UK Angels recognise the vital role of Entrepreneurs in the UK’s economy

Over 360 thought leaders from the angel and early stage ecosystem came together at the Dorchester Hotel on Tuesday 5th July to recognise and celebrate the successful growth of innovating entrepreneurs across the UK and the investors who have backed them, bringing both cash and business support. The event was the UKBAA Gala Dinner and Awards 2016 where over 14 Award Winners and 13 Businesses to Watch were identified from among the 80 finalists backed by over 1000 investors from the angel community, mainly investing as syndicates, as well from as a range of other finance including early stage VCs, equity crowdfunders, banks and grants.

The UKBAA Awards event also reflected the importance of the growth of entrepreneurship for the economy as investors reflect on the implications of the Brexit result.

Speaking at the event, Simon Calver, ex CEO Love Film, Angel Investor, Chair of UKBAA and Partner in the new BGF £200m Ventures Fund said: “Uncertainty can kill business. It can stop key investment decisions being made, it can delay the launches of new products and markets, it can stop consumers spending. In times of volatility we need to give our startup companies more runway than we have done before”.

“Let’s not become risk adverse and eek money out in smaller tranches when it is eventually earned if what the company needs is more time to work through issues and more cash runway. The time of profligate spending will need to end but our companies need us more than ever at this time of highest uncertainty”.

Key note speaker at the event, Alice Bentinck MBE, CoFounder of Entrepreneur First and backer of Magic Pony sold last week to Twitter said: “We feel very lucky to have had our startups supported by fantastic angels. Angel investors are core to ensuring a healthy and viable startup ecosystem. Brexit has been a shock to us all, but we have been delighted to see the more experienced angels continue to back and support startups at this time”

In congratulating all the finalists and winners Jenny Tooth OBE, CEO of UKBAA said: “At UKBAA we will be working tirelessly in the coming months to ensure that we maintain a supportive environment to enable investors to continue to back great businesses”.

Supporters of awards such as ‘High Growth Team of the Year’ and ‘Exit of the Year’ included Asset Match, Cisco, Barclays, KPMG, Lloyds Bank, BVCA, Isle of Man Government, Angel CoFund, Business Growth Fund, Finance Wales, x√©nos and Innovate UK.


High Growth Team of the Year

Presented by: James Todd, Head of the Family Office Team at Barclays



Winner: TyresOnTheDrive

“The Tyres on the Drive team have achieved exceptionally strong growth in sales and a clear focus on their customers, reducing the pain for timely access to the right tyres, bringing a clear disruption to the market. The founder has shown strong leadership in building an effective team drawn from a range of tech industries to support their scale-up strategy, using investment to support their expansion across the UK.”

One to Watch: Moteefe

“The Business shows clear potential and has made great progress in building a high growth team across multiple locations in UK and Europe to support scale-up in the growing area of building customer merchandise businesses on social media.”


Best Investment in FinTech

Presented by: Warren Mead, Partner – Global Co-Lead for Fintech at KPMG



Winner: Funding Xchange


“Funding Xchange is addressing a clear underserved market for growing small businesses and has developed a disruptive technology to cut through the process to access alternative finance sources. It has been successful in being one the first platforms authorised for businesses rejected from the Banks to find help and access to relevant other finance. The business has attracted a strong range of investors and co-investment from angels to VCs to support its further growth and scale-up.”

One to Watch: Landbay

“Landbay is seen as one to watch with an innovative platform for buy to let mortgage lending . Having successfully mobilised crowdfunding investment through several rounds through Seedrs including backing from Tennis star Andy Murray, Landbay has gone on to access further angel and institutional investment and attracted key industry players and partners.”


Best Equity Crowdfunded-Angel Investment

Presented by: Nick Preskey, High Net Worth Strategy Manger, Isle of Man Government


Winner: Adzuna


“The business which is focused on empowering job seekers through a new search engine for job ads has raised a significant level of crowdfunding and also attracted some extremely experienced entrepreneurial angel investors to support its extensive growth and scale up in this space. This has led to significant job creation and serving multiple applications for its technology, with extensive international expansion.”

One to Watch: Cornerstone

“The founder has demonstrated the capacity to bring ecommerce and digital marketing to disrupt the Men’s Shaving market. The business has attracted both significant levels of crowdfunding as well as Angel investment including the backing of leaders from the men’s fashion industry to support its growth strategy.”


Angel & VC Scale-Up Investment of the Year

Presented by: Tim Hames, Director General of the BVCA


Winner: Creo Medical


“This company is recognised for its pioneering innovative tools for endoscopy , having achieved an exceptionally exciting phase of commercialisation and now on a strong trajectory for scale up. It has shown tenacity in mobilising over £11m of investment over time, including £5m of angel investment alongside a range of VC finance and Corporate VCs to support its growth. The company has also shown its capacity to leverage not just investment but clear added value from this range of investors.”

One to Watch: Ebury

“This company offering innovation in FX products and personalised risk management focusing on smaller business and charities has demonstrated its capacity to effectively use both Angel and VC investment and drawing on the added value brought by its investors to support its further growth and scale-up.”


Best Investment in Internet of Things

Presented by: Tom Yoritaka, Global Managing Director, Cisco EIR


Winner: Vantage Power


“The business has demonstrated a highly disruptive technology, bringing an innovative Smart IOT big data solution to the huge global challenge of ensuring an effective urban public transport system. Vantage Power have effectively mobilised investment from Angels, Corporates and Government grants to support further development and shown clear added value from their investors.”

One to Watch: appyparking


Social Impact Investment of the Year

Presented by: David Maas, Regional Manager xénos


Winner: Oxitec


“The company is addressing the core global challenge to reduce major diseases and crop damage across the world through control of insect pests, including the critical risks posed by mosquitoes carrying the Dengue and Zika viruses. The company has attracted significant levels of investment from angels, alongside major players such as the Bill Gates foundation that have backed their pioneering work in this vital area.”

