“We believe there is strong entrepreneurial talent in the Great South West and the opportunity to bring that talent together with funding, global connections and business guidance is an exciting opportunity for both investors and early stage companies.”
Sir Richard Olver
The executive team and investment advisors have unique experience in finding, growing innovative companies and exiting to the benefit of founders and investors.
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Sustainability & impact
By nurturing, selecting and accelerating businesses in our targeted sectors, a more resilient & dynamic economy can be developed.
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The combined challenges of global warming, a post Covid and Brexit world will require innovation and significant entrepreneurial activity. It is our belief that the Fund will be well placed to take advantage of the opportunities offered to drive rapid growth and high investor returns.
How we will invest
To be investable our target companies will typically have the following traits:
Strong teams – we expect to back businesses with a minimum team in place with most of the complementary skills required for them to grow quickly
Businesses where our team’s knowledge and networks have the potential to add value
Focussed business strategy & sufficient indicators that their product / service will be needed / valued by the market in the 5 years post-investment
People with whom we are confident we can have a constructive working relationship
A clear competitive advantage over other firms in their niche, for example, protectable Intellectual Property in the form of patents or, a body of knowledge acquired over a period of time
An identifiable and validated community of customers
Our sector focus
ONS estimates from 2017 predict that the UK low-carbon economy will grow by an estimated 11% per year between 2020 and 2030 – four times faster than the rest of the economy.
To get to carbon neutrality a combination of approaches is needed covering all aspects of consumer life, business, agriculture, building, transport, as well as strong focus on renewable energy, cleaner fossil fuels and innovative energy management
New technological advancements in these areas are ever-changing, but often lack investment. Many of these low carbon solutions, while technically proven, will need to be scaled up to make them more economically viable.
Consequently, we have a broad view of businesses who have the capability of contributing to net zero carbon emissions. This could include investments in both upstream and downstream production and distribution of electrons, as well as businesses that have an innovative approach to a significant overall reduction in carbon emissions.
The UK’s legally binding target is to achieve net zero carbon by 2050 and the intent of many of the South West regions is to achieve net zero by 2030. To achieve this, much of how we live today will have to fundamentally change. This is driving a level of innovation and significant public and institutional support for that innovation.
Examples of Net Zero Carbon Regional Activity
- The South West Floating Offshore Wind Accelerator is being led by Wave Hub, the Cornwall Council-owned marine renewables research and technology organisation, in collaboration with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), University of Plymouth, University of Exeter, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, A&P Group, Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council
- University of Plymouth Marine Renewable Energy programme & Supergen Initiative (Sustainable PowER GENeration) is providing focused academic research and joint industry / academia research into key sector challenges such as bioenergy; energy networks; energy storage; fuel cells; hydrogen and other vectors
- Net Zero Exeter 2030 Plan: A Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality. A roadmap adopted by the council that will enable the City to get to net zero within 10 years. This is likely to ensure significant contracts to innovative small companies who are able to assist the city with the many changes & efficiency improvements required to make this transition.
“Breakthrough innovation is necessary – this is the single biggest business opportunity in human history.”
Dr. Jonathan Foley, Executive Director of Project Drawdown.
“The South West has a wealth of renewable energy resources including the best wind resource in Western Europe, best solar resource in mainland UK, and the best geothermal resource in the UK. It also has huge potential for marine renewables.”
Jim Stewart, Chairman Dorset LEP
The national focus of achieving net zero carbon by 2050 is predicted to grow the share of the low-carbon economy from 2% of the UK’s total output to 8% by 2030 and 13% by 2050.
Financial Times, 2019
The rising cost of healthcare has been driving significant innovation and investment in the field of optimising healthcare, this is particularly evident in digitisation initiatives as well as innovation in biotech. There are strong initiatives in both these areas within the region but as yet a limited record of monetising those ventures.
In particular, there is an emerging group of opportunities coming out of the Exeter healthcare hub which combines, a strong and growing academic grouping within University of Exeter (biosciences, mathematics, computing, engineering and physics), a leading medical school at the University; a high level teaching hospital in the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS FT.
We are observing several patented technologies emerging from this hub. Primarily, emerging from original research offering licensing opportunities and / or spin-out potential. These range from novel pharmaceutical platforms for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the drug discovery pipeline, to initiatives stemming from experimental medicine using novel plant extracts for uses in nutrition, human health and agritech. Equally important, digital healthcare continues to expand regionally and nationally, and with good access in the region to a capable data analysis workforce, we are observing a number of early-stage companies projecting high growth in the sector in the next few years through building recurring revenues.
Examples of Optimising Healthcare Regional Activity
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly has prioritised e-health & in March 2020 a further £4m in grants was provided to continue University of Plymouth’s support to businesses developing technology in this area. The aim is to create a sustainable ‘eHealth’ sector in the region that will continue to flourish long after the project is complete.
“As we look toward the future
of healthcare, there are four industry-level changes that could disrupt healthcare value pools as they exist today: modernized transaction and data infrastructure; radically more efficient medical supply chain; faster, more effective therapy development; and new, personalized, and intuitive healthcare ecosystems.”
