribbon, to ensure our breadth of expertise can meet the increasingly diverse range of communications required by businesses today. At the same time, our core skills in systems integration, deployment and technical support will continue to provide us with a competitive advantage, particularly where there is a demand for the transition from complex, multi-vendor legacy communications to cloud services.”

“Recent client wins with household names such as Volkswagen, and Thomas Cook bear testament to the power of our market proposition and we look forward to working with Apiary to build on these strong foundations.”

Nicki Boyd, Partner at Apiary Capital, adds:

“G3 Comms has built a platform that is now extremely well-placed to exploit the increasing corporate demand for service providers that can manage the complexity of diverse communications systems. With strong consultancy skills and a comprehensive suite of technical services, G3 Comms is ideally positioned for growth. We are delighted to be backing James and the G3 Comms team.”

HealthTech company Cog-Neuro Speech Therapy secures £85k Grant and Debt finance from InnovateUK and Development Bank of Wales

People suffering with communication difficulties are benefitting from a new speech therapy service that has been developed by Caerphilly-based Cog-Neuro Speech Therapy Limited.

With a £25,000 loan from the Development Bank of Wales and a £60,000 grant from Innovate UK, the mobile application has been developed to help people with communication difficulties to regain their ability to communicate, maintain relationships and re-integrate into the community. 

Cog-Neuro was first established by speech therapist Sheiladen Montero Aquino in 2012. She has now developed an application that will enhance speech therapy service for people with communication difficulties following a stroke, brain injury, and other progressive neurological disorders including Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

By using the application, patients can access services during the time when they are most stimulable for rehabilitation or while waiting for a speech therapy appointment from the NHS. Patients and their families who want intensive speech therapy can also use the app alongside speech therapy sessions to support their current rehabilitation program.

The Cog-Neuro application focuses on five areas of language including listening, speaking, reading, writing and thinking (semantics). Gamification and stealth learning has been used to encourage interactivity and concentrated attention, which have been shown to be key factors in neuroplasticity and brain regeneration.

Mini-games target specific linguistic skills with visual instructions and trial options at the start of each game. Feedback is given to users. In addition, each of the games has three levels of difficulty depending on the user’s  progress. At the end of the game a report is generated which can be sent via email. It is also possible to customise the game for the client.

Sheiladen Montero Aquino founder of Cog Neuro said: “Throughout my international practice in speech therapy, I have wanted to develop an innovative treatment that will help people communicate again after a stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s or Dementia.

“The Innovate UK funding helped develop the mobile software but we still needed additional finance. Business Wales introduced me to Rhiannon Brewer at the development bank – she understood our business and showed a sincere desire for our success.  She guided me through the process and we received the funds promptly. We found a reliable partner for this journey!

“I’m grateful to the Development Bank of Wales, Business Wales and Innovate UK for their excellent support throughout.”

Rhiannon Brewer, Senior Investment Executive with the Development Bank of Wales said: “Working in partnership with other funders and business support organisations to help ambitious and passionate business owners to succeed is what we do best. Each company we work with is different and every deal is bespoke. So, I was particularly pleased  to work with Business Wales and Innovate UK to offer a funding package that really is making a difference to the business whilst improving people’s lives.

“The new product from Cog-Neuro will help to benefit some of the 15,500 people in Wales who are estimated to suffer with severe speech and communication problems. It’s very rewarding to know that our micro loan is now helping to ensure that people will receive the care  they need to support independence and quality of life.”

David apjohn-Williams, Business Wales Regional Manager for South Wales, said: “As well as supporting entrepreneurs and SMEs across Wales to start and expand, collaborating with other support organisations and stakeholders to offer a holistic approach that is tailored to the individual, is paramount to us.

“I am delighted that, together with the Development Bank of Wales and Innovate UK, our advisers were able to support Sheiladen and Cog Neuro to create a robust financial plan and secure the micro loan, as the business continues to develop their life-changing projects.”

The Development Bank of Wales offers micro-loans from £1,000 to £50,000 as well as loans and equity up to £5 million.

