20 May 2019: Manchester-based start-up Raildiary has today announced it has secured a £650,000 investment from the Rail Supply Growth Fund and Angelgroups to support its continued expansion across the rail construction sector in both UK and overseas markets.
The investment will help Raildiary increase its workforce and accelerate its product development work, leading to the creation of market-leading data collection and analysis tools for the rail construction industry. The platforms will allow new and existing clients to gain vital information and insights on the state of their construction projects in a highly cost effective and robust manner, thereby significantly improving the management of their projects.
Raildiary’s existing Sitediary app, available on a subscription basis, already contains a range of digital project management tools allowing construction contractors to save time and money by moving away from their traditional paper shift records, with their inherent limitations, as well as producing more detailed, insightful and real-time reports tailored to the rail construction sector.
Commenting on the investment, Raildiary’s MD and founder William Doyle, a chartered surveyor with a decade of experience in the rail construction sector and with first hand experience of the damage caused by poor transfer of information between a construction site, the office and the client, said: “This investment is a fantastic opportunity for us to develop our business. The funding will support our product growth and allow us to transform the way the UK and international rail markets deliver their projects.”
The Rail Supply Growth Fund managed by Finance Birmingham and funded by central government provides flexible finance to businesses across England that are focused on capitalising on opportunities across the global railway sector.
Jack Glonek, Investment Director at Finance Birmingham, said: “The Rail Fund is delighted to be investing into Raildiary with its deliverable growth plans based on an exciting product development pipeline backed by a skilled and experienced management team.”
Martin Avison, Founder of Angelgroups, corporate investors, added: “At Angelgroups we are always looking for a great team and in Raildiary’s case they not only had the people, but a great and scalable business. I’m confident that the money invested will enable them to grow the business and make the most of what is a very exciting opportunity.”
Blackbullion, the award-winning edtech company transforming students’ lives through financial literacy, has secured second-round investment of £400K ($525K).
This second tranche of funding was led by Lord Stanley Fink, who will also join the startup’s board, as Chairman. Additional investments came from MPA Education, Emerge Education and JISC, the membership organisation providing digital solutions for UK education and research. It brings the total raised by Blackbullion to £1 million and will be directed towards new product development and expanding its existing suite of solutions for universities.
Founded by former wealth manager, Vivi Friedgut in 2014, Blackbullion has set the challenge to deliver a robust and empowering financial education to a million students within the next two years.
“Money is the last great taboo and it’s our goal to ensure an engaging and effective financial education for young people,” comments Vivi Friedgut. “We’re seeing more universities look at making financial learning mandatory but there’s still a way to go.
Working in partnership with universities means we can drive understanding, empower students with real-world money skills, and help build the confidence and tools they need to design the life they want beyond graduation.”
Blackbullion currently supports 500,000 students across the UK, Australia and New Zealand, through partner universities, including King’s College London, The University of Edinburgh, and the University of South Australia. The start-up has a strong track record in widening participation cohorts, especially for first-in-family students. Its platform is actively used as part of partner university student retention strategies.
Lord Fink says: “Forty years in the financial services world and I’m always surprised how young people lack understanding on the topic – especially given how much we know about the impact of financial stress. I’m a huge fan of how Blackbullion’s thoughtful products have the potential to change students’ lives.”
Melody Lang, Advisor and Investor at MPA Education summarised their decision to invest in Blackbullion: “Very excited to be backing a company with such an important mission, but also one of the most impressive founders I ever met. Vivi’s creating a real legacy through her tech for good ethos and this platform.”
Jan Lynn-Matern, CEO and Co-founder at Emerge Education, added, “Financial education is one of the fundamental pillars of becoming a well-rounded adult.
Despite its importance, it remains very underrepresented in today’s education systems – from schools to universities. We’re thrilled to support Blackbullion in its mission to bring this crucial life skill closer to universities and students, and continue its exciting growth journey.”
The company, which won Edtech Launchpad and was a Financial Innovation Awards finalist, is considering a future raise to drive its global expansion plans.
Blackbullion is the award-winning financial education company on a mission to help young people gain financial skills for life. Powered by a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription model, Blackbullion partners with higher education institutions to deliver engaging and effective personalised learning to encourage shifts in financial behaviour of students around the world. Founded in 2014, Blackbullion currently supports university students, with over 500,000 having access to their learning platform.
