Authenticate Information Systems secures £2.3 million Series A funding led by Mercia

13 May 2019

A Harrogate company whose technology platform is transforming the way food businesses manage their supply chain has secured a new funding round of £2.3m, which includes £1.5 million from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and the remainder from existing shareholders including Summit Alpha .

The investment in Authenticate Information Systems was led by NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. It will allow the company to double the size of its software and data research teams, creating 10 new jobs in Harrogate.

Authenticate was founded in 2013 with the aim of bringing greater transparency to the global food industry. Its unique software allows food businesses to track ingredients right back to the source and ensure they comply with all relevant standards. The platform offers real-time compliance dashboards and benchmark analytics, and provides a more efficient way for them to monitor their supply chain in respect of food safety, environmental, ethical and social measures.

Authenticate already works with five of the top UK supermarkets and many leading global hospitality groups, and has more than 20,000 food companies worldwide registered on its database, including more than 75% of the UK’s food manufacturers.

The latest investment brings the total raised by the company to over £5m. Authenticate CEO Paul Marples commented: “We are delighted to have secured this latest funding round, which demonstrates investors’ confidence in the potential of our technology. Authenticate is changing the way the food industry looks at supplier compliance. We live in an ever more transparent world and technology means that so much more information can be monitored in real time – reducing the burden on all parties, and delivering genuine insight into the way our food is grown and processed.”

Graham Davies, Investment Director at Mercia said: “Authenticate’s software is helping food companies to meet the ever-increasing burden of technical compliance. This latest investment will enable the business to further develop its technology platform and accelerate its global growth.”
David Dickson, Chair of Infrastructure and Joint Assets Board for the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership, said: “Investment in this innovative technology brings multiple benefits. Food production is a central driver in our regional economy, this software will not only develop new jobs, it will help to drive transparency and efficiency across the sector, with benefits for suppliers and consumers. It’s great to see industry advancement being driven from within North Yorkshire with potential global impact.”

Raymond Taylor of Solomon Taylor & Shaw provided legal advice to Authenticate while Adrian Ballam of Schofield Sweeney advised the Fund. Stephen Moore of Princelet Partners and Jonathan Davis of Saffery Champness provided fundraising and financial advice to the company.

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

For more information, please contact:
Katy Horrocks
Marketing Director
Mercia Technologies PLC
+44 (0) 330 223 1430
+44 (0) 772 521 8579
katy.horrocks@merciatech.co.uk

Pauline Rawsterne
PR Agent
Turquoise PR
+44 (0) 161 860 6063
+44 (0) 780 163 9816
pauline@turquoisepr.co.uk

About Mercia Fund Managers
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
www.merciatech.co.uk

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 Investmen 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

Pharmaseal closes £1 million seed investment from Mercia Technologies

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.

ENDS

Press contacts

Sally Vernon on behalf of PHARMASEAL

Director

Rock Pigeon Marketing

sally@rockpigeon.co

Katy Horrocks

Marketing Director

Mercia Technologies PLC

+44 (0) 330 223 1430

+44 (0) 772 521 8579

katy.horrocks@merciatech.co.uk

Pauline Rawsterne
PR Agent
Turquoise PR

+44 (0) 161 860 6063
+44 (0) 780 163 9816

pauline@turquoisepr.co.uk

About Mercia Fund Managers

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

www.merciatech.co.uk

About the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF)

· 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

Triumph Road, Nottingham, NG7 2TU, United Kingdom

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).

Rent Chief secures £250k Seed investment from Mercia Technologies

Mortgage duo secure £250k investment for new property platform

A Birmingham company which is developing a new property management platform has secured a £250,000 investment from the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund – managed by Mercia and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund – and a number of private investors.

Rent Chief’s new online platform aims to help property investors, landlords and lettings agents maximise returns and time by automating routine tasks, such as finding new tenants and reliable tradespeople. The platform also provides updates on new sector regulations and sources mortgage and insurance products.

