Q-Bot secures £1.5m of investment to accelerate growth and support the rollout of robotic insulation service

Q-Bot, the UK’s leading developer of robots for use in the construction industry, has closed an investment round of £450,000 supported by ClearlySo, Minerva Investors Group, Curious Capital, London Business Angels, Angels in The City and Chicago Booth Angels. The investment is leveraged with £1,050,000 funding from the EU Commission’s Horizon 2020 program, to bring the total funding up to £1.5m. The new funds will allow Q-Bot to roll out the world’s first affordable and truly scalable solution for under floor insulation.

Hayley Collen, Investment Director at ClearlySo: “This is an exciting time for Q-Bot as it looks to scale up in the UK and launch in new markets. ClearlySo is proud to have helped them raise capital at each step of their journey to improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel poverty for customers in the UK and beyond.”

With an estimated 10m homes needing under floor insulation in the UK alone and with markets in Northern Europe and the US, there is a huge need to develop more scalable approaches for the retrofit of insulation. Q-Bot has developed a highly innovative, robotic device that can deploy through a small opening, survey and map the space, apply insulation in situ and then validate the job done. This unique approach transforms inefficient, cold and draughty properties into warm and cosy homes at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional methods. It also minimises disruption for the occupants and can reduce energy bills by as much as 1/4, saving hundreds of pounds. This has resulted in Q-Bot acquiring significant clients in the social housing sector, including Camden Council, Cardiff City Council, CityWest Homes, Islington Council and Peabody.

Mathew Holloway, CEO & Co-Founder: “The support of our investors combined with co-funding from the EU Commission’s H2020 program, has enabled Q-Bot to secure the accreditation critical to our customers and partners including a BBA Agrément Certificate and CE Mark. Q-Bot is now poised to roll out the service across the UK and capitalise on successful trials in France and the US. This new investment will allow Q-Bot to accelerate growth and put in place the infrastructure required to deliver the service across the millions of homes that need it. Q-Bot has already created dozens of jobs and insulated hundreds of homes, but our goal is to have an impact on a global scale, by transforming the construction industry with smarter solutions.

Cornel Chirac, Chicago Booth Angels: “We are impressed by Mathew and his team’s vision for the future and Q-Bot’s accomplishments to date. Chicago Booth Angels Network is proud to support Q-Bot in solving a real problem through the use of technology for people in the UK and beyond.”

500 Startups and LBA and AiTC back SentiSum to drive a more customer-centric approach to the insurance sector through AI

SentiSum, a London-based, customer experience IaaS (Insights as a service) AI solution, has
closed an investment round from a syndicate of LBA/Angels in The City (AiTC) and other
investors including 500 Startups, Ascension Ventures and the London Co-Investment Fund.
SentiSum provides an OmniChannel analytics solution leveraging state of the art Artificial
Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities enabling customers to
accelerate customer intelligence within their business. SentiSum insights help companies gain
competitive advantage, improve bottom line and reduce churn.


"Our ultimate goal is to automate and accelerate business intelligence to make our customers
smarter, faster," stated Sharad Khandelwal, SentiSum CEO. "I'm thrilled to have the support of
our investors as we expand beyond retail to help customers in the insurance industry as well."
The insurance industry is consistently ranked as one of the worst for customer experience.
Customer Experience has become the new competitive battleground for companies in industries
that have become commoditized and lack significant differentiation between services and
product offerings. Anthony Clarke, LBA Managing Director, comments, “the insurance market
often provides a poor experience for its customers. Through its highly developed AI and NLP
capabilities, SentiSum has developed tools that can enable insurers to materially enhance these
experiences leading to improved outcomes for all.”


SentiSum's product can process massive volumes of data in real-time to identify key areas of
concern for companies and make recommendations for improvement.
“By combining customer sentiment across the insurance journey from every customer touch
point, SentiSum’s plug and play solution can immediately help to improve customer
retention.” says Andy Davies, former Marketing and Insights Director, AXA UK.
Additionally, the platform automates repetitive support processes leading to improved efficiency,
customer satisfaction and huge cost savings. This round will be used to further develop the
technology, boost sales and accelerate overall growth through global expansion.


About SentiSum
SentiSum enables businesses worldwide to measure and understand their customer experience
at a granular level. Our cloud-based platform connects and understands customer moments
across the business to accelerate and action insight in the moments that matter. SentiSum
helps improve the customer experience reducing churn, improving sentiment and improving
loyalty. SentiSum offers the competitive advantage to businesses that want to know when and
where their customers, and their competitors, have challenges in offering a superior experience.
Start a pilot and learn how even small efforts make a big difference at www.sentisum.com.

AiTC and LBA investors invest in Luxia, a Hospitality Tech & Media company

Luxia, a technology and media business in the global hospitality sector has closed an investment round from AiTC and LBA investors. This round also included participation from the London Co-Investment Fund (LCIF).

The company tackles the major commercial challenges that hoteliers now face from Online Travel Agents (OTAs like booking.com and hotels.com) that are responsible for up to 75% of bookings and charging fees of up to 25%. In a highly competitive industry running on tight margins, OTAs are placing huge financial strain on hoteliers big and small. Consequently, hoteliers are embracing technology to drive direct bookings, increase loyalty and digital revenues to compete and thrive.

LUXIA optimises guest-facing tech such as Wi-Fi landing pages and in-room television across the major hotel groups and in two years has grown its connected network to 2.3m rooms (8.5% market share). Hotel groups include Accor Hotels, Hilton, Starwood, Kempinski and many others. LUXIA enables hotels to monetise their digital assets by driving new revenues via premium advertising brands such as Burberry, Cartier, Google, HSBC, Mercedes, Moet, Ralph Lauren, uber and UBS to name a few.

This investment will enhance the scalability of Luxia platform and enable expansion into a number of large global partnerships.

