The University of Essex is recognised as being an innovative and commercially creative educational institution. Named ‘University of the Year’ by The Times in 2018, it was designated as a University Enterprise Zone (UEZ) by the UK Government. This project means that the university is the focal point for supporting and nurturing new digital and creative businesses.
The University of Essex, with support from Research England, wanted to create an equity investment platform that supports the innovative enterprises that exist and are that being developed across the region. The lack of equity seed funding in Essex was recognised in previous research studies as a problem that was hampering regional economic development. As a result, the concept of a new investment platform dedicated to the region’s most innovative start-ups was highly recommended and received much support from the business community.
After exploring the possibilities of developing a platform to support these objectives, the University of Essex decided to team up with Delio to create a white-labelled platform, branded as Angels@Essex. The platform was uniquely configured to the specific needs of the project, enabling both entrepreneurs and investors to be accommodated on the system. Working alongside the Delio team enabled the University to streamline the process of onboarding whilst maintaining the integrity of regulatory compliance.
The platform, which is administered by experienced University staff, allows entrepreneurs to present opportunities to sophisticated, high-net-worth and professional investors alongside restricted investors. Equity deals that arise from this platform are conducted directly between the entrepreneur and the investor(s), thus removing unnecessary costs. The platform does not charge businesses for the services it provides, which itself is an attractive benefit to smaller SMEs seeking seed investment.
As word of the new platform spreads in the business community, uptake is steadily increasing with a good pipeline of investment opportunities coming forward. Investors have not been shy in expressing their interest and the recognition of an established and respected industry supplier such as Delio has assisted with the credibility of this project.
The University’s Business Support Manager, John Stenhouse explained; “With the continued growth of early interest resulting in positive outcomes for the platform, the future looks positive for investment into innovative seed businesses that will help transform the local economy and provide sustainable business growth for the region.”
Delio staff have been very accommodating in building the platform to our requirements, demonstrating a deep understanding of the industry and our needs and continue to support us post-implementation.
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