Toob raises £75 million from Amber Infrastructure to fund initial full fibre broadband roll out

25 March 2019

  • toob will roll out gigabit-capable, fibre network to more than 100,000 premises by the end of 2021
  • Backed by Amber Infrastructure with £75 million of initial funding
  • Highly experienced management team strengthened by appointment of Charles McGregor as Chairman

toob, a full fibre broadband provider, will deliver gigabit broadband speeds to more than 100,000 premises by the end of 2021, with an ambition to expand its full fibre network to pass more than one million homes and business premises over the next ten years.

toob, which is based in Portsmouth, has secured a £75 million funding package from Amber Infrastructure Group’s National Digital Infrastructure Fund (‘NDIF’).  NDIF’s majority investment will support toob’s build out of a gigabit-capable, fibre network which will benefit consumers, businesses and public services in towns and cities across the UK.

toob was founded and is led by Nick Parbutt (CEO) and Mike Banwell (CFO), former Directors at Vodafone UK. The highly experienced management team will be strengthened with the appointment of Charles McGregor who has joined as Chairman. Charles brings extensive experience of fibre and successfully growing businesses, having recently served as the Chairman of Gigaclear for five years. He was previously the founder and CEO of Fibernet.

toob will deploy the latest fibre technology over existing infrastructure as often as it can to increase the speed of its roll out and reduce community disruption. toob expects to be a major customer of Openreach’s improved ducts and pole access (PIA) product, which becomes fully available at the beginning of April this year.  

Nick Parbutt, toob’s CEO, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Amber Infrastructure and to have secured Charles as Chairman. toob now has the right people, the right plan and the right funding in place to capitalise on the exciting opportunity ahead of us. We want to enable families, businesses and communities to live, work and play in ways which are only made possible with the advent of gigabit broadband.”

Charles McGregor, toob’s Chairman, said: “I’m excited to be joining toob.  I have been involved in fibre businesses for over 30 years and I believe that Nick and his team will deliver on the exciting strategy announced today.” 

Chris Hogg, Investment Director, Amber Infrastructure, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with such an experienced team at toob. Nick, Mike, Charles and the team at toob have extensive telecoms and fibre experience and we are looking forward to accelerating toob’s fibre network deployment with our funding.”

Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom’s Competition Group Director, said: “The amount of internet data used by people in the UK is growing by around half every year. So we’ll increasingly need full-fibre broadband services like this to provide faster, more reliable connections and capacity to our homes and offices. These plans are another example of full-fibre being used to build broadband that can support the UK’s digital future.”

Matthew Vickerstaff, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure and Projects Authority, said: “This investment shows how the National Digital Infrastructure Fund continues to help companies improve broadband speeds across cities and towns in the UK, by increasing their access to private finance.  Upgrading our digital infrastructure to be reliable, sustainable and resilient is key to meeting the needs of an increasingly digital world, and increasing our productivity.”

For further information:

Amber InfrastructureErica Sibree+44 (0)20 7939 0558erica.sibree@amberinfrastructure.com toobPatrick Toyne-Sewell+44 (0) 7767 498 195patrick@ptspr.co.uk

Notes to Editors:

The National Digital Infrastructure Fund (NDIF) is managed by Amber Infrastructure Group (Amber), and targets investments in core digital infrastructure in the UK on a fully commercial basis. NDIF benefits from a cornerstone commitment from the UK Government’s Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund (DIIF) initiative, match-funded by private investors. NDIF reached its first close in July 2017, with further fundraising expected later this year.

NDIF forms part of the UK Government’s landmark DIIF, a £400 million government initiative to accelerate investment into fibre-optic based broadband networks and related businesses to build the next generation of digital networks and accelerate the rollout of ultrafast connectivity across the UK.

www.amberinfrastructure.com/our-funds/national-digital-infrastructure-fund

Amber Infrastructure Group

Amber Infrastructure Group is a leading international infrastructure specialist, providing asset management and investment advisory services in respect of over £8 billion of assets in the UK, Europe, Australia and North America. Amber’s core business focuses on sourcing, developing, advising on, investing in and managing infrastructure assets within the utilities, digital, social infrastructure, transport, renewable energy and regeneration sectors.

Amber provides investment advisory services to International Public Partnerships Limited as well as private investment funds, specialising in infrastructure, urban regeneration and energy efficiency. Amber is headquartered in London with offices in Munich, Edinburgh, Sydney, Melbourne, New York and San Francisco and employs over 120 people, making it one of the largest international infrastructure specialists.

Sheffield based Elements Technology Platforms raises £250,000 from Mercia Fund Managers

An Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider for small and micro manufacturers has secured £250,000 to support its growth from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

The funding will help Elements Technology Platforms to develop its headquarters, staff base and product portfolio. Founded last year in Sheffield by Dr Joe Handsaker, Elements is developing software solutions that re-purpose consumer technologies for use in manufacturing, with a specific interest in exploring opportunities for wearable technologies in the sector. 