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Global fintech, The ID Co., has today announced it has received $2m seed funding from global technology investor Amadeus Capital Partners, SixThirty and other investors.
The ID Co. helps businesses such as lenders to onboard their customers more efficiently. Its technology removes the friction caused during application processes by the current challenges of risk, fraud, compliance, and regulation.
The ID Co. has recently launched two innovative products, DirectID Insights and Income Verification, based on Open Banking. The ID Co. is a market leader in Open Banking – a global movement that grew out of the UK, which allows companies or individuals to securely share their data with a third party. The ID Co.’s mission is to make bank data readily available to any business so that it can revolutionise its offering and transform its customers’ experience.
DirectID Insights is the first online decisioning tool for use by underwriters, fraud analysts and Credit Risk Officers that requires absolutely no integration. Leveraging Open Banking data, it drastically reduces operational costs for businesses and unlocks, from bank data, the information required for lenders to grant, or deny loan applications. DirectID Insights user numbers have grown rapidly in the UK and USA and include Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank, Prosper, Marlette and LendingMate.
The ID Co.’s Income Verification solution utilises six unique algorithms to give a sound basis for assessing a loan application. The tool also gives additional insights such as showing supplemental income and whether the applicant’s income changes over time.
The new investment from Amadeus Capital Partners and other investors will enable The ID Co. to extend its offering to new sectors and international customers while continuing to grow in its existing markets.
James Varga, CEO of The ID Co., said:
“The financial world is being fundamentally changed through Open Banking. It improves our understanding of each individual, allowing us to move away from traditional credit reference agencies.
“This funding gives us the support we need to execute our plan to bring bank data to the global market. We are hiring fast and entering new markets and geographies across the globe. The recent launch of DirectID Insights and Income Verification means that we are in an excellent place to capitalise on the need for greater efficiency in lending practices to reflect borrowers’ expectations.”
Nick Kingsbury, Partner at Amadeus Capital Partners, added:
“The ID Co. is delivering real value to its clients. The application of Open Banking-based data allows financial providers to personalise their services and streamline and shorten lending processes. We are delighted to be supporting the company in solidifying its lead in the UK and expanding its international presence.”
“SixThirty is excited to continue its support for The ID Co., a growing leader in the digital reality of Open Banking,” added Atul Kamra, Managing Partner of SixThirty.
“The speed at which decisions must be made in our hyper-connected world comes with a growing customer expectation for instant value and service. This places a premium on The ID Co.’s capabilities around rapidly confirming customer identity and delivering customer insights. James and The ID Co. team have gotten a real nice head start here, and are well positioned to take advantage from the regulatory tail winds afforded by Open Banking.”
investment for eco-friendly toothbrush subscription boxes
It has been 154%
overfunded in its latest investment round
The funding will
result in nearly 10,000 toothbrushes being gifted to disadvantaged children
through its ‘Buy 1, Give 1’ charitable scheme
A Cardiff-based start-up providing an eco-friendly toothbrush subscription
service has secured more than £770,000 investment in its latest funding round,
exceeding its target by over £250,000 from nearly 300 investors.
Founded by former Deloitte
advisor, Mike Donovan, Brushbox aims to be the
world’s largest subscription brand for eco-friendly, cruelty-free and
sustainable personal toothbrush, toothpaste and oral care products.
the funding round, Brushbox has also strengthened its board and
investor base with the addition of founder, former CEO and now vice chair of
Cloudreach, Pontus Noren. A senior advisor to The Blackstone Group, he brings
with him 24 years’ experience as a successful entrepreneur, with leadership expertise
in the IT industry across sales, business development and product marketing from
working for blue chip companies like Cisco, Ericsson, and Nokia.
Mike explained the
Brushbox team has been overwhelmed by the support they have received in this
funding round and said: “To have so many
people willing to invest their hard-earned cash on our company is amazing and
to welcome investors of the calibre of Pontus to the board has been phenomenal.
“To exceed our funding target by 154% is just incredible and it has been
truly exciting to have so many people who share and support our vision to create
a step change in how we consume every day, typically throw away items, with an
aim to vastly improve the UK’s oral health in a fun and different way, including
young children in deprived areas who might otherwise not have the means to help
themselves in the way that some of us do. We can’t thank everyone enough for
their support and encouragement.”
