UKBAA 2019 Angel Investment Awards winners announced

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UK Business Angels Association

03 July 2019

On Tuesday 2nd July 2019, over 380 of the most progressive angel, VC investors and industry leaders from across the UK gathered at Illuminate at the Science Museum in London for the 2019 UKBAA Angel Investment Awards.

Hundreds of applications were received and reviewed by over 40 leading judges to select the very best from across the UK’s investment ecosystem across 15 categories. The awards recognised top angels, leading VCs and the trailblazing businesses they back.

The 2019 winners are:

ANGEL OF THE YEAR

SPONSOR: Newable

PRESENTED BY: Rita Dhut, Newable

WINNER: Vin Murria OBE

Vin Murria OBE is a successful technology entrepreneurs and active investor, with over 20 years’ experience in M&A and software sectors, having founded Advanced Computer Systems which she built into a publicly listed company and exited successfully in 2015. Vin is passionate about helping women in tech and also recognises the importance of supporting women to access investment in regions outside the golden triangle. Her own portfolio is almost exclusively in women, having made 10 investments in early stage entrepreneurs, bringing strong mentorship and deep strategic support to her portfolio businesses, building on her extensive industry connections and wide board room experience.

The judges felt Vin would make a strong ambassador for UKBAA, supporting our focus on women in entrepreneurship and encouraging more women in investment and bringing more diversity in the investment base.

WINNER: Sunil Shah

Sunil is a successful entrepreneur and very active angel investor deeply committed to investing in lifesciences and biotech therapeutics as a major growth sector across the UK. He invests in very early stage businesses having made over 25 investments so far in lifesciences as well as other technologies. Whilst based in Cambridge, he has backed entrepreneurs across the UK. Sunil is very keen to help more people to understand the potential of investing in the life-sciences space since he feels that not enough people recognise the opportunity and especially encouraging investors from the Indian diaspora to engage.

The Judges felt that Sunil would make an excellent ambassador for UKBAA to both support more angel investment in lifesciences and help to build a more diverse investment base.

BEST HIGH GROWTH WOMAN FOUNDER

SPONSOR: CMS

PRESENTED BY: Katy de Nagy de Nagybaczon, CMS

WINNER: Melinda Nicci of Baby2Body

WINNER: Romi Savova of PensionBee

Melinda and Romi have both shown exceptional leadership in establishing and building a high-growth business. Melinda has achieved significant growth for Baby2Body having identified a gap in the market for expert support to women through pregnancy and motherhood, creating a leading brand, impacting the lives of over 1million women globally across 100+ countries and has leveraged significant backing from investors to support her growth, including from Downing ventures, Amadeus, Firestartr, London CoInvestment Fund and leading angels including Mike Ettling.

Romi has shown commitment to building a high growth business through PensionBee which transforms the complex pension transfer process and provide personalised support to address the individual decisions through her “beekeeping” support scheme and addressing a much younger demographic. Significant growth has been achieved by the founder with half a billion assets under management -on track to achieve £1bn by end 2019. Romi and her co-founder have been supported by Harvard Business Angels as early investors identifying their potential for growth.

ACCELERATOR OF THE YEAR

PRESENTED BY: Tom Britton, UKBAA

WINNER: InnovationRCA

Innovation RCA is an exciting and successful example of leadership in the creative industries building successful University accelerators, enabling start-ups to build high growth potential businesses with design -focused applications across a wide range of sectors. The programme has supported and invested in more than 50 startups and created more than 650 UK jobs, as well as building its own very active dedicated industry focused Angel community to bring much needed investment to these businesses.

COINVESTMENT DEAL OF THE YEAR

PRESENTED BY: Catherine Lewis La Torre, British Patient Capital & British Business Investments

WINNER: FatMap

FatMap has built impressive growth in its outdoor adventure company, building their map platform and a global hub to address the fragmented outdoor sports market through successfully mobilising a fantastic mix of co-investors including Angel Co-Fund, InMotion Ventures and Episode 1, corporate VCs and a number of industry leading angel investors bringing extensive added value to the business.

BEST INVESTMENT IN FINTECH

SPONSOR: Conviction Investment Partners

PRESENTED BY: Andrew Jenkins, Conviction Investment Partners

WINNER: Monese

Monese has developed ground breaking technology to provide the World’s first current account to link with Avios, tracking and managing their travel and finances and awards in on app, with portability across 31 countries and addressing the needs of “global citizens”. Using its leading approach to “Know Your Customer” process, the company has expanded extensively with offices across Europe and £1m signups in April 2019. Monese has attracted investment from leading angels and series A and B amounting to 76 m dollars to support tis long term growth.