Elements’ revenue model is to sell low-cost hardware, including smartphones and off-the-shelf proximity sensors for tagging manufacturing materials and to then charge a monthly subscription service fee for the products. This platform will enable small-sized manufacturers to improve their productivity without huge expenditure or the burden of an overly-complicated Material Requirements Planning system.

The company is already on the path to elevating its business; in March 2018, it won the ‘Digital Catapult Hack and Pitch’ competition at the Industry 4.0 Summit and has since met with the directors of the Rolls Royce EcoSystem and IoT divisions, in a bid to improve supply chain transparency. 

The £250,000 funding will support the company’s product portfolio by creating advanced prototypes and validating its market offering. The NPIF investment, which is the only external finance that the company has raised to date, will also be used to secure a premises in Sheffield and hire four new technical and sales staff members.

Ashwin Kumaraswamy, Investment Director at Mercia Fund Managers, said: “Small and micro firms make up 90 per cent of the UK’s manufacturing capacity. Joe and his team of young entrepreneurs have found a way to help them deploy the latest technology to digitize production and enhance quality and productivity.”

Sean Hutchinson, Senior Manager at British Business Bank, said: “Elements is a truly unique and impressive business that is exploring opportunities for wearable technologies in the manufacturing sector. The company is already on the path to success, having won an Industry 4.0 Summit award and liaising with high profile businesses such as Rolls Royce.

“We’re delighted that NPIF has supported Elements in its mission to target UK based companies with IoT solutions, that will help save costs and improve productivity by providing an insight into consumer behaviour and enhance consumer interactions. 

“This investment will support the future of the business as it looks to boost headcount and open a new headquarters in Sheffield and I look forward to seeing this northern-based business grow in the coming months.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

The Plum Guide raises £14 million led by Talis Capital

London, 21 March 2019 – The Plum Guide has raised £14m from some of Europe’s leading early-stage investors to support its ambitious rollout to 12 new cities this year. Known as the “Michelin Guide for Homes”, The Plum Guide differs from mass market booking platforms by selecting only the top 1% of properties in any city to feature on its site. By the end of 2019 it expects to offer almost 12,000 verified homes in the most sought-after cities for holiday rentals, with 100 new hires being made to support its growth ambitions.

The latest funding round is led by Talis Capital, with participation from Latitude and Hearst Ventures, as well as Octopus Ventures – who led the Series A funding round.

The Plum Guide uses hospitality industry experts to vet every property in person and applies a scientific Plum Guide test – which covers 150 points from proximity to cafes and transport, to speed of WiFi – when selecting which homes to feature. Since launching in London in 2015, The Plum Guide has achieved year-on-year growth of three times revenues, for three years’ running. In 2018, it added homes in five new cities to the platform and saw repeat bookings jump 27% after it opened in Paris, its second location after London. The key to its success has been customer referrals, which drive a quarter of all bookings.

“We are on a mission to build a marketplace of the world’s most beautiful holiday homes. This isn’t some vague qualitative ambition. We mean it. We are taking a systematic and obsessive approach to vetting every single home on the planet and accepting only the top 1%,” Doron Meyassed, Founder and CEO of The Plum Guide, said.

The Plum Guide was founded to solve the problem of inconsistent quality, encountered by anyone booking a vacation rental online. Most open marketplaces rely on peer-to-peer review systems to judge quality, but standards vary hugely in reality. The Plum Guide instead uses a rigorous testing approach that aims to guarantee consistent quality every time.

It uses a proprietary algorithm to find the highest rated and best located homes in a city. Expert hospitality critics from The Plum Guide then visit each home to interview the host and meticulously test the property. Ultimately, only 1 out of every 100 properties in each city is invited to join the collection.

The approach has resonated with a lucrative customer segment of mature affluent individuals, who make up the majority of Plum’s 1.3 million global user base. “Most rental platforms are trying to get as many people as possible to use their site. We are clearly targeting a highly discerning group of affluent professionals that live in global megacities, love to travel and value great design, quality and locations,” says Meyassed. “Previously they have stayed away from the open marketplace booking platforms, which they consider too risky compared with the reassurance that a hotel provides.”

