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Investment Roundup | Scotland’s Top Funding Deals of 2020

David Paul

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funding

As the final month draws to a close, DIGIT rounds up some of the biggest funding gains for Scottish businesses in 2020.

It comes as no surprise that Scottish businesses have taken a hit over the last year.

The introduction and spread of Covid-19, subsequent uncertainty about the future of the economy and record job losses have done nothing to raise spirits.

However, it is not all bad news. Throughout the year, we have seen some tech sectors seeing a positive outcome from the pandemic with products that suit the troubled times. In this article, DIGIT rounds up some of the biggest startup investments in Scotland so far this year.

Boundary Technologies

Boundary

Smart home security startup Boundary Technologies has completed a £1.7 million annual fundraiser, bringing the total amount secured by the firm so far to £3.9 million.

Boundary said it will use the investment to complete product testing and to prepare for its post-launch operations.

In June, Boundary secured its final £90,000 tranche, demonstrating continued investor confidence amid a difficult period.

This July funding showed a second significant investment in Boundary within the last year. In September 2019, Boundary secured £1.2m in funding from Equity Gap and the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.

Commenting on the investment, CEO and co-founder Robin Knox said: “It became very clear from my discussions with investors over recent months that they like the space Boundary is operating in.

“We have worked hard to get to grips with the stringent regulatory framework that exists around the police response intruder alarm market and this is clearly a key strength of the Boundary model.”

Knox added: “Investors were also excited by our plans for the future of crime prevention, including our use of machine vision in the development of our external security camera.”

To read the full article, click here.


Quorum Cyber

Federico Charosky, Managing Director of Quorum Cyber

Scottish cybersecurity firm Quorum Cyber continued a July investment trend after securing a £2.7 million funding package from Maven Capital Partners through corporate finance specialist HNH.

The investment was secured through its VCTs, alongside the Scottish Investment Bank, which will allow Quorum Cyber to scale up.

Quorum Cyber’s managing director Federico Charosky, who has a 40% stake in the business, instigated the growth capital deal.

Charosky said the growth capital will be used to “further scale the business”, invest in sales and marketing resources and focus on product innovation to “ensure clients can confidentially operate within an increasingly hostile cybersecurity environment.”

HNH director Neal Allen commented: “While COVID-19 and Brexit have created a challenging financial climate, this growth capital investment demonstrates that there is an appetite for growth and investment in Scottish business.

“It was very encouraging that there was a lot of interest among Scottish based private equity/venture capital funds and we’re delighted to have facilitated this for Quorum Cyber.”

Charosky added: “Working with HNH and Maven to create the deal has been a fantastic experience. This deal will enable Quorum Cyber to continue growing in a sustainable way, ensuring we continue to exceed customer expectations while protecting the amazing culture we’ve created.”

David Millroy, a partner at Maven Capital Partners, said: “We are delighted to be leading the investment in Quorum Cyber and look forward to being part of its growth in the years to come.

“The senior team have already created a strong business and there is significant opportunity to scale operations globally, with further expansion already underway in the Middle East, Australia, South Korea, and North America.”

To read the full article, click here.


Exizent

Bereavement Process

Our only entry from September saw Glasgow-based firm Exizent raise “significant” funding to transform the bereavement process through the launch of a new platform.

The company said it would use the funds to “change the way the legal and financial services industry deals with bereavement.”

The company raised £3.6 million in funding – believed to be the largest investment in a Scottish tech business since lockdown began at the time – from several investors, including the global platform-as-a-service firm FNZ.

Nick Cousins, Founder and CEO of Exizent, said: “Our personal experiences are what led us to establish Exizent. We believe the administrative tasks facing families after the death of a loved one should be far easier, and that modern technology solutions and services can make this a reality.

“We have spent the last 18 months carefully designing, developing, and testing our product with innovative partners, and look forward to launching the platform to legal services professionals later this year.”

Adrian Durham, Group CEO of FNZ, commented: “The Exizent team has already achieved an enormous amount and we are proud to support their vision of leveraging technology to make the bereavement process far easier for everyone involved.

“Exizent will also be joining the fast-growing FNZ OpenPlatform App Store.”

