While many of us were busy flipping pancakes and sending (receiving?) valentines cards, February has been a funny old month for equity investment news. Regular readers will no doubt anticipate my usual breakdown of disclosed and undisclosed investment headlines from across the South West and West of England. However, this month things will look a little different, as the data dictates.

Our data partner Beauhurst tells us that February saw almost £4.5m raised across the South West, including two sums of £1m+. But unusually, that figure only includes verified amounts for eight of the thirteen companies that closed investment in the last 28 days so the real total will no doubt be significantly higher.

So, what else is different about February?

First, the majority of those companies that have announced their fundraisings haven’t announced the amount that they have secured. There were 13 companies that raised funding successfully this month, eight in the West of England and another 5 in the wider South West. Of those, only five have been reported by the media.  

Second, three of the thirteen companies that successfully closed funding rounds in February are firmly in the (notoriously less often funded) Creative sector. 

  • Uplands Television (the indie set up by David Olusoga and Mike Smith) has welcomed Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund as a minority stakeholder. Read more about this great news for history programme lovers here.
  • BBC Maestro (UK-based edtech video led e-learning platform) is the second creative industries representative in the list - they received funding in a round led by Downing Ventures. The round, reportedly £2.05m, will be used to expand marketing efforts and accelerate talent acquisition and production while also transitioning the service to a subscription all-access pass later this year. Read more here.
  • Outpost VFX (a Bournemouth-headquartered film and TV visual effects company) secured a multi-million pound investment from funds managed by YFM Equity Partners. The funding will enable it to develop its infrastructure, company culture and proprietary platforms, as well as providing a solid base for further international growth across its four international locations. Read more here.

The last two investments this month that have been covered in the media are for products that feel particularly fitting in this lockdown life of ours - biscuits and track and trace for tools!

  • Warburtons made their first corporate venture through ‘Batch Ventures’ into the Dorset-based biscuit company The Artful Baker (a sub-range from the Great British Biscotti Co.) 
  • Sentry SL, a Gloucester-based company closed an angel investment round to support the development of their tracking technology that can be retrofitted so that tools can be more easily recovered if stolen

And I can’t write an article about investment in the South West without mentioning the shiny new website that we have launched this month. The website has been developed by TechSPARK as part of the Investment Activator Programme and is intended to provide support to investors and founders across the region - and to hopefully accelerate the deployment of capital to great companies here! My favourite page is the South West Investment Overview - a one page introduction to all things South West and Investment.

This article is written as part of the Investment Activator Programme (IAP) in the West of England. This programme is run by TechSPARK and is kindly sponsored by TLT LLP, delaware, West of England Combined Authority, UWE, Sanderson, Engine Shed and Rocketmakers. Find out more about the IAP.

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