Investment in Welsh companies has been steadily increasing in recent years, with the top companies in Wales attracting record levels of equity investment last year. Our recent report, produced in collaboration with the Development Bank of Wales, analyses the startup, scaleup and investment ecosystem in Wales, and ranks the top startup investors in the Welsh economy.
Here, we’ve taken a look at which Welsh companies have secured the most equity investment since 2011. First though, let’s explore the latest data on the startup and scaleup landscape in Wales.
Startup and scaleup investment landscape in Wales
Equity finance is essential for economic development: it can support many different goals of developing businesses, such as taking on new staff and opening office space, R&D projects, and breaking into new markets. Early-stage businesses may take equity investment from business angels, angel networks, and venture capital funds, while private equity firms may invest in more established companies.
Between 2011 and 2020, an impressive 523 Welsh companies raised equity finance, totalling £882m between them. And despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 was a record year for Welsh investment: £129m was raised by high-growth private companies.
Software-as-a-service (or SaaS) is one of the top sectors for ambitious Welsh businesses, with four of the companies listed in this article operating in the SaaS space. In fact, there are currently 80 high-growth SaaS companies in Wales, and they’ve raised a total of £145m in equity investment between 2011 and 2020.
Download the report here for our full analysis of the Welsh high-growth ecosystem, or read on for our ranking of the region’s top equity-backed businesses.
List of the top 23 private companies in Wales
- MHC UK
- Charles Owen
- Alesi Surgical
- Transcend Packaging
- Victorian Sliders
- Morvus Technology
- Risc Group IT Solutions
- BVG Group
- Marine Power Systems
- Crossflow Energy
- Calon Cardio
- Bad Wolf
Equity raised: £53.4m
Founded in 2014, CSC (the Compound Semiconductor Centre) is a spinout from Cardiff University, and is still based in the Welsh capital. Incorporated in 2014, CSC provides facilities to help researchers and industry work together. It aims to help improve the development and commercialisation of semiconductor material technologies.
To date, CSC has raised more investment through equity fundraising rounds than any other high-growth company in Wales. It has secured a total of three equity deals, amounting to £53.4m, and received an additional £4.19m from 16 innovation grants.
Equity raised: £28.5m
Founded in 2012, and based in Cardiff, MyPinPad is a growth-stage company that creates digital security and financial services solutions. MyPinPad allows consumers to securely enter their pin codes on unsecured devices when conducting transactions online.
While the use of M-commerce (mobile commerce) is on the rise, MyPinPad is the first company in the world to bring patented PCI-certified (in accordance with the Payment Card Industry regulations), software-based payment solutions to market.
MyPinPad secured its sixth and most recent equity fundraising, worth £5m, in September 2020. This brings its total investment figures up to £28.5m. The Welsh firm has also attended the Mayor’s International Business Programme accelerator.
Equity raised: £27.9m
Based in Torfaen, venture-stage startup Novatiq previously operated under the brand Smartpipe Solutions. Founded in 2013, Novatiq is an adtech company, operating in the SaaS sector. It has built a web-based service which allows companies in the telecommunications sector to sell anonymised customer data to advertisement agencies, allowing them to personalise mobile ads.
Having raised £27.9m worth of equity investment across five funding rounds, Novatiq’s most recent raise (in May 2021) totalled £6.79m. The Welsh business is supported by a variety of investors, such as Comba Telecom, Delta Partners, Notion Capital, Repayable Business Finance, Wren Capital, and other backers managed by Development Bank of Wales.
Equity raised: £26.1m
Operating in the big data and SaaS sectors, Clinithink is based in Bridgend. The venture-stage company was founded in 2009 and has developed web-based data analytics technology for specific use in the healthcare industry.
Clinithink is built around CLiX, the world’s first healthcare AI (artificial intelligence) capable of understanding unstructured medical notes. Clinithink uses CLiX to analyse and gain insights from large volumes of textual data.
The Welsh company has so far raised £26.1m, across 13 equity funding rounds. It received £6.73m of this in its latest fundraising in 2020. Clinithink is backed by investors such as Development Bank of Wales, MSD Global Health Innovation Fund, TT Capital Partners, Technology Venture Investments, and Vanguard Atlantic.