The Plum Guide has innovated relentlessly on meeting the needs of this customer, through a unique mix of expert property curation, impartial and trustworthy vetting processes and outstanding customer service through its team of MatchMakers. It has achieved customer satisfaction scores that outperform industry peers in a sector notorious for over-promising but under-delivering.

Matus Maar, Managing Partner and Co Founder at Talis Capital, said: “The consumer market has entered into an age of curation where data, ratings and reviews need to be carved into useful information to support buying decisions. We see huge value in businesses and teams that create a competitive advantage by being strategically data driven. The Plum Guide has something very special and customers are already showing amazing loyalty for its hand-picked and meticulously-vetted holiday rentals. In Doron, we have also found a determined, highly ambitious and creative entrepreneur with a track record of building a successful business that competes at the very highest levels.”

Megumi Ikeda, managing director Hearst Ventures, said: “The Plum Guide appeals strongly to the affluent, discriminating traveller as we have seen in its impressive growth in the last three years. Endorsement from professional critics and experts has always been worth having and holiday accommodation is no exception to this rule. As The Plum Guide adds more cities, it will become even more useful to the customer base who are already convinced by its rigorous approach to vetting properties.”

George Henry, partner at LocalGlobe, said: ““Travel and accommodation continues to be a fast-growing market but the supply has become incredibly fragmented, especially in the p2p market. As consumer travel has always suffered from a very low NPS, we believe that a differentiated brand offering a more hands-on service powered by expert curation and data is going to continue to deliver a very unique experience. We are excited to be able to follow on our seed investment in The Plum Guide, which has a keen understanding and eye for detail of what is possible as it rolls out its highly-selective, highly targeted product across new cities and countries.”

Zihao Xu, Early Stage Investor at Octopus Ventures, commented: “The more cities The Plum Guide is in the better it will be for all its customers. We’re excited to continue supporting Doron and the team in taking the company truly global, and building out their vision of what an iconic hospitality brand in the 21st century should be.”

– ENDS –

Contact: sayula@burlington.cc

About The Plum Guide: The Plum Guide is a curated collection of the best holiday rentals available in leading international cities. Listing in London, Los Angeles, Paris, Milan, Rome and New York. The Plum Guide rigorously tests and handpicks only the cream of the crop of rental properties so that customers need never worry about their travel accommodation. For beautiful holiday homes, see: www.plumguide.com

About Talis Capital: Talis Capital is a venture capital investment firm that takes smart money from some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and business people and invests it strategically in early stage technology companies with global potential. Talis has invested over $500m worth of transactions since 2009 and the portfolio includes Darktrace, Onfido, iwoca, Pirate Studios, Luminance, Ynsect and Oh My Green. Focused on building long-term partnerships, Talis leverages its network to give some of the world’s most innovative startups opportunity to thrive. For more see www.taliscapital.com.

About Hearst Ventures: Hearst Ventures is a global investment group that makes strategic investments in fast-growing companies in the media and technology sectors. Since its initial investment in Netscape in 1995, the group has grown to become one of the most active and successful corporate venture funds, with more than $1 billion in strategic investments in companies including BuzzFeed, E Ink, Hootsuite, Pandora, Roku, Via and XM Satellite Radio. Visit http://www.hearst.com/ventures.

About LocalGlobe: LocalGlobe is a UK-based venture capital firm that focuses on seed investments. Seeding ambitious UK founders since 1999 including Transferwise, Zoopla, Improbable, Citymapper, Algolia and Robinhood. Visit https://localglobe.vc/.

About Octopus Ventures: Octopus Ventures, part of Octopus Group, is a leading European venture capital firm that helps pioneering entrepreneurs change the world by taking ideas from inception to international scale-up. Where there is change there is huge entrepreneurial opportunity, particularly in three key areas; industry, money and health. We’ve refined our focus towards these specialisms to discover the next generation of innovators. Octopus Ventures is headquartered in London and New York, with Venture Partners in San Francisco, Shanghai and Singapore who offer exclusive insight and advice to our portfolio companies looking to expand into new markets. Octopus Ventures has supported over 70 outstanding entrepreneurs that are leading the way in disrupting their industries. Companies backed in recent years include allplants, Elvie, Depop, Big Health, graze.com, Eve, Magic Pony, Secret Escapes, Sofar Sounds, Swiftkey, Swoon Editions, tails.com and Zoopla Property Group. Octopus is a group of companies that are experts in start-ups, renewable energy and healthcare infrastructure. Octopus Group currently manage more than £8.5 billion on behalf of our customers. Octopus Energy, Octopus Healthcare, Octopus Investments, Octopus Labs, Octopus Property and Octopus Ventures are all part of Octopus Group. Visit octopusgroup.com.