Loving Angels Instead

LBA became part of the Newable family in April. On Election Day, we presented seven early stage businesses seeking equity investment, each with products and services leveraging Big Data and AI. In the audience, 150 Angel investors, looking out for the next big thing.

Seeking a mandate.

Our Company Presentation Event took place, rather appropriately, on General Election Day. The format was a series of ten-minute investment pitches. A kind of election hustings where companies present their business manifestos. This is a short question and answer session where each entrepreneur was given the “Paxman” by 150 potential investors / voters. The event also included a product demo area where investors could get to grips with both the technology and the people behind it. This event was supported by the City of London Corporation and held at The Alan Turing Institute. The location was particularly apt given the Institute, housed within the British Library, is the national institute for data science, with research interests covering data-centric engineering, high-performance computing and cyber-security, to smart cities, health, the economy and data ethics.

Great business. In the making.

The seven businesses were all early stage in their evolution. The point where the requirement for capital outstrips an ability to generate revenue and scale. All of the businesses had tested their market viability by generating revenue and the strongest candidates were those who indicated significant potential to scale. Angel investment is crucial for these companies. Often it is the difference between these companies going on to achieve their potential and, put bluntly, failing. Entrepreneurs find themselves requiring external support as they have already invested heavily in getting their business to this stage. Loans are not a realistic option as they are unlikely to have been trading for the requisite time period and their only significant asset will probably be their Intellectual Property. On the other hand, private equity and VC firms will typically only look at larger deals with more mature companies. Angel Finance therefore provides a vital role in the UK economy by supporting and sustaining these start-ups. However, it is not only about the money. Companies that take on Angel investment also benefit from the advice and counsel of the lead Angel investors who often have previous successful backgrounds in the same field.

Small business. Big ideas.

Here are the big ideas behind the seven companies that presented at the event:

  • Real-time customer experience intelligence for the insurance industry.
  • AI and machine learning to transform medical prognosis.
  • Enterprise software for autonomous 3D printing.
  • 3D Simulation and E-Learning technologies to aid medical & surgical training.
  • ntelligent robotic process automation.
  • Big data analytics for retailers.
  • Cloud and AI algorithms to transform supply chain management.

Raising funds.

Businesses typically look to raise up to £1m and many arrive at the event having already secured a significant proportion of the amount they require. Inevitably, with such early stage investment, the risk is considerable. The Government acknowledges this and supports investors by offering some of the most attractive tax breaks available anywhere in Europe. The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) offers tax relief, exemption from capital gains and inheritance tax providing certain criteria are met. Any investment loss can also be offset against tax. Individual angel investors can make investments in individual companies. However, many time poor Angel investors invest into LBA / Newable EIS SEIS funds. Some Angels do both.

Early stage business

These events work. LBA closed 28 angel-funded deals in 2016 raising circa £33m, including £5m of capital from LBA and its Associates. It will take a while to see which of the companies who presented last week secure the investment they seek. Early indications are positive with Feedback collected at the events showing all of the presentations scoring highly. The higher the score, the higher the chances of securing investment.

The Newable edge.

LBA joining the Newable family makes perfect sense. Newable’s mission is to help people start, sustain and scale their businesses. Equity investment is a natural extension to our debt offer. Newable is uniquely placed to provide a whole range of support services to these early stage businesses. Members from Newable teams that can help businesses access grant funding, Innovation to Succeed support as well as exporting expertise were on hand meeting the companies. However, this is just the beginning. Like the companies we work with, these are just the early stages of the plans we have to scale the LBA’s activity.

Get involved.

To find out more about LBA, investing in funds and the events programme contact Alexander Sleigh, Investment Director. yann.moulary@newable.co.uk

Dynamon raised investment from AiTC/LBA syndicate

Dynamon, a Telematics Data analysis company supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), has closed a an early stage investment round from investors including Angels in The City (AiTC) and LBA private investors. Dynamon is a fuel saving analytics specialist for road transport. The company provides fuel saving prediction software that uses telematics data to identify which fuel saving products transport and logistics companies should invest in. Fuel is the largest cost for road transport and logistics companies, and business margins are very small: ~2%.The software uses telematics data to predict fuel saving and ROI for any vehicle and fuel saving product. This significantly improves the information available to transport companies. This also benefits fuel saving product suppliers because it provides the individualised fuel saving predictions they need to increase sales.This round of funding will enable the company to develop its software product beyond proof of concept and to gain initial customers. Development will focus on functionality to provide recurring revenue, and to ensure that accurate, actionable and realistic fuel saving recommendations can be provided at scale. This development phase will involve initial pilot customers.

Anthony Clarke, LBA CEO, comments, “fuel costs are a the biggest single costs faced by transportation and logistics companies. The Dynamon software solution enables its customers to better analyse and manage their fuel transportation costs, thereby reducing overall costs and leading to a positive environmental impact. This round of funding will enable the company to significantly bolster its commercial activities and accelerate its growth ”.

LiveSmart raise £700,000 to scale up their B2B sales strategy

LiveSmart, a preventive health solution, has closed an undisclosed investment round including private investors from Angels in the City (AiTC) and the London Co-Investment Fund (LCIF). LiveSmart is developing a digital health improvement platform that is effective at driving behaviour change. The LiveSmart platform has already led to a significant number of clients taking positive health actions which have resulted in improved health scores.

The LiveSmart service is broken down into 3 key parts.

Collection – Pathology is collected via using a finger prick home test kit, through one of 50 clinics or using LiveSmart’s home visit service which covers the UK and Ireland. Data is also self-reported by the user and pulled in from all major wearable devices. The company has European reach with new pathology labs in France under contract.

Analysis – Results are then analysed by a GP together with a dietician before personal actions are given to customers. Results can be viewed online or via one of LiveSmart’s mobile apps.

Health Coaching – Customers then have the option to move onto LiveSmart’s telephone-coaching programme.

