A pioneering approach to seed investment

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.

AN AWARD WINNING FUND

The Start-Up Series Fund enables investors to hold equity in a number of businesses, usually winners of the Start-Up Series competition. All the investments are SEIS & EIS compliant. The Fund is managed by Amersham Investment Management Ltd, who are authorised and regulated by the FCA, FRN 507460.

2,602

START-UP APPLICANTS

86

FINALISTS

20

BUSINESSES FUNDED

£4,154,336

TOTAL FUNDS INVESTED

  • SOURCING AMBITIOUS START-UPS

    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 promoted across the UK, so attracting entrants from well beyond the ‘old boys’ network and London-centric investment bubble. The competition is a format that is very accessible for all sorts of entrepreneurs, it is easy to enter but hard to win.

    The Series targets consumer and B2B products and services start-ups, where habitual use can be built and therefore building a loved brand and increasing exit value. ‘Tech’ is not targeted specifically, although technology solutions rooted in consumer insight that helps a business model be competitive or improves a customer’s experience are attractive.

  • A RIGOROUS DISTILLATION FORMAT

    The competition process includes six weeks of distillation and comprehensive commercial due diligence. From an average 95 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 £250,000.

  • REMOVING BIAS FROM INVESTING

    Do we really believe that women, as 50% of the population somehow only have 9% of valuable propositions? Or that regions outside of London are so less capable of surfacing fast growth businesses? Or a BAME founder has less of the tenacity & resilience that are pre-requisites for a being a successful entrepreneur?

    The investment industry has a poor record around diversity & inclusion. This is bad for our society but also means investors are leaving money on the table by letting bias get in the way of accessing and appreciate opportunities with the best potential.

    We have deliberately designed an approach to deal flow and distillation to remove inherent bias and improve performance. Visit our diversity & inclusion page to see more about our performance versus industry benchmarks and the actions we are taking to further improve.

  • MAXIMISING POTENTIAL

    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. But more important than the formal board meeting is the rich advice from experienced entrepreneurs that helps the start-ups to 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.

What is SEIS & EIS?

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) & Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) have been supported by successive governments to encourage investment in small, high-growth businesses. An array of tax reliefs have been designed to reduce risk and increase return on investment.

Personal Income Tax

50% of the investment is reclaimed from income tax owing or paid in the previous or current year.

Capital Gains Tax

50% reinvestment relief directly reduce a CGT bill by half, usually worth 10% of the investment.

Inheritance Tax

100% exempt, provided investments are held in a qualifying business for two years before passing on.

Capital Gains

All profit on the investment 100% exempt from capital gains tax after being held for three years.

Company Loss Relief

If a company fails, the net investment (total less reliefs already claimed) reduces income tax further.

Personal Income Tax

30% of the investment is reclaimed from income tax owing or paid in the previous or current year.

Capital Gains Tax

100% deferral of CGT liability on gains up to the value of the investment, for the life of the investment.

Inheritance Tax

100% exempt, provided investments are held in a qualifying business for two years before passing on.

Capital Gains

All profit on the investment 100% exempt from capital gains tax after being held for three years.

Company Loss Relief

If a company fails, the net investment (total less reliefs already claimed) reduces income tax further.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We’re not authorised to give either investment or tax advice to investors. The suitability of making an investment in the Fund should be discussed and agreed to by an authorised financial adviser. But there are some common questions from investors which we’ve answered here.

  • How diversified will my investments be?

    The Fund is not focused on any particularly sectors and covers both consumer and B2B businesses. It is not focused on technology and so avoids the hype (and crash) for or against the technologies or tech sectors. The common threads for companies supported by the Fund are in under-served and/or growth markets; innovation; the ability to create habitual consumption and therefore to build loved brands (which is important to maximise exit value for investors). Therefore the investments do end up highly diversified across sectors. In addition, it is always Worth Capital and the Fund Manger’s intention to create diversification within each tranche of investment across consumer & B2B and to some extent between different maturity of SEIS or EIS businesses (within the confines of HMRC’s parameters for SEIS & EIS).

  • Will I know which businesses I’m investing in?

    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 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.

  • What is your record on diversity & inclusion?

    Since 2019 38% of our funding has gone to businesses with female founders (versus 9% benchmark), 19% to businesses with a BAME founder (no benchmark) and 81% to businesses outside the London funding bubble (versus 27% benchmark). Visit our diversity page expanding on this performance, explaining why we believe it drives superior returns and the actions we are taking to further improve.

  • How often and how will I hear about the progress of my investments?

    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.

  • Can I be certain which year my tax reliefs will fall into?

    Yes. The timing of your reliefs are dependent on the date the Fund Manager makes the investment and the Fund ensures these are made in the tax year expected. 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. Indeed we make regular investments during the year (we aim for 3 SEIS and 3 EIS tranches of investment each year) so your cash should be put to work quickly.

  • How quickly will I be able to claim my tax reliefs?

    To claim your income tax relief you will need your SEIS3 or EIS3 certificate from HMRC. Whilst these certificates often take many months to be received from private or even fund investments, we manage the process carefully and quickly, and have a record of getting them to investors within one to two months from the date the fund makes your investment.

  • What is the limit on EIS & SEIS investments?

    An investor can take the benefits of EIS & SEIS reliefs up to £1,000,000 of EIS qualifying investments and / or up to £100,000 per year of SEIS qualifying investment (the EIS limit can also be extended to £ 2 million when the extra £1 million is invested in ‘knowledge intensive’ companies).

    An investor can also carry back their investment to the previous tax year, if they have unused allowance. Therefore an investor may be able to invest £200,000 at once and qualify for full SEIS reliefs when no SEIS investments were made in the previous year.

    Additionally, the limit and reliefs are independent for spouses.

  • What fees apply?

    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, either from an exit or from dividends, from an investor’s investments. Therefore the entire investment made is eligible for tax reliefs and no fees are paid until a return has been made.

    There are various fees paid by the investee companies – please see details on page 52 of the Fund’s Information Memorandum.

  • What is the minimum investment in the Fund?

    The minimum investment in the Start-Up Series Fund is £10,000. Any investment can either be directed at one tranche of investment (typically three to six investments) or can be spread across a year (typically three tranches).

  • Where are my shares held?

    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.

Investor Feedback

  • 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.

    Clive Mishon – serial investor & ex. Chairman of The Institute of Promotional Marketing
  • 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.

    Sharon Richey – Founder & CEO, Because (global brand experience agency)
  • 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.

    Greg Marsh, co-founder & CEO of onefinestay (acquired by Accor Hotels in 2016)

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