Rent Chief has been launched by serial entrepreneurs Patrick Shuker and Jon Whitmore, the same team behind the TrigoldCrystal mortgage services group which was sold to Avelo in 2012.

The funding will allow the firm to bring its product to market, launch a sales and marketing campaign and create five new jobs. As part of the deal Jon Whitmore, the former CEO of TrigoldCrystal, has been appointed as Non-Executive Chairman of the company.

Patrick Shuker, CEO of Rent Chief, said: “From our work in the property sector and experience as landlords, we recognised that there was a gap in the market for a platform that could bring together all the different aspects of property investment and management. We are looking forward to the launch of Rent Chief and working with our investors as we continue to develop and enhance the product.”

David Baker, Investment Associate with Mercia, said: “Patrick and Jon have a strong track record within the financial services and property sectors and Rent Chief has already attracted interest from a number of early adopters. This investment will allow them to complete the software development and put their plans into action.”

Ken Cooper, MD at the British Business Bank, added: “It is great to see finance from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund being used to bring innovative products to market. With the backing of the team at Mercia, Rent
Chief looks well positioned to roll out its online platform and enter a new stage in its growth journey.”

Pat Hanlon, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership’s (GBSLEP) Board Director for Access to Finance, said: “Helping to support ambitious companies like Rent Chief with their growth plans is key to our local economy. We are pleased to see another start-up bringing its innovative services to the region and contributing to the region’s economic growth.

“We will watch its success with interest, and continue to support businesses with investment to realise their full potential.”

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.

ENDS

For more information, please contact:
Katy Horrocks
Marketing Director
Mercia Technologies PLC
+44 (0) 330 223 1430
+44 (0) 772 521 8579
katy.horrocks@merciatech.co.uk
Pauline Rawsterne
PR Agent
Turquoise PR
+44 (0) 161 860 6063
+44 (0) 780 163 9816
pauline@turquoisepr.co.uk

About Mercia Fund Managers
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
www.merciatech.co.uk

Source: https://static.wixstatic.com/ugd/497d73_5ade9262fdbe49c4b7adc77a12dca7ad.pdf

Intechnica secures £2.85 million investment from Mercia

Intechnica – the Manchester-based technology business – has closed a £2.85million funding round.

The lead investment of £2.0million came from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. An additional £750,000 was invested by Mercia Technologies PLC and £100,000 by existing private investors as part of the funding round.

The funding will help the company to grow its cyber security division, Netacea, in the UK, North America and other international markets, and expand Intechnica’s consultancy services.

Founded in 2006 by Jeremy Gidlow and Andy Still, Intechnica now employs around 80 staff in its two business divisions. Intechnica offers services including digital transformation, technical due diligence for investors or corporate finance advisers, and a new Data Science as a Service (DSaaS) offering, while Netacea protects companies from automated bot threats, such as account takeover, using machine learning to prioritise genuine human traffic. Clients include major retailers such as Hobbs, Ted Baker, Ao.com, Cath Kidston and Nisa. Mercia first invested in Intechnica in 2014.

Will Clark of Mercia Fund Managers said: “Following previous funding rounds from Mercia, Intechnica is now well-positioned for growth. This latest round will support further development of its consultancy work and the launch of its new DSaaS line of business, offering market-leading expertise in this emerging field.”

Alistair Forbes of Mercia Technologies added: “As cyberattacks become automated, companies face a growing threat from robotic traffic attacking their websites, taking over their customers’ accounts and stealing data for fraudulent use. Netacea represents the next generation of protection, using state-of-the-art artificial intelligence techniques to combat these increasingly prevalent and rapidly evolving threats. We believe that Netacea and the team behind it will deliver outstanding success for the business.”

Jeremy Gidlow, CEO of Intechnica said: “Having the financial support and expertise of our investors will help us execute our vision even more rapidly and broadly, and with the benefit of their experience and perspective of high growth technology businesses. We are hugely excited about the journey ahead as we gain momentum and focus on our plans for growth.”

