Below, we’ve asked leading investment experts – Andy Round, Director of Praetura Ventures and Francesca Dickinson, Investment Manager at Foresight Group, to share the fundamentals for securing vital Series A funding.
So what exactly is Series A funding?
“It’s just investor-speak for the first round of funding undertaken by a new business after they’ve received more like seed funding,” said Andy. “It’s about commercialisation of the business concept rather than the idea or innovation itself.”
“At Series A stage, investors are tuned into the business strategy and its potential for long-term profit,” added Francesca. “It’s all about sustainable competitive advantage and a clear vision for growth.”
And who’s is eligible?
“Most businesses which have developed an established user base and product offering will be of interest,” said Andy. “We look for companies where we can actively support and add value to the founders, through our experience, networks and resources.”
“We typically invest in companies across the £2 million to £20 million revenue mark, although we can go earlier with our seed or tech venture funds, said Francesca. “It’s about the strength of the management team and their business plan.”
What have you noticed in the market place?
“Unprecedented levels of cash are available – there has been a strong resurgence in the market,” said Francesca. “What investment firms are seeking to do primarily is choose the right partner where they can see the potential for good long-term relationships.”
“The market has never been busier – especially in tech-related businesses and in the healthcare and education sectors,” said Andy. “But there are opportunities across a much wider spectrum. We’re also seeing the steady return of high-net-worth individuals looking to make investments; something which had slowed down during the height of the pandemic.”
How has the COVID crisis impacted on fundraising in your experience?
“Many businesses innovated and adapted through the pandemic, particularly in digital and MedTech,” said Francesca. “They continue to attract strong investor interest.”
Andy agreed and added: “Leeds City Region has weathered the storm of the last 12 to 16 months well and continues to be at the forefront of innovation-led start-ups and scalable early-stage businesses, which appeal to the market.”
What sectors do you provide funding for and what is the scale for investment?
“We’re sector agnostic,” said Francesca. “The key for us is to see clear and sustainable competitive advantage in the business. Currently we have funds ranging from £250k to £10m invested in a wide range of businesses across the UK.”
“Our focus is very much on the cultural fit of the business, rather than the sector it operates in,” added Andy. “We invest in ambitious early-stage companies and currently work with business owners across a whole spectrum of product and service delivery including in health and life sciences, energy and the environment, digital, creative, financial, professional and business services.”
Are there opportunities for business owners seeking investment in the future?
“There is a strong appetite for new deals,” said Andy. “The key for business owners is to pitch their business in the right way and to the right people. I’ll be sharing our team’s experience and expertise in how best to make those matches and how to tap into the networks and resources available to help them to grow and succeed.”
Francesca added: “We definitely see huge potential for future investment in companies with a strong business strategy and sustainable margins. I hope business owners who register for this event will find our guidance on the types of funds available and tips on the best way to prepare the necessary documentation and approach would-be investors, of interest and value as they plan for this vital round of fundraising.”