Essex angels wing in to fund technology startups
A new business angels network has been launched by Essex University to provide cash and mentor support to promising technology startups while helping to grow the regional economy.
The [email protected] investment platform is designed to back entrepreneurs with innovative, market-disrupting ideas by giving them access to a network of investors.
Companies already on the platform, created in partnership with sector specialist Delio, include AI-powered song search platform MyPart; secure data storage innovator Anzen Technology; immersive B2B learning platform BODYSWAPS®; and mobile ordering software developer Wi-Q.
The [email protected] team is particularly interested in projects from the creative digital sector or integrating augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
Potential investors can contact the team to join the network of investors on its platform so they can view and support the latest opportunities.
Business support manager John Stenhouse, who is leading the [email protected] project, said: “At this challenging time it is still important to look to the future, to identify and back the potential technologies, products and services which will transform our lives, disrupt markets and unlock new business opportunities.
“New ideas will play an important part in rebuilding our economy and [email protected] will nurture those ideas. We hope these ideas will also help create a more sustainable future which is better for the economy as a whole.”
Essex was awarded University Enterprise Zone (UEZ) status by Research England and [email protected] is one of the key UEZ initiatives developed to drive forward business in the region.
Other UEZ projects, based at the Innovation Centre at the Knowledge Gateway research and technology park include the Space to Grow programme which provides in-depth support and training for entrepreneurs in the creative digital sector.
[email protected] is now inviting entrepreneurs to submit opportunities for investment onto its Financial Conduct Authority regulated platform, which will then allow investors to review them.
Four opportunities have already been added to the platform and [email protected] is aiming to on-board 10 in total by the summer.
The network of potential investors being created by [email protected] will include high net worth individuals, professional investors and syndicates who can access the platform to review existing and future opportunities. Help and support can also be provided to those new to investing in seed ventures.
[email protected] is also responding to new market conditions and investment trends caused by COVID-19.
Stenhouse said: “The UK’s investor community is having to improve its co-investing activity which lends itself to platforms such as [email protected], which allow co-investment to take place more easily.
“We can see an emerging trend which suggests investors are now adopting longer term thinking, a sense of realism in valuations and paring back their expectations. Investors are also very attracted by the direct to consumer digital marketplaces.”
Access to the platform for entrepreneurs and investors is by invitation only. Entrepreneurs can request to join the platform by emailing uez [at] essex.ac.uk. Investors can also find out more by emailing the team or visit the sign-up page.