The company’s strategy for growth is through B2B and channel partnerships. The business pipeline is growing at a fast rate month on month. LiveSmart currently has strong engagement in the occupational health, intermediary and insurance sector.

This new round of funding will enable the company to resource new trial studies, continue to build out its technology and marketing functions and to execute its sales strategy.

Alex Heaton, Founder and CEO, commented, “Clients are buying our products because we have a market leading proposition that engages users and delivers lasting health outcomes”

Anthony Clarke, LBA CEO, comments, “the LiveSmart team has developed an innovative method for people to better monitor their health and wellness and be able to take positive actions to improve these. Already the product is being actively used by a number of blue chip clients and this new round of funding means that the company is poised to accelerate its growth.“

Angels in The City Programme (AiTC) celebrates its 5th Year Anniversary

AiTC participants raise circa £174M, creating over 1,000 jobs with 5 exits.

AiTC was founded in October 2011 by LBA (London Business Angels) and was supported by The City of London Corporation until earlier this year and continues to be supported by Lloyds Bank, The AiTC programme was also launched in Malaysia last year where it is now actively running.

Since the Angels in the City Programme was launched in October 2011, LBA has delivered 17 AiTC company presentation events (first AiTC Company Presentation Event in April 2012) giving 160 City of London and surrounding borough based potentially high growth seed and early stage technology companies the opportunity to present their investment propositions to new and existing private investors in the City.

Of these 160 presenting companies over 57% have raised investment. These companies raised a total of over £174m including significant investment participation from AiTC/LBA investors. The table below breaks down this investment further by sector.   

 

 

Highlights:

  • Total of 160 companies have participated in the AiTC programme over the past 5 years.
  • AiTC companies are now employing over 1,000 people (the equivalent of 250 new employees per year)
  • Some of 92 companies have raised over £174m with an average of circa £700k raised per company.
  • Over 700 private investors have participated in the programme’s series of investor workshops and company presentation events.
  • Through LBA’s partnership with the London Co-Investment Fund (LCIF), LCIF has co-invested over £2.2M in over 15 AiTC companies since January 2015 (an average of £120k per company).

 

Notable AiTC presenting company include:

  • Hopster raised over £7M since April 2013 including corporate investment from Sony Pictures – 1st  Kid’s growing app in UK.
  • Poq Studios raised £3.97M since April 2012 – A cloud platform for next generation app commerce.
  • Bubbles raised £4.25M since October 2013 – The Personal Shopper that helps you to buy better.
  • Network Locum raised £7.88M since April 2014 – Online network to match GP locums and practices directly.
  • Flatclub raised £11.3M since January 2015 – Enables world-leading organizations to offer outstanding moving support on a budget to their junior employees.
  • Kantox raised £13.6M since April 2012 – A multinational Fintech company offering FX management solutions.
  • Onfido raised £21M since June 2014 – Next-generation identity verification and background checks, helping businesses verify anyone in the world within seconds.
  • Gousto raised £27.8M since February 2013 – Recipe kit company that is disrupting the food industry.

There have been 5 AITC company exits since the programme commenced in 2011 in the form of:

  • Tedipay acquisition at growth stage (01/12/2014) acquired by Global Travel Ventures
  • Screenburn acquisition at Seed stage (30/06/2015) acquired by Way to Blue
  • Hassle.com €32m acquisition at venture stage (03/07/2015) acquired by Helping,
  • The Outside View acquisition at seed stage (2015) acquired by Rightmove,
  • Yomp acquisition at venture stage (08/03/2016) acquired by Reward Gateway.

A number of other previously AITC supported companies including Gousto, Onfido, Kantox, Flatclub, Network Locum, Bubbles and Hopster are showing signs of accelerated growth.

 

Anthony Clarke, CEO of LBA comments:

“AiTC has now been successfully operating in London for five years providing new angel investors from the Square Mile an insight of angel investment into London’s seed and early stage potentially high growth SMEs. The outcomes from our programme to date are impressive and in particular the total new investment of £174m raised to date by companies who have participated in AiTC coupled with their creation of over 1000 new jobs in London”.

Sony Pictures Television Acquires Minority Stake in Kids Video Service Hopster (EXCLUSIVE)

Sony Pictures Television Networks has acquired a minority stake in London-based Hopster, a video subscription service for kids content. Sony Pictures Television led Hopster’s latest round of funding, which also included additional money from previous investor Sandbox Partners. Neither company disclosed the exact funding amount.

Hopster is a video subscription service for the preschool crowd that’s available on iPad, Android and select TV-connected devices. The service, which costs $4.99 per month, offers ad-free content from DHX Media and others. The company claims to have more than 800,000 users, and says that its app has become the top-grossing preschool app in 24 countries.

“Investing in Hopster offers us an advantage in the fast-growing subscription kids’ space, and is a real opportunity to increase our on-demand services,” said Sony Pictures Television Western Europe EVP Kate Marsh.

Hopster isn’t the only company that is targeting the little ones, and their parents, with video subscription services. Brazil’s Movile has been offering similar content via its PlayKids app, and Netflix itself has also been heavily engaged in the kids space, even funding its own original children’s content.

Hopster aims to differentiate itself from the competition by not only offering videos and TV shows, but also interactive content. Kids can also use the app to play learning games and listen to nursery rhymes. And finally, Hopster makes it possible for parents to download shows for their kids for offline viewing — a feature that Netflix has been looking into, but hasn’t committed to yet.

LBA has Designs on zeroheight

LBA is pleased to announce that SaaS start-up zeroheight, a platform that enables web & mobile design teams to work together at scale, using design systems has closed a £300k investment round which included participation from LBA members and the London Co-Investment Fund as well as Ascension Ventures. zeroheight is a graduate of Entrepreneur First’s 2016 cohort.
 
zeroheight enables designers to build a design system in the cloud and use it to collaborate in order to build high-quality applications. The zeroheight plugins for Photoshop and Sketch allow designers to easily create and upload components from their designs to a central design repository. These plugins, along with the central repository, keep designers in sync and allow them to produce more consistent user experiences. zeroheight has on on-boarded clients such as M&S, BBC and Locassa.

