Digital music mag publisher wins notes worth £175k from UKTI
A Norwich company that produces an online magazine for electronic music fans worldwide has secured £175,000 funding thanks to an initiative from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) that introduces digital media companies to potential investors.
Electronic Sound, founded in 2013 by Mark Wernham and Christopher Dawes, contacted UKTI last year after hearing about its Converge International Digital Forum (CIDFo) event, which is based in Norwich and aims to stimulate regional business growth in the digital media sector.
The company was about to launch the fourth issue of its magazine but needed additional finance to take it to the next stage of development.
“CIDFo has been running for six years and is essentially a pitching and showcasing event for businesses in the East of England and beyond,” explains UKTI international trade adviser John Marshall.
“In slots of 14 minutes - half presentation, half discussion - content is pitched and technology showcased to a Round Table of investors, commissioning editors and other funders.”
Around 20 companies are invited to take part in each event, which takes place annually. In October 2013 Electronic Sound successfully delivered a pitch to would-be investors, including the Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF). Participating companies have since raised around £0.5 million in funding.
“Within a few weeks we’d received interest from two different investors: Low Carbon Innovation Fund operated by the Adapt Group at UEA and a private investment firm,” said Wernham. “This enabled us to step up our international marketing efforts.”
UKTI support didn’t end following Electronic Sound’s successful pitch at CIDFo. “The role of UKTI is to identify and engage with companies along the road to achieving their full growth potential,” said Marshall.
“Following CIDFo, I recommended that Mark attend our one-day High Growth Start-up Workshop in Norwich. The workshop is free and very intense and aimed at businesses that have the potential to grow quickly and expand internationally.
“The workshops focus on investment readiness, company development and international marketing. They provide knowledge, skills and strategy support to help companies fulfil their potential.
“The course is open to all sectors including ICT, life sciences, high-end engineering, media and digital production companies. The only real requirement is high growth potential and scope for international sales.”
Mark Wernham added: “As music journalists we are essentially creative people, not entrepreneurs so the course really helped us gain valuable business skills. It was fascinating - in particular learning about the nature of investment, how it works and all about tax breaks.”
Since attending the workshop in February the company has taken the next step towards international expansion, by signing up to the UKTI Passport to Export scheme, a 12-month support programme that provides new or inexperienced exporters with guidance and support to grow their business overseas - including help with market research and, potentially, matched funding for trips and tradeshow opportunities.
“We’re planning to capitalise on the US market and other English-speaking territories as well as expand into the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Germany,” says Wernham.
“UKTI provides companies with a ready-made pathway for exporting. Without John’s support and enthusiasm we wouldn’t have had the confidence to take our business to the next level.”
To find out more about UK Trade and Investment services in the East of England contact your local International Trade team: Tel: 0845 641 9955; Email: info [at] uktieast.org.uk or visit the website at www.ukti.gov.uk