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Royal College of Art and Infinity Asset Management announce the first close of the RCA Design & Impact S/EIS Fund

The Royal College of Art (RCA) and Infinity Asset Management LLP has recently announced the first close of the RCA Design & Impact S/EIS Investment Fund I.

The Seed / Enterprise Investment Scheme (S/EIS) fund will focus on backing early-stage companies founded by RCA staff or graduates. Reflecting the nature of innovation at the RCA, the multi-sector fund is likely to include technology and product companies encompassing the med-tech, climate-tech and ag-tech sectors, as well as software companies and creative brands, many of which will be based on patentable inventions. To date, InnovationRCA (the RCA’s award-winning centre for entrepreneurship, incubation and business support) has backed over 80 design-led ventures and these have gone on to raise over £135 million from other investors. Around 40% of the InnovationRCA’s portfolio consists of impact-for-profit companies and in the past five years 52% have been women-led.

This new £2.5m-£5m fund will allow qualified investors to access companies at a very early stage while valuations are low and those companies will be incubated and supported by InnovationRCA.

The fund will now make its first investments and expects to invest in 15-20 S/EIS qualifying companies in total over 18-24 months. It will invest at the pre-seed and seed stage and be the first investor, and will also make follow-on investments. The fund will enable individual investors to benefit from the HMRC Seed Enterprise Investment and Enterprise Investment Schemes that provide 30%- 50% tax reliefs respectively subject to complying with certain conditions.

We’re very proud to have achieved this important milestone. This will mean that talented RCA founders will be better funded and supported as they build their businesses. The College has a rich and diverse community taking on important global challenges and this fund will provide a vital boost to solving them.”

Sarah Butler, Fund Manager and Partner at Infinity Asset Management LLP said: “We are delighted to be working with InnovationRCA on this exciting investment journey, and are eager to start the investment process now that the fund has reached its first close target. The investment pipeline is rich with emerging talent and contemporary business ideas, and exciting investment opportunities which we believe will continue to be presented as the size of the fund continues to grow.”

Dr Nadia Danhash, Director of InnovationRCA and AngelClubRCA  said: “We have been so pleased with the response we have received to the fund and continue to attract interest from prospective investors. I’m confident we will hit our final close target this year as so many investors are excited by the richness of our pipeline and are also keen to benefit from the tax incentives associated with S/EIS funds. We look forward to making our first investments and supporting them in our incubator to help them grow.”

Since 2015, InnovationRCA has operated its angel network, AngelClubRCA, which was set up to promote and encourage commercial enterprise in the UK by connecting the most promising S/EIS early-stage RCA start-ups with investors. Now with the RCA Design and Impact S/EIS Fund, more qualified investors can access the unique multi-sector RCA pipeline at a very early stage while valuations are low and those companies are incubated and supported by InnovationRCA.