Jerome de Lafargue, co-founder and CEO of zeroheight commented:
 
“I met my co-founder, Robin Tindale, when we were both working at Bloomberg.  I was working on their iOS/Android Apps and Robin was a back-end systems engineer. We quickly realized how difficult it was for designers to collaborate and that’s where the idea for zeroheight was formed.  Unlike developer tools, we feel designer tools haven’t kept up with the complexity and pace of the software industry.  Not only does this mean collaboration is inefficient, but the lack of tools makes it harder for them to create polished, coherent products”. He added, “in a nutshell, we want to democratize sophisticated design infrastructure and make it easy for design teams of any size to create a design system, without spending huge amounts of money.”

Angels in the City, LBA and LCIF syndicate backs Vallie, an on demand valet parking company

London based digital parking start-up, Vallie (https://www.vallie.co.uk ) has secured an investment round with participation from Angels in the City and London Business Angels' investors and the London Co-Investment Fund (LCIF). The company was founded in 2015 by ex Googler Nash Islam and Robin Doble and offers an on-demand parking service for drivers to book, meet & greet valet parking anywhere in London for less than the cost of car parks.  Vallie’s on-demand parking business model has been successful in the US, with two separate startups raising $25 million+ in their first year of operations. Vallie is first to market in London and intends to use the investment to win the London market and move fast to quickly capture other European markets, building a brand and service that urban car drivers will not only love but find indispensable.

Nash Islam, Vallie CEO, comments, “London is one of the most difficult and expensive places to park in the world. Our customers love Vallie and the services we provide. It’s not just parking, it’s about improving the entire car owner experience and make driving into London work for both the driver and the city. Vallie’s model can work well in almost any city across the world. This round allows Vallie to deliver on that potential immediately”.

 Anthony Clarke, LBA CEO, comments, “in an age of traffic congestion and a lack of parking spaces, Vallie has developed a disruptive solution that enables drivers to book valet parking on demand at less than the cost of parking in a car park. The Vallie management team has a track record of success and the Vallie product is already being used by a number of drivers on a regular basis. This new funding means that the company is well positioned to scale its growth”

Puneet Bhatia, LCIF Fund Manager, comments, “We are excited to be supporting Vallie – UK’s first on demand valet parking service and we believe that they have a potent combination for success - great team, market opportunity and proof of concept"

 

 More info on https://www.vallie.co.uk

Angels in the City, LBA and LCIF syndicate backs City Pantry, an online B2B food delivery service

London based B2B food delivery company, City Pantry (https://citypantry.com) has secured an investment round with participation from Angels in the City and LBA's investors and the London Co-Investment Fund (LCIF). The company was founded in 2013 by Stuart Sunderland and has developed a leading platform that enables a user to organise food for up to 1000 people in a matter of minutes. For customers with regular catering needs City Pantry offer a ‘Meal plan’ tool, which allows the Office Manager to arrange their whole month’s worth of orders in one easy process that takes under 10 minutes. The City Pantry service is used by multiple clients to organize their daily food requirements. The investment will be used to roll out the service further in the London market before expanding to other European cities in 2017.

Stuart Sunderland, City Pantry CEO, comments, “We’re delighted to have secured this funding, which we’ll use to build on our offer in London, invest in sales, marketing and engineering, and target new cities both in the UK and across Europe.”

Anthony Clarke, LBA CEO, comments, “the city pantry service, which is actively being used by a range of blue-chip clients, allows organisations to plan and organise their catering needs and in turn improve client and employee happiness. This latest round of funding will allow the service to be rolled out further in London and internationally and we wish Stuart and his team well as they now scale up their growth.

Puneet Bhatia, LCIF Fund Manager, comments, “The market opportunity to fulfill latent corporate needs is huge and City Pantry, who aims to disrupt the roughly estimated £8bn UK corporate catering market, is a fine example of how start-ups can identify such demand and seize this massive market opportunity with innovative solutions.”

More info on https://www.citypantry.com

AiTC backs Advizzo

London based utility software specialist,  Advizzo  (http://www.advizzo.com/ ) has secured an investment round from an LBA syndicate, including the London Co-Investment Fund (LCIF). The company, founded in June 2015 by a team of cloud based software development experts, has developed a software platform to enhance customer engagement for large utilities companies.  Since launch, Advizzo has already engaged with a number of Utilities B2B clients in both the UK and France with an ever increasing pipeline in place.  The investment will be used to deliver projects and increase sales capacity and development resources and marks the 14th investment that the LCIF has made alongside LBA since January 2015.

 Patrice Guillouzic, Advizzo CEO, comments, ““We are really pleased that such an experienced group of investors have backed Advizzo’s growth. The new capital will support our software development and allow Utilities to reinvent the way they communicate with their end consumers and help them use the water and energy they just need. The combination of behavioural sciences with big data software is super powerful to have residential consumers taking charge of their consumptions and connect with their Utilities.”

 Anthony Clarke, LBA CEO, comments, “Patrice and his team have developed a highly scalable and innovative software platform which has the potential to disrupt the way that customers engage with their utility suppliers. Despite only having incorporated last year, the company has already engaged with a number of blue chip Utilities and demonstrates a strong commercial traction. Our LBA syndicate’s investment alongside our partners at the LCIF, should give the company a good base from which accelerated growth can be achieved.”

Puneet Bhatia, LCIF Fund Manager, comments, “We are glad to be able to support Advizzo in developing its software platform for utilities. It's a fantastic endeavour to make our cities, utilities and their customer engagement smarter and better informed."

 More info on www.advizzo.com

StepJockey raises £600,000 to fuel growth and corporate wellness innovation

StepJockey Ltd today announced that it has secured £600,000 in new investment capital to drive the company’s growth in the corporate wellness and facilities management sectors.

The investment round was led by London Business Angels (LBA) and was supported by Angels in Med City and Capital Enterprise. It includes substantial participation from Sevenex Capital Partners, the London Co-Investment Fund as well as a consortium of private investors.

StepJockey promotes wellness and fights sedentary behaviour in multi-storey office buildings by labelling stairs for calorie burn and gamifying stair use by staff. Combining the latest near field technologies and behavioural economics, StepJockey's unique smart signs and gamification platform enable employers to make their offices visibly healthier and more active without the need for large-scale capital investment. Benefits include:

  • More active and engaged employees
  • An ability to impact all staff within an office (not just the active minority)
  • Quantifiable ROI via time, energy and carbon savings
  • Rich data feedback for wellness, sustainability and CSR reporting

StepJockey was seed-funded by the UK Department of Health via the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI). It effectively combats sedentary behaviour in large office buildings - a leading cause of long-term illness and lost business productivity.

Since launch in November 2013, StepJockey has labelled more than 6,000 staircases in 90 countries. Customers include Deloitte, Disney, Barclays, KPMG, ITV, Jones Lang LaSalle, Lloyds of London and L&G as well as a growing number of hospitals, universities and public authorities both in the UK and overseas.

StepJockey will use the new capital to expand its sales, marketing and product development operations. Paul Nuki, co-founder and CEO of StepJockey, said: “We are delighted that such an experienced group of investors have backed StepJockey’s expansion. The new capital will allow us to bring our evidence-based and uniquely inclusive wellness intervention to many thousands of desk-bound office workers in the UK and around the world”.

London and the South East of England is rapidly becoming a key destination for life science research, development and commercialisation. Dr Eliot Forster, Executive Chair of MedCity, said: “Health-focused entrepreneurs are increasingly embracing the view that helping people to keep healthy and active is at least as important as developing better ways to manage and treat illnesses when they develop. StepJockey is a great example of that, taking a really innovative approach to how people can build activity into their day-to-day lives. I’m delighted to see the company growing and really pleased that we could support them through Angels in MedCity.”

Sevenex Capital Partners joined with private investors including leading life science analysts Duncan Moore and Mark Tracey as well as Rowan Gormley, CEO of Majestic and Nakedwines.com, in backing StepJockey.

Jonathan Feroze of Sevenex said: “StepJockey is not just a very clever, very scalable idea: it also has the potential to transform aspects of corporate well-being, culture and performance."

Anthony Clarke CEO of LBA, said: “It is encouraging that Step Jockey already has a significant number of worldwide customers and revenues from its highly innovative and scalable health and wellness platform which has the potential to change the daily behaviour of employees at work. It is notable that an LBA syndicate anchored by value-add lead angels investors alongside the 2015 LBA EIS Roundtable Syndicate Fund and our partner the £25m London Co-Investment Fund have also participated in this funding round”.

Notes for editors
StepJockey is part of the active design movement. We see the world as a gym and we make sedentary buildings active by promoting and gamifying stair use.

Our smart signs give the calorie burn data for office stairs and increase stair use in office buildings by 20%-40%. Our stair climbing Challenges can increase stair use by up to 800%. Unlike pedometers and other personal fitness devices, StepJockey impacts and engages the vast majority of people within a building.

It is this ability to involve all (not just the already fit minority) that is the key to designing and implementing a cost effective and impactful corporate wellness initiative.

Benefits for employers:

  • An effective and affordable way to promote health throughout the workplace
  • Improves staff engagement and productivity with quantifiable ROI
  • Engages and benefits everyone in the building, not just a minority
  • Clearly signals to stakeholders that you value a healthy work environment
  • Helps meet Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) standards
  • Reduces lift congestion, carbon emissions and improves fire safety

Benefits for consumers:

  • Rate and label any set of stairs quickly, simply and without charge
  • Track and compare your stair-climbing performance with a free app
  • Take part in stair climbing challenges with friends and colleagues
  • Improve the health of others in your building by labelling it for calorie burn
  • Be part of a global community which is promoting workplace wellness

Stair climbing facts:

  1. Stair climbing burns 8-9 times more energy than sitting and about 7 times more energy than taking a lift. Per minute, stair climbing burns more calories than jogging
  2. A Harvard Alumni Study found that men who average at least eight flights a day enjoy a 33% lower mortality rate than men who are sedentary
  3. You also burn calories going down stairs but perhaps more important, descending stairs builds bone strength and density - vital to reducing your osteoporosis risk
  4. Just 7 minutes stair climbing a day has been estimated to more than half the risk of a heart attack over 10 years
  5. Climbing stairs two at a time burns more calories per second but you get there quicker. Research shows you burn more calories on average climbing stairs one at a time.

London Business Angels back Astrid & Miyu, a contemporary jewellery brand, with £600,000 in new investment

London based Astrid & Miyu (www.astridandmiyu.com) was founded 4 years ago by Connie Nam in order to solve her shopping pains of not being able to find a jewellery brand that provides unique but wearable jewellery pieces at affordable price points. Since launch, the brand’s sales have grown at more than 100% every year.

This early stage fast growing jewellery company now has secured £600,000 of investment from a London Business Angels and Angels in the City Angel Syndicate including LBA’s in house EIS Fund in addition to funding from LBA’s partner, the £25m London Co-Investment Fund. The new funds are to be used to further fuel online growth and to open a flagship store this autumn in London. Harbottle and Lewis acted as the facilitiating solicitor for this transaction. 

Connie Nam CEO OF Astrid & Miyu comments” It has been just a joy working with London Business Angels throughout our fund raising process. They guided me from pitching to answering tough questions, and most importantly have been crucial in helping us to complete the round. The majority of our angel investors, including our lead investor, come from their Group, and they’ve also helped me secure funding from the London Co-Investment Fund. The entire process was swift and smooth and everyone’s been extremely supportive. I’m excited to be on a long-term journey with all the LBA and the investors”.