SCALE-UP TEAM OF THE YEAR

SPONSOR: Gresham House Ventures

PRESENTED BY: Henry Alti, Gresham House Ventures

WINNER: Moteefe

Moteefe has built a high growth e-commerce and logistics business, enabling entrepreneurs across the world to start a business with no upfront cost and supporting scaling through mass customization. Moteefe has achieved exceptional growth with 4x growth in 2018 and 90% sales outside the UK, recruiting top talent in over 15 countries drawn from leading tech companies. Moteefe has generated £20m in sales and on track for £45m in 2019. The founders have demonstrated strong leadership and brought together a strong base of investment from Angels to VCs in both UK and Europe to support their successful scale.

BEST INVESTMENT IN DEEPTECH

SPONSOR: Dorsey & Whitney LLP

PRESENTED BY: Frances Doherty, Dorsey & Whitney LLP

WINNER: CausaLens

Causa Lens was chosen because they are taking an ambitious and ground-breaking approach to using autonomous predictive technology for complex and dynamic systems, having attracted the attention of a wide range of industries customers including hedge funds, banks, tech companies and corporates. With widescale applications enabling predictive approaches across multiple data sets including, logistics, energy and utilities, medical devices and working on any device. The team have attracted significant levels of investment including from leading angel investors from industry, IQ Capital, AI Seed and Force over Mass to further scale the business.

EARLY STAGE FUND OF THE YEAR

SPONSOR: Advanced Propulsion Centre UK

PRESENTED BY: Ian Constance, Advanced Propulsion Centre UK

WINNER: MMC Ventures

MMC was selected because of its highly successful research -based approach to VC investments, enabling the firm to access deep market intelligence and extensive due diligence, alongside the domain expertise of the team. With a strong focus on enterprise software and consumer interest, the firm has £300m under management, including institutional funds and brings alongside its investments an active community of HNW investors, also co-invests alongside a wide range of other funds and achieving some strong exits and returns for the funds.

WINNER: NVM Private Equity

The judges also chose NVM Private Equity due to the team’s pro-active focus on regional based businesses. Drawing on extensive VCT funds, the team have effectively addressed the changes in investment rules recently introduced to focus on growth and long-term patient capital for their portfolio. NVM with over 250m VCT funds under management actively co-invests alongside angels and other funds and seeks to bring extensive added value and support to other businesses in the local communities in addition to their portfolio.

BEST INVESTMENT IN DISRUPTIVE TECH

SPONSOR: Innovate UK

PRESENTED BY: Tim Sawyer, Innovate UK

EARLY STAGE WINNER: Feebris

Feebris was chosen as an early Stage business disrupting the approach to diagnosing complex respiratory conditions using AI- diagnostic and cloud infrastructure. Accessible on wide range of devices bringing both efficiencies and cost saving to existing technologies, and bringing extensive impact, saving many lives especially in cases of children and elderly people, also in developing countries. Feebris has received both Angel investment from 24 Haymarket and Innovate UK Grants to support these developments

GROWTH STAGE WINNER: SafeToNet

Safetonet was chosen as a growth stage winner because of its important innovative tech solution to disrupt the market in relation to children and young people accessing harmful online content. SafetoNet’s intelligent and embedded key board uses deep machine learning and Natural Language Processing to contextualise messages, detects and filters content in real time, working in both European languages and Arabic and Hindi in development. Focused on partnership with global mobile network operators and handset operators. SafetoNet has accessed over £15m, through West Hill Capital and over 200 Angel Investors

MOST ACTIVE INVESTOR IN THE REGIONS

SPONSOR: Angels Invest Wales & Development Bank of Wales

PRESENTED BY: Rhian Elston, Angels Invest Wales

VC WINNER: Mercia Technologies

Mercia Technologies was identified as the most Active VC in the regions, having invested £59.7m with over 90% of funding going to businesses outside London and South East, investing in 137 companies of which 125 and bringing over £140m of co investment in the past year. Mercia also works with 19 Universities across the regions to identify early innovation and supports long term growth of the regional businesses they back deploying a range of funds including seed at £100k to £10m growth funding.

ANGEL WINNER: Equity Gap

Equity Gap was identified as the most Active Angel group in the regions in the past year with a focus on backing entrepreneurs in Scotland and also expanding into the Northern regions, having invested £5.3 m and leveraged £12m alongside, working with other key investors in Scotland and England. Equity Gap also increased their membership by 40 to 160 with a growing group of women angel investors and with 25% of their portfolio in women founders.