To read the full article, click here.


Flick

Flick

October was a strong month for tech firm investment, but more so than for Flick, the latest venture from FanDuel founders Nigel Eccles and Rob Jones, which completed a $5 million (£3.7m) Series A funding round.

Led by AlleyCorp, the latest investment round brings the company’s total funding to $9 million (£6.6m) and will fuel an extended period of growth.

Founded by Eccles and Jones in 2018, Flick is a live group chat platform for sports influencers and their fans. The company was launched in early 2018 following the duo’s departure from FanDuel.

Flick says its chat platform allows influencers to “authentically engage” with fans during live games and provides them with a forum to foster a “loyal and engaged fan-base with their own branded space”.

Eccles, who serves as chief executive at the firm, described Flick as the “future of sports entertainment” and outlined the company’s long-term plans.

“With the new round of funding, the company plans to expand its team, integrate with sports betting, and build out the platform across multiple sports and geographies,” he said.

“In the last two years, sports betting has exploded in the U.S. However, unlike off-line betting, online sports remain quite a solitary and transactional experience.

“Betting on a sports betting app is about as much fun as paying a bill with your banking app. With our expansion into sports betting, we plan to change that,” Eccles added.

Jones said the funding has come at a time of rapid growth for the company. Since May and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the company has seen a “significant uptick” in its user base, which has grown 45% month-on-month.

“The pandemic has caused a disconnect and people are seeking ways to be part of a community – specifically in the sports world where fans are no longer able to banter with their friends and other fans in person or attend live games,” he said.

To read the full article, click here.


Phlo

Phlo pharmacy

Glasgow-based digital pharmacy Phlo says it can now embark on a “substantial period of growth and expansion” after smashing through its crowdfunding target.

After reaching £1.65 million on the first day, the firm said it plans to extend its Crowdcube campaign due to the high levels of demand, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis.

The company is using the funding to support the scaling up of its delivery service. There will also be a further investment to implement and develop new features and technologies as well as a significant recruitment drive.

From October 2019, demand and patient numbers have been growing consistently, but in the period since Covid-19 became a significant public health issue, growth has “exceeded all expectations,” Phlo said.

Commenting on the crowdfund and expansion plans, founder and CEO of Phlo, Nadeem Sarwar, said: “The response we’ve received to the crowdfunding has been incredible and I’d like to say a massive thank you to all those who are investing and in particular those who have supported us from the start.

“Last-generation online pharmacy services have been around for a while, but what we’re doing at Phlo is innovative, and given the current environment, we would anticipate demand growing consistently.

“There will, of course, always be a place for bricks and mortar pharmacies, but whether you are working from home or in an office, the convenience of on-demand delivery is becoming the norm, and what consumers expect.

“I am also proud that we’re able to provide high-quality jobs in Glasgow and across the UK, and we are determined to play our part in the economic recovery.”

Phlo says it intends to launch its service outside of London in Birmingham later this year with plans to expand into five cities over the next two years.

To read the full article, click here.


Zumo

Edinburgh-based Zumo announced a £10 million Series A funding round to meet the demand of the growing crypto-curious market, marking another strong November investment surge

Zumo’s app, launched in June of this year, allows users to purchase crypto safely and easily.

The app has seen an increase in userbase on the back of a refer and share scheme and a successful Seedrs crowdfund that saw Zumo exceed their £1m targets in just four days.

Early investors in Zumo include Guy Berryman of Coldplay fame, Steven Halliday and Murray Capital.

Nick Jones, CEO and co-founder, said: “Most projects in the space are aimed at the 2-3% of people who’ve already got cryptocurrency, but there aren’t that many aimed at bringing in a wider audience. From the start, we designed Zumo to be easy-to-use without sacrificing security.

“Our app allows anyone to easily buy, sell, and store cryptocurrency using only their smartphone and an internet connection. We have no hidden fees, and don’t charge users for adding or removing their funds, only a 0.5% fee when they convert between currencies.”

To read more about Zumo, check out our Deal Roundup article here.