Manchester based Collabor8Online raises £150,000 Seed investment from Maven

Software solutions business invests in technical innovation to expand customer reach and grow team following funding from NPIF

Maven Capital Partners (“Maven”), one of the UK’s most active SME finance providers, has invested £150,000 in cloud-based project management system, Collabor8Online (“Collabor8”) on behalf of NPIF – Maven Equity Finance (“NPIF”), part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. The funding will support the expansion of the senior management, including the appointment of a Chief Technology Officer, strengthen the sales team and invest in extensive product development. Collabor8 will also use the funds raised to commence a targeted contact marketing campaign to better penetrate its customer base in niche sectors, principally construction and associated professional services.

Collabor8 is a cloud-based project management software providing a fully managed file sharing service that enables users to manage projects, files and tasks online. Requiring no specialist IT expertise or investment in sophisticated architecture, SMEs can be up and running within 24- hours. Larger businesses can self-host the software behind their own firewall, giving them a turnkey solution that can be deployed instantly throughout their organisation. Collabor8 supports a range of customers including Ikea, NSPCC and provides subscription-based usage to a number of small business clients.

The implementation of cloud-based enterprise collaboration solutions is expected to fuel the growth of the collaboration market in the coming years. The enterprise collaboration market is expected to grow [globally] from $26.68 billion in 2016 to $49.51 billion by 2021.

Collabor8 was founded by software specialist Colin Barnes, who has over 35 years’ experience writing PC-based software aimed at the construction and contracting industry within the UK. Colin is supported by Business Development Director, Stephen Barnes, a marketing graduate and trained developer with a wealth of experience in business development and relationship management working for organisations such as XBC, Next and Adidas.

Colin Barnes, Founder of Collabora8, said: “This investment gives us a fantastic opportunity to expand and further develop our business. Our product is ideally placed to meet the needs of businesses who are looking to share and manage their documentation more securely. We look forward to meeting the needs of an ever-growing market sector”
 
Dave Furlong, Investment Director at Maven, said: “We are pleased to be able to support Colin and Stephen in the next stage of Collabor8’s development. The impressive client wins achieved to date demonstrate the need for the Collabor8 product, and we expect the enlarged team that this investment will finance will deliver on the significant potential for growth that we believe exists. We look forward to working with Colin and Stephen to assist with achieving this.”

Sue Barnard at the British Business Bank said: “Since its launch in 2017, NPIF’s impact on businesses has been wide-ranging, providing funding to launch new products, employ new staff, enter new markets and acquire new facilities. We are pleased to continue that momentum with this investment and are proud to continue our commitment to unlocking the North’s growth potential by supporting business communities with vital investment.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.


—ends—


Further information
For media enquiries or any questions about the investment, please contact:
Maven Capital Partners
Nikola Clarke 0161 233 3520 nikola.clarke@mavencp.com
Sapience Communications (PR to Maven)
Richard Morgan Evans
Tania Wild

020 3195 3240 maven@sapiencecomms.co.uk

Notes to Editors

About Maven Capital Partners UK LLP

About Maven Capital Partners UK LLP www.mavencp.com @maven_cp
Maven Capital Partners UK LLP (Maven) is an independent private equity house focused on the provision of flexible equity and debt funding for UK SMEs, and one of the most active managers in the UK having invested over £350 million in British businesses since 2009.

Headquartered in Glasgow, and with other offices throughout the UK, Maven has over 80 investment and support professionals providing a truly nationwide coverage. Maven has £600 million funds under management and ready to invest, and manages assets for a variety of client funds, including Venture Capital Trusts, UK regional fund mandates, and Maven Investor Partners – a syndicate of institutional, family office and experienced investors.

For more information about Maven visit: www.mavencp.com and funds.mavencp.com/npif

About The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will invest in Microfinance, Business Loans and Equity Finance sub-funds which will offer financing ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company. The NPIF covers the following LEP areas: Tees Valley Combined Authority, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Liverpool City Region, Lancashire, Humber, Leeds City Region, Sheffield City Region, York, North Yorkshire and East Riding.

The project is receiving up to £140,359,192 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

The funds in which Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in, Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West and Tees Valley.

The British Business Bank has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). The guide, which impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses and provides links to support available at a regional level, is available at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb