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.”