In 2017 Downing Ventures successfully completed 44 investment deals (13 of which were into new businesses) making the fund one of the UK’s most prolific early-stage investors.
Looking ahead, Downing has merged its Growth and Ventures teams under the banner Downing Ventures in order to provide better long term support and a ladder of funding to early-stage entrepreneurs. The fund is now capable of providing funding from Seed through to Series A +.
The majority of the companies backed by Downing Ventures operate in and around the UK tech sector, including some of its most diverse and exciting deals from 2017.
Downing Ventures also announced the addition of three new members to the team: Michael Tefula, who previously worked at the Oxford Seed Fund, BGF and Deloitte; Kathy Gromotka, who joined from Microsoft; and Sophie Andre, who has worked her way up within the company.
UK tech companies to watch out for in 2018 and beyond:
Online healthcare platform Live Better With
Live Better With is an online marketplace that aims to make day-to-day life better for people living with long-term conditions worldwide. Founded by Tamara Rajah, the youngest-ever partner at management consultants McKinsey, the platform curates and creates products, services and content that help with symptoms and side effects. The company recently collaborated with Browns More Hair Now and Guys Hospital to open the UK’s first shop for people living with cancer, selling a range of products from the Live Better With platform. Downing Ventures originally supported Live Better With through a £1.5 million joint investment in 2016 and also participated in a further investment round in September 2017.
Data analytics service E Fundamentals
A new company added to the Downing Ventures portfolio at the end of 2017, E Fundamentals provides a data analytics service that helps traditional brands improve their online revenues. Downing Ventures thought that the company had a strong competitive advantage in the market due to the depth of information and insight its data provides to big name clients including Bosch, Nestle Purina and Wilkinson. As a result, Downing Ventures committed over £2 million in this Edinburgh and London-based e-commerce service. E-commerce is an area of focus for Downing Ventures more broadly, thanks to the continued growth of the market coupled with increased demand for this type of service.
Alex Cochand, Deal Origination Manager, Downing Ventures, comments:“When it comes to seeking out what we believe to be the best companies to invest in within the vibrant UK tech sector, we hone in on what we see as both ‘defensible’ tech and strategy. What this means is technology that we think cannot easily be replicated or disrupted, and that can also demonstrate signs of early traction in its target market. “As Venture Capitalists, we don’t chase the largest investment opportunities, choosing to focus on targeting a wide variety of high quality deals instead of cheque size, something which we believe allows us to help as many truly talented entrepreneurs as possible. We’re also ideally positioned to support businesses that are ready to scale, thanks to our ability to invest from seed right through to growth stage."
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