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29/06/2015

Wales Technology Seed Fund passes £1 million milestone after first year

A Welsh Government fund specifically created to invest in technology start-ups and IP-rich university spin-outs in Wales has invested £1.2 million in nine Welsh technology start-ups creating 28 jobs in just over 12 months.

Finance Wales’ investments from the Wales Technology Seed Fund are helping these businesses to commercialise and bring to market innovative products and services in a range of sectors including health and fitness, bioscience, entertainment, data management and travel.

Welcoming Finance Wales’ announcement, Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: “The Wales Technology Seed Fund has had a significant impact in its first year.  It’s already boosting the growth of technology businesses, helping to create high-calibre job opportunities and bring innovative new products to market.

“I’m also pleased to see the range and diversity of businesses working across the sectors that are benefiting from the Fund which is providing the finance needed to take their businesses to the next level.”

The Wales Technology Seed Fund can make equity investments of up to £150,000 and these can be used alongside a range of other Welsh Government support as well as further investment from Finance Wales.

These companies can also benefit from Finance Wales’ links with leading private and institutional co-investors as they grow and Finance Wales can also support new management teams through its network of industry experts. 

Wales Technology Seed Fund Manager James Henderson believes the fund is helping to provide the vibrant community of technology start-ups in Wales with the finance they need: “There’s a huge amount of innovation in Wales at the moment and we’re backing ambitious young entrepreneurs who aren’t following traditional employment routes as well as exciting new spin-outs from Wales’ excellent universities.

“The Wales Technology Seed Fund is helping disruptive, technology-driven businesses to commercialise their big ideas and turn them into businesses.  We can introduce the businesses we invest in to experienced co-investors and industry experts early on, helping their management teams build commercial traction.”

Caerphilly health technology business, nudjed and Cardiff-based Nemesis Bioscience have both benefitted from investments from the Wales Technology Seed Fund.

nudjed, Caerphilly

Health technology business, nudjed was the first company to benefit from the fund, receiving a £125,000 investment to support its launch in October last year. 

nudjed has since gone on to raise a further £125,000 from a group of angel investors.

Warren Fauvel the Founder and Chief Executive commented: “The Wales Technology Seed Fund was an ideal source of funding at the right time for nudjed.  It allowed us to launch successfully, develop the business and go on to secure further investment.”

Nemesis  Bioscience, Cardiff

Nemesis Bioscience was founded in March 2014 to address the global issue of increasing bacterial resistance to commonly used antibiotics. The company used a £150,000 investment from the fund to help open a new therapeutic development facility in the Medicentre at Cardiff’s Heath Hospital to further its research.

Dr Frank Massam, Nemesis’ Chief Executive said: “The early support we have received for our ideas and technologies from the fund has been very encouraging. We are delighted that this will allow us to maintain the very rapid momentum we have achieved in a short time and we are now beginning conversations to fund the next stage of the company’s pre-clinical development plans.”

Now in its second year, the Wales Technology Seed Fund has a strong pipeline of potential investments from businesses based throughout Wales and Henderson believes there is more to come from the businesses in Wales’ vibrant start-up community: “Tech Nation recently named South Wales as one of the UK’s top 5 fastest growing digital areas in the UK this year and the medical devices and life science sectors have been flourishing here for some time now.
 
“This is all very positive for the future and the businesses we’ve invested in so far are already employing staff and have plans to recruit around 180 staff as they grow.   I’m keen for more technology start-ups and spin-outs to understand how Finance Wales can help them become leading Welsh technology businesses of the future.”