Equity raised: £23.3m
Located in South Wales, in Neath Port Talbot, Vizolution develops software that aims to improve the customer experience of sales processes across multiple channels (otherwise known as omni-channel retail). It is a CX-Tech company, contributing to the ecosystem of technologies needed to make remote customer experiences effective. Founded in 2008, Vizolution has now reached the growth stage, and its suite of solutions is used by 33 global enterprises.
With 11 funding rounds under its belt, Vizolution has raised £23.3m worth of equity investment to date. It has also been featured on several high-growth lists, appearing on the Wales Fast Growth 50 in both 2016 and 2017, and featuring on the Deloitte Fast 500 in 2017.
Download our full report on the Welsh startup and scaleup ecosystem in 2021.
6. MHC UK
Equity raised: £22.5m
Headquartered in North Wales, in Denbighshire, MHC UK (Mental Health Care UK) offers residential care homes and care services to individuals with autism, learning disabilities, and mental health issues. Founded in 1987, the established-stage company’s core ethos is to support people to achieve positive outcomes.
So far, the Welsh company has raised £22.5m in equity investment, across three funding rounds. In their most recent fundraising, in 2014, MHC UK secured £13.5m worth of new growth capital.
7. Charles Owen
Equity raised: £22.4m
Charles Owen was first founded in 1911, making it the longest-trading company in this list. Now operating at the established stage, the Welsh company is based in Wrexham, and is the leading British manufacturer of horse riding helmets. Alongside these, the brand also designs and manufactures other horse sporting goods.
According to our research, Charles Owen has secured just one equity funding round so far, raising £22.4m in an unannounced round in December 2020. On top of this, however, it’s received two innovation grants, including one from Innovate UK, awarded to Charles Owen (and lead grant recipient Cardiff University) to radically improve the performance of protective helmets and thus reduce the risk of head injuries.
8. Alesi Surgical
Equity raised: £20.2m
Formerly known as Asalus Medical Instruments, growth-stage company Alesi Surgical develops medical devices which improve the safety, efficiency and outcomes of advanced surgical procedures. Founded in 2007, and based in Cardiff, Alesi Surgical spun out from the Welsh Institute for Minimal Access Therapy (WIMAT).
Alesi Surgical has raised £20.2m worth of equity funding so far, across nine rounds, and has been awarded a £83.9k innovation grant. The Welsh company is backed by investors Earlybird, Fusion IP, Norgine Ventures, IP Group, Pancakes Partners, and Technology Venture Investments, alongside funds managed by Development Bank of Wales.
9. Transcend Packaging
Equity raised: £17.4m
Caerphilly-based Transcend Packaging was founded in 2017. Dealing with packaging and printing, the venture-stage company produces sustainable products for the food industry, such as paper straws and folding cartons. The Welsh startup creates technologically advanced sustainable packaging, championing plastic-free solutions.
Alongside various investors, Transcend Packaging is backed by Close Brothers, IW Capital, and SFC Capital. To date, it has raised £17.4m across six equity funding rounds. Additionally, Transcend Packaging has been awarded two separate innovation grants, worth £699k in total.
10. Victorian Sliders
Equity raised: £15.8m
Victorian Sliders is a manufacturing business headquartered in Carmarthenshire. Since 2005, the established-stage company has manufactured and sold window glazing units, specialising in vertically sliding windows. Victorian Sliders is Europe’s largest specialist manufacturer of PVC-U vertical sliding sash windows, extruding and fabricating made-to-measure ECOSlide windows.
The Welsh company featured on the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain, as part of both the 2013/14 and 2015 high-growth lists. Victorian Sliders has also raised £14m in equity investment, from BGF Growth Capital. Alongside this, it has secured £300k from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), and £1.5m from the Wales Business Fund.
Equity raised: £15.3m
Venture-stage company Momentum was founded in 2005, and is currently based in Cardiff. Operating in the precision medicine sector, Momentum is developing a suite of related technologies collectively called Enzyme Mediated Amplification (EMA), for the rapid detection of pathogens found in blood and normally sterile fluids (NSF).