On his investment and
appointment to the Brushbox board, Pontus Noren said: “I met Mike a few months ago and his passion for Brushbox and his
persistence to build the best consumer focussed subscription businesses was
“This is an industry ripe for disruption and Brushbox is in pole
position to drive the change we need to see. With a focus on health,
eco-friendliness and giving back as a core part of the business, I believe
Brushbox can look forward to an exciting and bright future.”
Brushbox is the UK’s
first sustainable subscription box service and deliver 100% recyclable and biodegradable
toothbrushes, including beautiful bamboo brushes, toothpaste and other oral
health products direct to your door. With their
focus on eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes one of their key aims is to combat
the estimated *3.6bn plastic toothbrushes that end up in landfill or our oceans
Since its launch in 2018, Brushbox has been listed as the number one start-up
business to watch in Wales and, having delivered thousands of boxes across the
UK last year, was named the second fastest-rising direct to consumer brand in
the UK by Marketing Week magazine, just behind US razor subscription service
Dollar Shave Club.
inspiration behind Brushbox, Mike said: “We
understand that actively remembering when to change your toothbrush may not
immediately be at the top of everyone’s priority list, but we’re passionate
about spreading the Brushbox ethos in order to improve people’s health.
awareness around the damage that plastics are having in our seas and
environment means that there is an ever-growing population of consumers who are
crying out for eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives to the status-quo, and
it’s important that this is done well.
to a report from Euromonitor, the oral care market exceeded sales of
£1.3billion in 2017 in the UK alone, with traditional plastic toothbrushes and
toothpaste making up 73% of those sales. Alongside this, the UK subscription
market is one of the fastest growing sectors in retail and is forecasted to be
worth more than £1billion by 2022. With more than half of 25-35-year olds in
the UK already signed up to at least one subscription box, and with 40% of
consumers saying they will join more schemes in the future, there is the
potential for big, sustainable and eco-friendly business to be done here.”
Mike is committed to improving the
oral health of the UK and to that end Brushbox has also fostered a partnership
with Dentaid which means that, for every Brushbox toothbrush sold, another one
is donated to a disadvantaged child who may not have the same means to replace
their brushes when they’re supposed to. As a direct result of their most recent
funding round an additional 10,000 toothbrushes will be donated in the coming
North East based property and investment business, Adderstone Group, has invested a seven-figure sum into OpenWorks Engineering, an award-winning, hi-tech product company which is developing world-leading security and counter-terrorism products.
OpenWorks, which operates from premises in Stocksfield, Northumberland, has developed a unique and innovative drone capture system named SkyWall, which is already being used across the globe by a number of government authorities, militaries and private security organisations to provide close protection to the likes of airports, major infrastructure and even world leaders at summits.
OpenWorks was established in 2015 by five directors; Chris Down, Neil Armstrong, Alex Wilkinson, James Cross, and Roland Wilkinson; and has developed game-changing products for the defence and security industry. Its directors are confident that the significant investment from Adderstone Group will enable OpenWorks to increase capacity to manufacture their award-winning SkyWall drone defence products, accelerate research and development of the next generation of SkyWall products and ultimately add significant value to the business.
Whilst Adderstone Group is known primarily as one of the largest property development businesses in the region, it has a long and successful track record at founding and growing a range of investments.
The funding is Adderstone Group’s second investment into an engineering business, following the company’s successful support of a delisting and management buyout of Turbo Power Systems Plc., which specialises in providing innovative high-speed machines and power electronic solutions for the Energy, Industrial, Transport and Defence markets.
Ian Baggett, CEO and Founder of Adderstone Group said: “OpenWorks achievements to date have been astounding. They are an extremely talented group of engineers who not only foresaw a massive need to protect against rogue drones but have gone on to design, patent, manufacture and monetise what is acknowledged to be world leading technology from their base in Stocksfield. My team and I look forward to doing whatever we can to help our new colleagues continue to grow a world leading business that protects the public and infrastructure from this burgeoning threat.”
Chris Down, Managing Director of OpenWorks said: “Adderstone Group’s track record speaks for itself. We were determined to partner with a local investor to expand our production capability and accelerate the development of new products. We are confident that, in Adderstone, we have secured the perfect investment partner.”
