The nation has now been under lockdown for almost a month, and the Government has provided a swathe of measures to support the economy through this difficult period. But there are gaps. Notably a lack of recognition of the needs of startups, and the role that they play in fuelling the economy. Many are ineligible for government aid, making investment a critical lifeline if we are to ensure their survival.
In this blog post, we spotlight the startups fighting their corner, profiling the 8 largest equity fundraisings that have been announced since lockdown.
Amount raised: £100m
Date of fundraising: 23rd March 2020
Investors: DMG Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, CNP Assurances, Mubadala Capital, Octopus Ventures, Eight Roads Ventures, and Stride VC
Cazoo wants to transform the market for buying second hand cars from a laborious and often unreliable process to one where users can easily buy a vehicle and have it delivered to their door, in as little as 72 hours. The company was set up by LoveFilm and Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman, who sold both companies with multi-million pound price tags.
The latest round of £100m was led by DMG Ventures with General Catalyst Partners, CNP Assurances, Mubadala Capital, Octopus Ventures, Eight Roads Ventures, and Stride VC also participating. To date, the company has secured £180m total in investment and plans to use the latest funding to continue expanding the business.
With the coronavirus outbreak and the UK government urging people to stay at home, the company is likely to take a significant hit to operations, with reports that new UK car registrations have plummeted by more than 40%. However, the company is better positioned than traditional car retailers as most of its business is online and based on affordability. Cazoo is also reassuring customers on its website that it fully reconditions all vehicles before selling and delivering them, and completes the handover process at a safe distance.
Amount raised: £65.3m
Date of fundraising: 6th April 2020
Investors: Warburg Pincus, Accel, Partech, IQ Capital, Salesforce Ventures and ABN AMRO Ventures
Privitar creates software that allows the mining of sensitive data sets by preserving the privacy of the underlying individuals. The platform is currently used mainly in regulated industries like financial services and healthcare, with customers including large organisations like the NHS, BT and HSBC.
Established in 2014, Privitar is headquartered in London and has offices in New York, Boston, Paris, Munich and Singapore. In 2019, Privitar Joined AWS Partner Network Global Startups Program, and was enrolled in Tech Nation’s Future Fifty programme.
The latest funding round of £65.3m was led by Warburg Pincus, a global private equity firm focused on growth investing, with participation from Accel, Partech, IQ Capital, Salesforce Ventures and ABN AMRO Ventures. The investment comes less than a year after securing £31.4m of fundraising led by Accel in June 2019. The purpose of the latest investment will be to further develop software, increase marketing and create new jobs. With organisations forced to operate remotely during COVID-19, the need to access and share data safely is essential. Thus, it’s unlikely that Privitar will lose momentum during the pandemic.
Amount raised: £32.7m
Date of fundraising: 7th April 2020
Investors: Brighton Park Capital, Updata Partners, Ibex Investors, Gefen Capital and CEIIF
Imagine if your website or mobile app could see exactly what your customers do in real time, and why they did it. Glassbox helps organisations manage the results of big data analytics and analyse every digital customer interaction.
Founded in 2010, by former HP and Mercury executives Yoav Schreiber and Hanan Blumstein, the company has grown significantly with offices in London and the US, and 130 employees. The latest funding round was led by Brighton Park Capital, with existing investors Updata Partners, Ibex Investors, Gefen Capital and CEIIF also participating. The round takes the company’s total funding to £55.7m, and will enable Glassbox to improve site optimization and customer experience.
As more customers shift traditionally offline activities online, services like Glassbox are demonstrating the need for businesses to provide better online services, security and seamless usage. Commenting on the investment, Yaron Morgenstern, CEO of Glassbox said “Even in these extremely difficult times, digital traffic is surging and companies are focused on how to communicate with new and existing customers digitally. Our technology helps the most sophisticated companies in the world map, protect and grow their digital assets.”
Amount raised: £28.8m
Date of fundraising: 25th March 2020
Investors: HNWIs, institutional investors and private companies
SoftIron develops and sells enterprise servers for data storage. The appliances radically improve industry-standard performance on all critical metrics including: density, efficiency, capacity, speed and heat emission. The business was founded in 2012 by Norman Fraser, Phil Straw and Mark Chen.
To date the company has received a total £40.7m in equity investment and 288k in grant funding. The latest round of £28.9m of equity has been sourced from the companies existing investor base, including a collection of HNWIs, institutional investors and private companies. Having spent the past few years flying under the radar and honing its vision, SoftIron will use the funding to expand its presence across North America and Europe.