Across 14 funding rounds, Momentum has raised a total of £15.3m worth of equity investment, plus an additional £1.51m from four innovation grants. The Welsh company’s backers include Adimpetus EIS Fund, Blueray Capital, Development Bank of Wales, Longwall Ventures, South East Seed Fund, SyndicateRoom, and Wren Capital.
12. Morvus Technology
Equity raised: £13.8m
Morvus Technology was founded in 2004 and is currently headquartered in Powys. It develops pharmaceuticals, specialising in tumour therapies. The venture-stage company improves existing drugs which are off-patent or abandoned, by enhancing them or improving their delivery mechanism.
Backed by business angels and other undisclosed investors, Morvus Technology has raised £13.8m in equity investment so far, across seven funding rounds. In 2009, it spun out from Cardiff University, with which it has worked to develop new technologies to provide testing for urogenital cancers.
13. Risc Group IT Solutions
Equity raised: £12m
Conwy-based Risc Group IT Solutions is an established-stage company, focusing on website hosting or server provision services. Founded in 2001, as pioneers of cloud backup services in the UK, Risc Group is a provider of cloud and IT solutions, offering online data storage and server backup spaces to businesses.
With one £12m equity funding round under its belt, Risc Group IT Solutions is backed by Leveraged Acquisition of Finance (managed by HSBC) and Start Up Stage Capital (managed by Development Bank of Wales), alongside other undisclosed investors.
Equity raised: £10.7m
Artificial intelligence is beginning to have a very real impact on the world, and SaaS startup AMPLYFI is taking advantage of this. Founded in 2015, the Cardiff-based company develops software which scans the surface and deep internet using an algorithm. It then analyses the data collected, before presenting the information to the client on the search topic of their choice.
To date, AMPLYFI has raised £10.7m in equity investment, across 10 funding rounds, as well as £281k worth of innovation grants. In 2017, the company was featured on the Wales Tech 35 list, and in 2020, it secured a spot on the Createch Ones to Watch list. AMPLYFI has also taken part in both the Mayor’s International Business Programme and Tech Nation’s Upscale 5.0 accelerators.
15. BVG Group
Equity raised: £10m
Established-stage firm BVG Group is a manufacturer and retailer of clothing, sport supplements, fishing equipment, and homeware. Based in Powys and founded in 1991, BVG Group is an omni-channel retailer. The Welsh firm sells its goods via B2B distribution, catalogues, off-page, newspaper offers, marketplaces, digital advertising, and online.
Just one equity round has provided BVG Group with £10m worth of fundraisings so far. The company is backed by BGF Growth Capital and has received one innovation grant. On top of this, BVG Group has also been showcased on several high-growth lists: in 2019, it appeared on the Fast Track Top Track 250 and 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain, whilst in 2020, it ranked on the Fast Track International Track 200.
Equity raised: £9.6m
Specialising in clinical diagnostics, Flintshire-based Biofortuna is currently operating at the growth stage. Founded in 2008, the Welsh company has developed a range of molecular diagnostic products using proprietary freeze-dried technology, eliminating the need for fridges, freezers, and temperature-controlled shipping. This allows for the increase in quality and availability of diagnostic and detection testing.
Biofortuna has raised £9.6m in equity investment so far, across eight funding rounds, and has received a £12.2k innovation grant. It’s backed by several business angels, Catapult Ventures, EV Venture Fund, Foresight VCT, funds managed by Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF) and other undisclosed investors.
17. Marine Power Systems
Equity raised: £9.3m
A company with sustainability at its core, Marine Power Systems (MPS) develops technology designed to convert ocean waves into energy. The company can configure their technology to deliver wave power (WaveSub) or floating wind power (WindSub), or a combination of the two (DualSub). Based in Swansea, MPS was founded in 2008.