Anthony Clarke CEO of London Business Angels comments “The Jewellery market in the UK alone is worth £5bn, with costume jewellery market size at £500m.The costume jewellery market, where Astrid & Miyu sits, has been growing rapidly at a rate of 40% over the last 5 years. Our LBA syndicate led by an experienced sector specific angel investor believes that there is a clear gap and room in the market for Astrid & Miyu to become a market leader with the company offering well branded, well made and well designed jewellery at affordable price points for fashion savvy young women. The company originally presented to us with a view to raising up to £500k and has now closed at £600k assisted by investment from LBA’s partner the London Co Investment Fund."

Maggie Rodriguez CEO of Funding London comments “It is very pleasing to support the development of one of London’s core strengths: fashion and design via the LCIF’s investment in Astrid and Miyu.”

Kayar Raghavan, the Lead Angel comments: “Astrid & Miyu’s unique designs are a great attraction for its target clientele. I expect the current round of funding to go a long way in reinforcing the firm’s sourcing, supply chain and expansion drive in the months to come. I am thrilled to have been able to lead this round of investment on behalf of the London Business Angels syndicate and support a marquee firm in stylish costume jewellery headed by a passionate founder in Connie Nam”.

Angels in the City’s top 10 Movers and Shakers

Angels in the City, a programme devised and delivered by London Business Angels, one of the UK’s leading angel investment networks with over 30 years of experience has selected its top 10 businesses to watch from its Angels in the City programme. These 10 companies have raised £11m of total investment from Angels in the City and its associated investors alongside further early stage co-investors.

 The Angels in the City programme has been running for over three years without any fees/charges to either its angel investors or entrepreneurs. In that time some 120 companies have been supported through the programme of which over 40 have gone on to raise over £40m of investment, Theprogramme is supported through grant and in-kind sponsorship from the City of London, Lloyds Bank and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

 Angels in the City has selected its top 10 companies to watch. All of these companies having successfully raised money through the Angels in the City programme:-

Captive Media is a digital Out-of-Home and Interactive advertising signage business. The Company successfully raised over£600k of investment earlier this year after joining the Angels in the City programme in late 2014 including a circa £100k investment from the London Co-Investment Fund (being this fund’s first ever investment). Captive Media recently announced the expansion of their network to 200 screens in 16 cities across the UK.

Curb is a preventive health app and offers a digital process for people with unhealthy cravings. The company uses machine learning, in order to break these habits. The company raised an SEIS round of £150k through Angels in the City in mid-2014 and has since gone on to raise an EIS investment round as well as signing a number of major deals with blue chip pharmaceutical companies.

FlatClub is the leading marketplace for medium term stays, between a few weeks to a few months, when stays are too short for real estate agents and too long (and expensive) to use Airbnb / Hotels. FlatClub has contracts with Google, Microsoft and LEK Consulting as corporate customers in addition to 50 university partnerships. The company participated in Angels in the City in early 2015 and has recently closed a £1m angel round which included a £150k investment by the London Co-Investment Fund. FlatClub achieved 300% revenue growth in 2014.

Hopster founded in 2012, aims to re-invent the children’s TV channel as an app for iPads and other connected devices, turning TV into an interactive, experience that combines entertainment and learning– and shaking up the $200bn pay-TV industry.  The company raised significant investment from Angels in the City and associated investors in December 2013 and has sincebeen named by Apple as one of 2014’s best apps having been downloaded over 200k times. Recently, the company secured a multi-million pound equity investment by a strategic investor to roll out its products internationally.  The company has also signed commercial partnerships with Samsung and DreamWorks Classics.

Intern Avenue is a Talent Management Platform for skilled graduates to connect with employers. The company’s proprietary technology uses standardised data to automate the filtering and matching process of finding the best candidates for available opportunities. The company closed a £600k round through Angels in the City in early 2014. Around 2,000 employers and 40,000 intern applicants have registered with the service.

Network Locum founded in 2011 is a disruptive online marketplace connecting medical organisations and medical locums online. Angels in the City helped the company to complete a significant investment round in April 2014. Network Locum has used the funds to gain market share in the GP sector and expand into the care homes market to build on its network of 700 GP practices and 2,000 GPs.

Onfido is an online employment screening company with a data-driven platform that helps employers make fast, informed decisions on who they can trust. Founded in August 2012 by four Oxford University graduates, the company enrolled in the Angels in the City programme in June 2014, successfully completing a funding round. Onfido recently raised a $4.5m Series A and now provides background checking services for over 400 clients in the US and 28 countries across Europe.

Sales Gossip aims to help retailers drive traffic & footfall by targeting their promotions to the relevant customers and give shoppers access to every fashion & beauty promotion, with personalised alerts from their favourite brands. Described as the “Tinder for fashion”, Sales Gossip connects customers to over 1,500 brands. The company successfully raised £600k in January 2014 and has over 300,000 subscribers to its service.

The Backscratchers connects companies with recommended talent for projects via their platform, saving clients an average of 90% of the cost of finding top talent. The company successfully raised funds through Angels in the City in December 2013 and has gone on to secure clients including Unilever, Sony, Red Bull, Universal, Ogilvy, BBH and many more.

Uncovered created a two-sided marketplace that matches excess supply with consumer demand through an app that offers a short list of restaurants based on consumers’ geo-positioning and table availability, allowing diners to discover and book a restaurant in under a minute. The company completed a significant funding round in August 2014 and it now counts more than 200 restaurants on its books.

In addition to these companies, a number of other Angels in the City participants who raised money from other angel and institutional investors are well placed to make a big impact in 2015:

Hassle offers a free-to-the-consumer, destination web site that puts together buyers (consumers) and sellers of home based services. The company is backed by Accel Partners and raised £3.5m last year.