AI-driven analog design to accelerate chip innovation
Cambridge, UK, 13 May 2019: Agile Analog, a Cambridge analog IP company, announces it has closed its latest Pre-A funding round with Delin Ventures, firstminute Capital and MMC Ventures for $5M.
Founded in 2017, Agile Analog will use the funding to expand the existing engineering team in Cambridge and deliver analog IP products to a wide range of waiting customers. Agile Analog’s unique AI-driven platform replaces the existing manual design process that has not fundamentally changed in 60 years.
With the explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT), AI, autonomous vehicles, the next generation of telecoms and newer smaller process nodes, the demand for new chip designs has never been greater. Analog circuits are needed on every chip to interface between the real world and the digital world. From sensors to battery connections to data transmission, analog components are the hidden driving force behind our modern digital lives. Analog design, which is slow and manual is often the key bottleneck in chip design. Agile Analog’s innovative solution removes this bottleneck, giving customers exactly the type of component they want, on exactly the right semiconductor process, with industry leading quality. This enables Agile Analog’s customers to accelerate the pace of chip innovation and provide smaller, cheaper, more reliable and lower power solutions.
By removing the restrictive manual process, Agile Analog provides access to flexible and easy to use analog IP, enabling a broad range of customers to incorporate more analog onto their chips and significantly reducing the size and cost of end products. Agile Analog technology enables a move away from simple analog designs compensated by complex digital designs to a more balanced mix of technologies, bringing more reliable, lower power designs to market quicker.
Tim Ramsdale, CEO for Agile Analog said: “I’m delighted with the confidence that our investors have placed in us. This investment will enable us to deliver to our customers faster and make possible a paradigm shift in the $2Bn analog IP market.”
Jonathan Hay, Partner at Delin Ventures, said: “We are impressed with the team’s vision to transform analog design and reinvigorate the use of analog. Analog design is the backwater of the semiconductor industry and we think Agile Analog can change that. The team has the world-leading experience and industry connectivity to deliver on this vision. That was a key part of our decision to follow on with our Seed investment.”
Brent Hoberman, Co-founder at firstminute Capital, said: “The Agile Analog founding team is an exceptional balance between deep tech and commercial experience. Predominantly made up of ex-ARM domain experts and division heads, they are industry veterans with a strong network as well as technical expertise.”
Camilla Mazzolini, Investor at firstminute Capital, said: “Following extensive due diligence from industry experts, it was clear to FMC that the company’s technology and approach have the potential to disrupt and transform the industry from a labor-intensive, manual and costly process to an automatic, cheaper, quicker and more accurate on.”
Mina Samaan, Investment Manager at MMC Ventures, said: “Agile Analog’s technology has the potential to become the industry standard for Analog IP. We’re excited to back Tim, Mike and the rest of the team as they continue to bring innovation to an industry which is ripe for disruption.”
Agile Analog is a VC funded start-up which has brought together industry veterans from the analog, IP and design automation worlds to revolutionise the way analog IP is developed and delivered. Based in Cambridge (UK), we are growing quickly to become one of the world’s leading analog IP companies. Using our innovative core technology, we are able to design analog circuits faster, to a higher quality, and on any semiconductor process. We are widening market access to analog IP in a way that will greatly increase our customers’ opportunities to take innovative chip designs to market. As part of a dynamic industry, we are disrupting methodologies that have been unchanged for generations.
About Delin Ventures
Delin Ventures is London based private technology focused investment firm founded by the serial entrepreneur, Igor Linshits. Delin invests in early stage U.K. technology businesses. Delin’s current portfolio includes import.io, Fluidic Analytics, AimBrain, the Plum Guide, and Vidsy, as well as a number of other seed stage investments. Delin has also invested in funds managed by Local Globe, IQ Capital, Entrepreneur First, Stride.vc and o2h Ventures. Delin Ventures is part of the Delin Group which also includes Delin Capital Asset Management, a leading investor and developer of logistics real estate.
