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2 March, 2022 - 22:04 By Tony Quested

Sure Valley Ventures plants £95m seed cash to grow more DeepTech winners

The Cambridge DeepTech cluster is proving an ideal launchpad to UK scale-up for seed capital champion Sure Valley Ventures which is using its success locally and in London to push North as well.

Sure Valley has unveiled the £85 million first close of a new £95m UK Software Venture Capital Fund with £50m investment from the British Business Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds programme.

The firm was an early investor – alongside Japanese and other world investment influencers – in VividQ, a Cambridge-based company powering a display revolution with computer-generated holography.

Having put down roots in Cambridge and London, Sure Valley Ventures plans to open a Manchester office to serve as a North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland hub. It will target opportunities in cities such as Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle as well as in Scotland and Northern Ireland; the first investment from the new fund will be into a Belfast business.

Sure Valley Ventures invests in high growth software companies focused on bringing disruptive innovation to market in sectors such as the metaverse, Artificial Intelligence and cybersecurity. It plans to invest in 25 software companies from across the UK through its new fund. 

Managing partner and co-founder Barry Downes said: “We are excited to expand on our existing London and Cambridge hubs by opening a new office in Manchester. 

“Many cities, including Manchester, as well as Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle, have become dynamic tech hubs for startups. As entrepreneurs and founders ourselves, we have been on the other end of the table and therefore understand the challenges that star-ups face for funding. 

“A local presence will ideally position us to execute on exciting deals in this region and we are always willing to travel across the UK to meet exceptional leaders, to invest in their businesses and help them scale and grow in international markets.”

Minister for Investment, Lord Gerry Grimstone, said: “The AI and immersive tech sectors are major British success stories and investments like those intended by Sure Valley Ventures ensures that early stage companies in the northern regions can access the funding necessary to help them compete at the forefront of global innovation.

“It’s fantastic to see this investment into the North of England which demonstrates the UK’s investment attractiveness as we continue to level up all parts of the nation.”

The sectors that Sure Valley Ventures invest in have significant growth potential over the next few years; for example Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are predicting that the Metaverse could be an $8 trillion opportunity. In addition, the cybersecurity market is due to grow to $203 billion by 2027 according to Market Watch. 

Sure Valley has established a strong track record in these sectors, having backed them since the firm’s inception in 2017 through investee companies including Getvisibility, Smarttech, Nova Leah and Precog Systems in the security space, Engage XR, War Ducks, Admix, Volograms, VividQ and Virtex in the metaverse sector and Cameramatics, Artomatix and Ambisense in the AI sector.

Alongside the equity invested, Sure Valley supports entrepreneurs via its value-adding Platform, which draws on the team’s knowledge and experience as founders to create a programme which is tailored to each investee company’s individual needs. 

Sure Valley’s platform also features a global network of advisers based in leading innovation hubs across the globe, including San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York, LA, Austin and Seattle in the US as well as leading European and Asian hubs.

Sure Valley has had success helping its investee companies grow and scale from Seed to Series A and beyond with 93 per cent of its portfolio companies raising follow-on Series A or B rounds within 24 months of the initial seed investment. 

This is a notable result, considering that on average 48 per cent of companies fail to raise a follow-on investment round at all, according to CBInsights. 

In addition, many of Sure Valley’s current portfolio have gone on to further successes, including to IPO, e.g. Engage XR – a leading corporate metaverse company and Smarttech 247 – an AI-based cybersecurity company that plans to IPO in Q2 2022.

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