Academic research company In-Part raised £950,000 from Mercia Technologies

A company that helps universities to commercialise academic research by initiating new collaborations with industry has secured a £950,000 investment, which includes £750,000 from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.  The additional £200,000 is from two private investors.

IN-PART’s online matchmaking platform for university-industry collaboration simplifies the process through which discoveries made in universities are turned into new products, drugs and technologies that have a positive impact on society.

The company, which also received seed capital of around £350k in 2016, employs 28 people with offices in Sheffield and London.  This latest funding round will allow it to expand its teams in both locations.

As part of the deal, Thomas Jørgensen, co-founder of university software platform Pure, which was sold to Elsevier in 2012, will join the board as Chairman.

Using proactive outreach, underpinned by smart matchmaking algorithms, IN-PART sends personalised alerts to research and development (R&D) teams in industry with relevant innovations being developed by academic researchers around the world.

When a company signals interest, IN-PART organises the initial introduction. Feedback is gathered from companies and interaction data from the platform is analysed to provide engagement metrics and early-stage technology trends.

IN-PART’s company network now includes R&D teams in over 5,500 companies, including Roche, Johnson & Johnson, Samsung, IBM, Google X, and multiple users from all of the top 25 global R&D-spending firms in 2018.

Over 220 universities and research institutes from six continents showcase their research on the platform, including Columbia, Cornell, UPenn, Max Planck, Leiden, Vienna, Osaka, Queensland, Australian National University and the University of Hong Kong, as well as leading UK universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Sheffield, Edinburgh and Manchester.

Patrick Speedie, Co-CEO and co-founder of IN-PART, said: “We’re pleased to receive support from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund as well as adding some great new non-executive expertise to our board. The funding will allow us to invest further in product development to scale our matchmaking platform and our Discover product, in line with our vision of connecting university research with companies around the world to positively impact on society.”

Nicola Broughton, Head of Universities at Mercia and who will join the In-PART board, said: “Universities have been responsible for some of the biggest breakthroughs in modern times and IN-PART is helping to transfer university technology across the globe. This latest funding will allow it to build its presence in the international marketplace and replicate the significant success it has enjoyed in the UK.”

Sean Hutchinson, Senior Manager at British Business Bank, said: “NPIF continues to provide vital funding to Northern businesses across the region. We are pleased to continue this support, and are proud to work in partnership with Mercia Equity Finance and our other appointed fund managers to make a real impact on business communities by boosting jobs within this Sheffield-based team and strengthening regional economies to unlock the North’s potential.”

James Muir, Chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This investment is great news for our region; a region already known for its cutting-edge collaborations between universities and business.

“Many of the solutions to our biggest global challenges, such as climate change, healthy ageing and scarcity of resources, will come from the brightest minds in academia. It’s therefore great to see In Part, based here in the Sheffield City Region, providing the technological tools to enable this knowledge to be commercialised.”

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.

Enterprise Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 183363).  EV Business Loans Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 443560).

Beauty booking platform Shedul.com raises £15.26 million Series B investment led by Partech Partners

April 11, 2019

Shedul.com, the world’s fastest growing booking platform for salons and spas, announced today a Series B investment of $20 million, valuing the company at $105 million

The round was led by Partech, an investment firm with hubs in Paris, San Francisco, and Berlin, along with participation from Berlin-based Target Global, Dubai-based BECO Capital, and New York-based FJ Labs. Additionally, the round included personal investment from entrepreneur Niklas Östberg, Founder and CEO of Delivery Hero AG. The fundraise was oversubscribed with additional secondary transactions of $3 million. The Series B round brings the total amount raised by the London-headquartered company to $32 million to date.

Shedul.com is an intuitive, free SaaS-enabled marketplace that salons and spas around the world use to streamline their business operations. In just a few years since launch, the company has captured a vast customer base of merchants in more than 120 countries, mainly in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. Recently, the company launched its consumer marketplace Fresha.com, which connects merchants using the free business software to consumers online. The marketplace unlocks revenue potential for merchants by leveraging the power of online bookings and automated marketing through mobile apps and integrations to Instagram, Facebook and Google. 

Today, the company announced that a staggering 8 million appointments are booked on its platform each month, at a value of over $270 million and growing. Growth in active merchants is expanding at an average rate of 20% quarter-on-quarter, making Shedul.com the world’s fastest growing beauty and wellness platform. In just a few years since launch, the platform is on track to process $6 billion worth of appointment bookings by the end of 2019.

The company’s Co-Founders, William Zeqiri, and Nick Miller, shared how their strategy helped outpace conventional competitors to achieve hypergrowth. “Being customer-driven is ingrained into our team’s core,” explained CEO William Zeqiri. “Since day one, we have focused on solving major challenges to make our customers happy. We spend much time talking to our customers and acting on their feedback, enhancing our platform to suit their needs. That’s how we’ve built an award-winning product that can sell itself.”