About firstminute Capital
Firstminute capital is a $100m pan-European seed fund founded by Brent Hoberman and Spencer Crawley that launched in June 2017 to support the next wave of early stage European technology entrepreneurs. The fund, which counts the London-based venture fund Atomico, the Chinese technology giant Tencent and the European FMCG conglomerate Henkel as institutional investors, along with 30 founders of billion dollar technology businesses, invests across Europe, and opportunistically in the US and Israel. Firstminute capital has a sector agnostic remit within tech, with a particular interest in SaaS, DeepTech, vertical AI, Healthtech, Blockchain, Cyber, Gaming and D2C. For more information visit: www.firstminute.capital
About MMC Ventures
MMC Ventures is a research-led venture capital firm that has backed over 60 early-stage, high-growth technology companies since 2000.
MMC’s dedicated research function provides the Firm with a deep and differentiated understanding of emerging technologies and sector dynamics, to identify attractive investment opportunities. MMC’s research team also supports early stage companies through the life of MMC’s investment.
MMC helps to catalyse the growth of enterprise software and consumer internet companies that have the potential to disrupt large markets. The Firm has one of the largest software-as-a-service (SaaS) portfolios in Europe, with recent exits including CloudSense, Invenias and NewVoiceMedia.
MMC’s dynamic consumer portfolio includes several of the UK’s favourite companies, including Bloom & Wild, Gousto and Interactive Investor.
New funding secured from leading venture capital investors and Cambridge Angels
London, 9th May 2019: Closed Loop Medicine (CLM), the Cambridge-based health tech startup that helps doctors and healthcare providers to deliver personalised treatment regimens has raised £2.1 million in venture capital funding, raised from Longwall Venture Partners, IQ Capital and Martlet, the investment arm of the Marshall of Cambridge group. Several leading Cambridge Angel investors took part in the financing, including the well-known serial entrepreneur, Sherry Coutu CBE.
Closed Loop Medicine is a new breed of therapeutics company that combines proven drug treatments with digital therapeutics. Digital therapeutics deliver evidence-based therapeutic interventions to patients that are driven by high quality software programs to prevent, manage, or treat a medical disorder or disease. Even in countries with the most advanced healthcare systems, few providers deliver truly personalised care. This is because current models of care do not have the ability to deliver fully integrated treatment underpinned by cutting-edge technology. The Closed Loop Medicine approach uses data and insights about how a patient is responding to treatment to tailor drug and non-drug therapy, which provides a much faster way of getting an individual to their optimum outcome.
Dr Hakim Yadi OBE, CEO and Co-Founder of Closed Loop Medicine, said: “Having been in stealth mode for several years, this latest fund raising marks a significant milestone for the business and its founders. As well as securing venture capital funding from experienced investors in deep tech and life sciences, we have been able to establish corporate partnerships with international Pharma companies and the NHS, we have also hired a senior management team that represents the very best in talent across healthcare and technology.”
The funding will support the development of a drug + digital approach to treat and manage major health conditions our society faces, starting with sleep disturbance and hypertension. The company intends to develop fully regulated, evidence-based Drug + Digital solutions for the NHS and international healthcare providers.”
CLM was founded in 2017 and first secured seed funding from several angel investors via the Cambridge Angel Network. In 2018 the company raised further funding from Longwall Venture Partners and Cambridge Angels. In this latest round Cambridge Angels and Longwall Venture Partners were joined by IQ Capital. The company was founded by Dr Paul Goldsmith, Dr Hakim Yadi OBE, Dr David Cox and Dr Felicity Sartain.
Dr Yadi OBE joined from the Northern Health Science Alliance Ltd, where he was chief executive, and in March this year joined CLM full-time. Dr Andy Richards CBE is the CLM’s Chairman. He is also Director of Ieso Digital Health, chairman of Arecor, Congenica, Abcodia, and the Babraham Research Campus.
This most recent funding round has enabled the company to take offices in London, invest in technical product development, start clinical development and clinical trials as well as invest further in drug development. The funding has also been used to recruit the current management team, as well as support building out the CLM tech team.
Dr Rebecca Todd, Investment Director, specialist health and life sciences investor at Longwall Venture Partners, said: “Closed Loop Medicine has brought together a world-class team of experienced and passionate healthcare professionals with the goal of delivering a step-change in how we do medicine in the 21st century. Their unique approach for providing personalised precision medicine by combining drug with digital to create individualised treatment regimens will be applicable across a wide range of clinical areas and has the potential to transform the way we treat patients and manage illness”.
