Envestors secures the SidebySide EIS Fund as its strategic investment partner to achieve its mission of creating a connected marketplace for the UK’s early stage investment market
Envestors has announced it has secured £2m in funding to grow its digital marketplace for start-up investment, The marketplace, powered by Envestors’ white-label investment platform Envestry, facilitates the investment process for all parties, making it easier for start-ups to raise investment and for investors to build diverse portfolios.
Partnering with networks, accelerators and incubators, Envestors provides a branded site where they can engage investors, promote deals and uniquely connect to other networks.
The Envestry platform already has a number of customers including: SetSquared, the number one global incubator, a collaboration between the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey; Bristol-based network Plerith; soon-to-launch OBN Ventures, the life sciences membership organisation; and Prospedia Capital who focus on advanced automotive technologies.
This new investment will be used to:
- Grow the network of partners using Envestry, including accelerators, incubators, universities, angel networks and larger enterprise clients.
- Enhance the platform, building on ‘smart matching’ functionality
- Develop Envestors’ investment readiness services, to help start-ups increase their chances of raising capital
Currently the investment space is fragmented, with lots of different organisations involved in matching start-ups with investment. They are all doing a great job, but they are disconnected, each having to reinvent its own wheel, and each serving a niche based on region, sector, stage or affiliation (e.g. universities, membership bodies, events companies).
This means start-ups have to do a lot of leg work to get in front of investors and investors themselves typically have to join half a dozen networks to get access to enough investment opportunities to build their portfolio.
“There is no one place to go to find investment or to find investment opportunities – and there needs to be. With a single, central place, we can help start-ups thrive and investors get access to the best deals.” says Oliver Woolley, CEO of Envestors.
“The industry has also been slow to adopt digital, with many feeling that face-to-face meetings and pitching events are the best way forward. But behaviours have shifted in the last ten years to the point where that argument doesn’t hold water. All purchasing decisions, whether you’re buying a pair of jeans, a new car or building your investment portfolio, start online with browsing and initial research.”
Envestors aims to solve these challenges bycreating the single marketplace for start-up investment in the UK.
By using its proven software platform, Envestry, to connect the industry, Envestors will empower all the organisations involved in arranging investment, as well as the entrepreneurs and investors themselves.
“Our approach is unique in that we aim to connect up existing players, who play a fundamental role in matching start-ups and investors, rather than trying to replace them.” Explains Woolley.
The Envestry digital platform facilitates investment through: investor self-certification; deal browsing/searching/tracking (think following); due diligence online; portfolio management from a single place; deal promotion; analytics to see how many investors are engaging with your deal; and providing FCA cover.
According to Woolley, “In-built FCA compliance is a core feature to our platform. Many players in this space are unaware that arranging deals is a regulated activity and that they are breaking the law every time they hold a pitch event.”
However, the most exciting feature – the game changer – is deal sharing. Closed networks can have their own platform that they control. They can then opt to share certain deals, and not others, with other networks. For example, a clean tech network in Scotland may decide to showcase a green deal from a female founder network in Bristol. This way early stage companies reach a wider pool of investors, and investors have a greater choice of deals.
“SidebySide’s ethos, as our name implies, is to invest in companies and provide strategic input to help them grow. This is a new fund and Envestors is one of our first investments. We’ve known Envestors for a number of years and are equally as passionate about creating a single marketplace for early stage companies and investors. It’s precisely what the industry needs. Envestors has already proven itself on a small scale. I look forward to seeing them do much more on a much bigger scale,” says John Bailye, Managing Director, the SidebySide Partnership
“Without platforms such as Envestors we would not have been able to the raise the £15m required to expand our business. The 51 private investors who invested under the EIS through Envestors shared a profit of £48m when we sold the company to BP – proof the model works,” says David Martell, Founder of Chargemaster.
Roderick Beer, Managing Director of the UK Business Angel Association (UKBAA) said, “connecting the angel ecosystem is one of our primary goals as an organisation and we’re fully supportive of Envestors, who are a long-standing member, in bringing together regional and sector specific angel communities.