Gousto is a weekly subscription service which makes it easy for customers to cook healthy and well-balanced meals at home. The company recently raised $8.3m from Unilever’s venture capital arm and London-based MMC Ventures.

Tamoco is a technology enabler and consumer data company using mobile technology to make physical marketing interactive. The company secured at £3m in financing last year from China-based First Eastern Investment Group.

Grabble is a fashion app for web and mobile that helps users discover, browse, save and purchase the latest fashion in one place. The company now boasts clients such as Topshop, Asos, Selfriges & co and Zara and raised over £1m from high profile angel investors.

Kantox  allows companies to directly find counterparties to match and net their future cash-flows in foreign currencies without the intermediation of banks. Following the company’s successful circa £5m fundraising it now has more than 1000 clients trading over 25 currencies and it has seen more than $1.1bn exchanged over its platform.

Anthony Clarke, London Business Angels, CEO comments, “since launching over 3 years ago at the City Hall, the Angels in the City programme has established itself as a go-to place for City of London based companies to raise growth capital. Over 120 companies have now benefited from the support and mentoring afforded by the programme with many going on to raise significant rounds of investment, thereby creating many newjobs and economic growth in the City.  Having recently become a partner of the £25m London Co-Investment, LBA is better placed than ever to help the next wave of London’s digital tech entrepreneurs to create world class companies. “

About London Business Angels

LBA is one of the most experienced private angel networks in the UK. Since the early 1980s the network has been connecting innovating fast growth small and medium sized enterprises with investment through our network of business angel investors. LBA, part of Angel Capital Group, is professionally managed by a highly experienced management team, leveraging over 15 years’ experience in the early stage investment marketplace as established leaders in the development of new angel-led early stage investment initiatives, and nearly 30 years’ investing experience through the LBA network. LBA is a founding member of the UK Business Angels Association, the industry's best practice trade association, and is also a member of EBAN, the European Business Angels Network.

For more information on London Business Angels and Angels in the city please visit our websites or contact:

Callum Lee – callum.l@angelcapital.co.uk  - 0207 321 5670

Alexander Sleigh - Alexander.s@angelcapital.co.uk - 0207 321 5670

Angels in the City company Uncover raised £1m in seed capital

Skip the long waiting lists at London’s most in-demand restaurants with a new app which can get you a table the very same day.

Created by technology enthusiasts and self-confessed foodies, Uncover works by showing users cancelled reservations at the capital’s trendiest restaurants like Nobu and Gymkhana - as well as Michelin-starred gems like Le Gavroche.

After receiving £1million in seed capital founders David Saenz, Dan Ziv and Christopher Steinau launched the app, allowing Londoners to book lunch and dinner in seconds for places you usually have to wait months for.

It curates a shortlist of restaurants using preferences, geo-location and critic and diner reviews, with the team personally test-driving each one before it makes it.

The team behind Uncover has worked for leading technology companies such as YPlan, and Christopher, its head of marketing, said, “The diners’ experience is at the heart of everything we stand for.

“We want to make booking the best restaurants at the last minute a seamless experience, and help people to discover incredible places they haven’t heard of yet.”

There is also a dedicated customer service line if you need some advice on where to go, and with 2014 seeing the highest ever rate of new openings in the city there are plenty to choose from.

“Essentially we are flipping the traditional last minute booking process on its head,” said Dan, Uncover’s head of product.

“Instead of the user having to do all the work to find an available table at one of London’s best restaurants, the team and technology behind Uncover does the work instead.”

Some of the restaurants available through Uncover include: Hakkasan, Pied a Terre, Le Chalet, Rotorino and Hutong at the Shard.

Source: http://www.london24.com/news/business/get_a_table_at_london_s_top_restaurants_like_nobu_and_gymkhana_with_uncover_1_3943436

Angels in the City company Grabble closes $1.8m angel round

Various startups out there are trying to create either an Instagram or Tinder for fashion, ultimately leading the buyer towards a purchase. This is the Holy Grail and you will easily uncover a multitude of companies trying to achieve something along these lines, even though the approaches and business models vary. In Europe the main players are new-ish startups like ASAP 54 (a TechCrunch Battlefield alumni), Shopcade, Snap Fashion and longer-player Mallzee. Some take an inventory approach, pulling feeds from retailers, some take an algorithmic image identification approach like Snap Fashion. One of the newer players is Grabble, an iOS and Android app who’s Tinder-like interface has piqued the interest of users.

It’s now closed a £1.2 million ($1.8m) funding round from a number of Angels. Grabble is about “instant, shoppable fashion content that can be bought on the go, by users, in just a couple of swipes.” Retailers of any size can add their products into Grabble and users can checkout their purchases simply from within the app.

The Angels involved include:
• Alex Hoye, chairman of Skimlinks, co-founder Ski-company Faction (three web exits with one public listing)
• Darren Childs, CEO of UKTV, Ex MD of BBC Worldwide
• Marc Boyan, Founder and CEO of Miroma Ventures
• Guy Hipwell, Head of E Commerce at C&A, previously head of Ecomm at Liberty’s and Harrods
• Seamus Keating, Ex CFO of Logitech Worldwide
• Nishul Saperia, Founding Team of London startup ‘Markit’ which had a $1bn IPO
• Pablo Barclay, CEO and founder of Rubbersole.co.uk which exited to Spartoo
• A Silicon Valley-based angel fund
• Chris Conn, Co Founder & CTO Fusepump, sold to WPP in 2014
• Rob Durkin, Co Founder Fusepump, sold to WPP in 2014′

Co Founder and CMO Daniel Murray and Joel Freeman, Co Founder and CEO tell us the cash will be used to expand in the US and Asia. To do so they’ve hired the ex Global Head Stylist from Net a Porter Group, among others.