McKinsey &Co 2019
Data is the most important raw material of the twenty-first century. It is the new oil. It is easy to find staggering figures showing the growth in the amount of data being created and consumed. A favourite example is that the amount of data created over the course of the whole year 2017 was created in just a single day in 2020. The data universe this year is expected to be 44 zettabytes (1,000^7 bytes) & 175 zettabytes by 2025.
But data, like oil, cannot be used in its raw form. Most companies still do not use the data they collect to improve their ability to conduct their business. Data is a resource that is growing, flowing and changing shape every day and at pace. It cannot be easily tamed. Doing so requires the combination of science, technology, and creativity. Those that can use those three ingredients can create something truly transformational.
Entrepreneurs in the region are enthusiastically embracing the opportunities offered – in this area we are looking for Software as a Service (SaaS) companies with solid recurring revenue.
Examples of Regional Activity
The Best Tech in the West Growth Programme brings together a cohort of emerging high potential tech companies, giving them free business support and connecting them with business and funding specialists and investors. The programme helps showcase and support up to 30 high potential companies in the tech sector each year across the South West.
“The South West is a global leader in areas critical to the future well-being not just of the economy but the planet itself. We are at the forefront of research and development in climate science, marine technology, environmental science, healthtech, agri-tech and aeronautical engineering. Technology is fundamental to each of these, and their ability to innovate, find solutions and bring prosperity. Tech in the west is driving forwards at a relentless pace.”
Toby Parkins, Chairman Tech SouthWest
Co-Founder & CEO
Richard has been involved in technology businesses for 40 years and has been at the forefront of major paradigm shifts in the industry. He is an innovation driven entrepreneur and has wide experience of building and scaling businesses through new technology, venturing, and creating disruptive business models.
His most recent role was as a Senior Director of Oracle Corporation where he was part of the Global Enterprise Cloud team.
“I believe in working hard with the teams we invest in, the relationship has to add value beyond capital”
Sir Richard Olver
Co-Founder & Chairman
Sir Richard has 22 years of international senior leadership experience with multi-industry knowledge in energy, oil and gas, defence, media, financial services, private equity & government.
Sir Richard is currently an adviser to Clayton, Dubilier and Rice LLC, HSBC Holdings plc & serves as a UK Business Ambassador.
Sir Richard Olver served as Non-Executive Chairman of BAE Systems from 2004 until 2014. In this role he was responsible for major and far reaching changes to the company from board level down creating and overseeing a major move to a highly ethical organisation that has set the standard for defence companies globally. During this time the Company tripled in value.
Prior to joining BAE Systems, he had a 30+ year career with BP plc, his last position being Deputy Group Chief Executive in 2003 & 2004.
In the latter decade of this employment he was one of small top team that took BP from $16 bn value in 1992 to $200 bn value in 2002. From 2005 until 2015 Sir Richard Olver was a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Civil Engineers and the City and Guilds London Institute.
Sir Richard was knighted in 2013 for services to business and contribution to UK corporate governance. He is a recipient of several honorary doctorates from universities in the UK.
He was awarded the 2015 President’s Medal by the Royal Academy of Engineering and in 2012 he was The Sunday Times Non-Executive Director of the Year.
Sir Richard lives by the River Dart.
Roger is a serial entrepreneur in the healthcare sector. He was co-founder in 2000 of Dr Foster Ltd, a data business built on benchmarking hospitals’ quality. He finally exited his position in the Company in 2015 in a trade-sale to Telstra (Vodafone of Australia).
He also founded and built a healthcare improvement company, The Learning Clinic Ltd (TLC). TLC was successful in opening and leading the market of electronic observations based on hand-held devices for nurses. TLC was acquired by a Symphony Group (US private equity) in 2015.
Roger was Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence at Exeter University and is an advisor and / or non-exec to several of his angel investments in the healthcare sector. He maintains good contacts in local academia and with regional and national hospital Trusts.
Stuart has over 20 years’ experience of investing in over 60 high growth UK firms. He loves investing in small companies and doing his best to help them grow; he also gets energy and inspiration from mentoring entrepreneurs.
Stuart has lived and worked in the South West for the last 10 years. He is currently the retained advisor to UN SDG accelerator Exeter Velocities. In 2018 and 2019 he was the Head of Funds for the £40m Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund where he helped win the tender, created the strategy & oversaw the first ten investments. Stuart was also the first external Director of Crowdcube Ltd & supported its rapid growth between 2014-2016. Prior to this as an Investment Director of Octopus Investments Stuart initiated its renewable energy strategy which funded most of the solar arrays in the region – this enabled the funds he managed to make a healthy return whilst minimising risk.
In addition Stuart is a mentor to the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Leaders in Innovation Fellowships & a trustee of impact mentoring charity heropreneurs. Prior to entering venture capital Stuart served as an Officer in the British Army. He is a graduate of RMA Sandhurst, Loughborough University and London Business School. Stuart lives with his family in South Devon.
Dr Vivienne Cox
Vivienne has wide experience of business gained in the energy, natural resources pharma and publishing sectors. She also has a deep understanding of regulatory and government relationships. She worked for BP plc for 28 years, in Britain and continental Europe, in posts including Executive Vice President and Chief Executive of BP’s gas, power and renewable business and its alternative energy unit.