Ed Stacey, partner at deep-tech fund, IQ Capital, said: “The management team at CLM have hugely impressive credentials and now bring this experience to one of the most cutting-edge innovations in digital therapeutics. We are really excited by the huge steps forward the team is making in this field – watch this space. IQ Capital has invested in several companies that leverage the technology including Biobeats, Neurovalens, and now CLM”.
About Closed Loop Medicine
Closed Loop Medicine is a Cambridge-based therapeutics company focused on care pathways, outcomes and the provision of dynamic personalised regimens. CLM has a development pipeline that integrates Drug + Digital+ Device for the treatment of some of the biggest challenges facing global health systems. For now, CLM is working on treating sleep disorders and hypertension but in the future will be working on other health problems.
By focusing on individual care pathways, CLM can augment proven drugs with digital therapeutics enabling the digitisation and data capture of an entire care continuum for dynamic personalised regimens. Digital therapeutics deliver evidence-based therapeutic interventions to patients that are driven by high quality software programs to prevent, manage, or treat a medical disorder or disease.
The founders of CLM have a track record of working together and between them have launched many highly successful commercial enterprises including drugs, digital health, diagnostics and devices. The team has full experience of technology development through to market access, reimbursement and uptake.
CLM was founded in 2017. Its HQ is in London, UK.
About IQ Capital
IQ Capital is a Cambridge-based venture capital firm that invests in UK ‘deep-tech’ across sectors including machine learning, AI, engineering and materials, and data-focused propositions based on disruptive algorithms. All of the firm’s portfolio companies are capable of dominating their respective markets on a global scale. The team typically invest at seed and series A stage, with significant capital reserved to scale companies through their growth stages. Initial investments range from £300k to £5m, with capacity for follow on investment up to £10m.
9 May 2019 – How and what we eat in restaurants or on-the-go is changing thanks to new robotics startup Karakuri and its £7million seed investment, led by Ocado. With growing demand for personalised nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle, Karakuri uses the latest innovation in robotics, machine learning, optics and sensors to allow restaurants and food retailers to offer personalised, freshly prepared, high quality meals, which maximise nutritional benefits and minimise food waste.
Research shows that almost two-thirds of consumers globally follow a diet that limits or prohibits consumption of some foods or ingredients. Whether you have a food intolerance or are following a diet plan, Karakuri’s system personalises any meal using its robots to dispense the exact ingredients and quantities into that dish. For restaurants and food retailers, Karakuri’s technologies also represent a way to move away from mass pre-packaged meals and significantly reduce food waste.
The £7million seed fundraise is led by Ocado, and includes investments from Hoxton Ventures, firstminute capital and Taylor Brothers. The funding will be used to further develop the company’s technology, strengthen its IP base and expand its team for global growth. The investment in Karakuri gives Ocado the opportunity to expand its value proposition in grocery, especially through Ocado Zoom, its new immediacy offer, and also provides their Ocado Solutions partners with innovative answers to the challenges of building a strong and profitable food delivery business. Ocado expects to take delivery of the first of Karakuri’s machines in late 2019.
Karakuri CEO and co-founder, Barney Wragg, said, “At Karakuri, we are dedicated to providing smart new ways to create and prepare fresh personalised meals. Consumer eating habits in and out of the home are changing rapidly as demand increases for healthier options that match specific dietary requirements. This growth in menu personalisation is putting huge pressure on restaurants, cafes and other food retailers. These providers have historically relied on identically mass produced meals to maintain their profit margins. By using robotics and machine learning, Karakuri’s systems provide localised micro-manufacturing within an existing restaurant, retail or commercial kitchen. Our systems prepare personalised meals onsite in real time to the exact requirements of each customer. At the same time, our technology aims to minimise food waste, packaging and distribution costs and all of the associated environmental impact.”
Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado added, “Ocado is constantly striving to identify the best and most innovative solutions to provide consumers with the greatest possible value, choice and convenience. Our investment in Karakuri, potentially a game-changer in the preparation of food-to-go, gives us the opportunity to bring the best innovation to the benefit of our own customers as well as our partners”.
Brent Hoberman, Karakuri’s founding chairman, co-founder of Founders Factory and General Partner at firstminute Capital added, “The time is now for robotics and AI to drive change in the restaurant and food services business. Barney and Simon have assembled a world-class team to go after one the next large markets to be enhanced by this technology. We are delighted that Ocado, a global leader in robotics and distribution, has chosen to invest in Karakuri to lead the innovation in this sector.”
