LEP Board agrees extra £1m to help grow businesses

Innovative start-up businesses and high-growth companies in Norfolk and Suffolk could be set to benefit with news of a new £1m allocation to New Anglia LEP’s ‘angel’ investment programme, New Anglia Capital. This takes the LEP’s overall allocation to the programme to £3m.

New Anglia Capital (NAC) is a co-investment fund with New Anglia LEP and Anglia Capital Group (ACG), who are based at Norwich Research Park. They bring angel investors together to kick-start new products and innovative ideas as well as supporting existing high growth companies.

Launched in 2014, NAC has now invested almost £2m in 13 businesses across the East. A total of 30 ‘angels’ have been recruited to ACG, with a further three members anticipated in each county by the end of 2018. Working together, NAC and ACG members have injected nearly £3.5m into the east’s economy, to support what is traditionally an underserved funding gap in the venture finance market.

Investments include:

  • £50,000 as part of a seed investment round in Newmarket tech company Spark EV. The investment is supporting the business development of Spark’s artificial intelligence-based journey prediction system for electric vehicles (EV). This includes adding a trade manager to support overseas sales, particularly in Scandinavia, where it is already receiving strong interest. Spark EV analyses live driver, vehicle and other data sources, such as the weather and congestion, using its advanced algorithms to increase the accuracy of journey predictions for electric vehicles. Research carried out by the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School estimates that the global market for EV prediction solutions will rise to at least £501m by 2022.
  • £28,000 in Norwich-based Artificial Intelligence entrepreneurs Rainbird, who have used their automated decision-making technology in areas as diverse as fraud detection, tax advice and physiotherapy
  • £200,000 in Ablatus Therapeutics, a spinout firm from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, to develop a new product that could improve cancer treatment for millions of patients worldwide. Tissue ablation is a surgical procedure used to destroy tissue, such as a tumour, in situ. Bimodal Electric Tissue Ablation (BETA) offers the potential to increase the size of the zone which can be treated.

 

Doug Field, chair of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: ““New Anglia Capital is dedicated to nurturing exciting, innovative new businesses and helping them grow and achieve their potential. That’s good for high-value job creation and economic growth in Norfolk and Suffolk – but it also brings new products to market sooner, for the benefit of us all. We’re delighted to continue that good work with a further £1m to help develop and grow businesses in our region.”

Hannah Smith, Business Manager at Anglia Capital Group, said: “Start-ups and early-stage businesses are the impetus behind the UK economy, and angel investment is the largest source of early stage capital in the UK. We are delighted that New Anglia LEP understands the importance of this form of finance and shares our vision to support a thriving start-up, innovation and investment ecosystem in Norfolk and Suffolk, with a clear impact on the economic health of the region.”

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