“It’s not only the quality of our product which gives an advantage, it’s the unbeatable accessibility our platform offers customers” added Nick Miller, the company’s Chief of Product. “The market is highly competitive, crowded with legacy software providers who charge excessive fees to simply access their products. We’ve re-invented the business model by offering our business software totally free of charge, and instead monetise online bookings made through our marketplace. This strategy helps us consolidate the industry, building up a vast global network of merchants for our marketplace. We solved the chicken and egg problem of reaching marketplace liquidity, letting us rapidly scale and monetise the network.” 

Ultimately, this unique approach of powering a global consumer marketplace with a free SaaS platform attracted Partech to lead the Series B investment. “We believe the founders have built an excellent product and demonstrated impressive growth since inception with their unique business model,” explained Philippe Collombel, Co-Managing Partner of Partech. “They have a winning vision to deliver transformational change to the beauty and wellness industry, and we believe their strategy will propel them to become the largest booking platform for the multi-trillion dollar beauty market.”

“We’re ecstatic for Partech to join as our partner in supercharging growth of our platform,” said Zeqiri, commenting on the Series B investment. “The beauty and wellness industry is at a tipping point transitioning to an online model, the new investment secures our forefront position in leading this global shift”.

The company plans to use the investment to accelerate product development and support the ongoing worldwide rollout of its Fresha.com consumer marketplace.

Spektrix raises £5 million from Foresight to fuel growth and innovation

London, 11 February 2019: Spektrix and Foresight are pleased to announce a £5 million growth capital investment into Spektrix Limited, the UK’s leading provider of cloud-based ticketing, marketing and fundraising software for the arts.

The investment on behalf of Foresight VCT plc and Foresight 4 VCT plc will be used to accelerate product development and support Spektrix’s international expansion, particularly in North America where it is already working with nearly 100 arts organisations. As part of the investment, Foresight has taken a minority equity position in the company.

Founded in 2007, Spektrix was an early pioneer in bringing cloud technology to the arts. It is now the UK industry’s leading SaaS solution, encompassing ticketing, marketing, fundraising, analytics, and customer relationship management (CRM). It has been recognised as one of the UK’s fastest growing technology companies by the Sunday Times TechTrack 100 and FT Future 100, and in 2018 helped almost 400 organisations to sell more than £500m of tickets.

The software delivers key digital business capabilities to arts and entertainment organisations, enabling organisations like London’s Barbican Centre, New York Theatre Workshop and Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music to deepen customer relationships, understand sales trends in real time, and power audience development.

Michael Nabarro, co-founder and CEO of Spektrix, commented:

“The goal of Spektrix is to empower arts and entertainment organisations with the tools they need to excel in the evolving arts economy. This injection of growth capital gives us additional resources to expand strategically, increase the pace of innovation, and fully realise our ambitions for the sector on both sides of the Atlantic.

“This is the first external investment we have taken as a company and that is partly testament to Foresight’s reputation and approach to managing relationships with its portfolio companies. Foresight fully supports our aims and will work with us to do more of what we already do – but faster and better.”


Matthew Evans-Young, Investment Manager, Foresight Group, commented:

“Throughout the process we have been impressed by the ambition and quality of the team, and their commitment to the Company’s mission of transforming how organisations engage with their audiences. The success which Spektrix has achieved to date, without external funding, means we are excited to support them as they look to replicate their impressive track record of success and innovation — at home and internationally — in the coming years.”

Advisers on this deal included:

  • Legal advisers: RW Blears LLP and Withers LLP
  • Financial and tax due diligence: Kingston Smith
  • Commercial due diligence: Luminii Consulting
  • Technology due diligence: Cloud Origin
  • Management due diligence: Catalysis Advisor


ENDS

For more information contact:

Ben Thompson, Group Marketing Director, Foresight bthompson@foresightgroup.eu  / 020 3667 8155

Alex Phennah, Senior Marketing Manager, Spektrix alex.phennah@spektrix.com / 020 7785 6967

NOTES TO EDITORS

Foresight Venture Capital Trusts

Foresight VCT Plc and Foresight 4 VCT Plc are venture capital trusts managed by Foresight Group. They invest in fast-growing UK companies across a range of sectors – partnering with them to support long-term growth and strengthen R&D.

About Foresight Group LLP (“Foresight”):
Foresight is a leading independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager which has been managing investment funds on behalf of institutions and retail clients for more than 30 years.

Foresight has some £2.8 billion of Assets Under Management across a number of funds, including Listed Vehicles, Limited Partnerships, Enterprise Investment Schemes (EISs), Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Inheritance Tax Solutions using Business Property Relief (BPR). Foresight’s Private Equity team, comprising 24 investment professionals, pursues four discrete but complementary investment styles: Venture, Impact, Growth and Replacement Capital through its growing regional office network.  