Grant Peggie, Director at British Business Bank, said: “We are pleased that NPIF has continued to support high-growth businesses in the North, providing vital funding to enable job creation and expansion into new markets. This investment demonstrates how this funding can make a real and measurable difference to businesses across the Northern Powerhouse region, which helps create a more prosperous regional economy.”

Deborah McGargle provided legal advice to the company on the investment while Caroline Walker at CMS advised Mercia.

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.

PureClarity raises £750k investment from Mercia

PureClarity – the York-based e-commerce personalisation software platform – has secured a further £750,000 investment from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

The investment is the second within the past year from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance and brings the total amount raised to £1.25m. It will allow the company to enhance its product, speed up implementation times and step up its marketing campaigns, creating eight new jobs.

PureClarity uses artificial intelligence to analyse customers’ behaviour and deliver a personalised customer experience through product recommendations, personalised marketing campaigns, personalisation within search as well as email, helping retailers to boost online revenue. Launched in 2017, the platform was developed by a five-strong team of IT and digital marketing specialists led by CEO Dr Paul Gibson. It is now used by organisations including the Royal British Legion, Norwich City Football Club and bike accessories supplier Zyro Fisher.

Paul Gibson said: “We are extremely excited to receive the next round of funding. Our advanced ecommerce personalisation solution is developing at a fast rate and our clients are experiencing fantastic results with increase in online revenue of 26%. This investment reflects not only the confidence in our company growth but also the unique service we are providing within the Artificial Intelligence field. Our plans to advance our AI platform and extend our marketing reach globally will help facilitate and expedite this success.”

Emma Cross, Investment Executive with Mercia Fund Managers, said: “We have great confidence in the management team of this innovative business which has identified a niche in the ecommerce market. This latest round of funding will enable them to extend their market exposure and scale up the operation both nationally and internationally.”

Grant Peggie, Director at 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 that NPIF is continuing to unlock the North’s growth potential by supporting small growing businesses with vital investment.”

David Dickson, LEP Board Member for the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership, said: “Pure Clarity are an example of an increasing number of businesses that are leading innovation in the digital and creative sector, with positive impact for the City of York and wider region.

“Investments of this type by NPIF will keep our region on the forefront of global advancements in artificial intelligence, bringing opportunity for economic growth locally and drive York and the region’s reputation as a hotbed of technological advancement.”

Walkers Commercial Solicitors advised the company on the investment while CMS advised Mercia.

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.

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.”

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.

Pricing Optimisation Platform BlackCurve raises £1.5 million Series A investment led by Nauta Capital

  • The London-based SaaS pricing optimisation platform helps retailers make smarter pricing decisions
  • BlackCurve will use the investment to accelerate its commercial development, doubling its team, and strengthening its product offering
  • Nauta Capital, a pan-European VC focused on capital-efficient software companies, leads the round.

We are proud to announced the closing of a £1.5 million funding round, led by Pan-European VC Nauta Capital.

Founded in 2016, we are a pricing optimisation platform helps retailers manage and optimise the price of every item they sell to achieve their business goals. Our platform, powered by Artificial Intelligence, ingests data sources ranging from sales history and website page performance, right through to competitor pricing and stock levels, enabling every retailer to create smart pricing rules for their specific business.

We serve mid to large multichannel retailers across industries such as sporting equipment, DIY, garden & outdoor, kitchen & home goods, consumer electronics & photography, pet supplies, stationery, automotive parts, toys & games, beauty & healthcare.

Currently, our pricing platform optimises the prices of over 1 million products and executes over 15 million price changes per month.  This allows retailers to achieve profit margin growth and save both time and resources.

Philip Huthwaite, Founder and CEO of BlackCurve, had this to say about the investment:

“We’re delighted to announce that Nauta has invested into BlackCurve. Their track record speaks for itself, and their advice and support to date has been excellent. We look forward to partnering together on this exciting chapter of our journey. With our existing investor, Mercia, following on too, it is a further proof point of the potential for us to shake up the price optimisation software market and help more retailers optimise their prices.”