Amount raised: £17m
Date of fundraising: 25th March 2020
Investors: Dell Technologies Capital and Accel
Humio develops logging software that allows companies to analyse and manage their data in real-time. The company was co-founded by Christian Hvitved, Kresten Thorup and current CEO Geeta Schmidt. Headquartered in London and with offices in Denmark and the US, Humio has customers across multiple industries including financial services, education, healthcare, communications and cloud-based service providers.
The latest investment round of £17m was led by Dell Technologies Capital, with participation from existing investor, Accel. The funding, which brings total investment raised to £26m, will be used to increase the company’s capabilities and expand the development of its SaaS products. Log management platforms are forecasted to experience significant growth, as they continually collect data about what’s happening across a company’s infrastructure, and help identify a variety of problems from application service down-time to cyber attacks.
Amount raised: £11.2m
Date of fundraising: 23rd March 2020
Investors: Menlo Ventures and Sierra Ventures
Enable is the software platform that helps businesses calculate, plan and accrue rebate deals precisely, in order to drive profitable growth.
The company secured its first equity fundraising of £11.2m in March, which was led by Menlo Ventures with participation from Sierra Ventures. Commenting on the investment, Andrew Butt, co-founder and CEO said “Having demonstrated positive early traction with our product whilst bootstrapping, now is the perfect time to secure venture capital funding to start scaling the business and extending our reach.”
The investment will be used to increase overseas sales, particularly within North America and Europe. This will involve building a sales and marketing organisation in San Francisco, to complement its engineering, operations, sales and support teams in the UK.
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Enable is offering its ‘Essentials’ package free of charge to help businesses better collaborate with trading partners.
Amount raised: £10.6m
Date of fundraising: 6th April 2020
Investors: Lakestar, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and LocalGlobe
Established back in 2017 by ex-Goldman Sachs employee Stefano Vaccino, Yapily has developed a platform that is designed to provide open banking through a single gateway, securely and seamlessly connecting clients to all banks.
Leading the latest investment round of £10.6m is Lakestar, which is also a backer of fintech unicorn Revolut, and is well known as being an early investor in Skype, Spotify, Airbnb and Facebook. Existing investors HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and LocalGlobe also backed the round. The fintech company has said it will use the investment to further drive open banking adoption and promote its benefits, especially in a time where it’s services can fuel greater financial management and accessibility.
In total, the company has raised £15.9m in equity finance across four funding rounds, other investors include; Taavet Hinrikus(co-founder of Transferwise), Frank Strauss (Former CEO of Deutsche Postbank), Ott Kaukver (Twilo’s CTO) and Roberto Nicastro (UniCredit’s former deputy CEO).
8. Emma Bridgewater
Amount raised: £8m
Date of fundraising: 27th March 2020
Investors: BGF Growth Capital
Founded in 1985, Emma Bridgewater is a British company best known for its hand-decorated pottery. Although significantly older than the other companies featured in this list, Emma Bridgewater has gained significant popularity within the past few years, and the name has become eponymous with the demand for quality goods that embody the quintessential English countryside.
The £8m investment secured in March was backed entirely by BGF Growth Capital. The fundraising will support the company’s continued growth in the UK, increase capacity at its Stoke-on-Trent factory, and explore expansion into international markets.
Needless to say, this is a time of great uncertainty for smaller businesses seeking sufficient funding, and many face permanent closure even after Britain’s ‘lockdown’ laws are lifted. The news of this investment comes as a welcome surprise, especially within the retail sector, as in March 2020, rivals Laura Ashley fell into administration and Cath Kidston have filed a notice of similar intention.
These investments illustrate an interesting turn in user experience and business functionality as a result of COVID-19. With more people going online and relying on digital interfaces to shop, entertain, work and source critical information, tech companies are faring reasonably well. And whilst it might not be business as usual at the moment, these fundraisings illustrate that COVID-19 will not bring all investment to a grinding halt.
Discover the UK's most innovative companies.
Get access to unrivalled data on all the businesses you need to know about, so you can approach the right leads, at the right time.
Book a 40 minute demo to see all the key features of the Beauhurst platform, plus the depth and breadth of data available.
An associate will work with you to build a sophisticated search, returning a dynamic list of organisations matching your ideal client.