Risk Warning: Investing in early stage businesses can mean loss of investment, dilution and illiquidity. The Start-Up Series Fund is exclusively for sophisticated investors who understand these risks. Please click here to read the full risk warning.

What we do

We have very deliberately designed an innovative approach to EIS & SEIS funding – running competitions to unearth smart entrepreneurs with bright ideas. We provide investors with a diversified portfolio, and help to mitigate the risks inherent within early stage investing. We work with brands and media partners to gain cut-through in a frenzied entrepreneurial space.



Thousands of UK start-ups engage with our competitions every year and a select few are chosen for life changing investment. They receive the kudos of winning a huge competition, publicity and support to accelerate and grow their business.



Investors can participate in a highly tax efficient Fund and access a ‘mini-portfolio’ of expertly chosen early stage business each with an innovative service or product. The model is designed to ‘stack the odds’ of seed investing.

Media Partners

A media partner commits to coverage to promote our business competitions and follow the progress of the winning businesses. They get to be heard as the strongest media voice supporting UK entrepreneurs with real tangible funding help.



Established businesses partner with us to gain cut through in the frenzy of brands trying to talk to UK start-ups. Partnership opportunities vary from direct referral schemes to stimulate your new business pipeline through to sponsorship of our competitions.


The quality of advice a founding team receives makes a huge difference to the success of any start-up. Worth Capital’s belief is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for accelerating business growth. The help needs to be tailored to the experience, knowledge & personality of the entrepreneur and the strategic & market context of the business.

Our Team

Our founders have worked together for over 20 years since meeting at university. Having founded, developed, sold and invested in successful start-ups themselves, they understand what’s required to build a great business from the ground up.

Matthew Cushen Worth Capital



During my career I’ve been fortunate to work with, learn from and help the leadership teams of some of the largest businesses in the world. I grew up in retail – including senior roles in Kingfisher and John Lewis Department Stores. Most recently I’ve been a Director of ?What If!, the global innovation consultancy, helping the leadership teams of some of the most recognisable companies across the globe including IKEA, Waitrose, AB Inbev and Tesco.

Insight gained from helping the worlds largest businesses has led to my belief that the commercial tide has shifted and it is start-ups that have the most potential to challenge the normal rules of business, create new consumer behaviours and to create brands that are truly loved.

My empathy with the world of entrepreneurs comes from establishing, and then selling, a retail business and from making several angel investments. I’ve had one very profitable large exit and am sitting on investments in a dozen growing businesses.

Paul Soanes Worth Capital



To be successful, an entrepreneur doesn’t always need a great idea, but they will always need a great (and detailed) plan. Success will mostly come from two things. Firstly, the relentless discipline of reviewing and measuring progress against the plan. Secondly, employing a team who can deliver the many small actions to fulfil the bigger plan. Stirring in the other magic ingredients of natural flair, creativity and passion, and the entrepreneur will likely taste success.

I’ve always enjoyed taking pretty big calculated risks, so co-founding iD (a leading experiential marketing agency) straight out of university felt like a natural thing to do. Over the last twenty years, the success of iD has enabled me to have many other adventures in business. These have included creating a disruptive media business called Brandspace, which we built from scratch and sold to private equity in the space of just 5 years. I am also an active startup investor and have backed over 30 businesses across the media, medical and FMCG sectors

Hayley Etherington Worth Capital


Business Operations Director

Over the last 15 years my career has allowed me to work in various operational management & relationship development roles for numerous international brands & media partners.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Worth Capital founders for over 13 years and was asked to join the business in 2014 to develop the Facebook relationship, which led to the successful delivery of the Big App Fund. I am now responsible for the strategic delivery of the Start-Up Series competition, a process which unearths some of the most prosperous new start-ups in the UK.

It’s a delight to work with such talented entrepreneurs who become the lifeblood of our business after winning investment via our competitions. I look forward to working with many more over the coming years with anticipation and excitement.

Spreading the word

We have made strong returns, had fun and learnt loads from investing in start-up businesses. We are grateful to have benefited hugely from both the tax reliefs given by the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). Unfortunately these schemes and the reliefs are not widely or well understood. So we are always happy to take any opportunity to spread the word.

Successive governments, both Tory and Labour, have recognised start-ups and scale-ups are becoming more of the driving force of innovation and with it our UK economic growth. Therefore the Enterprise Investment Scheme was launched in 1994, and progressively strengthened before being followed by the even more generous Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme in 2012. The Treasury and HMRC has consistently found that the tax reliefs they make available to investors are important ways of encouraging investment in high growth businesses and generate jobs and tax receipts far beyond the reliefs given.

Unfortunately these schemes and the reliefs are not widely or well understood. We have been fortunate to make good use of EIS & SEIS and have made good returns. We get a kick out of backing businesses that now collectively employ hundreds of people. So we are more than happy to support the EIS Association. We also contribute to ECF.Buzz, the sequel to Rob Murray Brown’s well-read Fantasy Equity Crowdfunding blog. We are supporters of Equity Crowdfunding in principle. However, like Rob, we would like to see more transparency, objectivity, independent data and oversight for potential and existing investors.

We are always pleased to talk to investors, advisers and entrepreneurs about either scheme – regardless whether you are interested in our Fund or competition series. Please just get in touch.

EISA Entreprise Investment scheme Association

A helping hand

We’ve teamed up with a number of businesses who work alongside us in the start-up community. Together we’re able provide valuable services to our competition entrants. Here’s a few of the partners we work with. If you’d like to discuss a partnership, please contact us.

Haines Watts logo

Haines Watts

Haines Watts have developed a range of services to cover many of the challenges you’ll meet, from business planning, business growth support to acting as your sounding board. They are on your doorstep when you need them as a business start-up – and they’re big enough to support you as you expand.

Swoop tile


Swoop simplifies and speeds-up access to loans, grants and equity funding for young businesses. Through a combination of their funding experience, their matching technology and their 1000+ providers, they can assess your needs quickly and match you to the right funding solution.

365 business

365 Business Finance 

365 Business Finance is a direct lender, providing business cash advances from £5k to £200k to small and medium-sized businesses. Our friendly team of award winning experts will guide you through the process and can provide funding in as little as 48 hours. Criteria applies.


If you’ve already entered one of our competition series, you can access our range of partner offers here.


Out thoughts on entrepreneurship, seed investing and start-ups.


Our competition approach has unearthed and funded some of the brightest entrepreneurs in the UK.

A varied range of women’s shoes designed for style and comfort - ‘beautiful shoes for busy feet’ – with a patented Tender Loving Air® comfort insole technology.
An online approval and payment service to help tweens & teens shop & subscribe online, whilst Mum & Dad maintain control.
Alcohol-free wines, beers and a cider that taste great, are low sugar, low calorie and that keep the feel-good experience and rituals.
An online curated marketplace with a singular focus on sleep and the whole sleep experience, including advice from a team of leading sleep experts and professionals.
A direct to consumer retailer of their own ethically produced, high quality bedding. Also selling wholesale to hotels, guest houses, holiday rental owners & interior designers.