Karakuri emerges from the Founders Factory incubator with the goal of utilising groundbreaking intelligent robotics, to transform how we eat for the better and reduce food waste. Co-founders Barney Wragg, Simon Watt and Brent Hoberman, are focussed on growing Karakuri into the segment-defining food automation providers. Karakuri’s advisory board includes industry experts from ARM, Ocado, Imperial College, Bristol Robotics Lab and Edinburgh Centre for Robotics.
Notes to Editors
For all enquiries relating to Karakuri, please contact Laura Moross (firstname.lastname@example.org , 07969673895)
Karakuri is a UK based technology company designing, manufacturing and installing robotic automation systems for restaurants, commercial kitchens and caterers.
Born out of the Founders Factory incubator, Karakuri was founded by Simon Watt and Barney Wragg, two longtime friends and colleagues who originally worked together at ARM in the 90s. In April 2018 Founders Factory invested Karakuri and Brent Hoberman joined the board as Chairmen.
Ocado is a UK based company admitted to trading on the London Stock Exchange (Ticker OCDO). It comprises one of the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailers, operating its own grocery and general merchandise retail businesses under Ocado.com and other specialist shop banners, together with its Solutions division. In February 2019, Ocado Group announced the creation of an online grocery retail joint venture with Marks & Spencer plc, one of the UK’s leading food and clothing retailers.
About Ocado Solutions
Ocado Solutions is responsible for corporate partnerships, providing the Ocado Smart Platform as a service to retailers around the world. OSP comprises access to Ocado’s physical infrastructure solutions, running highly efficient warehouse operations for the single pick of products, together with the entire end-to-end proprietary software applications required to operate a world class online grocery business. It is underpinned by Ocado’s proven expertise and experience as a dedicated online grocer in the UK.
About Founders Factory
Founders Factory is the world’s best partner for founders. Started by Brent Hoberman and Henry Lane Fox, Founders Factory has received investment from Marks & Spencer, L’Oreal, easyJet, Guardian Media Group, Aviva, Holtzbrinck and CSC. Combined with its full-time team of 70 specialists it provides founders with the best platform to launch or scale their startup.
London, 7th May 2019: Insurance startup, Urban Jungle today announced a £2.5 million seed funding round with participation from a range of new and existing high profile Angel investors, including Rob Devey, ex CEO of Prudential UK, and Simon Rogerson, CEO of Octopus Group.
With the InsurTech space hotting up, Urban Jungle is challenging the status-quo of traditional insurance providers to cater for the growing number of UK renters who have historically been underserved by the industry. Innovations such as a pay-as-you-go policy, a commitment to transparent pricing and modern policy terms have helped make Urban Jungle one of the top-rated UK home insurers, currently rated 9.6/10 on Trustpilot.
Since its inception in 2016 and with the support of pre-seed funding from its Angels, Urban Jungle has rapidly scaled and established itself as a leading brand in the rental insurance market. The startup has created a suite of products and grown its customer base to more than 15,000.
The Urban Jungle platform has been designed from scratch specifically with renters in mind. In its quest to make insurance easier to navigate, Urban Jungle have been working closely with underwriters to remove many of the legacy home-owner questions renters are asked when taking out a policy, making it easier to understand and better suited to today’s ‘Generation Rent’.
The platform has also been built with ease of integration in mind, making Urban Jungle well placed to easily partner with the wave of new agile FinTech services, and keeping them ahead of the competition who are struggling to keep up with the pace and scale needed in the industry.
Hot off the launch of its new contents policy which offers flexible and affordable cover for just £5 per month, Urban Jungle has grand plans for its £2.5m funding. As specialists in renters, the startup intends to stay with its customers as they grow and experience new life-stages – many of which will happen while they’re still renting – this means expanding their insurance product offering further.
CEO Jimmy Williams commented: “I’m immensely proud of what the team has achieved since our last funding round. We’ve ticked off everything we set out to do, and more, as well as bringing in some amazing people to lead us into the next stage. There’s still so much about the insurance industry that we want to fix, and this funding will allow us to accelerate the pace at which we do that.”