Vivienne was previously a Non-Executive Director of BG Group plc and Rio Tinto plc and Lead Independent Director of the UK Government’s Department for International Development.
Vivienne is currently Senior Independent Director of Pearson plc, a Non-Executive Director of Stena AB, Non Executive director of GSK and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Vallourec, a supplier to the energy industry.
She was appointed as Chair of the Rosalind Franklin Institute in 2018. The Institute is dedicated to transforming life science through interdisciplinary research and technology development.
Vivienne was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to the UK Economy and Sustainability.
Dr Liz O’Driscoll
Dr Liz O’Driscoll is a Chartered Engineer with two decades experience of innovation. She has held a range of strategic and action-oriented positions and has gained a unique perspective on the exploitation of innovation across a range of sectors
As a passionate advocate of environmental sustainability Liz has delivered the collaborative Net Zero 2030 plan for Exeter City Council and supported InnovateUK’s urban systems team with the development of a net-zero strategy. In 20017 she founded impact accelerator Exeter Velocities, to drive entrepreneurial responses to the transformational goals set out by the City. By July 2020, the programme had supported over 35 startups, with over £6m raised and 3 acquisitions. She now heads up the corporate innovation lab for the UK’s premier public services software provider, Civica.
Advising TechUk on Smart Cities and Communities, Liz is working with industry leaders to identify ways to build trust in smart city technologies, strengthen urban innovation capacity and mitigate emerging risks related to climate change.
Mark is an External Member of the Prudential Regulation Committee at the Bank of England and Chair of the FICC Market Standards Board. He has held a number of senior roles in international finance including, COO ICAP plc, CEO UBS UK, COO Deutsche Bank. Mark also serves on the Board of OpenFin LLC, a US technology firm and is a Partner in Illuminate Financial Management, a UK based fintech venture capital business. Mark lives by the River Dart.
James is one of the country’s leading authorities on disruptive business strategy. As founder and CEO of Adaptive Lab, a design and innovation consultancy, he wrote a highly influential book entitled “Bye Bye Banks” and he has advised a wide range of companies on developing corporate innovation strategy. Adaptive Lab was acquired by Capgemini in 2018. James is now general manager and a global leader of Idean. James lives in London & in normal times regularly stays in the South West.
Tim has been an IT consultant for over 30 years and has experience of two start-ups. He was investor and non-executive director of the local commercial radio station in Guildford and was the founder and Chairman of Certus Solutions. He has been responsible for some of the largest technology implementations globally and has worked on Oracle Cloud projects for both the UK & US governments. He is the Chairman of the UK Oracle User Group and HCM Special Interest Group and a member of the Oracle ACE community. He is a leading adviser to Oracle Corporation. In May 2018 Certus Solutions was acquired by Accenture. Tim now divides his time between the UK & Switzerland and is an active angel investor.
Finance, administration, and compliance adviser
Nick currently works for Delin Capital as the CFO and Compliance officer. He was previously Finance Director and Compliance officer of the successful Healthcare focused VC group – SV Health Investors (formerly Schroder Ventures), with offices in London, Boston and San Francisco.
SV grew from three funds with funds under management (FUM) of £420m to eight funds with FUM of £2.1bn – seven Limited Partner funds and a Listed FTSE 250 – £240m Market Cap Investment Trust – International Biotechnology Trust plc (IBT) (ticker: IBT.L). A key win for the firm during Nick’s time with the firm was the mandate for the fifteen-year life Dementia Discovery Fund which closed on £3,250m of committed capital.
Nick gained experience across the whole business with exposure to both unquoted and quoted portfolio companies and worked on many different funding and exiting structures and situations.
Nick splits his time between Topsham in Devon, Newquay in Cornwall and London.
Complementary Regional Initiatives
Gravity is a 635 acre site of scalable, flexible and shared workspace. Ideally located in the South West with unrivalled transport links.
Find out more
Tech South West is run by tech companies and clusters including Digital Plymouth, TechSPARK, Digital Northern Devon, Software Cornwall, Digital Taunton, Tech Exeter, Engine Shed and Silicon South.
Find out more
Launchpad is an innovative, post-graduate incubation and acceleration programme developed by Falmouth University that creates new digital businesses to meet identified market demand in just 12 months. Find out more
Engine Shed is a collaboration between Bristol City Council, the University of Bristol and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Engine Shed is a hub where businesses, entrepreneurs, academics, social innovators, and corporates collaborate. Find out more
Porton Down Innovation Centre is an exciting new development to augment the established Porton Science Park in south Wiltshire. Home to the Ministry of Defence’s Defence and Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Public Health England (PHE) Porton and Porton Biopharma Ltd.Find out more
Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy Hub are an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded research consortium. They provide research leadership to connect academia, industry, policy and public stakeholders, inspire innovation and maximise societal value in offshore wind, wave and tidal energy. Find out more
If you want to find out more about QantX or wish to apply for funding, please fill out the form below. We aim to respond within 48hours.