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2015/02/20/grabble-closes-1-8m-angel-round-for-its-tinder-like-fashion-shopping-app/

Angels in the City company Onfido raises $4.5m in Series A round

Onfido, a London, UK-based online background checking company which specialises in providing automated background checks to the shared economy, raised $4.5m in Series A funding round.

The round was led by Wellington Partners (with Eric Archambeau joining the Onfido Board), with participation from CrunchFund and angels Brent Hoberman (co-founder, Lastminute.com), Nicolas Brusson (co-founder, BlaBlaCar), Greg Marsh (co-founder, Onefinestay), Spencer Hyman (co-founder, Artfinder) and Dan Cobley (former MD, Google UK).

The company, which has raised a total of $5.3m to date, intends to use the funds to further penetrate the US market and launch in other European countries later this year.

Founded in 2012 by Husayn Kassai, CEO, Eamon Jubbawy, and Ruhul Amin, Onfido provides a data-driven platform that allows companies to carry out global remote verification on the workers that use their platforms.

The company currently carry out their checks in 28 countries across Europe and are aiming to be in 35 countries by the end of the year. It serves more than 400 clients across Europe including Handy, Homejoy and Hays.

Source: http://www.finsmes.com/2015/02/onfido-raises-4-5m-in-series-a-funding-round.html

LBA’s Angels in the City backed Hopster raises multi-million pound growth capital round

Angels in the City backed company Hopster has recently received a multi-million pound investment from Sandbox Partners Private Limited, a strategic  international investor in the learning and media space.

Angels in the City is an initiative devised and being delivered by London Business Angels (www.lbangels.co.uk) in collaboration with The City of London Corporation, Lloyds Bank and the European Regional Development Fund 2007-2013 through the Capital Accelerator Programme (CAP). Angels in the City aims to raise awareness of individuals to become investors and bring their financial capacity and business experience to invest in innovative companies in and around the Tech City Cluster. To date, over 17 angel investor workshops have taken place attended by 500 potential angel investors. A further 12 company presentation events have taken place with 115 early stage London based companies joining an investment readiness programme before presenting their investment opportunities to Angels in the City Investors. Over 40 of these companies have now raised circa £35m from a range of investors including significant investment from Angels in the City and its associated investors.

Hopster, a leading interactive TV and learning platform for preschoolers which has currently recorded 200,000 downloads raised a significant round from Angels in the City investors in December 2013. This latest round of funding will enable the company to launch its product internationally and already gives these Angels in the City Investors a significant on-paper return on their initial investment.

Nicholas Walter CEO of Hopster, said: “The funding we received from LBA’s Angels in the City programme helped to fill a gap; we needed more money than we could raise from friends and relatives, but it was too soon for us to go down the conventional Venture Capital route. As well as the financial backing to get the business off the ground, our investors offered us valuable strategic advice which has helped us grow. Hopster's grown strongly since we closed the funding - Apple iTunes has ranked us in the top 20 for children’s apps and we are currently planning to expand our operation internationally. None of this would have been possible without that initial support.”

Speaking of the City of London Corporation’s support for Angels in the City, its Policy Chairman Mark Boleat, said: “Individual investors are a vital source of finance for burgeoning start-ups in the City. The rise of high-growth potential tech firms has transformed the area in and around the Square Mile and driven economic growth. As well as the opportunity to gain a healthy financial return, investors can help grow an exciting new business from the beginning and be confident in the knowledge that they are supporting job creation in the capital. We hope more City workers will choose to become investors.”

Anthony Clarke, London Business Angels CEO, comments, “ Hopster is an excellent example of the type of City based SMEs that the Angels in the City Programme was designed to support. The company, led a by a first-class management team, has seen significant early traction of its interactive TV and learning platform since Angels in the City investors made their initial investment. Indeed as part of the earlier round a highly experienced lead Angels in the City investor  joined the Hopster board adding significant value. The City of London’s recent  one year extension of  our  Angels in the City initiative to April 2016 coincides with LBA’s recent partnership with the £25m London Co-Investment Fund.  We now look forward to helping the next wave of “Hopsters” to accelerate their growth.”

London Business Angels £200k Investors partner with £25m London Co-Investment Fund to close the fund’s first ever co-investment - into Captive Media

London based digital outdoor advertising company, Captive Media (http://www.captive-media.co.uk/), has closed a £617k investment round, cornerstoned by a circa £200k investment from London Business Angels (LBA) investors and including a £65k investment by the LBA EIS Roundtable Syndicate Fund 2014 and a £90k investment by the new £25m London Co-Investment Fund. The company provides a highly entertaining form of advertising which addresses the problem of young people filtering out adverts. Captive Media’s advertising products are currently in over 50 UK venues and in 12 other countries. The company will use the new funding to extend its network of venues, both in the U.K and internationally.

 Gordon MacSween, Captive Media CEO, comments, “In 2014 we built a small, ad-based network in London and ran ad campaigns for Diageo, Apple, 20th Century Fox and other big brands.  Now, with the backing of LBA, LCIF and other UK angels, we are creating a nationwide network of 200 screens.  It’s a rare thing to say you make 100,000 laugh every week - and the best possible way to address the problem of advertising to a young, male audience.”

 Maggie Rodriguez Piza, Funding London CEO, comments, ““We launched the London Co-investment Fund with the specific aim of allowing London's entrepreneurs to scale up their high growth ideas and gain commercial traction. We believe that the co-investment approach is key for closing investment rounds at this crucial stage in the SME life cycle. We are pleased that the fund's participation alongside LBAN and other angels will contribute towards the scaling up of this innovative advertising solution. ‎”

 Anthony Clarke, London Business Angels CEO, comments, “the Captive Media team have developed a highly innovative and entertaining advertising platform whose ability to scale has already been proven at over 30 London venues. The LBA syndicate of £200k plus additional co-investment will allow the company to roll out its products at more venues across the UK and globally. I am also pleased that LBA was able to complete its first co-investment through its partnership with the £25m London Co-Investment Fund.”