Lead investor, Rob Devey, said “I’m very pleased to continue supporting Urban Jungle. Greg and Jimmy have done a great job at growing the business by collecting the best talent around them, building some outstanding partnerships and consistently executing on their strategy. It is very exciting to be involved in the next phase of the company’s growth.”
Alongside the funding round, Urban Jungle also announced a number of new senior hires, including new Director of Strategy & Operations, Helen Hodges, a former Director at BBC Studios, and Lauren McAloon as Head of Marketing, who formerly headed up global customer acquisition at Clearscore.
A Nottingham company which has developed a new platform to help pharmaceutical firms manage clinical trials more effectively has raised almost £1m from investors to help it launch its product worldwide.
PHARMASEAL International secured the investment from the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. Mercia also contributed its own capital alongside angel investors.
This new investment marks the second investment round for the company, which raised £500,000 from Mercia and angel investors in January 2018.
PHARMASEAL’s software, Engility™ CTMS (clinical trials management system), is a next-generation platform that allows pharmaceutical companies greater control over clinical trials and improved governance. The firm is to use the latest finance injection to enhance the platform with additional features, while also stepping up its international sales and marketing activities.
Engility is the first of a series of products which PHARMASEAL plans to develop for the pharma and medical device industry. Established in 2016, the firm is led by industry veterans Daljit Cheema, the CEO, and Neil Rotherham, the Chairman. As part of the deal, Ian Jennings, another senior pharma IT executive, will join the board as a non-executive director.
Daljit Cheema, CEO of PHARMASEAL said:
“PHARMASEAL aims to give customers increased control over their clinical trials and product development. This second round of investment demonstrates the confidence that investors have in our product and will enable us to scale up our commercial operations.”
Ashish Patel of Mercia Fund Managers, said:
“Gaining regulatory approval for new medicines or medical devices is extremely difficult, especially for smaller firms. PHARMASEAL’s platform is accessible for companies of all sizes and should help them to bring products to market more quickly and at lower cost. Engility has already generated significant attention within the industry. This funding round will help the team to build on the initial interest and generate global sales.”
M&R provided legal advice to Mercia on the investment. The Midlands Engine 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.
Mercia Fund Managers provides both equity and debt finance to small businesses based in the UK regions. The Group has approximately 400 businesses in its portfolio, a strong record including 11 IPOs and has circa £0.5billion of assets under management including Mercia EIS Funds.
Mercia Fund Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 524856
Enterprise Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 183363
EV Business Loans Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 443560
· The Midlands Engine Investment Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, will invest in Debt Finance, Small Business Loans, Proof-of-Concept and Equity Finance funds, ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.
· The Midlands Engine 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 Midlands Engine 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 Midlands Engine Investment Fund covers the following LEP areas: Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham & Solihull, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, The Marches, and Worcestershire in the West Midlands; and Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire (D2N2) Greater Lincolnshire, Leicester and Leicestershire, and South-East Midlands in the East and South-East Midlands.
· The project is receiving up to £78,550,000 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 www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
· The European Investment Bank is providing £122,500,000 to support the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. This follows backing for the Northern Powerhouse in 2017 and backing for the newly launched North East Fund. For further information visit www.eib.org
· The funds in which Midlands Engine Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations in or planning to open material operations in the West Midlands and East & South-East Midlands.
· 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.
About the British Business Bank
The British Business Bank is the UK government’s 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. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.
The British Business Bank programmes are supporting more than £5.9bn of finance to over 82,000 smaller businesses (as at end of September 2018).
As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses:
· The Business Finance Guide (published in partnership with the ICAEW and a further 21 business and finance organisations) impartially sets out the range of finance options available to businesses at all stages – from start-ups to SMEs and growing mid-sized companies. Businesses can take the interactive journey at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb.
· The new British Business Bank Finance Hub provides everything high-growth businesses need to know about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success. The new site also features case studies and learnings from real businesses to guide businesses through the process of applying for growth finance.
British Business Bank plc is a limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Steel City House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 2GQ. As the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank, it is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government which is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The British Business Bank operates under its own brand name through a number of subsidiaries, one of which is authorised and regulated by the FCA.
British Business Bank plc and its principal operating subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. A complete legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries can be found on the British Business Bank plc website.
Ingenuity Centre, Nottingham University Innovation Park