Back in 2019, MPS earned its place on the Top 100 – Britain’s Fastest Growing Businesses list. The Welsh company’s existing investors include crowdfunding platforms Crowdcube and Seedrs, and the Wales Angel Co-investment Fund, alongside numerous angels. It has so far raised £9.3m in equity investment, across eight funding rounds, and received £22.2m from 11 innovation grants.
18. Crossflow Energy
Equity raised: £8.98m
Another company focusing on renewable energy sources is Crossflow Energy, founded in 2007. Based in Neath Port Talbot, this venture-stage company is developing a wind turbine that is able to generate energy at a lower cost than traditional methods. Crossflow’s Hybrid Energy solutions uses wind, solar, and battery storage for renewable energy.
Through eight funding rounds, Crossflow Energy has secred £8.98m worth of equity investment. Spun out from Swansea University, Crossflow Energy is backed by Pacific & Orient Properties, managed by Pacific & Orient, the Welsh Government, and other undisclosed investors. It has also received two innovation grants, worth £471k in total.
19. Calon Cardio
Equity raised: £8.63m
Founded in Swansea in 2007, and later spun out of Swansea University in 2010, Calon Cardio is developing implantable micro-pumps for the treatment of heart attacks. This growth-stage company has created the CALON MiniVAD, their leading development, which is a miniature implantable blood pump, which is used in the treatment of patients with advanced chronic heart failure.
With backing from Envestors, Longbow, SyndicateRoom, and funds managed by Development Bank of Wales, Calon Cardio has raised £8.63m in investment, across 12 equity funding rounds. The Welsh firm has also been awarded three innovation grants, worth £2.07m.
Equity raised: £8.48m
Jellagen develops and produces jellyfish collagen, a sustainable source for critical biomaterials, which has applications in a range of processes in regenerative medicine. The Cardiff-based company uses their collagen in tissue engineering and wound healing, for both medical and scientific research applications. Jellagen was founded in 2013 and is currently operating at the venture stage.
Jellagen has secured six equity funding rounds so far, worth a combined £8.48m, and received nine grants, totalling £1.1m. It’s backed by various angel investors managed by Angel Capital Group, and funds managed by Development Bank of Wales, Newable Ventures, and South West Angel and Investor Network (SWAIN). Jellagen also appeared on the Wales Tech 35 high-growth list in 2017.
Equity raised: £8.40m
An analytics company founded in 2008, WePredict develops proprietary software which is used to offer its clients data analysis services, so they can manage their warranty claims. Based in Swansea, the growth-stage company uses predictive analytics technology to allow users to be prepared for upcoming claims.
With 10 funding rounds secured, WePredict has raised a total of £8.40m in equity investment so far. The Welsh company is backed by Breed Reply, Munich Re/HSB Ventures, and Technology Venture Investments, alongside several business angels. It has also received an innovation grant worth £180k.
22. Bad Wolf
Equity raised: £8.39m
Cardiff-based Bad Wolf operates a TV and film production company. When it was founded in 2015, Bad Wolf’s aim was to create “ambitious, imaginative and relevant drama” for the global TV marketplace, supporting the Welsh creative sector to flourish. Since launching, Bad Wolf has created several award-winning and globally-recognised TV shows, including His Dark Materials.
Bad Wolf has twice featured on the Wales Fast Growth 50 high-growth list, in 2019 and 2020, coming first place in 2019. It’s also backed by Access Industries, HBO, and Sky Startup Investments & Partnerships (managed by Sky). In total, the Welsh firm has raised £8.39m in equity investment, across two funding rounds.
Equity raised: £8.01m
Consumer electronics manufacturer CyDen is based in Neath Port Talbot. Founded in 2020, and now an established-stage company, CyDen develops and manufactures intense pulsed light (IPL) hair removal devices for use at home. The Welsh company has recently opened its first overseas office in Tokyo, Japan.
To date, CyDen has raised £8.01m in equity investment, across four funding rounds, and received £293k worth of innovation grants. The firm has also appeared on several high-growth lists: it featured on the Wales Fast Growth 50 in 2017, on the Queen’s Awards for International Trade in 2019, and on Fast Track’s International Track 200 in 2021.
Download our full report on the Welsh startup and scaleup ecosystem in 2021.