Foresight was voted ‘Best VCT Investment Manager’ at the 2017 Growth Investor Awards, having been previously awarded ‘VCT House of the Year’ at the 2016 Unquote British Private Equity awards and was a shortlisted finalist for Venture and Growth Capital House of the Year at the 2018 Unquote British Private Equity Awards.  Foresight VCT was recently named Best Generalist VCT at the 2018 Investment Week Tax Efficiency Awards. Foresight is headquartered in London with regional UK offices in Manchester, Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Leicester and Guernsey and international offices in Rome, Madrid, Seoul and Sydney. www.foresightgroup.eu 

About Spektrix
Spektrix is the leading provider of cloud-based ticketing, marketing and fundraising software for the arts. Founded in London in 2007, Spektrix now helps almost 400 organisations in the UK, Ireland, US and Canada strengthen their marketing capabilities, take greater control over revenue generation, and re-engineer business models to meet the challenges of the evolving arts economy. 

Sophisticated, real-time analytics and marketing tools allow arts marketers to be truly responsive to audiences, build deeper customer relationships, and grow revenue streams.  

Customers include the Barbican Centre – Europe’s largest arts venue, Nederlander Theatres in London’s West End, Town Hall and Symphony Hall Birmingham, Bristol Old Vic, Round House theatre in Washington DC, and The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.  For more information please visit www.spektrix.com.

IN-Part secures £300,000 Seed investment from Mercia

Mercia Fund Management (MFM), a leading technology investor with a focus on the Midlands, the North and Scotland, has made its first investment into IN-PART, which streamlines the discovery and commercialisation of innovative academic research.

The investment, which totals £300,000 and will allow IN-PART to build on its team to accelerate international expansion, implement new marketing initiatives, and continue product development, which will see new features added to the service.

IN-PART has offices situated in Sheffield, based at the Kroto Innovation Centre, as well as in Central London, providing a convenient solution for university technology transfer offices (TTOs) and businesses – from SMEs to blue chips – to find and collaborate with each other.

In November, the company beat more than 100 digital companies to be crowned as one of Tech North’s Northern Stars, a competition aimed at identifying the top ten digital start-ups in the North of England.  The winning package will see the founders travel to the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, to showcase the IN-PART system.

Unlike other similar platforms, IN-PART is specifically for university research, which has traditionally struggled to communicate with businesses, due to the lack of simple communication channels between relevant, engaged parties. Previously, university business teams have relied on ‘cold-contact’methods, without any prior information on who the most suitable person is to speak to within the target company.

IN-PART’s system provides a clear, concise and relevant catalogue of high-quality contacts, all of whom must work both in industry and R&D in order to gain access to the platform. It allows companies to perform tailored searches for research that could be a potential asset to their business, whilst also helping universities and TTOs to display their current academic developments.  The service also provides detailed metrics in ‘Impact Reports’, along with tailored support for universities subscribing to the system.

Since its launch in January 2014, IN-PART has gone from six universities and 25 companies to 50 universities and over 400 companies using the platform. IN-PART is now looking to expand its services to the USA, Asia and Australia, and has already identified key early adopters in each jurisdiction ahead of further internationalisation in 2016.

Patrick Speedie, Co-Founder of IN-PART, said:

“We’re extremely excited about moving into the next stage of IN-PART’s development as we look to add additional features for both university and company users, as well as expanding into new international markets, and Mercia Fund Management represents an ideal investment partner to help evolve our system.  We’ve been very impressed by MFM’s knowledge of technology transfer and the difficulties surrounding university/industry collaboration, and we feel confident that they share our vision for connecting the sectors in a new and intuitive way.  Together, we feel we can have an even greater impact on bringing university research to the wider world.”

Dr Robin KnightCo-founder, IN-PART, also commented:

“This investment marks the next chapter in our business’s history, and heralds not only our expansion, but also the development of new and current core services for our university and company clients. We’re looking to maintain our traction, and are excited to excel expectations as we take our company overseas with our new partners at MFM.”

Investment Manager Brijesh Roy, who works with MFM’s Head of Technology Transfer, said:

 “I am pleased to provide IN-PART with its first early-stage investment from MFM.  I have first-hand experience of the struggles faced by university technology transfer offices trying to make industry connections.  IN-PART’s curated platform transforms this inefficient and resource intensive process, making it quick and simple for universities to connect to relevant companies.  In less than two years, IN-PART has become a dominant portal to find technology from UK universities and the investment will accelerate the ongoing international expansion into the US, Europe and Asia.
“This investment also complements Mercia’s commitment to support the wealth of scalable technology that universities can provide, particularly in our focus regions of the Midlands, the North and Scotland.”