Leading the investment, Carles Ferrer, Nauta Capital’s London-based General Partner will be joining BlackCurve’s board and will support the company’s growth plans. Commenting on the investment, Carles said:

“For Nauta, being able to partner with BlackCurve and their highly knowledgeable founding team was an opportunity we could not pass. While exploring different pricing strategies is a key concept in most businesses, the process in which this is achieved has largely remained manual and inefficient, hardly keeping up with the changing pace of technology, but BlackCurve’s innovative solution changes this. There is also a great synergy between our existing portfolio and BlackCurve, and we look forward to working with Philip and the rest of the team in scaling BlackCurve globally.”

The round is supported by Mercia Fund Managers, a United Kingdom-based technology investment firm. Chris Kilroy, Investment Manager at Mercia Fund Managers, said the following about the investment round:

“BlackCurve has continued to make excellent progress since we led the company’s seed round in February 2018. Philip and Charles have done a fantastic job assembling a world-class team in 2018 and we’re looking forward to working with and supporting the company alongside Nauta Capital throughout 2019 and beyond.”

About BlackCurve

BlackCurve is a Pricing Optimisation Platform, that blends the flexibility of a rules-based engine with the power of artificial intelligence. The platform helps retailers manage and optimise the price of every item they sell to achieve their business goals. BlackCurve is headquartered in London, and has raised approximately £2 million of external investment to date. www.blackcurve.com.

About Nauta Capital

Nauta Capital is a pan-European Venture Capital firm investing in early-stage technology companies, with offices in London, Barcelona and Munich. Nauta’s main areas of investment interests include B2B software propositions, disruptive digital media companies, and enabling technologies for mobile and the Internet. Nauta has $300+ million under management and invests in Western Europe. Nauta has led investments in 30+ companies including Brandwatch, CloudIQ, Nextail, Mercaux, Marfeel, MishiPay, ForceManager, Scytl, Getapp, BeMyEye, Geoblink, Smarp, Aba English, Fizzback, Privalia and Social Point. www.nautacapital.com.

About Mercia Fund Managers

Mercia Fund Managers provide both equity and debt finance to small businesses based in the UK regions. The Group has more than 400 businesses in its portfolio, a strong record including 11 IPOs and manages circa £400.0million of third-party funds, including Mercia EIS Funds. www.merciatech.co.uk.

Force24 secures £250,000 debt finance from Mercia

A Leeds-based tech firm which has developed one of the UK’s leading marketing automation platforms has secured a £250,000 loan from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

The funding will support the ongoing development of Force24’s platform and allow it to introduce new features to further improve efficiencies and clients’ return on investment.

Established in 2010 by Adam Oldfield and Nick Washbourne, Force24 now has over 2,000 users and a 97% client retention rate. The company, which employs around 50 people in Leeds, plans to achieve significant growth over the next five years.

Adam Oldfield, Force24’s Managing Director, said: “In an ever evolving marketing landscape, it’s imperative a platform provider like Force24 is in tune with the industry’s needs. We commit to offer our clients free training and support for life, and the unique insights we gain help us understand how we can further support the market. Mercia understands our ambitions clearly and we look forward to working with them and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund in the years to come, as our funding requirements evolve.”

Jonathan Craig, Investment Manager at Mercia Fund Managers, added: “Force24 consistently invest in their product offering to ensure they keep ahead of the competition and deliver return on investment for clients. The funding will allow the management team to continue product development and drive the business forward.”

Mark Wilcockson, Senior Manager at British Business Bank, said: “Historically, funding options for businesses in the North have been scarce, which has stifled growth and innovation in the region. NPIF is making real strides in reducing the regional funding gap between the North and the South, providing a variety of finance solutions that help businesses in the North realise their growth ambitions.”

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.