We’ve teamed up with startups.co.uk, the go-to online platform for entrepreneurs seeking advice for their new business, attracting almost 400k monthly users.
Together, we run the Start-Up Series – the UK’s largest seed funding competition.
The Series is aimed at consumer start-ups: Creating new products & services to buy and the ways that we buy them. The focus is on real products and services, in the consumer space where strong brands can be grown. ‘Tech’ is not being targeted specifically, although technology based disruptions to the target sectors are expected and encouraged as long as they are rooted in consumer insight.
The competition process includes six weeks of distillation and comprehensive commercial due diligence. From an average 85 entrants per month, we filter down to one very worthy winner. This includes plenty of time face to face, to really get to know the team and the business model. A fair valuation is agreed, set to reflect the relative maturity of the business and the requirement for funds.
Experienced Fund Managers Amersham Investment Management then conduct thorough technical due diligence. If investment approval is then granted, the winner receives a seed equity investment up to £150,000.
Along with the investment, winners are contracted to the help and advice of an experienced Investor Director for a minimum of 24 months. Formal bi-monthly board meetings monitor progress and look after the interests of investors. Alongside these is rich informal advice for the entrepreneurs to help them spot risks, exploit opportunities and build momentum.
Each winner is given the kudos and publicity of winning this high profile competition series – helpful in attracting customers, new team members and when raising further funding. Their progress is followed through regular news features on startups.co.uk, allowing readers to follow their journey.
I like the structure of the competitions especially when the winners are judged on their skill and those in judgement are experienced entrepreneurs who themselves have built successful businesses. This approach that looks at both the founders and their management skills along with stress testing the propositions and strategies gave me confidence to invest in the Fund.
Having competed with one of Paul’s businesses for 15 years, I’ve now backed him as an investor as I believe the Start-Up Series is an astute way to find high quality investments. The first businesses backed by the Fund would seem to confirm this.
SEIS offers great tax reliefs, but finding the right deals can be extremely time consuming. The Worth Capital formula is a smart approach to putting together a good portfolio of qualifying deals. Having known and worked with Matthew since 2009, I've been happy to commit to both tranches of the Fund, and look forward to learning the results of my investment.
You will always know which businesses you have invested in – and can join the excitement of watching them progress. Occasionally you will know the businesses before committing to invest in the Fund, but other times you may need to trust our judgement and that of our Fund Manager, Amersham Investment Management. This is because the SEIS Fund is invested in tranches, so each investor receives an investment usually spread across three to six businesses. We make the commercial recommendation for which businesses the Fund invests in but the decision to do so or not rests with the Fund Manager. Some businesses are decided early, some later. Sometimes the funding tranche is filled quickly, so you will need to commit to the Fund before all the investments are known.
We co-ordinate the entrepreneurs reporting formally each 05 April and 05 October. There may also be additional updates in between – for example, should there be some great news that just can’t wait, or should the entrepreneur think the investor network might be able to help them.
Yes. The timing of your reliefs are dependent on the date the Fund Manager makes the investment and the provision to you of your SEIS3 certificate, for which we ensure the investee companies make timely application to HMRC. We always make clear the intended qualifying tax year for each tranche. Therefore you can plan either to use the reliefs in the current tax year or be able to carry them back (should you have the available allowance) to the previous tax year.
An investor can take the benefits of SEIS reliefs up to £100,000 per year of investment. However, because of the carry back option that the SEIS scheme provides, an investor can invest £200,000 at once, providing that no SEIS investments were made in the previous year. Additionally, the limit and reliefs are independent for spouses.
For investors, there is an annual commercial advisory, reporting & accounting fee of 1.5% of the investment made. This is rolled up until the point of some liquidity being generated into the Fund, either from an exit or from dividends. There are various fees for the investee companies to pay – please see details on page 52 of the Information Memorandum.
The minimum investment in the Start-Up Series SEIS Fund One is £10,000.
Your shares will be held for your beneficial interest in a nominee account by Woodside Corporate Services. No share certificates are issued directly to investors in the Fund. You will receive details of your beneficial holdings and their value in your six-monthly reports.