If you establish with your innovation and growth specialist that securing funding and finance is pivotal to your growth, we can help you to develop an approach along with an action plan. And we can help you identify regional and national connections to help you realise your ambitions.
Equity finance is often an appropriate way to unleash game-changing growth for innovation-focused companies. Below we describe in detail how we support our clients with this need, in particular with their investment readiness.
This is followed by information on common sources of funding and finance: You may decide with your specialist’s input that grants or loans, such as Innovate UK Innovation Loans, are more appropriate for your strategy, or that your appeal to investors would benefit from having secured such funds. Your specialist will help you to identify how to proceed, drawing on their extensive knowledge of the options.
Where equity finance is essential to the approach then we will determine with you whether your needs are best served by:
• Your innovation and growth specialist, with their valuable knowledge of wider resources, plus if appropriate
• Invest-ability, our comprehensive investment readiness support pathway or
• The Pitch Panel, our support focused specifically on pitching or
• The Scaleup Programme, for specialised support around Series A fundraising and beyond
In every case, your innovation and growth specialist will be fully engaged in your support, acting in your interests: Our aim is to help you advance towards the investment that will help you realise your growth potential.
All clients benefit from one-to-one support from an designated innovation and growth specialist, who is well equipped to help innovation-focused businesses establish an approach to investment that best advances their growth objectives.
Your specialist may conduct a deep dive to provide you with a clear perspective on priority areas to address and help identify relevant further connections and opportunities for your stage. They may also suggest suitable initiatives provided by Innovate UK EDGE, which they will help you prepare for and exploit fully (see below).
Clients who receive investment can also benefit from the right post-investment support from their innovation and growth specialist to equip them for onward travel to corporate finance, M&A and IPOs, capitalising on our close relationships with partners such as the London Stock Exchange.
Your innovation and growth specialist is your indispensable partner on your investment journey, for support that is led by your needs. You can meet some of our specialists here.
Invest-ability is unique in its intensive and extended approach to working with innovation-focused companies looking to raise a minimum of £500K over two years and with a minimum of £100K in income from either grants, investment or revenue.
Invest-ability includes rigorous, structured training in the fundamentals of investment readiness and invaluable constructive feedback from investors. Along your journey towards investment readiness, you will also receive input from investment champions from our in-house specialist network and high calibre external expertise.
Throughout, you will receive support from your designated innovation and growth specialist, to ensure you derive the maximum benefit from our multi-faceted support.
At any one time, we have a limited number of places on Invest-ability: As a client you will already have conducted a deep dive into your investment readiness needs, but an invitation is conditional on supplying further information for objective review by a panel that includes an investor and other external experts.
If you do not enter on to this intensive investment readiness pathway, you will still continue to receive support from your innovation and growth specialist around investment, including investment readiness and have the option of submitting for participation in a future round.
The Pitch Panel offers exposure to real investors for constructive and confidence-building feedback on your pitch. Typically it is for companies who already have a strong investor pitch, or who have a specific need to focus on pitching.
We have a limited number of places on The Pitch Panel at any one time – as a client you will already have conducted a deep dive into your investment readiness needs, but an invitation is conditional on supplying further information for objective review by an expert panel.
If you do not enter on to a Pitch Panel event, you will still continue to receive support from your innovation and growth specialist around investment and investment readiness and have the option of submitting for participation in a future round.
For some clients, support will be provided in the context of our Scaleup Programme for the most dynamic innovation-focused businesses looking for larger raises. Your dedicated specialist will assess your suitability and facilitate an expression of interest.
Funding and finance options
We have collated below a list of common funding and finance options, including grant funding or non-equity sources of finance. The options could be applicable to any client that we help to develop a strategic approach to funding and finance. Your innovation and growth specialist will help you navigate them.
- Innovate UK Innovation Loans
- Angel Investors
- Equity Crowdfunding
- Grant Funding for R&D
- Growth Capital
- Private Equity
- Venture Capital
- Asset Finance
- Export Capital
- Initial Public Offering (IPO)
- Peer to Peer Lending
- Start-up Loans
- Reward-based Crowdfunding
- Term Loans
- Trade Finance
Loans for innovation projects to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) scale up and grow, focusing on late-stage research and development (R&D) projects with a clear path to commercialisation. £150 million has been approved for continuation of the innovation loans programme over three years post 2022 and they are typically for £100,000 to £2 million.
Angel investment is suitable for early-stage businesses with a clear growth strategy and business plan. Business angels will invest their time, money and resources in exchange for a share in your company.
Equity crowdfunding gives you access to a group of investors with diverse backgrounds and experience. Individual investors will apply for a share of your early-stage business.
Grant funding often comes from government agencies, research councils and Growth Hubs. A prime source of grant funding for innovation-focused businesses is Innovate UK.
Grants can provide funding for innovation projects or for specific topics or themes. An R&D grant could help your business develop a new product, process or service and get it to market. Such R&D funding can also support companies to test and de-risk ideas without the requirement for repayment.
Although you will not have to repay the grant, grant funding often comes with specific conditions. If you are applying for grant funding, you will need to understand the eligibility criteria and application process to ensure your innovation project complies.
Growth capital allows your business to accelerate growth by entering new markets, developing new products or investing in technology. This option is suited to growth stage businesses with evidence of year on year growth and may take the form of venture capital or private equity.
Private equity finance is suitable for growth stage businesses with potential for accelerated growth. This medium to long term investment is made in exchange for equity in the business and often involves larger sums of money.
Venture capitalists will invest in your business in return for equity shares to help it grow. This type of finance is suitable for early-stage businesses looking for a flexible option to scale quickly.
Asset finance takes physical assets, such as equipment, as security for lending. This type of lending could work for a growth stage business with assets of value looking for a cash flow injection.
Export finance reduces some of the risk of exporting and trading abroad. Export capital can include bonds, guarantees, letters of credit or working capital loans. An option for UK businesses looking to enter new overseas markets.
An Initial Public Offering (IPO) is when a privately owned business sells shares to the public for the first time. This allows growth stage businesses and scale-ups to raise significant funds.
Peer to Peer lending comes from individuals, businesses and institutions as an alternative to bank loans. Borrowers and lenders are matched via online platforms. Suitable for growth stage businesses looking for quick access to finance whilst retaining control of the business.
Start-up loans can help new and seed stage businesses get set up for trading. This is a personal loan for business owners who have not been able to secure finance from traditional lenders.
Crowdfunding, or reward-based crowdfunding offers rewards in exchange for investment from individuals through online platforms such as Kickstarter. This provides an alternative to debt or equity investment, but it can be difficult to reach your funding target.
A term loan is a lump sum of capital that you pay back at a fixed interest rate.
Trade finance is commonly used for international trade, in which the lender pays for goods which are security for the advance. It can be used to protect against currency fluctuations, political instability and other external factors.
What our clients say about us
"Innovate UK EDGE has been very supportive all the way through, helping review grant material and our Series A funding round, for example ... I really value the engagement and support we’ve received."
David Newton, Chief Operating Officer, Akrivia Health
"The sessions were so useful ... Pantea was very good at listening, asking questions and then gently pushing you in the right direction."