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SETsquared’s 20th annual investment event gains valuable insights ahead of 2024 and previews its new IMPACT-IP programme

SETsquared’s 20th annual investment event gains valuable insights ahead of 2024 and previews its new IMPACT-IP programme

Shown from left to right: Karen Brooks, SETsquared; Tra Nguyen, The Training Marketplace; Marty Reid SETsquared; Kalish Manohara Selvan, SpatialCortex Technology

SETsquared has held its 20th investment event – an annual high-profile occasion that has showcased hundreds of the best UK technology, science and innovation-led start-ups and helped raise more than £160m.

This year’s event, Investment Futures 24, held at Behind the Bike Shed in London, had over 150 investors in attendance to network, meet start-up founders and watch their one-minute investment pitches. A series of roundtable discussions enabled the investment ecosystem to come together and tackle the challenges facing deep tech investment in 2024. There was also a keynote speech about the new IMPACT-IP programme, which aims to increase connectivity between university TTOs, investors and professional service firms to increase the pace of concluding commercialisation deals and spin-out creation.

21 innovative start-ups, spin-outs and scale-ups from across different sectors, including sustainable tech, defence, health, sports and fintech, which have been supported at SETsquared’s world-leading incubation centres and university partners, pitched for investments spanning £250k to £10m.

“The ventures that presented went through a competitive selection process that was accessible to over 400 businesses,” said Marty Reid, SETsquared’s Interim Executive Director. “They are following in the footsteps of companies that have drawn significant market traction; this year, we passed £4bn in capital raised by ventures supported by SETsquared programmes.

“The Investment Futures 24 event was about looking ahead at the investment landscape, and SETsquared has two key themes going forward. Firstly, we’ve been building collaborations to bring together support programmes focused on key high-potential sectors. By the new year, we’ll have dedicated innovation programmes for future telecoms, hydrogen, sustainable transport, climate science, creative and immersive technologies and the next generation of compound semiconductors.

“Secondly, we have a renewed focus on catalysing spin-outs from our incredible research base. The recent Spin-out Review, an independent report issued earlier this month, made a range of recommendations, which included greater transparency and collaboration across the sector, particularly between universities and investor communities, to co-develop innovation-friendly policies, standards, and market terms.

“These recommendations speak to SETsquared’s reason for being, and we’re excited to launch IMPACT-IP, a new programme backed by Research England with £1.5m in funding, which we believe has the potential to transform the capabilities, capacity and pace of University Tech Transfer,” added Marty Reid.

Diana Galpin, Director of Enterprise and Knowledge Exchange at the University of Southampton, shared more about this project: “Our ambition is to harvest the collective capabilities across the commercialisation teams together with investors, entrepreneurs and professional services to transform how we support spinning out – we want to get deals done – we want to smooth the pathway, reduce the pain and speed-up transaction timescales to enable our spin-outs to start delivering on their business plans faster.

“We aim to achieve this through building a common understanding among all stakeholders and creating toolkits, playbooks, guidance, templates and standardisation to help streamline the process of commercialisation.”

The roundtables enabled lots of discussion and feedback about the investment landscape, and there were many positive conversations between company founders and investors.

Alexandra Lindsay, Maven Capital Partners, commented: “I liked the format of quickfire investment pitches, with the opportunity to speak to founders quite quickly afterwards to continue the conversation. For example, there were 4 or 5 companies that I was interested in from the first session, and I was able to follow up with them all.”

Joe Halfpenny, also from Maven Capital Partners, continued: “There are companies that I’ve heard of before which are here today, so I’ve finally got to speak to them, and I’ve got a follow-up meeting in the diary for tomorrow morning. There’s a good mix of early and later-stage companies which suits both the ambitions of our VC fund, which invests between £1m – £5m and one of the regional funds we represent – the South West Investment Fund – which invests between £250k – £2m.”

EJ Roodt, Co-Founder of EPowar, was one of the companies pitching for investment. They have built the only safety app that is designed to react instantly and automatically if you are physically attacked and are hoping to raise £250k to grow in scale. She said: “We had some successful conversations with investors today and have lots to follow up on, so we’re feeling positive about the event. There were a lot of Angel investors present, and that audience is perfect for us. Last year’s event successfully generated £90k worth of investment for us, which enabled us to move from a Beta product to the App Store.”


Investors can find out more about the companies that pitched at this event, plus others, on SETsquared’s Online Investment Platform.
Access the investment platform


Investors interested in getting involved with IMPACT-IP can register their interest by visiting the SETsquared website
Find out more about IMPACT-IP


SETsquared’s next Investment Showcase will be online on 1 February 2024, with the opportunity to see 15 of the best tech start-ups across Europe. Register your place

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