BEST NEW ENTRANT TO THE ECOSYSTEM

PRESENTED BY: Roderick Beer, UKBAA

RISING STAR: Conception X

Conception X initiated in UCL faculty of Engineering is bringing an entirely new approach to venture building working with PH Students enabling them to explore entrepreneurship through a deep tech programme of support, helping the students to commercialise new and original research, whilst fitting around their study schedules, enabling early breakthroughs of technological innovation. The initiative which is led by a fantastic team of women with strong representation of women entrepreneurs in the cohort has attracted extensive attention from investors, industry and academics and plans to expand to 10 further Universities by 2021.

WINNER: Conviction Investment Partners CIP

Conviction Investment Partners CIP is a new syndicate founded by highly experienced successful entrepreneur Investors based in the North East, focusing on backing revenue generating, fast growing B2B, Software as a Service businesses that are seeking to disrupt their sectors. Notably CIP’s approach is based on a founder-friendly model, focused on alignment with founders and seeking least dilution and Just in time Funding. CIP has so far raised £30m from a group of investors from around the world, investing alongside the founders, using a nominee structure and having backed 7 businesses in the past year, bringing extensive VC and other investors alongside their investment.

BEST LEGAL TEAM FOR EARLY STAGE DEALS

PRESENTED BY: Tim Hames, BVCA

RISING STAR: Seed Legals

Seed Legals was seen as a rising star in bringing an innovative legal platform for start-ups with 7,000 start-ups having signed up to manage their funding process offering help with all main documentation and processes and using machine learning to support the process, focusing on early stage through to series A, transacting around 8% of the early stage transactions, also attracting legal teams looking for efficiencies in the market.

WINNER: CMS

CMS as an international law firm working across 40+ countries, has been advising early stage investment transactions for many years and supporting businesses through early stage and series A deals. CMS has developed strong sector specialisms among the team to focus support to early stage businesses and offers heavily discounted fees. Notably CMS has uniquely developed its own accelerator programme to advise and support high growth potential entrepreneurs, through its equIP programme now operating internationally, bringing access to strategic advice, mentorship and access to investors, also bringing a strong focus on women founders.

BEST WOMAN-LED INVESTMENT IN INNOVATION

SPONSORED BY INNOVATE UK – Women In Innovation Programme

PRESENTED BY: Emily Nott, Innovate UK

WINNER: Joo Hee Lee and Vin Murria OBE investment in TAINA Technology led by Maria Scott

Joo Hee lee and Vin Murria OBE played a critical role in providing support to Maria Scott founder of Taina with advice on hiring, growing and strategic direction and linking to further investment, enabling Maria to focus on growing her innovating RegTech business, providing a platform and cloud solutions for fully automated compliance, delivering proven savings to businesses. Of the £3.9m raised to date the largest proportion has been raised from women business angels

WINNER: Amanda Dyjecinski investor in Big Couch founded by Irina Albita and Maria Tanjala

Amanda Dyjecinski, brought important advice alongside her investment through Start Up Funding Club, bringing her extensive marketing experience to Irina and Maria at Big Couch to support the founders with digital transformation, branding and customer centric approaches to support the growth and scale of Big Couch’s FilmChain blockchain platform collecting and distributing content revenues and disrupting the collection, allocation and analysis of revenues for film, TV and digital content producers, bringing transparency and efficiency in this 250bn dollar industry.

EXIT OF THE YEAR

SPONSORED BY: LGT Vestra

PRESENTED BY: Natasa Williams, LGT Vestra

WINNER: Ziylo

Ziylo, a life science spin-out from Bristol University focusing on developing the world’s first molecular engineered sensors offering “smart insulin”, with the potential to revolutionise monitoring of glucose in the bloodstream related to diabetes. Having attracted backing from angel investors on spinning out in 2015, the angel investors provided three rounds of investment amounting to £800 k and £550k in Innovate grants, but no VC funding. Ziylo was acquired by Novo Nordisk, Danish pharmaceutical company for £623m in August 2018 making this a fantastic return of over 200x in only three years having identified the opportunity to back this high-risk innovating business. Ziylo was also the third largest acquisition of a spin out from a British University.

SYNDICATE OF THE YEAR

SPONSORED BY: Angel CoFund

PRESENTED BY: Tim Mills, Angel CoFund

WINNER: Green Angel Syndicate

Green Angel syndicate is uniquely focused on making investments in innovators in the green economy and have brought together a strong team which has successfully attracted investors with strong industry experience. The team have established a highly professional and rigorous approach to the investment process and has a strong focus on investing alongside other key players including Innovate UK and the Angel CoFund. The Syndicate is successfully expanding its network across the regions and has a clear focus on attracting women angels to invest in this sector.

To view all of the finalists across the 15 categories, please visit https://awards.ukbaa.org.uk/the-2019-award-categories/finalists/.

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