One to Watch: EduKit

“The company has been recognised as having clear potential for social impact in the field of education in the UK focusing increase their educational attainment for children from disadvantaged background. She has effectively mobilised angels and mentors to support her in developing this innovative online service to schools.”


Best Investment in a High Growth Woman Founder

Presented by: Stephen Pegge, Group Competitive Markets and Business Policy Director for Lloyds Banking Group


Winner: raremark


“As founder and CEO of Raremark, Julie Walters has shown exceptional leadership in setting up and growing this business, focusing on the challenge to support families affected by rare diseases, pioneering new access to data and analysis from the pharmaceutical industry. The founder has shown her capacity to effectively mobilise both Angel, VC and equity Crowdfund investment, notably drawing on the skills and support of key women investors with expertise in this area.”

One to Watch: Funding Xchange


Best International Growth Business of the Year

Presented by: Irene Graham, Scale-up Institute


Winner: TestPlant


The company is identified as one of the fastest growing tech companies in the UK for its software testing applications to support mission critical business. It has effectively used VC investment from Seraphim ECF and a strong lead angel as a launchpad to achieve significant global growth, with offices in US, Europe and Asia and products in over 40 countries. Testplant which has also benefited from the support of the LSE Elite programme, was acquired by the Carlyle Group in January 2016 supporting its strategic expansion into international markets.

One to Watch: Hopster


Best Investment in MedTech Innovation

Presented by: Simon Devonshire OBE, Entrepreneur in Residence, UK Government


Winner: Creo Medical


“Creo Medical has demonstrated clear innovation in Med tech, developing new tools to address the core challenges of minimally invasive surgery. The team have effectively used investment gathered across multiple sources over a number of years to develop a platform for further technological applications and tools combined with strong IP, to support further growth of the business in this vital area.”

One to Watch: Push Doctor

“Push Doctor is showing strong progress in the growing area of Digital health by revolutionising access to GPs and creating strong cost savings for the NHS. The business is backed by very high profile investors from industry and commerce who have recognised the growth potential of this business.”


Best New Entrant to the Angel Ecosystem

Presented by: Simon Calver, Chair of UKBAA


Winner: Tech North


“Tech North has made a significant impact on the development of the digital ecosystem across the Northern regions over the past twelve months. The team have had a clear focus on increasing the potential to attract investment and highlighting the talented entrepreneurs in the region especially through the Northern Stars programme.”

One to Watch: Toucan

“Toucan has established an innovative platform to bring mentorship, investment and scale-up support to entrepreneurs in the creative industries, including a major new Awards programme supported by key corporates and significant investor backing.”


Best Investment in Disruptive Tech

Presented by: Dr Ruth McKernan, Chief Executive of Innovate UK


Winner: carwow


“The business was seen as highly disruptive of the consumer car market, offering an innovative model connecting buyers to dealers and moving from car showroom to platform based technology. The founders have mobilised significant levels of investment including both Angel investment from some key industry players and a range of VC investors, enabling the company to scale up and exceed its growth targets for users and sales in 2016.”

One to Watch: Oxford Space Systems

“Identified as a highly disruptive technology company in developing a new generation of deployable structures for the fast growing global space and satellite industry. The company has used a range of investors including seed VC and industry funds and commercial collaborations to support its further growth and product development.”


Lead Syndicate of the Year

Presented by: George Whitehead, Chair of Angel CoFund


Winner: Startup Funding Club


“The Syndicate has demonstrated strong activity in the past year with over 35 investments comprising of leading players with entrepreneurial and industry expertise, including a significant 30% ratio of women investors. The investments have been made invest across a range of sectors and not just in London but in businesses across other regions in the UK co-investing with a range of other investment sources. The syndicate also shows a strong focus on leveraging its experienced investor base to identify Lead Angels to support the gonging growth and scale up of the portfolio.”

One to Watch: 24 Haymarket

“This syndicate which is comprised of seasoned entrepreneurs and leading industry and corporate players investing their own money, has demonstrated significant activity across the UK over the past year and a strong focus on the active involvement of a Lead Angel in supporting the ongoing growth and commercial success of their investee companies.”


Exit of the Year

Presented by: Iain Baillie, Founder and Co-CEO of Asset Match


Winner: Swiftkey


“The team have developed deep technology and succeeded in building a huge customer base in a market which is highly dominated by key US players. The Exit achieved through acquisition by Microsoft was therefore the natural choice and with the founders now running a significant operation within the corporate. This has offered a strong return for the VCs and Angels many of whom achieved a strong 10-13x return.”

One to Watch: Hassle

“Set up by experienced women founders, the business demonstrated strong disruption of the home cleaning market and capacity for scale. Having attracted acquisition by a German competitor within only 2 and half years since its establishment Hassle was able to offer a very strong return for investors especially for the angels who had provided early backing many of whom achieved a 35x return.”


Lead Angel Investor of the Year

Presented by: Stephen Welton, CEO, BGF


Winner: Simon Thorpe

“Simon is a very active investor, having developed a strong portfolio in tech investments over the past 8 years. He has shown himself to bring not just investment, but also added value through mentoring and coaching to entrepreneurs and has been especially focused on supporting women tech entrepreneurs. Simon has had an impressive 5 exits in the past twelve months, including the UKBAA Exit of the Year SwiftKey. He is an active panellist and speaker and is supportive of UKBAA’s mission to promote angel investment and further build the angel ecosystem across the UK.”

Key Links:

Photos on Flickr, Twitter, Winners and Finalists, The Judges,The Sponsors, The UKBAA

By UKBAA 08 Jul 2016