Integrated Graphene

Scottish tech company Integrated Graphene secured £3.1 million of funding in November to kickstart its production of new ‘breakthrough’ 3D graphene foam.

Led by Archangels, the six-figure investment also included funding from Par Equity, Techstart Ventures and ESM Investments.

The firm revealed that several Integrated Graphene’s original seed investors also participated in the fundraiser.

Integrated Graphene said the money will be used to fund equipment to demonstrate product performance and to ‘significantly expand’ resources for commercialisation of its 3D graphene foam, Gii.

Claus Marquordt, co-founder and CEO of Integrated Graphene commented: “We are very pleased to have the continued support of our seed investors who have helped us shape and scale this revolutionary business from an idea to commercial launch-ready.

“Ultimately, this funding round will enable us to capitalise on being first to market world-wide with high performing, cost-effective, application-specific 3D Graphene Foam, enabling better products.”

Long-term, the firm says it hopes to tap into the rapidly expanding worldwide graphene market, which is estimated to be worth $1.6 billion by 2025 and grow to as much as $6 billion by 2030.

Niki McKenzie, Joint Managing Director at Archangels, said: “The mass production of high-quality graphene at a commercially attractive price has long been seen as the holy grail in this sector and Integrated Graphene has the potential to lead the world in this arena.

“We are confident that, with supportive shareholders, the business can take the next step in its ambition to scale up its manufacture of this invaluable material.”

To read the full article, click here.


Modulr

In November, Edinburgh-based fintech Modulr announced the backing of online payments giant PayPal.

The firm received £9 million in funding from PayPal, which it said will be used to develop additional products, grow its team, and expand its customer base.

The company raised a total £63.3m several companies, including PayPal, Highland Europe, Frog Capital and Blenheim Chalcot as well as a £10m grant from the Capability and Innovation Fund.

Commenting on the announcement, Modulr chief executive Myles Stephenson said: “Modulr lowers the barriers to bringing payments into a platform, creating endless new possibilities for our customers while allowing them to focus on their core competencies – the investment from PayPal Ventures enhances our ability to execute on that vision.”

Anil Hansjee, a partner at PayPal Ventures, said: “More digital businesses are looking to incorporate payments into their existing user experience but either doesn’t have the expertise or the resources.

“Modulr is well-positioned to be an enabler of this trend and will undoubtedly expand end-users’ access to fast, reliable and secure financial services.”

To read the full article, click here.


Trojan Energy

Trojan Energy

Aberdeen-based green-tech start-up, Trojan Energy, saw a successful June after it secured £4.1 million in funding to support the roll-out of its on-street ‘flat and flush’ electric vehicle (EV) charging points.

The company’s funding round comprised £1 million investment led by business angel syndicate Equity Gap, SIS Ventures, Aberdeen-based investment syndicate Alba Equity and the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.

SIS Ventures will also help the business to lock in its social mission of democratising the transition to low carbon energy. The equity funding unlocks a further £3.1 million from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

Ian Mackenzie, CEO at Trojan Energy, commented: “This is such an important milestone for Trojan Energy. Ever since we started this business, we have wanted to ensure that the benefits of the low carbon transition can be realised by everyone and not just those with a driveway.

“With this investment, our vision has moved a step closer. The rewards for our customers and our planet will be massive and prove the point that a big idea and great engineering can change the world.”

Fraser Lusty, director at Equity Gap, said: “We are pleased to back Trojan Energy and its strong Scottish team who have brought their expertise from the Oil & Gas sector to partner with industry, energy suppliers and councils to help accelerate the adoption of EV usage in dense urban areas where the technology is needed most.

“Their technology is pivotal to the greater adoption of EV’s, the future decarbonising of our transport infrastructure and central to the UK government’s target for net-zero emissions.”

Rob Halliday, fund manager, SIS Ventures said: “SIS Ventures believes that in the wake of Covid-19 there is an opportunity for Scotland to re-build an impact economy.

“As Scotland’s leading impact investor, we are delighted to be playing our part in supporting this innovative mission-led business in its ambition to deliver growth and impact at scale. Trojan Energy is the step change urban EV charging desperately needs.”

To read the full article, click here.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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